A significant decision that one makes prior to starting a project is figuring out which platform to build on. Many fail to recognize the distinction between Next.js and React. While it is crucial to pick a suitable platform for the project, it is equally important to determine which web app development philosophy will benefit the current project.
Developing a new project is an overwhelming and daunting endeavor, but modern innovation can help make the process easier. In this article, we will compare Next.js and React side by side to determine which platform works best for your next development project.
Next.js is an easy-to-use development framework created by Vercel on top of React. It is open-source based on Babel and Node.js and integrates with React for developing single-page apps. This facilitates server-side rendering, making the process easy. As Next.js is based on React, it shares many of its core features. Some of the most commonly used features include webpack, pre-rendering, support, routing, and code splitting.
Next.js is a React framework that simplifies the process of application development. It has the functionality for a ready-to-go application and is gaining popularity with front-end developers. With exciting features like static export, automatic building size optimization, zero-config, TypeScript support, internationalization, fast refresh, built-in CSS support, preview mode, and a faster development compilation, Next.js is what React has been missing for a long time.
Unlike Next.js, React is considered more as a library than a framework, providing scripts to build interfaces. As an open-source front-end JS library, React provides the resources and tools to utilize advanced web design trends that help develop aesthetic front-end architecture.
Among the best features of React is that it enables developers to create reusable UI components, saving them time and effort when they need to reuse such components. Another benefit of React is its community that works together to help other developers by sharing their work.
Let’s compare the two platforms and how they stand against each other.
When you have to make pages for a React project, you need to make a segment and add it to the router. When you are making pages for a Next.js project, you have to add the page to the pages folder along with the necessary header component link. This instantly makes the project easier as you write less code, and the project becomes easy to follow.
If you are new to React, then Create React App is a great way to start your learning. The CRA also helps you if you want to use React for a Single Page Application (SPA). Since Create React App works for creating front-end assembly, you can use it with any server you prefer, such as Node. CRA also uses Webpack and Babel in the background, but you don’t require any knowledge about them to use it.
We can say that Create React App is a tool that simplifies setting up and customizing your development process. All you need is to run a single command, and the tools you need for your React project will be set up. This way, the developer can focus on building your application rather than wasting time on customization.
It is safe to say that both Next.js and React are at the same level in terms of speed and ease of coding.
A difference between the two is performance. Applications developed with Next.js are very quick on account of server-side delivery and static destinations. This is possible because of the large group of performance enhancement features such as Image Optimization.
With Next.js, you can benefit from code parting and automatic server rendering, further improving performance. Server-Side Rendering also works incredibly well for boosting performance on your application.
On the other hand, React only supports client-side rendering, which is insufficient for developing a high-performance application.
Thus, Next.js delivers higher performance than React.
Next.js uses the basis of React to help developers build single-page apps. It has features such as:
a.) Static Export (SSG)
b.) Automatic build size optimization
d.) Server-side rendering (SSR)
e.) Faster development compilation
The listed features make creating a ready-to-go application easier.
React is extendible and includes features like state management patterns with libraries and routing. Although it is minimal, it can be expanded and customized for any project.
Next.js and React both have advantageous features, and they can be selected as per the project’s requirements.
You can enjoy certain benefits from using a platform like React that is broadly utilized. It allows you access to a wide community of developers should you run into an issue that requires external help. Users can take advantage of blog entries, YouTube recordings, etc., and you can discover useful content on Stack Overflow in the React docs.
Compared to React, Next.Js offers less formal tutorials and traditional exercises and more discussions and inquiries from GitHub. Both React and Next.js have a functioning community that accounts for a positive developer experience.
The React community has primary patrons that are accessible to fellow developers making this platform stronger and valuable.
A major difference between the two is that React doesn’t allow enough room for configuration. It’s difficult to change the configurations without moving away from normal CRA. Therefore, you need to use what already exists in the read-scripts of CRA.
In comparison, Next.js is almost entirely configurable. It allows you to configure files such as jest.config, eslintrc, babelrc, etc., using the Next.js templates.
React is widely used among developers as it is a popular choice. It has a largely populated community compared to Next.js, making it a powerhouse of talent.
React is a requirement for most front-end job listings since it is supported by Facebook. Since it is a popular platform, if a developer specializes in it and excels, he has the opportunity to work on a variety of projects. This is the prime reason why developers gravitate towards React.
We can conclude that React has a wider talent pool in comparison to Next.js.
Both platforms are open-source and free, which means that developers can use either of the solutions without spending a fortune. The only difference is that it takes relatively less time to find experienced Next.js while it may take longer to search for React programmers as there are so many of them.
Therefore, we can say both, React and Next.js have the same cost of development.
To sum it up, let’s look at the main pros and cons of using each developing platform.
i.) Apps built with Next.js are very fast owing to static site creation and server-side rendering.
ii.) It eases the process of getting React apps ready for deployment.
iii.) It simplifies bundling your app with third-party APIs since you usually need a native API. It offers API routes that allow you to do all the stuff.
iv.) It makes CRA setup easier by allowing developers to add Babel plugins or Webpack loaders.
i.) Since it is restricted to using just a file router, it is difficult to change the way Next.js works with routes. You will need a Node.js server for dynamic routes in the future.
ii.) If you need to use a router other than its own, you will discover that it offers less flexibility.
i.) It is easy to learn and use as it comes with a useful set of tutorials, documentation, and training resource materials.
ii.) It has clarified the process of building a dynamic web app using HTML strings.
iii.) It enhances performance through virtual DOM.
iv.) It comprises multiple components with individual logic and controls. These components render a small, reusable piece of HTML that may be used repeatedly.
v.) It offers a useful set of tools making the developer’s task simple and clear.\
vi.) React resolves the SEO problem with JS-heavy applications.
i.) Continuous updates present a constant learning challenge for developers.
ii.) As technologies are updated constantly, there is hardly any time for creating proper documentation.
iii.) It covers the app’s UI layers only, and you need to choose several other technologies for a complete set of development tools for a project.