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Earlier this year, the NativeScript team released the new version upgrade 8.0. Recently, they have also released NativeScript 8.1 for bug fixing and stabilization. Let’s find out what’s new about these releases.
NativeScript 8 & 8.1 address some of the oldest requested and long-desired features such as official support for Apple M1, support for webpack5, first class a11y support, etc. All these features are said to enhance the performance and workability of the NativeScript apps. Here’s an overview of what these upgrades collectively offer for app development.
Let’s understand major feature updates included in NativeScript 8 and how it will improve new applications built using the framework.
Webpack config in NativeScript manages all the supported frameworks. It takes care of all the webpack requirements of supported frameworks, which streamlines the features across all while sharing a common base config.
Developers retain full control of the final config to customize any aspect. Another great feature in this upgrade is plugins can do anything with the project config — they can automatically register new loaders and rules. This will eliminate the manual copying of the loaders and webpack plugins.
The underlying base config can easily be upgraded without making any changes in the project.
With NativeScript 8.1, the CLI has been updated to support “workspace development.” Many of the workspace style tools such as Lerna, Yarn Workspaces, and others have become an integral part of software development.
In the 8.1 update of the NativeScript, there were several changes made to path resolution for apps to integrate into these workspace tools. Before NativeScript 8.1, it was a bit awkward to manage paths inside apps in workspaces and share dependencies.
With the 8.1 version being launched, managing dependency trees by setting up a CLI package can now be properly used in workspaces.
NativeScript 8 introduced a new layout container that extends GridLayout and offers APIs for fun and dynamic view creation and layering. This new layout is designed primarily as a root layout container for easily controlling dynamic view layers in the NativeScript apps.
Since it extends the GridLayout, the features in the new RootLayout are enhanced with additional APIs.
People at Denmark’s national library for people with reading disabilities provided a fantastic a11y plugin that comes with nativescript-accessibility-ext. Also, thanks to one of the contributors, a11y is now built directly into the core of the NativeScript 8.0.
There are two ways to enable a11y support for the NativeScript app. One is through view attributes and another is CSS property. The latter option is better as it allows the use of CSS classes for enabling the a11y features. However, both options offer the desired flexibility to enable a11y support.
This feature was first requested back in 2015 and since then it has been one of the most requested features for the NativeScript framework. This CSS property adds a shadow effect around an element’s frame.
The box-shadow in the NativeScript allows usage of any short-hand variants to describe X and Y offsets relative to the element, blur and spread radius, and color. Here’s how it looks like in action:
Other minor to major updates in NativeScript 8.0 include:
NativeScript 8.0 and 8.1 include many other features updates and bug fixes, which you can check out here on their official blog. As mentioned in the Roadmap, there will be many more features updates and bug fixes that are yet to be released. Most likely they will arrive next year. So, till then let’s just wait for people behind NativeScript to surprise us with groundbreaking updates.