React and TypeScript Get Cozy

TypeScript 1.6 update adds support for React and JSX, which allows developers to use JSX syntax and TypeScript code interchangeably.

With the open source React JavaScript library gaining momentum as well as fans from the Microsoft developer community, it's only fitting that Microsoft's TypeScript team would be working to integrate React support into TypeScript. And that's what dropped this week: an update to TypeScript that adds support for React and JSX, as well as support for class expressions, abstract classes, and a variety of type system features.

React is an open source JavaScript library for creating composable user interfaces for data-intensive Web apps. It's currently under development, with version 0.14 the most recent release (you can follow its development on the React site here). JSX is an ECMAscript extension that resembles XML in syntax "without any defined semantics," according to a Facebook JSX draft specification on GitHub. It's used in conjunction with React since JSX's readability is simpler than JavaScript. The support directly in TypeScript 1.6 is streamlined with the addition of a new file extension, .tsx, wherein developers can intermingle JSX and TypeScript code.

"Our goal was to make it feel natural to work with React/JSX and to have all the type-checking and autocomplete capabilities of TypeScript," wrote Jonathan Turner, a program manager on the TypeScript team, in a blog yesterday. "This allows you a rich editing experience for working with React and JSX when using VS, VS Code, and Sublime." 

Also new is the addition of class expressions, a new feature that's intended to "round out the ES 6 support in TypeScript," said Turner. Class expressions are used for creating new classes in a way that's similar to class declarations, but they can be used in lieu of expressions. Also new are a number of additional features to the types system (user-defined type guard functions, an & type operator), support for abstract classes, and generic type aliases.

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