React Native latest version – new features overview

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React Native has been getting more and more popular thanks to its unique approach to building mobile applications and backing from the React community as well as major companies such as Facebook. The framework keeps on changing and developers can expect new React Native features quite often. We took a look at the releases which have taken place in 2020 so far. What’s new and interesting in the most recent React Native update? 

Before we take a look at the React Native releases, let’s see how the framework is doing in 2020.

React Native – popularity

React Native debuted in 2015 and has since become mainstream. Many companies are considering it a real alternative to native programming languages of popular mobile OSes. They value its ability to shorten production without compromising performance, the synergy you can expect when using both React Native and React in your applications, as well as its open source nature.

In 2020, React Native has become one of the most popular software frameworks, which can be seen in the recent Stack Overflow Survey 2020 (6th place in the “Other Frameworks, Libraries, and Tools” category).

React Native’s growing popularity is well reflected in the search trends. According to Google Trends, the interest in this technology has shown no signs of slowing down since the release. The graph below shows the relative popularity of React Native in the past 5 years.

Still, in order to bring in even more users and meet the needs of its veterans, React Native needs to introduce new features and its release schedule is quite busy.

So, did the team behind the framework manage to upgrade React Native properly? How did React Native change in 2020?

Latest React Native version – features

The year 2020 so far has seen two major updates of React Native – 0.62 and 0.63 (the latest version of React Native). The biggest differences are related to the developer experience area:

Flipper integration

React Native is now integrated with Flipper. It’s a debugging tool which makes it very easy to check what is happening in the app’s native logs. Its advanced Layout Inspector can be used to debug native components, and the Network plugin provides you with the ability to inspect outgoing network traffic in your app. It’s a very useful ability considering all the challenges with doing that in mobile applications.

LogBox redesign

A complete redesign of LogBox is another big change. It modifies the way the application informs us about errors and warnings, which you can cause during development. The new design is much clearer and easier on the eye. The new version also provides more information on where to search for the sources of the problems.

Pressable component

The Pressable component introduced in React Native 0.63 is a big step towards decreasing the number of “tells”, where users are provided with an experience that doesn’t feel native. It detects user interactions in a far superior way to the likes of TouchableOpacity. It is written to ensure better compatibility with the ever-increasing number of platforms supported by React Native (Web, Desktop, etc.) so that users can extend its capabilities as they go.

How does Pressable work? Check it out in the official docs.

What has future in store for React Native

Is the development of React Native going in the right direction? We asked TSH’s React Native developer Andrzej Hanusek:

“There is no denying that React Native has improved greatly ever since I first started working with it back in 2017. Compared to what we had then, a lot of great things have happened. But there is still a lot to do:

  • TurboModule + Fabric could take the performance of React Native applications to another level.
  • I’m very curious about Facebook’s continuous investments in the Windows/macOS React Native team as well as a tight cooperation with Microsoft in this aspect. The result of it may eventually be the best technology for building cross-platform applications that can run virtually anywhere.”

React Native updates – summary

What do you think about the latest features introduced in React Native 0.62 and 0.63 in 2020? Are you satisfied with using React Native in 2020? Do you share Andrzej’s thoughts on the future of React Native development? Or perhaps you think that you need React Native development services or even React JS development services? One way or the other, contact us and let us know!

We’re going to make sure to update this article with more features for the upcoming versions of React Native so stay tuned!

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