The need for NextJs
Aspects in which NextJs is better
NextJs is known to enhance the pre-existing capabilities of React, such as developing production-ready React applications that answer the common and real-world problems, which are more likely to exist and be confronted within the digital and physical spheres alike.
ReactJS, before the arrival of NextJs, lacked sufficient features to help developers come up with web applications that are designed and developed to provide solutions to the problem mentioned earlier.
SEO is a hallmark of every website as it may be designed adhering to the static or dynamic website principles, which concludes that every technology you tend to employ in web development must be finely tuned to modern SEO practices. NextJs proved itself to be an auxiliary platform through which React applications can use its tremendous SEO-supported feature, that is to say, server-side rendering.
Besides helping you craft SEO-friendly websites, static site generation, bundling, and routing are a few such features that Next, as a framework, has been able to cater to the web development arena with an added advantage.
Key Feature of NextJs
Let’s see what makes NextJs stand out.
1) Server-Side Rendering (SSR)
This particular aspect of NextJs makes it what can undisputedly be referred to as a complete framework.
The feature that ReactJs always lacked was that of a Server-side rendering, which meant a striking absence of the SEO phenomenon entailing search engine crawlers crawling through our ReactJS-made website to evaluate our SEO approach better.
Another interesting thing worth mentioning here is that ReactJS can be set up to perform the server-side rendering. However, the effort of putting a diversity of technical details into practice is extravagant, considering there’s a high-functioning framework available that is based on pre-rendering the page from the server-side.
How NextJs help in SEO? – An additional advantage of SSR
Search Engine Optimization is always on the menu if our website is available and exposed to the search engine crawlers who sift through the content.
ReactJs applications never involve the most definitive SEO aspect, which roughly translates into requesting pages from the server because their presence on the server side will be sufficient to let the crawlers do their job of accumulating the content.
A practical walk into this concept will help me better dissect the subject and make it available in understandable nuggets of knowledge.
So right-click on any page of a web application programmed using ReactJs and select the “introspect the page” option. An HTML document will open up, more likely representing the web application’s content, but it will be more or less empty if we disregard the essential elements of the HTML code in it.
Because all the rendering happened on the client-side and only the basic HTML code had popped up on the document in this particular case. However, the pages loaded from the server-side will always include the entirety of code and be more available for the SEO scrutiny of search engines.
The pre-rendered pages from the server solve the problem of SEO that ReactJs was inherently unequipped to cope with.
Owing to SSR, we also see the blending of the client-side and server-side code because upon facing the request from the client-side, the server renders a page that will make the initial loading of the page and SEO aspect become new possibilities that are seen as standout advantages of this framework.
2) File-Based Routing
React web applications have pages that give the user a pseudo navigation experience as the user tends to click on another page to access a different kind of content.
In actuality, they’re clicking on the single page application that is programmed to make one type of content disappear as the other one appears, painting this facade that it is different pages and not the aforementioned phenomenon.
For example, a travelogue web application built using ReactJs will seem like an amalgamation of multiple pages offering the user valuable content they can access using different pages; however, as the user navigates from the “Home” page to the “Booking” page, it’s basically the ReactJS router making the information related to booking appear on the same page.
ReactJS routers allow you to cage in the diversity of content within different components to serve the purpose of routing, each representing what is conventionally considered a single page.
3) Full-Stack capabilities
So what makes a framework “full-stack”? Had it been built using the ReactJs library?
Its potentiality is to let the developers add backend code to Next/React apps so that the processes, such as storing data, getting data, and other authentication actions, can be performed on a singular platform by developers.
That’s what makes a framework full-stack and complete in the programming sense. And that’s why NextJs enjoys the titular grace of having been called full-stack.
Creating your first-ever NextJs project
Assuming you already have the node installed, following are the commands you can employ to kickstart your first ever NextJs project.
There’s a tailwind “CSS pre-configure” that can also do the job of creating your first NextJs application.
The part of the command that includes “my-app-name” simply means your proposed name of the application.
The commands written above will help you create a folder, and all the essential files and configurations, a package mandatory in so many ways.
Now is the time to launch the project based on all the required files created using early commands. Below is the command that you can use.
Now an empty NextJs app awaits to be filled in with wonders.
What are Routers and Pages in NextJs?
The routing phenomenon explained earlier is replicated within the NextJs application with one distinguishing change. As we use the commands mentioned above to create and launch the project, a folder named “pages” is produced by default by the application itself.
However, in the case of React routing, we have to add a routing library to let a similar thing happen within our application directory.
This particular folder will allow you to create multiple components, each representing a single page-like entity, all housed within this single folder named “pages.”
Let’s say a NextJs app contains three such files that are fed content into by components developed in the Pages folder.
Below are three pages that can be taken to grasp this idea of pages and routers.
And these files will be rendered into three routes which are as follows.
This is the easiest way the routing happens in Next.js.
Below is an attached snippet of the code of the about.js page.
The idea of nested routers sounds exactly as it is titled, namely the existence of one route into another.
For that matter, you should create a subfolder for a route within which you want another route to function. In this case, it could be pages/blog trajectory in which “blog” is a subfolder. A route, let’s say contact.js, can be housed in this particular folder.
Below is an example of nested routing in work here.
Linking routers is an essential part because that’s how the apparent navigation will come into effect. To achieve this particular goal, you need a configured named “next/link.”
Below is a snippet of a code that shows you can establish a connection between a home page and an About page.
And to revert to the original page, below is the method to do so.
The first-page load of any NextJs application involves rendering the HTML code from the server-side.
All of this first-load rendering of a first page happens in the Head component.
The error message of “404 page not found” is reserved for the pages that do not exist but have been attempted to be accessed.
You can make the error message of your personal choice and encounter.
Fetching the data from Server-Side
The backend potential of NextJs allows the developers to fetch the data from the server-side and implement the data population steps.
Two fetching methods are currently functioning.
1) Fetching the data on each request.
2) Fetching the data at build time (Happens only once).
Data Fetching on each Request
The essential function here at display is getServerSideProps.
The Build time Data Fetching
To fetch the data on build time, we need to use the getStaticProps() method.
NextJs is a cornerstone in making ReactJS the library it is today. It is widely celebrated among folks as a one-stop solution.