Next.js is a popular web development framework that allows you to quickly build websites and applications using existing "building blocks". It's a developer- and business-friendly tool that offers great user experience, security, and quick time-to-market for products or services.
2023-06-29 by Sebastian Pikand
Two important concepts in web development – framework and library
Before talking about Next.js, we should start a little further – to explain two important concepts in web development: framework and library. In the following, we will describe what they are and how frameworks and libraries differ from each other. We also highlight some of the most popular frameworks and libraries.
What are frameworks and libraries and what is the difference between them?
A framework is software that can be used to create interactive and complex web applications. A framework has a complex and broad structure that usually consists of several libraries – in other words, a framework is a collection of libraries. A framework usually encompasses the entire development process and defines how an application should be structured, what its components are, and how they interact with each other.
A library usually specializes in a particular task or problem. Libraries are usually lighter and more flexible than frameworks. For example, libraries allow managing data or network connection. A developer can select a library as needed and add it to their project using the library's APIs (Application Interfaces).
The popularity of frameworks
Frameworks are popular because they allow you to create very versatile and complex solutions. If there is a desire to develop a web page or application with a complex structure, it makes sense to use a framework, not a library. We highlight some of the more well-known frameworks:
The popularity of libraries
Libraries have the advantage of greater flexibility. They also offer better optimization of the application, as there is no structure and logic imposed by the framework. Here are some most popular libraries:
jQuery library https://jquery.com/
React library https://react.dev/
The popularity of using libraries and frameworks
Now that we know what a library is and what a framework is, let's compare their popularity. The first figure shows the downloads of libraries and the second figure shows the popularity of frameworks in May 2022 to May 2023.
Figure 1. Downloads of Svelte, React, and Vue by month from May 2022 to May 2023
Figure 2. Downloads of Nuxt, Gatsby, Next.js, and Angular by month from May 2022 to May 2023
Comparing the figures shows that Next.js is the most popular framework – read on to find out what Next.js is and how Next.js is useful for your business.
What is Next.js?
What makes Next.js special?
Based on this advantage, Next.js offers the same capabilities as React.js, but with Next.js you don’t have to compromise on visibility in Google.
Advantages of Next.js for business and developers
Benefits for businesses
Whether you're looking for business or technical benefits, there are several reasons why you might want to choose Next.js. Next.js apps or pages have a great impact on business results and help you move forward quickly. Several reasons are outlined below.
Faster time to market
Many pre-built components and their efficient compatibility significantly speed up the MVP (Minimum Viable Product) creation process. As a result, you can quickly get feedback from your users and make the necessary changes without wasting time and money.
Great user experience
Next.js offers complete freedom to create a website that perfectly matches the goals and vision of a particular business. As a result, it offers a very good and unique user experience.
Increased organic traffic
Google prefers static websites because they are fast and easily scalable. This also means that the website will have a higher position in Google's search results.
Complete channel management
Websites and apps built with Next.js run smoothly on any device, ensuring continuous access for users.
Availability of support
Since Next.js is a framework based on React.js, it's not difficult to find other UI developers without having to rebuild everything from scratch.
Increased conversion rate
Excellent loading speed, better user experience and high availability make visiting a website or using an application a pleasure. If users are satisfied with their customer experience, they are more likely to purchase a product or service and return later.
As Next.js is becoming the preferred framework for many big brands, the number of people contributing to it is also growing. This means that if you run into a problem, there's a good chance there's already a solution.
Benefits for developers
In the following, we highlight the features of Next.js that are appreciated by developers.
Hardware and software organization is not a concern
Next.js allows you to focus on the business logic rather than the technical aspects of the application. It can automatically assemble components, which means that development is well optimized and smooth from the start.
Incremental Static Regeneration (ISR)
This allows pages to refresh by re-rendering them in the background as traffic arrives. In other words, static content can be made dynamic.
Hybrid of Server-Side Rendering (SSR) and Static Site Generation (SSG)
Pages can be pre-rendered at build or at query time in the same project. You can choose which pages are pre-rendered and which are built during the request. This makes it possible, for example, to develop pages for blog posts that do not need frequent updates, and at the same time to build, for example, a page displaying the number of tickets left for an event on each particular request.
Next.js provides automatic TypeScript configuration and compilation.
Fast real-time editing experience means that changes to components appear within seconds. This works similarly to Hot Module Replacement (HMR).
Built-in image component and automatic image optimization
Next.js provides a feature that automatically optimizes images.
Automatic code sharing
Next.js automatically reduces the page size by splitting the code into parts and serving components only when needed. In addition, the dynamic import option allows you to automatically import modules.
Weaknesses of Next.js
Next.js is an innovative technology, but the content management associated with it requires the use of a dedicated content management system, which can be unfamiliar and a bit complex. In addition, there are several other nuances to consider when using Next.js.
Flexibility comes at a price – constant management
Next.js offers great flexibility, but it requires constant management. Development and management can be complex, and it takes a dedicated person with the necessary expertise to make the desired changes. The good news is that this person doesn't necessarily have to be a developer.
Running costs related to the front-end
Next.js doesn't include many built-in front-ends, so you often have to create your own front-end, which may need changes from time to time. This in turn means expenses for the front-end developer.
There is no built-in state manager
Next.js does not have a built-in state manager. If the application needs to use a state manager, a separate solution such as Redux, MobX or similar must be added.
All in all, Next.js offers a lot of benefits, but there are aspects to consider that may require additional effort and expense.
Next.js VS WordPress - Which and When?
A great many websites are created on the basis of WordPress – it is one of the most famous website creation tools in the world. WordPress is the perfect choice if you want to create a website that focuses on simple content management options, such as blogging. WordPress is a popular platform that offers a number of plugins to integrate different solutions (for example, online shops, contact forms and so on). WordPress is relatively easy to use even for those without a strong technical background.
Next.js is a good choice when you want to create more complex web pages and applications that require custom solutions. Next.js has many advantages such as server-side rendering, better performance and security.
In short, it can be said that if a company needs a simple website that does not have high demands, WordPress is usually a good choice. For companies with growth ambitions, or for companies that need complex solutions, it makes more sense to choose Next.js
Examples of Next.js web pages
Here are examples of web pages based on Next.js:
Read also about other websites based on Next.js in the article "The most popular websites and web applications based on Next.js".
Difference between web application and web page development
Web application and web page development are both related to creating web-based solutions, but they have some differences. Developing a web page is usually easier because web pages are often static and their main purpose is to introduce an organization, product or service. However, if more specific special solutions are needed, for example an online shop or something else, then the development also becomes a little more complicated.
Web applications are interactive software applications that can be used in a web browser. A richer user experience, more complex solutions and interactive elements – all of them require more knowledge and experience from the developer compared to creating, for example, a simple website introducing a company.
Next.js is an extremely popular web development framework because it allows you to quickly build web pages and applications using existing "building blocks". This framework is a truly developer- and business-friendly tool that ensures great user experience and security, while also allowing products or services to be brought to market quickly. In addition, Next.js has a large community, which makes it possible to always ask for and receive help. Although Next.js has some drawbacks, such as adapting to a content management system and possible additional costs in front-end development the positives outweigh the negatives.
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