Next.js vs React :  Which one to Choose in 2024?

Vinish Bhaskar

Published on:Jan 16 2024

Next.js vs React : Which one to Choose in 2024?

In the vast world of web development, choosing the right tools can be a game-changer. And when it comes to choosing between Next.js and React, two of the most popular JavaScript front-end web development frameworks, the decision can get even more challenging. We need to consider several factors before we choose one.

Moreover, the ongoing debate about which framework is better Next.js or React has been around for a while. In short, to understand Next.js vs. React, Next.js is a simplified development environment built on top of React.

In this article, we will conclude the Next.js vs. React debate. We will discuss and compare aspects of two of the most used JavaScript frameworks, Next.js and React, with an infographic on React Vs. Next.js, additionally, we will explore the advantages that one has over the other.

Which one is perfect for your next web development project, Next.js or React? Let’s explore…

What is Next.js?

Next.js is an open-source JavaScript framework built by Vercel and it works with React to develop single-page apps. It is dependent on Node.js and Babel.

Next.js has built-in support for server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG), which help to generate the HTML code for the pages on the server before sending it to the browser. That contributes to both performance optimization and search engine visibility (SEO).

It also offers smooth routing through a file-based system, allowing us to create routes simply by adding files to specific directories.


Next.js:

  • Original Author: Guillermo Rauch
  • Written in: JavaScript (React)
  • Initial Release: October 25, 2016
  • Developers: Vercel (formerly ZEIT) and the Next.js community
  • Platform: Web Platform
  • Website: https://nextjs.org/
  • License: MIT License
  • Type: JavaScript Framework

In Summary, Next.js has many powerful features that help in enhancing the development process like server-side rendering, routing, and performance optimizations. It's an ideal choice for projects that need performance, SEO, and seamless user experiences.

What is React?

React is a popular Javascript library developed by Meta (Formerly Facebook), that makes building user interfaces for websites and applications smoother and more efficient. React can be seen as a library rather than a framework.

React allows developers to break down the user interface into smaller, reusable components. That makes it easier to manage, and maintain complex projects and build responsive user interfaces for the products.

It uses Virtual DOM behind the scenes to speed up the updates to the webpage. Instead of updating the whole page, React only changes the necessary parts, making the user experience faster and smoother. It uses frameworks like Redux to extend its functionality like routing and state management patterns.

React:

  • Original Author: Jordan Walke
  • Written in: JavaScript
  • Initial Release: May 29, 2013
  • Developers: Meta (Formerly Facebook) and the React community
  • Platform: Web
  • Website: https://react.dev/
  • License: MIT License
  • Type: JavaScript Library

In Summary, React is a widely used JavaScript library that utilizes Virtual DOM to build smooth and interactive websites.

React vs. Next.js

Before we get into the detailed comparison between React and Next.js, let's begin with a descriptive introduction. To assist this exploration, we'll start by presenting a graphical overview of the Next.js vs. React comparison through an informative infographic.

The Infographic will give you a quick overview of important key points of both technology's strengths, applications, and key features. Here we go...

[Infographics ( Next.js vs. React)]

Next.js vs React :  Which one to Choose in 2024?

Here's a detailed comparison between React and Next.js:

  1. Purpose And Approach:
    • React: Developed by Meta (formerly Facebook), React is a JavaScript library used for building UI. It follows a component-based architecture, promoting the creation of reusable UI components.
    • Next.js: Developed by Vercel, Next.js is a JavaScript framework built on top of React. It has built features like server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG).
  2. Rendering:
    • React: Utilizes a virtual DOM to efficiently update only the necessary parts of the actual DOM, enhancing performance.
    • Next.js: Built-in support for server-side rendering (SSR) and static site generation (SSG), resulting in improved performance and SEO.
  3. Routing:
    • React: Requires third-party libraries like React Router for implementing routing.
    • Next.js: Provides a file-based routing system, simplifying route creation without additional libraries.
  4. Server-Side Rendering (SSR) and Static Site Generation (SSG):
    • React: Requires additional configuration and libraries for SSR and SSG.
    • Next.js: Built-in support for both SSR and SSG, making it easier to achieve optimal performance and SEO.
  5. Data Fetching:
    • React: Developers often use libraries like Axios or Fetch to manage data fetching from APIs.
    • Next.js: Provides server-side data fetching capabilities, optimizing data retrieval and pre-rendering.
  6. Performance:
    • React: Requires careful management to ensure optimal user experience.
    • Next.js: Integrates automatic code splitting, optimized image loading, and server-side rendering, resulting in improved initial load times and overall performance.
  7. Learning Curve:
    • React: Relatively straightforward to learn, especially for those familiar with JavaScript and component-based development.
    • Next.js: Requires understanding of React concepts, with added knowledge of SSR, SSG, and file-based routing.
  8. Use Cases:
    • React: Suitable for a wide range of projects, from simple UI components to complex applications requiring precise performance optimizations.
    • Next.js: Suitable for projects where server-side rendering, static site generation, and SEO optimization are necessary, such as content-heavy websites and e-commerce platforms.
  9. Ecosystem:
    • React: Vast ecosystem of third-party libraries and tools for various purposes.
    • Next.js: Utilize the React ecosystem and add Next-specific tools for server-side rendering, routing, and API handling.
  10. Flexibility:
    • React: Offers flexibility in terms of project setup, allowing developers to choose additional tools and libraries based on their needs.
    • Next.js: Provides a structured setup with built-in features like SSR and routing.
  11. SEO and Accessibility:
    • React: Requires careful implementation of SEO and accessibility practices by the developer.
    • Next.js: Comes with built-in SEO benefits due to server-side rendering.
  12. Deployment and Hosting:
    • React: Deployment often involves additional steps and configurations.
    • Next.js: Offers seamless deployment with Vercel, simplifying hosting and providing deployment-related features.
  13. Initial Load Time:
    • React: Initial load times might be slower due to the need for client-side rendering and data fetching.
    • Next.js: Leveraging server-side rendering and automatic code splitting, tend to have faster initial load times.
  14. API Handling:
    • React: Requires developers to set up and manage APIs using libraries.
    • Next.js: Provides built-in API routes, enabling developers to create serverless APIs within the app.
  15. Community and Documentation:
    • React: Has a large and active community, with extensive documentation and resources available.
    • Next.js: Benefits from the React community and has its own active community, offering dedicated documentation and support.

Both React and Next.js each have unique capabilities and use cases. React is widely used for building UI components, while Next.js extends React's capabilities with server-side rendering and routing enhancements

Overview of Next.js vs. React

Below is a comparison table for a brief overview of Next.js vs React:

Next.js vs React :  Which one to Choose in 2024?

Next.js advantage over React

  1. Server-Side Rendering (SSR) and Static Site Generation (SSG):
    • Next.js offers built-in support for SSR and SSG, enhancing performance and SEO.
    • SSR delivers pre-rendered content and improves initial load time and search engine visibility.
    • SSG generates static HTML at build time, ensuring faster page loads and efficient caching.
  2. Effortless Routing and Navigation:
    • Next.js simplifies routing with its file-based approach, reducing routing configuration.
    • Dynamic route creation using [slug].js syntax allows for clean URLs.
  3. Optimized Image Loading and Performance:
    • Next.js includes automatic image optimization, serving images in optimal formats and sizes.
    • Built-in code splitting improves loading speed by loading only what's necessary initially.
    • Support for modern web features HTTP/2.

React advantage over Next.js

  1. Flexible and Lightweight Library:
    • React is a lightweight JavaScript library focused just on building user interfaces.
    • Provides flexibility to choose additional tools and libraries for project needs.
    • Ideal for projects where server-side rendering (SSR) or complex routing isn't a priority.
  2. Rich Ecosystem and Community:
    • React has a vast ecosystem with numerous third-party libraries and tools for various use cases.
    • Community-driven development results in frequent updates, bug fixes, and enhancements.
    • Wide range of resources including tutorials, documentation, and open-source projects.
  3. Component Reusability and One-Way Data Flow:
    • React's component-based architecture promotes modular design and reusability.
    • One-way data flow simplifies debugging and maintains a clear data flow.

Popular sites using Next.js

  1. Twitch: Twitch, a live streaming platform, is using Next.js for parts of its web application to provide a smooth and responsive user experience.
  2. Hulu: Hulu, a streaming service, Next.js to enhance its web interface's performance and loading times.
  3. Ticketmaster: Ticketmaster, an online ticketing platform, utilized Next.js to create fast-loading and interactive pages for event listings and ticket purchasing.
  4. Typeform: Typeform, a platform for creating surveys and forms, utilized Next.js to create dynamic and engaging forms and surveys on their website.
  5. Auth0: Auth0, an identity verification and authentication service, used Next.js to build parts of its web application, security and performance.
  6. Cred: Cred, a personal finance platform, utilized Next.js to create an interactive and user-friendly interface for managing finances.
  7. Gitpod: Gitpod, an online integrated development environment (IDE), utilized Next.js to build its website and provide a smooth onboarding experience.
  8. Hudl: Hudl, a sports performance analysis platform, used Next.js to create dynamic and data-rich sports performance dashboards for their users.

Popular sites using React

  1. Facebook: React was developed by Meta( Formerly Facebook), and it's extensively used throughout their platform for building various components and UI elements.
  2. Instagram: Another platform owned by Meta, Instagram, utilized React to create its web interface.
  3. WhatsApp Web: WhatsApp's web version is built using React, allowing users to access their messages through a web browser.
  4. Netflix: React is used in parts of the Netflix user interface, helping to deliver a smooth and interactive experience.
  5. Airbnb: Airbnb employed React to build dynamic and user-friendly components on its website.
  6. Uber: React is utilized by Uber for parts of their web interface, ensuring a responsive and efficient user experience.
  7. Twitter(X): Although Twitter (X) primarily used its own framework called Flight, it started integrating React for specific parts of its web application.
  8. Dropbox: Dropbox utilized React to create interactive components and improve the overall user interface on its site.
  9. Pinterest: React is used by Pinterest to help build responsive and interactive elements for their platform.
  10. Reddit: Reddit utilized React in some sections of its website to enhance the user experience.

Which One Choose in 2024?

So, which builder you should choose? Choosing between Next.js and React is like selecting between a fully furnished house or creating a custom-designed home.

If you're looking for a fully furnished house ready to live, Next.js is your go-to. But if you're excited to put together your own household, using your creativity to craft each room, React is your perfect match.Remember, the choice ultimately depends on the nature of the project, the team's expertise and your personal building style. Both tools have their own strengths, If you seek enhanced performance, SEO optimization, and seamless routing, Next.js is your partner. Whereas, React provides you with customization and a vast ecosystem

Conclusion

We hope this infographic (Next.js vs. React) and blog gave you an idea about Next.js and React and briefly explained the differences between these two JavaScript powerhouses. Although, the choice depends on your project's goals.

If you're looking to build content-heavy websites with outstanding performance, Next.js is the answer. On the other hand, if you're excited to build interactive interfaces with modular components, React is your ideal partner.

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