React Native 0.56 Has Been Introduced: Check out the Changes

The long wait is over as the new React Native version 0.56 is now available. So, finally, the developers have something to cheer for. There have been various changes in this latest version, which is something to watch out for. One of the major reasons cited for the delay in the release is the dilemma regarding the breaking changes or the time for launching the new version.

The React Native is one of the predominantly used JavaScript frameworks for the development of native apps. This JavaScript code library was developed by Facebook and Instagram way back in the year 2013 on GitHub.

One of the most prominent features of this framework is that it allows the developers to reuse the codes across the web and mobile. Another aspect that makes it a preferred choice of the developers is that there is a subtle distinction between completed apps developed with Objective C and apps built on React Native.

The React Native JavaScript framework is offering various advantages such as faster development, large community support, cross-platform app building etc. However, it is still in the line of improvement. And therefore, the release of 0.56 is one step ahead on that front.

First, the 0.56 version of the React Native is being considered as the important building block, offering a more stable framework. As such the development team involved in making these notable changes has used different tools that need continuous support and coordination so that it can function smoothly. In addition, it also has the extended helping hand of an energetic open-source community to back the project.

However, according to the development team, the breaking changes in React Native have not been as easy and seamless as expected. Therefore, the earlier deadlines had to be skipped to test the changes.

Now that the JavaScript framework is all set to be launched, there are still a few concerns that haven’t been resolved. But be rest assured that you won’t find any problem whatsoever with upgrading to the new version. Even if it gets blocked due to some issues, you would get support from the team to find a solution to the problem.

However, the React Native team also believes that it would take some time for developers to adopt the new version and bring it in extensive usage. According to the official information, a total of 67 contributors have worked on about 818 commits (!).

Now, let’s analyze the major changes

Improving the Support for Android

As far as the Android Operating System is concerned, there have been key changes related to surrounding tools. The various updates include Gradle 3.5, Android SDK 26, and Fresco to 1.9.0 and OkHttp to 3.10.0 and the NDK API target to API 16. The team believes that the developers will not find any difficulty or issue here and all these updates will further assist in the faster development of apps.

In addition, the developers will also be able to abide by the requirements of the new Play Store, which is expected to release within the next month. However, a few more steps have to be taken on this front and you can meanwhile plan and discuss upgrading the Android support in the dedicated issue.

The New Node, Xcode, React, and Flow

It must be noted that now Node 8 will be considered as the standard for the React Native as its testing is complete and also because of the fact that Node 6 is under maintenance mode. Additionally, the React has also been updated to the version 16.4 with a lot of improvement.

And for the iOS platform, no support further will be available for the iOS 8 in 0.56 version as the team is concentrating on targeting the iOS 9 as the oldest version for lending support. Here too, the users and developers will not find any issue as all iOS 8 supporting devices can be easily upgraded to iOS 9. The team was able to remove the rarely used code used in the old iOS 8 version due to this key change.

For providing the best support to conduct a comprehensive iOS testing, the constant integrated toolchain has been upgraded to use the Xcode 9.4. It allows developers to run their apps on the Apple’s latest developer tools.

Besides, the team has updated to Flow 0.75 for using the new error format and built several other components. The debugging has been made simpler by the replacement of YellowBox with a new implementation. You need to stay abreast of the latest updates.

The New Version of Babel

The new version of React Native 0.56 also introduced the latest version of the Babel, which is known as Babel 7. Babel is actually a transpiler tool that lets the developers use the latest and advanced features of the JavaScript.

The team updated it to the new version as it was bringing crucial changes in the development process. For instance, the JavaScript bundler Metro will be permitted to power its improvements. In case, you face any difficulties during the update, you can view the documentation section.

In addition, to these, there are several other changes that have been introduced with the release of React Native version 0.56. You need to refer the complete changelog for full information on the release notes. Apart from that, please keeping on viewing the upgrading guide to avoid any difficulty related to updates.

It also needs to be noted that the React Native team will be conducting the meetings on a monthly basis so that everyone involved with this update remains up-to-date on what’s going on currently and coming up next further.

Another vital aspect to be remembered is that since React Native is still in the version 0.x as many changes are still getting underway, the developers may come across a few crashes during an update. Therefore, they should help one another towards resolving the issues while submitting the PRs. Don’t forget to stick to the enforced CoC.

Conclusion

The React Native team has released the version 0.56 of the JavaScript with the aim of simplifying the development process and also introduced a number of important changes. Although the new version is not totally perfect the team ensures that the developers won’t find any problem in implementing the changes and the updates. They have to keep an eye on the official announcements to remain abreast of further changes.

She is a project leader at Mindinventory having the past experience as an iOS developer who loves exploring everything that’s in trend! In her free time, she likes to delve into various project management tools and apply her findings in her projects.