Next.js: the must-have framework ?

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The JavaScript language is more popular than ever. Initially designed to animate and build interactive front-ends, it has rapidly become a complete programming language and the number of Javascript fullstack developer projects is increasing. One of the main reasons for this trend is that Javascript is now surrounded by an environment of runtimes and frameworks that make it perform well for both front-end and back-end and for both mobile and business applications. Next.js is one of those frameworks that make the language so popular among developers. Its flexibility and numerous functionalities also make it a tool and a skill particularly sought after by companies. So will Next.js become a must-have framework for IT programmers and freelancers? Find out in this article.

 

What is Next.js?

 

Next.js is a JavaScript framework that allows you to create powerful, fast and user-friendly static websites, and also web applications using the React library.

A concept: automatic static optimisation

 

Next.js is a fullstack framework because it handles both the server and client side. It is based on the concept of "automatic static optimisation". This approach means that "static" and "dynamic" become one and the same and allows Next.js to create hybrid applications that include both statically generated and server-generated pages. More concretely, when a page has no requirements for sending or retrieving data, it is automatically rendered in HTML when it is constructed.

 

In addition, since its version 9.3, Next.js offers three methods of data recovery:

●      getStaticProps to retrieve data at the time of generation (static generation);

●      getStaticPaths which allows specification of dynamic routes in order to pre-display pages based on the data (static generation);

●      getServerSideProps, which retrieves data on each request (SSR or Server Side Rendering).

 

One goal: better performance

 

The way Next.js works allows it to generate the HTML/CSS code upstream and transmit it directly to the client. The loading time of each page is therefore reduced since it is generated at the time of the build, and on the server side.

The server will also not have to build the page for each request as it will already be ready to use and can also be cached.

 

As Google is increasingly taking into account the performance and speed of a website in its SEO criteria, Next.js is the JavaScript framework of choice for storefronts and e-commerce shops that need to optimise their SEO.

However, Next.js is not only for the creation of websites...

 

 

What can be developed with the Next.js framework?

 

With Next.js developers can design various applications and interfaces such as:

●      websites using JamStack architecture, which allows the site to be compiled in the form of static pages, in order to speed up its rendering;

●      web portals such as ticketing systems or intranets;

●      SPAs (Single Page Applications);

●      static websites;

●      SaaS software and applications (hosted and available as a service);

●      e-commerce shops;

●      Wordpress blogs: the CMS will be used as an API to store content which Next.js can extract data from to create a blog;

●      complex and demanding web applications;

●      interactive user interfaces such as dynamic forms or estimation and quotation software.

 

 

However Next.js is not suitable for all situations. For automatic static optimisation to be effective, most of the content on the page must not change rapidly and frequently over time. In this case, the build phases would be too numerous and long and would severely limit the performance gains.

 

Using Next.js is therefore not an option for community sites and social networks, for example. On the other hand, the framework has many advantages for other types of realisation.

 

 

 

The advantages of using Next.js

A better user experience

 

The performance gains of sites built with Next.js are already helping to improve the user experience through reduced load times and more stable pages. But that's not its only asset. In fact the popularity of Next.js comes from the fact that it combines several major features:

●      A rich, user-friendly and fully customised user experience: with Next.js you don't have to limit yourself to plug-ins, themes or the restrictions imposed by commerce platforms and CMS. Developers can adapt and modify the sites without any limitations;

●      Responsive and reactive websites: websites and applications designed with Next.js work on any computer and automatically adapt to all screen sizes and resolutions;

●      Better data security: static websites built with Next.js have no direct connection to dependencies, user data or the database, which limits vulnerabilities.

 

Easy learning curve

 

Next.js is based on ReactJS. For a developer who is already comfortable with the JavaScript library, getting to grips with Next.js does not present any major difficulties. In addition, the framework has extensive documentation, tutorials, videos and training courses as well as a growing community.

Compatibility with CMS and electronic platforms

 

The Next.js framework can be combined with "headless" CMS, i.e. content management systems that do not have a front-end but only an API and a back-end system where data can be sent and stored.

 

The developer can, for example, use Strapi or sanity.io CMS to store the data and then retrieve and display the information in static pages using Next.js.

On the same principle, the framework is also compatible with various e-commerce platforms such as Woocommerce or Shopify. It allows you to create more efficient and SEO-optimised online shops.

 

Although it is not suitable for all uses, Next.js remains a flexible framework that optimises both the work of developers and the user experience. These assets make it a sought-after framework and an interesting skill to offer on your developer CV or your IT freelance service offering.

You can check out all our Next.js offerings here and share your thoughts on this JavaScript framework in the IT forum.

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