Out with the old, in with the new

Facebook scraps React as we know it, welcomes successor React Fiber

Gabriela Motroc
React Fiber

© Shutterstock / Postoev

Facebook has decided to *completely* rewrite React but no need to worry — its successor React Fiber will be backward compatible. Why the sudden change, you ask? Let’s find out.

Facebook Developer Conference is up and running and focuses on the future of artificial intelligence and virtual reality, security, bots, building native games etc — but that’s not all. It appears that React has been completely rewritten and developers will be able to get their hands on successor React Fiber after the launch of React 16.0 [React 15.5.0 was launched earlier this month].

React Fiber and the need for responsiveness

TechCrunch’s Frederic Lardinois talked to Ben Alpert, Facebook engineer and member of the React core team about the need for Reactive Fiber. Alpert assured Lardinois that the reason why Facebook decided to rewrite React was not the quality of the code but the need for “a new foundation that could power everything” Facebook does as the company goes forward. React Fiber will be backward compatible but there will be a few minor breaking changes. However, the team believes that this shouldn’t cause too many problems.

The rewrite was first mentioned in the blog post announcing React 15.5.0.

React 16, will include some exciting improvements, including a complete rewrite of React’s internals. We take stability seriously and are committed to bringing those improvements to all of our users with minimal effort.

Relay shares the same fate

React is not the only change, though. Relay, Facebook’s JavaScript framework for building data-driven React applications has also been rewritten. According to a blog post by Facebook’s Lee Byron and Joe Savona, Relay Modern is “a new version of Relay designed from the ground up to be easier to use, more extensible and, most of all, able to improve performance on mobile devices.”

Relay Modern is a forward-looking GraphQL framework that incorporates the learnings and best practices from classic Relay, our native mobile GraphQL clients, and the GraphQL community. Relay Modern retains the best parts of Relay — colocated data and view definitions, declarative data fetching — while also simplifying the API, adding features, improving performance, and reducing the size of the framework.

Relay Modern comes bearing gifts such as performance improvements and new features. Check out the blog post to find out why Relay Modern is better than classic Relay.

Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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