react
Why you should learn Next.JS

Getting started with Next and React




Next.JS is a javascript framework that allows developers to create server rendered react web apps also comes with other perks that make frontend development swift.

How I encountered Next.JS?

I am currently reworking on my own personal blog with React and Next.JS on the frontend and Express powering the backend.

So why am I redoing my blog from scratch? Before I could launch an MVP of the blog, I had to work on the SEO and also make it easier for web crawlers, which in turn helps with a great search engine score and indexing. I had two options:

  • Write my own express server to serve my React app
  • Use libraries like prerender and react-snap

So I tried them all and the journey was not that fine:

  • When creating my own express server, I suffered from a Babel and webpack version inconsistency problem. This took me like forever, I was deleting the yarn.lock file and also the node_modules over and over, I also tried the npm suggestions but nothing.

    bummer

  • When working with prerender and react-snap, it worked perfectly locally on my laptop but kept on failing my Netlify build.

    bummer

After all the hard work and almost a months time wasted on SSR, I kinda gave up and just launched my blog. On a particular day, I was listening to the Full Stack Radio Episode 99 where he was interviewing Tim Neutkens about next, I took note of four words about next, ...server rendered client applications.... I quickly opened a new tab, visited next website, that was my eureka moment.

eureka

Advantages of using Next

  • Server Side Rendering out of the box Next handles SSR in such an easy way. Install, run your app, open your browser, you got SSR. Some advantages of SSR are rich link previews.

Screenshot 2019-07-02 at 6.51.58 PM.png

  • Static Exporting

    Next also handles serving of static files. No need of extra libraries.

  • CSS in JS

    Writing CSS in JS comes in built in next, there is no need to install other packages such as emotion, JSS and such.

  • Fully customisable

    It handles most parts automatically such as the SSR functionality but next still allows customization over Babel, webpack, routing and next-plugins.

  • Progressive Web Apps

    Creating a PWA is way too easy with next...Stat tuned as we will look into next features

  • Ready for production

    Next is super fast and it's optimised for smaller build size making your web app size realy small and faster.

  • Zero Setup

    Next also handles most of your setup process such as file system, routing, hot code reloading and universal rendering.

  • Used by most known companies

    Among the reasons why Stackshare is successful is because developers like to know which stacks companies like Netflix use to scale their application, so that we learn them, put them on our resumes and maybe make a score on the interview.

  • Handles static and dynamic sites

    Next handles static and dynamic sites seamlessly no need to add extra configarations.

  • Smaller learning curve

    You will still write React, you will not experience the Angular 1 and Angular 4 effect. Next handles somethings that will save you a lot of time such as routing but I will get more into details on the next article, Stay tuned

Disadvantages of Next

How is this framework so perfect? Well its not, it has its own flaws such as:

  • Redux

    Implementing Redux might be a hustle, especially during setup.

  • Handles way too much

    Next handles a lot of functionality that you might take for granted, if you do you might ignore looking into them while.

    Note: If you are looking into using next, use react-scripts for a while until you have grasped important concepts especially routing

So far those are the disadvantages I know, if you happen to know or face a couple more, please share so that I add them to this post. You can do so via comments or a twitter mention.

Summary

TL;DR;

In this post we were able to:

  • Look into why I started to look into next
  • Advantages of next
  • Disadvantages of next

Next

On the next part of the Next meets React series we will work on a simple web app to grasp each and every next features.

Disclaimer

Note(no bad blood): Why you should choose next is just my opinion, I have no problem with you handling SSR on your own nor do I have trouble with devs using react-scripts.

Feedback

Providing feedback about this article will be highly appreciated. Reach out on twitter wachira_dev or on this platform through chat.

Stay Tuned 😁


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Published: 2 months ago