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How the Two Compare in 2022

Victoria Puzhevich
Published: September 20, 2022

Choosing the right library or framework for any project is one of the most important choices, as it has a direct impact on the project success. The smoother the process of code writing goes, the better the result is. But, unfortunately, software developers may sometimes have trouble choosing the right stack of technologies for their project. In this article we will explain which front-end framework to choose: React.js or Next.js? Both of them are very popular among front-end web developers.

Let’s have a look at each of these frameworks, their pros and cons and decide which one to choose for your project.

What Is React.js?

React.js is an undisputed leader in the JavaScript world, as it is one of the most widely used and well-known libraries used by front-end developers to create large web apps. Initially developed by Meta (formerly Facebook) in 2011, React.js became an open-source JavaScript library in 2013, giving developers an opportunity to create reusable UI components, scalable, simple, user-friendly, and fast interfaces for Single Page Applications (SPA), and Multi-page Web Applications (MPA).

The library supports a functional programming paradigm and a reactive approach. React.js offers developers a set of various useful tools to enclose routing and state management patterns together with Redux and other libraries.

One of the main uses of React.js is developing web apps that require constant data changes in the UIs. The first platforms that come to mind are Facebook and Instagram; users scroll to see more and more new content, while most page sections remain unchanged. A traditional approach to web development would require the entire website to refresh every time something is clicked on, which may be time-consuming and frustrating for users.

React.js eliminates the need to reprocess each code line—due  to independent isolated and reusable components (pieces of UI) that are created and later composed to become a much more complex and powerful UI. These components show React what to display on the screen.

React.js Advantages

React.js has the following advantages:

  • Easy to learn: It has extensive documentation that gives everything you need for a quick start.
  • Reusable components: Apps created with React.js are made of reusable components that can be mixed and matched to build new web apps.
  • Pre-packaged scripts: Such tools as the Create React App command allow developers to start projects quickly with minimum configuration.
  • User community: It is very strong – React has 193k stars on Github (as of August 2022), and thousands of users contribute to content creation to help those who build projects based on the library.

React.js Disadvantages

Despite being one of the most popular JS libraries, React.js still has some disadvantages:

  • Not very SEO-friendly: SPAs created with React are not good for SEO, as it takes some time for them to load.
  • JavaScript XML (JSX) complexity: While JSX is designed to extend React’s capabilities, it can push away those developers who are not very familiar with it.
  • Performance issues: Apps created with React usually need more time to become interactive than similar web apps built with other frameworks like Next.js.

What Is Next.js?

Next.js, created by Vercel, is an open-source JavaScript framework designed to let developers create dynamic and static web applications and websites that are fast and user-friendly. Based on Node.js and Babel, Next.js integrates with React.js for SPA development, which provides a ready solution for server-side rendering (SSR) of React components.

Next.js is a source of all the features that one may need to create an app, including static export, pre-rendering, preview mode, fast compilation, and automatic build size optimization. What’s more, Next.js’ documentation is nearly perfect, which leads to its growing popularity among front-end developers.

Next.js Advantages

When the discussion comes to the advantages of Next.js, one should bear in mind the following:

  • Ready-to-use SSR: Developers need no extra configuration to create a server-side rendered app (as opposed to React).
  • Less hassle with tools: The initial configuration of Next.js includes all the necessary tools and bundles.
  • Better for SEO: SSR makes the web apps built on Next.js much faster to visit, which leads to higher rankings on search engines.
  • Image optimization: Next.js includes an API to optimize images – as a result, each image on the app is optimized in size before it is served to the clients.
  • Third-party API support: Next.js supports API Routes that are used for handling user authentication, forming submission, database queries, and Slack commands.

Next.js Disadvantages

Still, Next.js has some drawbacks|:

  • No ready support of dynamic routing: Unlike React, Next.js needs Node.js to set it up.
  • Time-consuming process for the development of large websites: Next.js is not very fast when it comes to site building. Even though there are alternative routes, some developers may be deterred by this fact.
  • Chance of being locked in: Entering Next.js with no fundamental knowledge may lead to getting locked in—with no opportunity to change the framework when such necessity emerges.

Is Next.js Better Than React.js?

The differences between React.js and Next.js described above lead us to the conclusion that there is no correct answer as to which one is better. The choice completely depends on what your project requirements are.

Some tasks like SSR, static export, pre-rendering, automatic build size optimization, and enhanced development compilation are easier to fulfill on Next.js, while such things as social media, online chats, or marketplaces should be created with help of React.js.

Conclusion

The choice between React.js development and Next.js development depends on what you want to implement and achieve. If you need SPA, PWA, a dynamic web page, a social media app, or something similar, React.js is your choice. And, of course, you will have to hire React.js developers who are qualified IT specialists, have a proven track record, and know what “security and quality standard” means. In this case, success is practically guaranteed.

Source: scand.com