The Cutting “Edge” Benefits of Next.js and React

Two tools that have proven to be highly popular among front-end web developers include React and Next.js. Once developers learn how to use these tools, the work they perform is directly responsible for building user interfaces that people interact with. Both React and Next.js offer benefits that aren’t available with similar types of web development […]

Devin Jackson
Devin Jackson

Nov 07, 2022 | 12 min. read

react library and next.js framework

Two tools that have proven to be highly popular among front-end web developers include React and Next.js. Once developers learn how to use these tools, the work they perform is directly responsible for building user interfaces that people interact with. Both React and Next.js offer benefits that aren’t available with similar types of web development tools.

If you’re a developer or a business owner who’s created an online website, the features available with React and Next.js can help you enhance your design whether you’re developing a static website or an eCommerce website. In this guide, you’ll learn more about these tools and the cutting edge technology that powers them.

Next.js vs. React: Framework vs. Library

To understand how Next.js and React differ from one another, you should know about the differences between a framework and a library. A library allows you to implement a specific function. Frameworks are collections of libraries that focus on implementing a certain methodology.

React is a JavaScript library that can be used to build user interfaces. In comparison, Next.js is considered to be a production framework that’s able to be used with React. Next.js is positioned on top of the React tool, which helps to expand the capabilities that React has while also streamlining the entire web development process.

Even though it’s possible for you to use React with Next.js, it’s not necessary to do so. Keep in mind, however, that Next.js is designed specifically to use React in order to deploy applications. React comes with a dedicated framework that’s known as the Create React App. Developers can use this application to create React projects with tools like ESLint.

react library

The Next.js framework gives you the ability to develop server-side rendered applications. React continues to be the foundation of the app. However, the architecture is defined by the Next.js tool. React users can take advantage of the Create React App to perform functions that are similar to those available with Next.js. The Next.js tool takes a completely different approach when compared to CRA.

Next.js is designed to move the rendering component over to the server, which means that the client isn’t required to process the information. This approach results in SEO and performance boosts since the server will pre-render site pages. When visiting a website that’s developed with Next.js, users will benefit from quicker load speeds.

Pre-rendering site pages can be done via server-side rendering or static generation. the static generation technique is ideal for performance and is typically served over a CDN, which makes load speeds exceedingly fast. Keep in mind, however, that SSR may be more advantageous depending on your needs. Server-side rendering is best used when data needs to be frequently updated. On the other hand, performance is worse than static generation.

What is React?

React is a highly popular JavaScript library that developers use to create user interfaces. If you want to design an interactive user interface for your website, React makes it easy to do so. React using components that work by receiving input data and rendering the display without any complicated processes. The output can be anything from a traditional and basic print to a complex user interface that displays rich and interactive data.

Today, React is among the most widely used front-end development libraries and is regularly paired with Redux and React Native to deliver high-end mobile applications. Another tool that’s based on React is React Hooks, which is meant to handle component logic and behavior. These components are simple to use and and place on complex structures.

React can also be applied to the development of SEO-friendly websites, dashboards, visualization tools, single-page applications, and mobile apps. Among the most popular platforms that have been built with React include Netflix, Facebook, Airbnb, BBC.com, and Reddit.

The primary competitors for this library include Vue.js and Angular. The main reason why React is the most popular library for developers is because it’s easy to learn. It also has a large community that developers have access to whenever they require assistance.

what is react

What are the Features of React?

React provides developers with a wide selection of features they can take advantage of, the primary of which include:

  • Hooks – A relatively new addiction that allows developer to use state and additional React features without needing to write a class
  • State management – A component is able to maintain its internal state data with automatic updates
  • Single-page apps – React accommodates development of single-page applications that load fast and are easy to scan

It’s Easy to Code and Maintain

React is known to be easy to code since it uses JavaScript, which provides developers with the ability to make dynamic applications with low amounts of code.

Community

The vast community that uses React offers ample production and learning resources that can help you become a better developer.

the react community

Components

All components in React can be reused, which means that you can load these components to different pages while maintaining all of their characteristics. When component code is edited, the changes become visible throughout all web pages.

Customization

The functionalities that this library is equipped with can be extended with tools like Redux.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a framework for the React tool that was created by Vercel but is now open-source. The goal of Next.js is to provide developers with all of the tools they need to make the internet faster. Along with Node.js, this tool is positioned on top of React to develop hybrid static apps or server-side rendered apps. React’s functionalities and features are given structure with Next.js.

You can use Next.js to develop landing pages, eCommerce storefronts, SEO-friendly sites, and many additional web applications that require quick load times. The most popular apps that have been developed with Next.js include TikTok, Hulu, Twitch.tv, and Binance.

what is next.js

What are the Features of Next.js?

Developers use Next.js because of its ability to extend React’s feature-set. The primary features available with Next.js include:

  • Edge Runtime, which is a new library that’s meant to assist framework authors in adopting edge computing
  • Page-based routing
  • Ability to easily create APIs
  • Serverless functionality
  • SSG/SSR/ISR functionality
  • Data fetching
  • Redux compatibility
  • Highly configurable
  • TypeScript programming language

It’s Easy to Setup & Get Started

Next.js makes it even easier to develop websites with React by reducing the amount of code that’s required to start a website. Developers only need to develop a page and link their component in the page header, which results in less code, better project management, and improved readability.

Speed and Faster Rendering Times

Next.js helps developers improve their speed with the use of static generation and server-side rendering, both of which handle data more effectively than other techniques. As for fast rendering, any change in a file becomes instantly visible when you refresh the page. The component is automatically rendered.

CSS Modules & Optimization

When using Next.js, it’s possible to import CSS styles directly from JavaScript files, which allow sthem to be placed inline for quick rendering.

css modules and optimization

Better Image Optimization

Images with Next.js are properly resized before being served with the most modern formats. While WebP is the most popular solution for developers, Next.js is open to new image formats that might be developed in the future. Images are also configured to ensure that they adapt to much smaller viewports.

SEO Benefits

If you want your website to be properly optimized for search engines, keywords and titles are easy to make with Next.js. The “head” component allows you to place keywords and titles on each page.

seo benefits

ESLint Compatible

Developers can gain access to the ESLint tool in Next.js with the “scripts”: code. ESLint is designed to quickly analyze code on a website in order to identify any coding issues that should be corrected.

Easy Customization and Deployment

Next.js is compatible with such plugins as Babel for extensive customization. Next.js is designed with intuitive deployment in mind, which means that applications can be launched quickly.

API Support

When using Next.js, you can expand the features and possibilities of your web development project by connecting easily to third-party APIs.

Why You Should Use React in Conjunction with Next.js

You shouldn’t compare Next.js with React. Instead, it’s highly recommended that you use these tools together to enhance your web development techniques. Both of these tools are effective technologies that should strengthen your development experience. Deciding to use a framework when developing web apps depends on your development costs and requirements.

Using the Next.js framework allows you to get more out of React while also providing you with static site development and server-side rendering. Even though React can be used as a framework for single-page applications, it’s best used as a library with Next.js being the framework.

Next.js and React provide developers with cutting edge technology and benefits that help make the web development process more streamlined. Even complex websites are able to be built without using a large amount of code. If you’re taking steps to improve your web development skills, consider trying out React and Next.js.


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