What’s New With React Native v0.66? Best Highlights of the Release

Facebook released the latest version of React Native — a cross-platform app development framework. Let’s get to know the best highlights of the React Native v0.66 and older versions as well.

4 min read
Jan 6, 2022

If you know a great deal about app development and frameworks used for creating cross-platform applications, you must have heard about React Native. As per one Statista report, the brainchild of Facebook is the second most used framework in the world in 2021 just after flutter.

In almost a decade, the app development industry experienced a storm of new cross-platform frameworks. Facebook saw the potential and opportunity to enter the market with their product. Initially, React Native was born out of Facebook’s struggle to upkeep and maintain its apps for both iOS and Android.

But soon they identified the potential of their technology and embraced the trend of cross-platform app development by launching it as an open-source JavaScript-based framework.

Since then it has gone on to become one of the most popular frameworks to develop, code, and deploy mobile apps for both iOS and Android. Recently, it has come up with a newer version of the framework v0.66. Also, the previous versions v0.65 and v0.64 were released in the last year 2021.

So, let’s get to see what’s new in these upgrades along with the best highlights:

What’s New With React Native v0.6x? Best Highlights of the Release

The past few versions of React Native app development framework have brought many new features, fixes, and dependency updates. Let’s see the best highlights of those releases:

Support for Hermes Enhanced

React Native 0.64 introduced the support for Hermes for iOS, which was improved for more accessibility in version 0.65. The latest 0.66 version — released in October 2021 — introduces Hermes 0.9.0. This latest version closes the gap between the Hermes and the latest React native version.

In the previous version of React Native, Hermes 0.8.1 was integrated. It comes with a new garbage collector named Hades which lives up to the expectations of and improves the CPU-intensive workload by 20 to 50%. It also included memory improvements and many other enhancements.

Hermes is an open-source JavaScript-based engine that optimized React Native for smooth running. It is said to improve performance by reducing memory consumption, download size, and time taken for the app to become interactive.

Better Support for Apple Silicon, XCode 13, and iOS 15

The latest React Native introduces support and a number of solutions for XCode and Apple Silicon M1 Chipset for apps to build for iOS. It makes the app development on XCode through Mac machines more reliable.

Thanks to a community contributor, the new templates in this update include a Cocoapods workaround. Applying this is very easy but the only thing to ensure is that the Podfile in the app should have __apply_Xcode_12_5_M1_post_install_workaround(installer).

Also, to prevent arm64 linker failure, RCT-Folly.podspec has been updated.

Handle Taps

React Native v0.66 can better handle taps on child views outside of the parent boundaries on the Android platform. This feature was added by a community contributor. It added interaction support for children outside of the parent view boundaries using overflow: visible.

This feature upgrade aligns React Native with the most common web standards for Android for a more common use case.

Nightly and “Commitly” Releases

For more than a year, React Native has been publishing Nightly releases for the framework. But these releases haven’t been used effectively. As part of their commitment and goal to improve the release process in the second half of 2021, they wanted to make the React Native framework more stable.

And they are making an effort to reduce the bugs in the release candidate process. Also, the nightly releases are now easier to access and will be used as release candidates and won’t get published to npm. They are published to npm under the “nightly’ tags.

New Bluetooth Permission

React Native v0.66 now has support for new Bluetooth permission. The permissions are added in preparation for Android 12. Also, the React Native team plans to update the targetSDKVersion in the next upgrade releases coming out probably in the first quarter of 2022.

Enabling Inline Requires

This feature was introduced while releasing the React Native 0.64. It is a Metro Configuration to improve startup time. In order to do that, it delays JavaScript modules until they are used. Inline Requires has been requested for many years to be used as an opt-in configuration. And React Native 0.64 introduces this by default for new applications with improved performance.

Other Major Version Upgrades and Fixes

  • React Native 0.65 includes the OkHttp version upgrade from v3 to 4.9.1.
  • It also includes a Flipper version upgrade to 0.93 to support XCode 12.5.
  • Introduced support for Android Gradle plugin 7.
  • The 0.65 version also removed JCenter as a maven repository and updated dependencies to MavenCentral.
  • devDependency in the package.json needs the react-native-codegen 0.0.7.
  • React Native v0.66 fixed the appearance API in Android.
  • It also fixed AppCompatDelegate.setDefaultNightMode().
  • And many more.

React Native v0.66 includes many more things and feature additions, fixes, and improvements. You can read more about them here in this official release note.

Final Words

So, these were the major highlights of the React Native v0.66 and other versions released back in 2021. The React Native team at Facebook promised many more such improvements and enhancements in the future as well. So, let’s just wait for what the team comes up with in 2022 and how it’ll redefine the future of app development frameworks.

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