React v0.13 RC2

March 3, 2015 by Sebastian Markbåge

Thanks to everybody who has already been testing the release candidate. We've received some good feedback and as a result we're going to do a second release candidate. The changes are minimal. We haven't changed the behavior of any APIs we exposed in the previous release candidate. Here's a summary of the changes:

  • Introduced a new API (React.cloneElement, see below for details).
  • Fixed a bug related to validating propTypes when using the new React.addons.createFragment API.
  • Improved a couple warning messages.
  • Upgraded jstransform and esprima.

The release candidate is available for download:

We've also published version 0.13.0-rc2 of the react and react-tools packages on npm and the react package on bower.

React.cloneElement #

In React v0.13 RC2 we will introduce a new API, similar to React.addons.cloneWithProps, with this signature:

React.cloneElement(element, props, ...children);

Unlike cloneWithProps, this new function does not have any magic built-in behavior for merging style and className for the same reason we don't have that feature from transferPropsTo. Nobody is sure what exactly the complete list of magic things are, which makes it difficult to reason about the code and difficult to reuse when style has a different signature (e.g. in the upcoming React Native).

React.cloneElement is almost equivalent to:

<element.type {...element.props} {...props}>{children}</element.type>

However, unlike JSX and cloneWithProps, it also preserves refs. This means that if you get a child with a ref on it, you won't accidentally steal it from your ancestor. You will get the same ref attached to your new element.

One common pattern is to map over your children and add a new prop. There were many issues reported about cloneWithProps losing the ref, making it harder to reason about your code. Now following the same pattern with cloneElement will work as expected. For example:

var newChildren =, function(child) {
  return React.cloneElement(child, { foo: true })

Note: React.cloneElement(child, { ref: 'newRef' }) DOES override the ref so it is still not possible for two parents to have a ref to the same child, unless you use callback-refs.

This was a critical feature to get into React 0.13 since props are now immutable. The upgrade path is often to clone the element, but by doing so you might lose the ref. Therefore, we needed a nicer upgrade path here. As we were upgrading callsites at Facebook we realized that we needed this method. We got the same feedback from the community. Therefore we decided to make another RC before the final release to make sure we get this in.

We plan to eventually deprecate React.addons.cloneWithProps. We're not doing it yet, but this is a good opportunity to start thinking about your own uses and consider using React.cloneElement instead. We'll be sure to ship a release with deprecation notices before we actually remove it so no immediate action is necessary.