Getting started with Next.js

Working on a modern Javascript application looks awesome until you become aware of the problems related to rendering all the content on the client-side.

Next.js has become a go-to-framework for everyone when it comes to server-side rendering (SSR) as well as hosting static sites like landing pages, documentation, and blogs.

Next.js is an open-source web application framework based on Node.js and Vue.js where applications are built with Javascript and React instead of PHP. All you have to do is to create a file, add the code, and deploy it.

Developers with the knowledge of HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and React can easily learn and switch to next.js. Let us explore some of the great features and tricks Next.js has to offer:

  • Server-Side Rendering: It allows you to easily render react components on the server before sending the HTML to the client. Server-side rendering makes your application optimized for search engines and also allows you to make and add dynamic meta tags.
  • Ecosystem Compatibility: Next.js plays well with the rest of the JavaScript, Node, and React ecosystem.
  • Hot Code Reloading: The application reloads automatically whenever changes in the code get saved.
  • Fast Refresh: The developer experience forms a big part of the success or failure of any framework. Fast Refresh is a Next.js feature that gives you instantaneous feedback on edits made to your React components. With Next.js, the developer experience enhances with:

– Error locations that point to the accurate row and column generating the error

– Click-to-open reference code snippets

– Automatic address of runtime errors after fixing those

  • Built-in CSS support: Next.js allows you to import CSS files from a JavaScript file. This is possible because of the extended support of the ‘import’ concept beyond Javascript.
  • API Routing: API routes provide a straightforward solution to build your API with Next.js. Any file inside the folder pages/api is mapped to /api/* and will be treated as an API endpoint instead of a page. They are server-side only bundles and won’t increase your client-side bundle size.
  • Custom Configuration: For a more customized and advanced behavior in your application, you can create a next.config.js file (a regular Node.js module). The config file allows you to customize all sorts of things, like adding support for custom page extensions, indicating static optimization benefits, and setting up custom build directories.
  • Automatic code splitting: By this feature, every import in the code gets bundled and served with each page. It means that unnecessary code never gets loaded on the page.

Right from the core performance areas to surface level improvements, Next.js along with its latest versions have made significant improvements overall.