They're fun to work with and responsible for shaping our online experience as the standard tools used to build user interfaces (UI) everywhere. We'll be looking at Next.js features, how it compares to React, and how it performs as a solid, agile framework for front-end development.
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What is Next.js?
Are you looking to create a landing page, a static website, an e-commerce website, or improve your core web vitals? This article will show you the benefits and drawbacks of using Next.js along with React's native features and provide some insight into if these tools combined are the right choice to achieve your goals.
Next.js: Library vs FrameworkNext.js vs React: What is React? ➤ React Advantages ➤ React DisadvantagesNext.js vs React: What is Next.js? ➤ Features ➤ Next.js Advantages ➤ Next.js DisadvantagesNext.js vs React: How do they compare?
Features of React.js
➤ Next.js vs React: Is NextJS better than React?
Benefits of using Next.js
Next.js is a production framework for React. Next.js is used on top of React, expanding its capabilities and streamlining the development process: React doesn't need to work with Next.js, but Next.js uses React to deploy apps. React has a dedicated framework called Create React App (CRA), an application used to set up React projects that includes tools like ESlint.
Disadvantages of using Next.js
Next.js is a React-based framework that builds server-side rendered apps. React is still the app's foundation, but the structure and navigational mechanisms - the architecture - are defined by Next.js.
Why are we comparing Nextjs vs React and not Next.Js vs Create React App (CRA) or any other frameworks then? Next.js has a different approach from CRA. Next.js moves the rendering aspect to the server, so the client doesn't have to process that information.
This improves performance and SEO because the server pre-renders the pages and then sends the final HTML to the client, resulting in minimal JS, which is is to say less code to load.
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Not only can users expect a faster website, but crawlers can also see your website more easily and index it accordingly. Pre-rendering has two different approaches: Static Generation and Server-side rendering (SSR).
Static Generation is and will always be the best performance-wise. Pre-rendering means the page is generated at build time and then be re-used for every request.
- In practice, static pages are usually served over a content delivery network (CDN) making it super fast. SSR is preferable under certain circumstances, such as presenting frequently updated dynamic data: the page will be generated over each request and then sent to the client.
- While SSR is still better than client-render apps, it has a lower performance compared to Static Generation, so it's important to know when to use SSR over Static Generation because otherwise, you won't be able to obtain the benefits of NextJS.
- Next.js also allows hassle-free complex structures by using a folder system, making the process more intuitive and simple.
- On the other hand, CRA builds single-page applications right out of the box, as long you are not concerned about routing. The main difference between CRA and NextJS is that NextJS will run on the server while CRA will run on the client's browser, which imposes significant changes to your code.
Disadvantages of Reactjs
Planning to build your software, website or app? But that's about as far these frameworks can be compared. Beyond this point, it's all about the native features of React.Js vs.
React vs. Next.js: Library vs Framework
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It is used to design interactive user interfaces effortlessly, using components that work in a simple way: they receive the input data and render the display.
The output can go from a traditional "Hello World" print to complex UI's, using rich data.
React is one of the most popular front-end development libraries today, being used along with React Native (another framework) and Redux for enterprise-grade mobile applications. React Hooks is another commonly React-based tool used to handle component behavior and logic.
- React components are easy to use and apply to complex structures because of their declarative nature while maintaining scalability. It is used to build dynamic, SEO-friendly websites (Search Engine Optimization), mobile apps, single-page applications, dashboards, and visualization tools.
- Some of the most popular platforms and apps we use every day are made with React: Facebook, Netflix, Reddit, BBC.com, Airbnb, etc. React's main competitors areAngularandVue.js, but it has been consistently the most popular library of the three in the last years.
Features of Next.js
Community - there are many learning and production resources made available by a strong community. Learn how to configure ESLint and Prettier in React. Components - Components in-react are reusable, which means they can be loaded to different pages recurringly while keeping their characteristics.
Edit the component code, and the change will be visible across all pages. Customization - As a library, it has a set of functionalities that can be expanded by adding other tools like Redux.
It's a starting point - React is a library specialized in user interface development, so it needs other tools to express its full potential.
Outdated documentation - Its development cycles are so short that the available documentation gets outdated fast. The strong community promptly answers any questions or doubts, but it also implies a constant re-learning of its features.
React needs a framework to develop its full potential. Next.js is one of the most powerful frameworks that use React to build applications.
- It is opinionated, which means it defines how the application should be structured, routing pages through a simple file folder system.
- Next.js is used to build landing pages, SEO-friendly websites, eCommerce stores, and all kinds of web applications that need fast, high-performance load times.
- Some of the most outstanding examples of Next.js in action are Twitch.tv, TikTok, Hulu, Binance, and many other websites and platforms that involve a massive number of users engaging with complex data influxes.
- Next.js edge over other frameworks comes from a set of distinctive features. The main ones are:.
- Data Fetching - Next.js manages data for optimal speed, having two types of pre-rendering.
- Server-side Rendering (SSR) allows fetching data and rendering it at request time. The other type is Static Generation, which uses data already available at build time before the request is made, being very useful in situations where data can be publicly cached (not user-specific) or pre-rendered for SEO.
- Redux - Next.js supports Redux seamlessly. Configurability - Next.js is highly configurable, which doesn't mean it is complex.
- Routing is as simple as creating folders. At the time of writing, Next.js was in version 12, the biggest release so far, mainly focused on integration and speed.
- Among its new features, Next12 has a Rust compiler for faster builds, better image management, optimized SEO crawlability functionalities, along with operational tools that make it even more production-friendly.