Next.js vs. React: Which Framework to Choose for the Front End in 2024


Next.js vs. React: Which Framework to Choose for the Front End in 2024

Nextjs vs React

React was the most popular choice for developers until other frameworks entered the scene. As a developer, it might take a lot of time to decide which framework would be ideal for your project, making it an overwhelming process for you.

However, with new technological evolutions, the choices are bound to be shifting.

Talking about the 2 very prominent technologies in the current situation, NextJS and React, understand that Next.js is based on React. Developers have started shifting to Next.js due to it coming onto the front line with improved features and capabilities.

If you have no programming experience, you can pick Next.js with a simple learning curve.

In this blog, we will dwell on the features and pros of both frameworks so that you can make the best decision for your project’s development.

What is Next.js?

Next.js uses React as part of the JavaScript framework to carry out its operations. This allows developers to build production-ready applications with convenience.

Also, it is an open-source framework and provides React integration for single-page app development. With Next.js, you can access comprehensive extensions and plugins to customize the applications.

Plus, it offers built-in CSS support, enabling developers to style the apps without third-party tools. With Next.js, you can develop user-friendly and static web pages.

You can seamlessly integrate the framework with other libraries, like Apollo and TypeScript. Next.js provides an adaptable ecosystem and environment to build modern apps.

–      Features of Next.js:

Next.js offers server-side rendering with data fetching at record time. It helps with image optimization and automatic code splitting. The pre-rendering feature here helps the applications load faster, eliminating browser generation.

Also, you can use the API route, which gives built-in support for API creation. Moreover, it comes with enhanced development compilation and static export features.

The typescript support feature helps improve code quality. Next.js offers file system routing that eases route creation. It provides libraries for adding different multi-language support. In short, it offers powerful features for building superior apps.

–      Pros of Next.js:

Next.js can eliminate the need for excess setup and configuration. It helps enable custom back-end development and increase speed with server-side rendering features.

Moreover, all the images are custom-adjusted to fit the user’s viewport, delivering an enhanced user experience. Next.js comes with inbuilt CSS support that includes CSS stylesheets without added libraries.

Project management is simple with the availability of tools in the framework. With Next.js, you can develop light, static, and SEO-friendly websites and apps. Also, you can use incremental adoption to add SSR or SSG to different pages without disrupting the apps.

–      Cons of Next.js:

Though Next.js is known for its enhanced performance, it carries some cons too. It has no built-in state management solution to use a third-party library such as Redux, adding complexity to your project.

There are better choices for some projects, especially if you are building small ventures with simple requirements. Also, it can be slow for the dynamic routing feature.

It can be tricky to debug the framework, especially if you are unaware of its features. If you need the properties, you may experience slow performance. Next.js has a smaller community, which means less support.

What is React JS?

React, developed by Facebook, is a JavaScript library that helps you create seamless user interfaces in apps. Plus, it empowers you with new features and tools to build visually stunning websites and apps.

It can help you create reusable UI elements with component-based architecture, which you can further upscale. You might be aware of how significant UI is to keeping users engaged; this is something React can help you do wonderfully.

Being flexible and open source, you can use it to develop large-scale apps. The best part here is that it is declarative, helping to control the workings of the app.

–      Features of React JS:

React JS works on a virtual DOM, which speeds up processing and eliminates the need for updating the entire DOM. Additionally, it comes with a JavaScript extension to make the code readable.

It is component-based, meaning that multiple components with their logic help with faster running. React features one-way data binding, meaning unidirectional data flow from parent to child.

The framework is easy to debug, which saves extra time. Besides, it has many extensions you can use to create UI applications. React allows you to write conditional statements, and the browser displays them with conditions.

–      Pros of React JS:

React can help simplify app development, as you can develop dynamic apps with less code. Additionally, it has a massive developer community that provides support if you are stuck with a development issue.

With Redux, you can also customize the tools in the project. Plus, you can write dynamic web apps with JSX. Unlike conventional JS frameworks, the virtual DOM feature can make React apps faster.

The testing feature is simple with the React framework. You can develop new properties in React without needing to rewrite the existing code. Also, it’s SEO-friendly, which makes it easier to find the right content for users.

–      Cons of React JS:

While React is still a popular library, there are some cons that you must know. As the development life cycle is short, the documentation becomes obsolete.

React can work in the UI library. You can achieve its full potential when you use it with other tools. Some developers believe that React is fast, but its development speed is slow compared to other frameworks.

With React comes the JSX complexity that might confuse those unfamiliar with the framework. There may be problems with SEO, as it requires expertise to optimize dynamic web pages with the framework. If you upgrade the pages wrongly, you won’t be able to get good results.

Comparing Next.js vs React JS

Now that you know the features and pros of both these technologies, let’s move on to the comparison part. By weighing the features, you will be better at deciding on which framework to finalize for your project.

1.   Performance

When choosing a framework for front-end development, performance is the main factor.

React offers both, client-side and server-side rendering. This enables apps to load pages faster, enhancing the user experience. Also, site generators and static web pages are pre-rendered while building cached, and served on CDN, which facilitates quick loading.

With a server-side rendering feature, Next.js can optimize the initial page load time, promoting search engine optimization. Additionally, many performance enhancement features are available in Next.js.

Though React supports client-side development, it is not feasible for high-performance apps.

2.   Learning Curve

The learning curve is the main factor in choosing a framework. New developers need that initial push for the project. If the learning curve is steep, it makes things tricky.

Of the two frameworks, React JS is the easiest to learn. It has massive community support, so you can get help on any part of your development cycle easily.

On the other hand, Next.js can take time to learn as its features are complex. If you have a strong base in React, getting familiar with Next.js will be an easy task.

As Next.js is built on React, experienced developers may find it easy to learn.

3.   Documentation

You can recognize both frameworks for comprehensive and well-documented support.

There isn’t much difference between the two in this aspect. React documentation is user-friendly, and Next offers learn-by-doing documentation support.

However, from a broader spectrum, React offers better community support with documentation than Next.js.

4.   Configuration

When it comes to the configuration feature, both frameworks differ in approach.

React is a lightweight framework that offers flexibility, allowing you to customize your code based on your project preferences. On the opposite side, Next.js has unique out-of-the-box features that state how things can be done with versatility.

React may require added tools, like Babel, to set up a project and handle bundling and hot reloading tasks. Contrarily, Next.js offers built-in configurations, making it easier to build a project without the setup.

Overall, Next.js offers slightly better configuration support than React.

5.   Server-side Rendering

Server-side rendering is a very important element that creates the base for a suitable framework.

In Next.js, server-side rendering features out-of-the-box support, which allows after-page loads and helps to optimize a web page. Following this, the HTML content of the site is generated on the server before sending it to the client, resulting in a seamless user experience.

React uses client-side rendering. Here you generate HTML after the initial page loads. It might cause a delay in page load and affect the site’s optimization. However, using a third-party library, you can implement server-side rendering seamlessly in React.

Next.js is ideal for server-side rendering.

6.   Client-side Rendering

By default, all the React apps are rendered on the client side, which means the HTML of the page is generated on the client side. Following this, the HTML is generated on the user’s device if the code is JS.

On the other hand, Next.js does not render on the client side by default. It is achieved by using tools or components. However, this can be time-consuming for some developers, so they stick to React.js for client-side rendering features.

7.   TypeScript

With TypeScript, you can add static type checking to JavaScript, making it easier to maintain. Though both frameworks support the feature, they may differ in how you integrate it as a part of development. React requires added features to set up and use TypeScript, and Next has built-in support that comes with the next.config.js file.

In addition, Next offers improved type definitions for specific features. It can provide developers with a seamless development experience while using TypeScript. React supports TypeScript with the CRA app with npx create-reach-app my-app: template typescript.

8.   Maintenance

Next.js and React have different features when it comes to maintenance.

React is lightweight and easy to maintain, as you can focus on only the features you want in your project. Comparatively, Next.js offers a complete solution with built-in features for code splitting, routing, and server-side rendering. Here, you can expect faster rollouts of updates.

While this feature makes it more powerful, you can also maintain a larger code base. However, with the recent release of Next.js 11, you can expect new improvements and optimizations that can help with maintenance.

Which is the best framework?

Now that you know about both frameworks, you must know which is the best one. As Next.js is built on React, it should be the ideal framework to build content-focused websites and apps.

Loading speed and search engine optimization are two significant factors in choosing a framework. Ideally, Next.js offers both of these features enhancing scalability.

For projects with specific customization, React is the best choice. It offers good flexibility and has a vast ecosystem that makes development speed a top priority.

Also, it has a large community, so you can find support with the development tasks quite easily.

Simply put, Next.js is an ideal choice for high-performing apps, and React is convenient for app customization.

Wrapping up

Concluding on what will be your choice for your next project, ideally, Next.js and React are flexible front-end frameworks that have gained popularity over the years. However, the fact that Next.js has added features like server-side rendering, improved speed, and code splitting makes it the best choice for your project in 2024.

React has a compact library focusing on user interfaces and single-page web apps. Pick a framework that suits your project requirements. Next.js is a better choice if you want good speed and modern app development; while, React is a good choice if you wish to create user interfaces to engage users.

Lastly, Next.js offers tools to shorten the development cycle, and React JS has good resources for front-end development. We hope with the help of this comparison, you will be able to pick the best framework for your project.

Author:Harikrishna Kundariya

Harikrishna Kundariya is the Co-founder, Director, & Marketer of eSparkBiz Technologies – an excellent Software Development Company. Also, a notable IoT, ChatBot & Blockchain-savvy Developer. His 12+ years of profound experience enables him to create Digital Innovations for Startups & large Enterprises alike based on futuristic technologies like IoT, Artificial Intelligence, DevOps, and ChatBot. Adopting a modern yet extremely flexible leadership approach, he believes in building businesses & lasting bonds with his clients in the process.

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