Why do we use Next.js ?

Arlind Musliu Portrait
Arlind Musliu

January 1, 2024 · 5 min read · 92 views

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What is Next.js?

Next.js is a powerful JavaScript framework built on top of React and it's revolutionizing the way we craft web experiences. It simplifies the process of creating complex websites by providing a suite of built-in features that address common web development challenges. Imagine a world where your web applications are not just fast, but lightning-fast, where search engines become your best friends, and scaling up feels like a walk in the park.

Enhancing the React Experience with Next.js

Next.js comes packed with a variety of features that streamline the development process and enhance the capabilities of React applications. Some of these key features include:

  • Server-side Rendering (SSR): Next.js enhances user experience and search engine optimization (SEO) by rendering React components on the server side. This means the server sends a fully rendered page to the client, improving load times and making the content immediately available for search engine indexing.

  • Static Site Generation (SSG): With Next.js, developers can pre-render pages at build time. This generates static HTML files that can be served incredibly fast from a content delivery network (CDN), leading to better performance and reduced server load.

  • Automatic Code Splitting: Next.js boosts performance by automatically splitting code into smaller chunks. It only loads the JavaScript necessary for the active page, reducing the amount of code transferred over the network.

  • API Routes: Developers can easily create API endpoints within a Next.js application, streamlining the process of building full-stack applications and simplifying the architecture of web projects.

  • Image Optimization: Next.js includes an Image component that optimizes image delivery by resizing, compressing, and lazy loading images as needed. This contributes to faster page loads and a smoother user experience.

  • Easy Deployment: Next.js is designed to work seamlessly with hosting platforms like Vercel, simplifying the deployment process with features like automatic builds and serverless function support.

Improved Performance with Server-side Rendering

How Server-side Rendering Works

Server-side rendering is a technique where the web page is rendered on the server and sent to the client as a fully formed HTML file. This process takes place each time a request is made, ensuring that the most up-to-date version of the page is served.

Advantages of Server-side Rendering

  • Faster Load Times: Users see content faster, as the HTML is already rendered when it arrives at the client.

  • SEO Benefits: Search engines can more effectively index content that is readily available in the HTML.

  • Low-Powered Device Optimization: Devices with limited CPU power benefit from not having to handle the rendering workload.

Advantages of Server-Side Rendering

Efficient Client-side Navigation

Next.js offers a <Link> component that enables developers to implement client-side routing with ease. This approach reduces the time between page navigations and creates a seamless experience for the user, as only the necessary content is updated.

Automatic Code Splitting

Next.js intelligently divides the application's JavaScript code into small bundles associated with different routes. Users experience faster initial load times and reduced data usage, as the browser only downloads the code required for the current view.

Static Site Generation

Static sites are incredibly fast, secure, and scalable. They are especially suited for content-focused websites, where the information does not change frequently. Next.js streamlines the creation of these sites, combining the benefits of pre-rendered content with the flexibility of React.

Serverless Functions

Next.js supports serverless functions out of the box, allowing developers to write backend logic that automatically scales with demand. This model is cost-effective and reduces the complexity of backend infrastructure.

Optimized Image Loading

The built-in Image component in Next.js significantly enhances performance by ensuring images are only loaded when they enter the viewport. By optimizing image sizes and formats, Next.js reduces the amount of data transferred, leading to faster page load times.

Easy Deployment and Scaling

Next.js applications can be effortlessly deployed to the cloud with platforms like Vercel, which provide global distribution, serverless functions, and edge caching for optimal performance. Scaling is handled automatically, ensuring that applications remain stable and responsive under varying traffic conditions.

Server Side Rendering Illustration

Using Next.js with React

Next.js builds upon React, offering developers a familiar environment along with additional features that improve the production quality of applications. The framework encourages a modular, component-based architecture, allowing for code reuse and a more organized project structure.

Improving SEO with Next.js

To maximize SEO benefits, developers should use semantic HTML tags, implement metadata effectively, and take advantage of Next.js's SSG and SSR capabilities. This ensures that content is delivered quickly and is easily understood by search engines.

Robust Community and Ecosystem

The Next.js community is vibrant and continually contributes to the ecosystem, which includes extensive documentation, forums for collaboration, and a wide range of third-party plugins and integrations. This support network empowers developers to build high-quality web applications using Next.js.

a screenshot of all the major frameworks and their stats

In conclusion, the question of "Why do we use Next.js?" is answered by the multitude of benefits it offers. From improved performance with server-side rendering to the ease of deployment and scaling, Next.js stands out as a practical and efficient choice for modern web development. Whether you're building a small project or a large-scale application, Next.js provides the tools and features necessary to succeed in today's fast-paced digital landscape.

This article is part of the "Which technologies do we use and why?" series where we explain the technologies that we use daily.

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Arlind Musliu Portrait
Arlind Musliu

Cofounder and CFO of Lucky Media


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