Next.js Vs React: Head to Head Comparison

If you go back a couple of decades, we had only a few programming languages. The C language was considered the most advanced of all. People would spend months learning C to create small applications.

But as the technology evolved, web applications, and later mobile applications became a norm, we now have dozens of programming languages. And frameworks as well ( that let us create applications with minimum code).

Gone are the days when you had to write 100 lines of code to create small functionalities. Thanks to modern programming languages. There are so many of them used for the same purpose.

Today, we are going to compare two of them, Next.js and React. Both of them are new but embraced worldwide because of their numerous advantages. Let’s have a short introduction to both.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is an open-source framework, a product of Vercel. It’s based on Node.js and Babel and integrated with React to allow developers to create single-page applications. The goal is to make server-side rendering easy.

The Next.js provides support for static export and provides features like automatic building size optimization, a preview mode, and much quicker developer compilation.

What is React?

React is a product of Facebook and used as a base for developing single-page or mobile applications. It’s an open-source front-end JavaScript library used to create UI components and user interfaces.

Recently, it has become quite popular and it’s believed that it’s one of the most used JavaScript frameworks. A few years ago React was deemed as the leader in the industry, but gradually companies began to use it more of a library and less of a framework. For instance, you can check a React Admin Template that the majority of React developers are using because it comprises of Ready to use components & libraries

Anyways, it’s still quite popular.

Unbiased Comparison of Next.js & React

Let’s have a look at the key differences between both in terms of their performance and functionalities:

Performance

In this regard, Next is the winner. The applications you create using Next are high-performance apps because they are quite quick when it comes to server-side rendering. These applications beat the React ones because of a large group of features that enhance performance.

As a developer, you can profit from Next’s automatic server rendering and code parting. This SSR feature is not there when you code on React. The React only backs up client-side rendering, which is not enough if you want your application to be as good as Next.js’s one.

Coding Difficulty

In terms of coding, React requires you to make a segment and add it to the router. While in Next.js, you have to add the page to the pages folder and the header component link. As it goes without saying, the latter is much easier and simpler.

You don’t have to write much code and it becomes easier to follow the project and entire code. Developers learning React have to learn Create React App — which is a daunting task for amateurs.

Server-Side Rendering

ReactJs is not designed to support server-side rendering. But it allows you to configure it to achieve this objective. You have to arrange SSR with your favored server and setup.

On the other hand, Next.js fetches and renders data for every request you are required to serve a different view to each user.

Configuration

When it comes to configuration, React is quite rigid. You can’t configure anything unless you stray away from normal CRA. You will be using pre-configured read-scripts of CRA.

In contrast, Next.js is configurable to a great extent. You can configure everything from babelrc files to jest, config, and eslintrc.

Learning Curve

Both React and Next.js have low levels of difficulty. That’s because of the detailed official documentation and growing community base. One can check the basics in the online material available and start practicing from today.

Prefer video tutorials over text, but to sort out complex bugs you will have to dig deep into text tutorials. If you still want to know which one has a lower difficulty level between the two, it’s React. A front-end developer with a strong base can start learning React at any time.

Development Cost

Both React and Next.js are almost the same in this regard, i.e. they are open-source and free. Developing an application using any of the two technologies doesn’t cost you a penny, except for the price you pay to the developers if you are a business.

However, finding React developers is relatively easier than finding Next.js experts. You can hire a React developer from an IT outsourcing platform. Similarly, for those looking to hire Node.js developers, it’s important to consider their expertise in both React and Next.js, as these technologies often complement each other in modern web development projects. It is more popular, hence you can find more experienced resources in this domain.

Community

The bigger the community, the more quickly you will find solutions for complex bugs and errors while coding. In this area, React is probably the best going around. You can find React specialist bloggers, YouTubers, and contributors on different forums who can solve any kind of issue. And yes, who can forget Stack Overflow.

The Next.js community is not as big as React’s but still, you get plenty of help from the Next.js family. In a nutshell, you get exceptional support from both communities during your coding ventures.

Takeaway

As a mobile app development company, we use both technologies to create aesthetic web applications. We advise you to explore both, understand the basics, and then decide which framework is the best for you — or maybe you can learn both one by one.

Last Updated on December 21st, 2023