Why are Developers So Excited About Fast Refresh in React Native 0.61?

React Native comprehensive solution that is used by a React Native development company to build native-like mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms with a single codebase. 

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What is React Native?

React Native has been around for a long time and needs no introduction, but for those who may not be aware of this open-source JavaScript framework from Facebook, here’s a quick look at what is React Native and what it’s used for. The best part about React Native that it is almost an all in one, a comprehensive solution that is used by a React Native development company to build native-like mobile apps for both Android and iOS platforms with a single codebase. 

Apps developed in React Native use JavaScript Syntax eXtension, or JSX, to create React Native applications. JSX is nothing but a combination of JavaScript and XML, which allows it to render apps using real mobile UI components. Top brands across the world want to hire React Native developers to create new React Native apps or to switch the existing code base with it. Some of these leading brands that want apps developed in React Native include Facebook, Skype, Bloomberg, Instagram, UberEATS, Airbnb, Tesla, and Walmart. React Native is excellent for developing advanced apps based or enhancing apps based on short development cycles, which makes app deployment faster, delivers a seamless user experience and also improves app performance. 

Why are Developers So Excited About Fast Refresh in React Native 0.61

Let’s look at some other React Native capabilities that make it so popular with enterprises worldwide:

  • Establishes Platform Independence

When Facebook initially developed and launched React Native it was primarily meant to sustain iOS, but over time it has also started supporting the specific needs of Android. This means that React Native app development is like native development where the use of a single codebase allows apps to run on both iOS and Android platforms.

  • Easily Available Reusable Components

React Native has re-usability at its core, which allows React Native app developers to make use of plug and play like features. The app architecture thus stays consistent with features like responsive UI and US, responsive UI and UX, web-like style of development as compared to hybrid frameworks and the features and functionality of native widgets.

  • Revamp Existing Code

React Native app developers can apply React Native’s UI components to an existing app code that already exists. This is a very useful feature for businesses that need to supplement existing apps without having to rebuild them. The process of embedding React Native UI components is a quick process and does not require re-writing.

  • The Hot Reloading Feature

JavaScript has long been recognized as one of the fastest programming languages, especially for app development. It comes with a great and unique feature called hot reloading which React Native app developers simply love. The hot reloading feature combines the small compilation time of JavaScript and other capabilities so that the React Native development company can make any changes and edits in real-time without having to recompile the app completely with every change or alterations. React Native brings the speed and agility of a web app to the hybrid space with the results of a native app.

Speaking of the hot reload feature, there is a huge change in the latest version of React Native launched recently, i.e. React Native 0.61. So let’s look at what has changed when it comes to hot reloading and the many other features that have changed or have been introduced.

New developments in React Native 0.61

  • Fast Refresh replaces hot reloading

When the creators of React Native asked developers what they would want to change about the language, they were presented with a list that included things like sketchy debugging, lack of an easy open-source contribution process, and hot reloading among others.

As discussed earlier, the hot reloading feature allows the React Native development company to update apps easily because the developer can refresh the updated files without losing the app state. A React Native developer or a React Native development company reading this article would know that live reloading refreshes the entire app when a file changes, while hot reloading only refreshes the files that were changed. Together these two useful features are excellent while debugging your app as it reloads your app nearly in runtime

However, though this is a great feature, developers complained that it was not reliable with function components. Sometimes the screen would not get updated, or important aspects like typos and other errors would get missed. For any React Native development company this would obviously be a huge concern because it would take additizonal effort and repeated testing and coding before launching an app. 

That’s why the creators of React Native launched React Native 0.61 with a new functionality called Fast Refresh, which essentially combines live reloading with hot reloading. Why is Fast Refresh better than hot reloading? That’s because Fast Refresh gives full support for function components, hooks, is able to recover smoothly from typos and mistakes and, perhaps the best feature, it does not perform invasive code transformations. 

Apps developed in React Native become so much easier to handle because the Fast Refresh feature is enabled by default, though if developers don’t want it they can turn it off by going to the Dev Menu. 

So what should React Native developers remember about Fast Refresh?

  • Fast Refresh supports modern React, including function components and hooks
  • Fast Refresh preserves React local state in function components 
  • Developers can reset the React state on every edit, by adding specific command on the file with that component
  • Fast Refresh always remounts class components without preserving the state
  • Fast Refresh automatically detects errors in the code and retries rendering after you save a file. Developers thus won’t have to reload the app manually after fixing a syntax or a runtime error.

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Here are some other vital new developments in React Native 0.61.

  • The useWindowDimensions hook

React Native 0.61 has been launched with useWindowDimensions, essentially a new hook that can be used by developers instead of the Dimensions API. The hook will let the React Native developer automatically provide and subscribe to window dimension updates.

  • Better CocoaPods compatibility support 

CocoaPods had been integrated as a default feature in React Native 0.60, resulting in broken builds using the framework. Thankfully this has been corrected in React Native 0.61, owing to updates in podspec. 

Published Date: November 19, 2019

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