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New Features in React 18 To Look Into – A Comprehensive Guide

Introduction to React 18 and Its New Features

React 18 is trending in the JavaScript community as the latest version of React. React is a popular front-end open-source JavaScript library developers use to build component-based UIs. Launched in March 2022, React 18’s main focus was setting up the base for concurrent rendering APIs, the building block for future React features. React developers have worked on several improvements, including automatic batching, new APIs, etc., to boost performance. 

The working group for React 18 invited experts from different communities to participate in making React 18 features more consistent. The latest version of React has seen a significant upgrade loaded with ideal functionalities, libraries, features, and applications. 

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React New Features

The latest version’s functionalities overcome the limitations of its predecessor. The new React features cover various modified specifications, from designing creative APIs to improving error messages. 

Let’s discuss the modified features of React 18:

1. Automatic batching of state updates with React 18

An in-built batching feature in React enables grouping all state updates with the help of event handlers. It prevents the files from undergoing an irrelevant rendering process. React 18 has an improvised batching feature called React 18 Automatic Batching that allows batching for all state updates through createRoot(). 

The updates’ background is not mandatory in React 18. The process includes batch state updates, timeout and intervals, asynchronous operations, and event handlers. 

Regardless of an update contained within any event such as a promise, native event handler, etc., the React latest version batches it corresponding to changes that React events contain. 

The code snippets below show a remarkable difference between the React 17 and the React 18 versions:

/ / React 17 
  setTimeout(() => {
      setCount(c => c = 1);
      setFlag(f => !f);
      / / The component will be rendered twice. 
  },   1000);
/ / React 18
  setTimeout(() => {
      setCount(c => c + 1);
      setFlag(f => !f);
      / / The component will be rendered only once.
  },   1000);

The Automatic Batching feature of the React 18  boosts the app’s efficacy. It also reduces the occurrences of component re-renderings in comparison to the previous version.

2. Concurrent rendering with React 18

Concurrent is one of the most striking React 18 features. It addresses concurrency issues at complicated state. Concurrency is, in fact, not a feature but a virtual element courtesy its back-stage function. This enables developers to have versions of their UI that can exist concurrently.

A convenient feature that the concurrent React comes with is the reusable state. It can omit some UI sections from the screen and add them later while using the previous state. React will implement the feature with a new component called <Offscreen>

Concurrent rendering brings forth a significant breakthrough in React’s rendering model. Hence, the developers must acquaint themselves well with the know-how of concurrent React.

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3. New root API with React 18

React 18 has introduced some new APIs that enable users to use the old React 17 APIs while upgrading to the new APIs of React 18. Now, the developers can list frequent updates based on their priority lists. Some direct contacts, such as a click, press, type, etc., can be set with necessary updates. Developers can update without any delay.

The process can be followed in two ways:

  • State Transition: If an opening hook is unavailable, this starts the transition update.
  • User Transition: If a hook is available, this starts the transition update.

In addition, some predefined hooks in the React 18 new features execute particular tasks upon the developer’s request. Here are some of the newest APIs that React 18 has: 

  • startTransition() – This API concludes the availability of any specific transition.
  • useTransition() – This API creates new state updates wherein the priorities are lower than currently existing ones.
  • useDeferredValue() – This hook inputs a value as a parameter and prepares a duplicate copy. 

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4. Performance improvement with React 18

The <Suspense> component of the React 18 marks a significant improvement in user interaction with the app. React’s latest version also introduces other changes that enhance the overall performance. These changes in the React features boost the rendering and interactivity of pages, optimise state management, upgrade the performance of interactive components, etc. 

5. Support for internationalisation (i18n) in React 18

Internationalisation (i18n) refers to designing and developing a product, document content, or application. Through easy localisation, this targets audiences from various cultures, languages, or regions. Localisation enables the customisation of a product to meet certain requirements of a specific market or locale. 

React-intl supports internationalisation by using components that provide translations. For instance, when there is a need for dynamically loading language modules, React-intl uses React context and other components to provide translations.

6. New JSX transform with React 18

The new JSX transform is one of the most extensive modifications in React 18 features replacing the old React JSX transformer. The new JSX transform improves performance and enhances support for the ECMAScript syntax. It also provides better integration of React with other tools and libraries. 

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7. Improved error messages with React 18

React 18 comes with improved handling capabilities. Whenever a problem occurs in a component, it gives error messages in a detailed format. This, in turn, makes finding and fixing problems more convenient. In addition to this, the latest version of React supports Error Boundary API that enables developers to fix errors within a component tree. 

For instance, if a server is malfunctioning, Error Boundary API detects the error and provides a helpful message to the user instead of crashing the application. 

8. Better accessibility with React 18

React 18 uses standard HTML techniques to support building accessible websites. In contrast with the previous version, the latest React updates enable users to view the page content once it is available. Hence, React 18 does not make you wait for everything to get ready. It right away displays the initial HTML and streams the rest later.

9. Suspense on server support in React 18

There is support for Suspense on the server In React 18. This feature helps delay any slow component’s loading by wrapping it up within the suspense component. When a loading state is ongoing, it can also help to specify it.

The Suspense feature in React 18 allows one to carry out rendering with a uniform speed even though a slow component exists. The user can put inputs to React for sending other components’ HTML first in addition to the placeholder’s HTML. When the slow component fetches its data and gets ready, the server renderer pops up in its HTML in the stream.

Thus, the user can view the page skeleton at first and see more as the content is slowly revealed.

Below is a typical Suspense code:

<Suspense fallback={ <Loading  /> }>
     <ComponentThatSuspends  />
      <Sibling  />
 </Suspense> 

Upgrading To React 18: Tips and Tricks

Upgrading to the React latest version permits you to experience the enhanced features of React 18. The process of upgrading is simple if you have a guide at hand. The basic steps mentioned below will help you upgrade the React JS to React 18: 

  • Directly install the latest version – To experience the latest version of React, developers must follow the step. 
  • npm install react@rc react-dom@rc – type this to install the latest version of React.
  • yarn add react@rc react-dom@rc – this operation will help the users who use yarn.

This operation will allow the processor to install the related dependencies and other libraries. On completing the process, the upgraded version is accessible to the users with all the React 18 new features.

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Conclusion 

React 18 has distinctive features that can bring significant improvement to libraries. Many of the updates in React are automatic optimisations that do not require code changes. React 18 can be a game-changer for developers who want to experience a smooth transition in performance. 

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are the most striking React 18 features?

React 18 has various modified features, such as a new root API, enhanced automatic batching, and JSX transformation.

How to upgrade React to 18?

To upgrade React to 18 implies changing it within the package.lock.json.file. The user can install the dependencies required later on and then restart it.

How to use the automatic batching of React 18 work?

The createRoot() API must be used by index.js to use the automatic batching of React 18. Further processing includes rendering the React batches and syncing three other state updates with the event listener.

Is React 18 a stable version?

React 18 is a stable version that supports significant features such as Suspense, new JSX transformation, and many more, providing users with a better experience.

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