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The latest changes in React – is it still getting better?

The React framework was an instant success when it debuted on the market and it continues to be one of the most popular front-end frameworks for building user interfaces and components. But does it still grow? How does it respond to current development trends? What is the current direction the React team is taking to ensure that the number one frontend library remains at the top in the long run?

Ever since Facebook released React back in 2013, the library remains one of the top frontend tools used to make highly interactive responsive web applications. With great features for building UIs, handling dependencies, performance, or template, it is the choice of many.

But the question is – can it get any better? Well, it’s better! That’s because no piece of software will remain at the top forever if it does not continue to grow and respond to the changing needs of software developers around the world.

The last two versions of React – 17 and 18 – paint an interesting picture of the long-term strategy employed by the React team. Let’s take a closer look at the most important changes they introduce.

Event handles

This is single-handedly the most important change in React 17. On the whole, the 17th version did not introduce that many novelties. That’s because its purpose was to prepare to React for bigger changes in the future. The revamp of event handle mechanisms serves this purpose.

Previously, all versions of React used simultaneously registered event handles at the top of DOM. This created a lot of unexpected behavior. With the latest changes, event handles will be attached to the root DOM container instead.

The concurrent mode and rending

Concurrency is a feature that allows for assigning more than one activity at a time. With concurrency, tasks can overlap. This makes it much easier for an app to adjust to varying devices and network speed, gracefully adjusting and staying responsive no matter what.

The 18th version of React introduced many changes to concurrency. The new concurrent mode means that concurrency is now turned on by default, but only for the new features that actually use it. That means that it will not introduce unwanted and unexpected changes to your current pre-React 18 apps.

Other changes

New event handles and concurrency are definitely the biggest changes in React 17-18, but there were many other smaller ones, including a new root API, new streaming server renderer, or the event pooling mechanism. You should definitely experiment with those!

What will the future bring?

The changes introduced in React 17-18 were not revolutionary, but they show that the React team is adapting to the changing software development world, making React faster, easier to adjust to various circumstances, and increasingly inclusive when it comes to your design choices in frontend development. With the new improvements that make updating React easier, companies that provide React services will find it easier than ever before to create scalable and efficient web applications!

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