A look at the following features will let us understand the difference between the old and new version and the improvements made.
- An array of elements can now be returned with the help of a component’s render method. All you have to do to prevent key warning is to add a key to an element. This is same with all arrays. Previously, any kind of runtime errors would have broken React and lead to a cryptic error message which will then require you to refresh the page. However, React 16 has a much better way to handle these errors. If at all an error happens, the entire component will be uprooted. This will make sure that corrupted data is not displayed.
- React 16 also has the provision of error boundaries. A complete unmounting of the component might affect user interface so error boundary is a good alternative. The error boundaries can detect the errors even before it gets to the display. It will display a UI that you can fall back on. This helps you to get a smooth user interface and is a much safer option.
- It has also introduced portals. If a DOM node exists outside the hierarchy of a parent component then portals help with rendering the children component into the parent ones.
- There is a huge size difference. This is due to the changed packaging. This does away with process.env checks which make it slow especially in Node.
- React 16 also has introduced a completely new server renderer. It is entirely rewritten. This rewritten version is faster. Because it supports streaming, bytes can be sent in a much faster rate. It includes a completely rewritten server renderer. A bundle React is not needed for better rendering performance.
- React 16 can also hydrate the server rendered HTML better upon the clients receival. The initial render and the result from the server need not match completely.
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