The need for speed, a constantly changing market, the new tech, and an influx of people into the industry make the front-end web development market highly volatile. React.js and Next.js: these are two of the most prevalent tools used by front-end web developers. These two tools are very intertwined as Next.js is built on top of React, with Next bringing in improvements focused on server-side rendering. It’s also the go-to framework for building websites with React.
What is React.js?
It is used to create SPA (Single Page Application), in which it creates Virtual DOM (Document Object Model). We can render new content in the browser without Browser Loading using this Virtual DOM. It was created for large-scale apps that needed to render quickly. It gives a lot of power to the developer, and its syntax is easy to work with.
Note: DOM is the logical structure of documents.
What is Next.js?
Next.js is a minimalistic framework built on top of React.js, created by Guillermo Rauch, and its initial release was launched by Vercel in 2016. Next.js allows you to focus on writing your application code instead of spending time on configuring the framework. Some of the features include Automatic code splitting with support for dynamic import() syntax, Server-side rendering, ease of use with a simple API for client-side routing. These are small yet critical features.
Next.js has fast rendering due to SSR. SSR works opposite to SPAs; SPAs render pages on the client-side. However, SSR renders on the server-side, which is generated whenever the client requests. In short, SSR pre-renders the page on the server and sends a static page to the user.
Next.js has File-Based Routing, in which is we create a file, then the route will be defined automatically with the same name as the file name. i.e., let’s suppose we have created a file named home.js, then its route will automatically be /home.
It’s fantastic, isn’t it?
To create React.js app we use the following command:
npx create-react-app <app_name>
and in Next.js we create it using
npx create-next-app <app_name>
Next.js Vs React.js: Which is Better
To be honest, we can’t say yes or no directly because every framework and library has its own pros and cons, and it depends upon your requirements as well. Being a frontend developer, it completely depends on your project preferences.
If you need offline support in your web app and it needs highly dynamic routing, then you should definitely use React.js.
If you require SSR (server side rendering) and want to write frontend code with APIs in a single app, then you should opt for Next.js.
Difference between Next.js vs React.js
Search Engine Friendly:
The most significant difference is that Next.js is more search engine friendly due to SSR, which helps us optimize our online visibility. When we look at the Page Source (shortcut key to view Page Source in browser: Ctrl + U) of React.js, we see the only div tag with id=”root” and no content.
However, if we look at Next.js, we see the complete code because Next.js renders the code on the server-side and returns the static page to the user browser.
More code appearing in Page Source means more content and better keyword optimizations, which strengthens the website’s SEO. Better SEO helps in increasing online visibility, which attracts more traffic and business leads.
Next.js provides better performance than React.js because Next.js has the ability to split the code and render it on the spot. So every change can be visible after every refresh. In short, it can divide the code into chunks and render it on the server side, which makes the apps faster.
Next.js and React.js have a wide range of community support of their own, But to be compared, React.js has more extensive community support than Next.Js. Next.Js is still growing day by day as the no. of developers is increasing drastically. So, in any case, if you run into any problems, you can easily find solutions and contribute to them.
Better Image Optimization:
Next.js has better image optimization as it provides an inbuilt Image component from ‘next/image’. This makes the pages load faster, and the image will only load when it is visible to the user or enters the viewport. The image component has an optional placeholder to blur the image in the loading state.
Migrate From React.Js to Next.Js
You have created a project in React.js and want to migrate to Next.js. Believe me, that’s simple; you might have difficulties in the styles module and re-write all class names. Also, you have to think about which method is best for data fetching.
Next.js provides Data Fetching methods such as getServerSideProps, getStaticPaths, getStaticProps. Although, migrating from React.js to Next.js will take less time, somewhere around 1/4th.
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