Are you an entrepreneur thinking of building an ecommerce website, an app, a general website, or a landing page? Are you contemplating which software development to utilize in achieving your objectives? Then don’t worry because this article discusses two amazing languages or platforms: Next JS and React.
Web applications and the building blocks
In the event of developing modern applications, there are some important things you must consider or understand. They include:
- The user interface – It brings out the general aspect of how users will be consuming and interacting with the application you have developed.
- Routing – Defines the ways through which users navigate to different sections of your app.
- Rendering – defines the ways through which your app is delivered to the user (static or dynamic)
- Data fetching – Defines the means of how you get the data from where it is stored
- Integrations – Defines the third-party services in use, like payment APIs, CMS, auth, etc., and the way you are connecting to such services
- Scalability – This defines your app’s robustness and its adaptation to traffic, data, or the general team growth.
- Developer experience – You need to understand the expertise or skills in your team that can enable you to build and maintain your app.
- Performance – Defines the ways through which your app becomes optimized for the end-users.
- Infrastructure – Defines the places you store, deploy, and run the application (CDN, serverless, etc.)
For the various parts of the part, you need to know whether you will develop the solution by yourself or through the use of other tools like frameworks, libraries, and packages.
Next.js vs. React
A clear overview of React
Considering traditional approaches, a website will reload when there is a change in data. After clicking on something, the entire page reloads as an indication of another state, causing slow reloading speed.
React prevents reprocessing of each logic or code for the specific page. The React components are stateful or stateless and only re-rendering within the applied state scope. React is declarative, meaning you decide on the workflow and control the working of the app.
The Key Features of React
Here are some of the important features related to React.
- Component-Based Architecture: This is a core feature of React, allowing programmers to create reusable UI components that ensure there is organized and efficient app development.
- Unidirectional Data Flow: React has a unique way of enforcing a unidirectional flow of data, which becomes much simpler in managing state and data flow in a given app. Maintainability and predictability become enhanced.
- Virtual DOM: The Virtual DOM for React is a good feature that optimizes rendering by ensuring that there are updates of the sections of the actual DOM where changes have happened.
- Declarative Syntax: Using a declarative syntax in React makes the code simple for understanding and predictability of the behavior of UI, and developers get the advantage where there is a reduction in cognitive load.
- React Hooks: Developers use Hooks to manage state and side effects within the functional components and eliminate the usage of class components.
- Reusable Components: You can build libraries of reusable UI components and enable sharing with other projects, ensuring you are consistent and saving time in development.
- React Native: Allows for the extension of React capabilities to build mobile apps.
- Component Lifecycle Methods: You will get components like componentWillUnmount and componentDidMount while using React, which act as lifecycle methods for controlling the component’s behavior during its complete lifecycle, facilitating tasks like cleanup and data fetching.
- One-Way Data Binding: Changing the parent component will not directly affect the child components. This reduces any unforeseen side effects.
- React Router: Use this when integrating with React to facilitate client-side routing, facilitating seamless navigation.
Benefits of React
Easy to Learn, Use, and Understand
React has been around for years, and a large community has been built around it. Such a community has stabilized the educational state. You can’t lack a reference. Numerous tutorial videos and documentation resources are available.
Simplicity in creating dynamic web apps
SEO Friendly or Optimization
Fast Rendering or Performance Enhancement
React uses a virtual DOM (Document Object Model) to manage updates to the UI, a lightweight copy of the actual DOM. This gives it the ability to render web pages quickly. Through reconciliation, only the relevant parts of the DOM that have received changes get updated whenever a user interacts with the app. You don’t redraw the whole page, and this ensures the React app is fast and responsive, which smoothens the user experience.
Drawbacks of React
- There are high development rates, forcing developers to always keep re-learning and updating new skills.
- The documentation is complex. The documentation becomes outdated quickly and always calls for constant updating due to its fast changing nature.
- Boilerplate code required by React apps can be repetitive and consume lots of time, making new developers feel overwhelmed.
Overview of Next.js
NextJS is an open-source, lightweight framework developed on top of React. You can use it to create server-rendered websites that are fast. Vercel team created NextJS and made it open-source from the onset. The foundation of NextJS is based on NodeJS and Babel, making it a wonderful framework for creating server-side rendering (SSR), apps, automatic code-splitting, websites, SEO tools, HTTP caching, linting & standardization, e-commerce stores, and landing pages. Big names in the tech industry have used Next.js (like Hulu, X – formerly Twitter, Binance, Uber, TikTok, and Airbnb).
The other amazing feature is the seamless integration with React Hooks. With this feature, you can easily utilize stateful components without the need for extra configuration.
NextJS exhibits two types of pre-rendering. The service-side rendering facilitates data fetching and rendering at the request time. Static generation avails data before request time, making it useful in circumstances where the data isn’t user-specific.
Features of NextJS
Here are some of the amazing features that make NextJS a great tool for developers to use:
Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
Next.js supports the rendering of pages on the server upon user requests and generates a non-interactive HTML. This is a wonderful way of quickening initial page load times, improving the SEO, and making the user experience great.
Static Site Generation (SSG)
Web pages (statically generated) are SEO optimized and may rank higher on Google due to their speed. NextJS uses SSG to generate static HTML files at the build time, a good technique to make pages load fast and have resources efficiently utilized.
File-Based System Routing
Adding a file to your page’s directory avails it as a route. The process is automatic, and developers easily build complex web applications using multiple pages.
Developers also get unique features for managing the routes. For instance, it is easy to specify the order in which your routes are displayed and how the same routes are displayed on mobile devices. NextJS is an ideal language for building web applications containing many different pages.
NextJS has built-in performance that helps optimize images away from HTML <img> tags. Implementation of these features requires the importation of the next/image component. This feature facilitates seamless and automatic resizing of images according to screen size. There is no manual resizing or compression of the images, resulting in better performance.
NextJS also has a built-in loading spinner that displays on the screen as the image still loads, leading to improved user experience.
Automatic Code Splitting
Next.js allows the creation of API endpoints and handles incoming requests with improved handling of incoming requests. There is a simplification of custom backend integration and data fetching that exposes the data from the database to your front end. API routes provide lots of flexibility in building NextJS applications.
Hot Module Replacement (HMR)
You can use this feature during development, allowing you to see instant changes without having to refresh the whole page. This leads to improved speeds for the development process.
Advantages of NextJS
Here are some of the amazing benefits that make NextJS a brilliant language to consider when you want to implement the next project.
Speed and improved image optimization
NextJS supports two rendering types: SSR and static site generation. We view static generation as smart and fast since most web app pages are cached, pre-rendered, and served from the CDN.
You will realize that server-side rendering becomes fast since the server handles the request on request. Such pages become prebuilt on the main server side instead of client side. The native image optimization feature extends its performance to greater speeds.
You code less using NextJS, making it simple for developers to create pages. You easily link the page to the component within the header, where you use less coding. You enjoy better readability and great project management processes.
Easy for Building Your Back-End
NextJS allows you to build custom-made back-end functionalities that power your front-end. There is no effect on the size of the client-side app.
Most of the features that come with NextJS require zero configuration.
Supporting Built-In CSS
NextJS has built-in CSS feature support, making it easy to incorporate CSS Stylesheets in your projects without having to reference external tools or additional libraries. This simplifies smaller projects where the addition of CSS preprocessors ends up bringing unnecessary complexities.
Enjoy Fast Rendering
When you make an adjustment to a file, the changes become instantly visible on refreshing your page, implying a fast rendering. The rendering happens on the spot; hence, you can review your edits on the fly.
Drawbacks of NextJS
Consider Next.js as a wonderful framework that has been growing rapidly. We have seen the advantages, but it has some drawbacks.
High investment in maintenance and development
You need to have a high upfront investment to create a Next.js app. Additionally, you will need to get qualified programmers and dedicate resources to maintain the app.
Programmers who create NextJS apps are forced to do nearly everything basing on the structures and standards they develop themselves. They don’t configure anything, which can result in problems with the different vendors.
Client-Side Routing System Complexity
Larger apps may require multiple routes, resulting in complexities, especially when you tightly couple the routing logic to the created pages. The pages become heavier, and maintenance becomes a challenge. Frequently changing or reusing routing logic can result in page flickering when navigating.
The user community for Next.js is not as strong as other frameworks. Getting answers to issues you have becomes a challenge since the people offering help are fewer in numbers. New developers to NextJS find it a challenge to getting started. Connecting with expert Nextjs development company will help you to solve your queries and build robust Nextjs applications.
Challenge in flexibility
NextJS is not very flexible since there is no provision for built-in front-end pages. You create most of the pages from scratch.
NextJS needs a server setup or deployment on supported server-side rendering. Such limitations on server dependency bring issues in various hosting environments.
Differences between NextJS vs. React
The Type of Framework
A framework to create server-rendered React apps.
It has a built-in routing system with dynamic route handling and is file-based.
No routing provided. You can utilize third-party libraries like the React Router.
Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
Supports SSR for improving SEO, increasing user experience, and enhancing load times.
SSR is not supported. You need extra libraries and configurations.
Static Site Generation (SSG)
Supports SSG for pre-rendering pages on build time, which enhances performance.
SSG capabilities are not supported unless you implement them through tools like Gatsby or Next.js.
Use getServerSideProps to fetch server-side data and getStaticProps for fetching static data.
No fetching methods are included. You can achieve data-fetching through APIs or libraries.
There is automatic file-based routing generation.
You must manually undertake route configuration for use with third-party routing libraries.
You can build API endpoints in the NextJS app through pages/API directory.
No built-in API routing included.
There is automatic code splitting.
Code splitting happens by using Webpack or dynamic import tools.
No built-in state management solution provided unless you use libraries like Mobx or Redux.
You get a component-based state management solution and may work with external libraries for state management.
Community and Ecosystem
Has a smaller community, which is still growing.
Has a robust community.
Learning Curve/State of Education
Easy learning for React-familiar developers because NextJS is built on top of React.
Steeper learning curve (low difficult learning level) for beginners.
Use the language to create server-rendered web apps, e-commerce stores, blogs, and SEO-optimized projects.
Use it for various web apps and combine with other frameworks and libraries to achieve multiple use cases.
React Best Use Cases
- Online streaming platforms like Netflix and YouTube
- Common social media platforms like TikTok, Instagram and Facebook
- Implementation of delivery platforms like Lyft and Uber
- SaaS tools like Zapier and Send Grid
- Implementing News websites
NextJS Best Use Cases
- Implementing E-commerce sites/stores
- Creating Blogs
- Implementation of Marketing websites
- Creating Landing pages
If you need tools and features for simplifying your job, go with NextJS. React is good whenever you need resources to achieve front-end aspects of your web and mobile apps alongside coming up with easier and more appealing user interfaces. We hope you can go through the comparisons and make an informed decision in your programming journey.
To know more about Nextjs and React, connect with frontend development company – Aalpha information systems!