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Next js vs React: Comparing Two Popular Frontend Frameworks


October 31, 2022


March 20th, 2023

When it comes to having your own website or web application, it is now more of a necessity for all businesses. Choosing the right kind of technology is important to garner a good user experience and interface. Two technologies that are often being compared are Next js vs React. One is a framework, and the other is a library, yet they are contrasted.

Both are accountable for delivering a high-quality experience for users in terms of an effective front end and a great digital experience. Reactjs is a JavaScript library for creating user interfaces whereas Next.js is a production framework for React. Next.js is created on top of React and hence makes use of React whereas React doesn’t need Next.js for functioning.

This article focuses on the basics of what is Next.js, what is React.js, their features, advantages, disadvantages, organizations using them when to use what, etc.

What Is Next.js?

Created by Vercel, Next.js is a new-age open-source framework that works on top of React. It aims to make web processes faster and consists of tools that are needed for the web. Along with Node.js, it helps in building server-side apps or hybrid static apps.

It offers a proper structure to the application and routes the pages via a simplified file folder system. It is meant to create SEO-based websites, landing pages, fast and higher-load web applications, eCommerce apps, etc.

As a lightweight framework, it offers static site and server-side rendering because of which it offers speedy web apps. There are comprehensively pre-rendered HTML pages through which users and bots interact with each other.

Next.js creates applications that are ready for production and offer exemplary features like smart bundling, server-side rendering, etc. It involves the creation of applications wherein there are a huge number of users involved with complicated data inflow.

Next Js Features:

  • Pre-rendering through server-side rendering and static generation
  • Support for TypeScript making it liked more by developers
  • Continuous support for Redux
  • Configurable as per needs with simple routing mechanisms
  • Automated build size optimization
  • Quicker development compilation
  • Ideal for developing landing pages of applications
  • Creates good and fast marketing websites
  • Excellent support for SEO-based websites and applications

What Is React.js?

Powered by Facebook, React.js is a popular, open-source JavaScript library that is used to create interactive user interfaces with ease. It is a simplified frontend development library that gels well with React Native and Redux for the creation of user interfaces.

Since the components are declarative in nature and scalable, they are the best fit for complicated applications also. Developers can create SEO-friendly applications, dynamic mobile apps, interactive dashboards, SPA, etc.

React.js facilitates developers to write the code only once and use it at multiple places, anytime and anywhere. It makes use of JavaScript or TypeScript to build components. It uses a reactive methodology with a functional programming concept.

React has carved a niche for itself in the software development tools arena. Being a flexible and exhaustive library, with the aid of other tools like Redux, React.js has been able to showcase multiple features that attract developers.

Good Read: ReactJS Developer: Role, Responsibilities, Skills, Salary And Lot More

React Js Features:

  • One-way data binding
  • Virtual DOM
  • Offers extensions covering application architecture
  • Provides speed, simplicity, performance
  • Write code for building blocks of React UI
  • Effective component architecture
  • Less coding through function components
  • Complete power of JavaScript through JSX
  • Addition of opt-in features through Hooks API

Next js vs React Advantages

Advantages of Next js –

There are evident reasons why Next.js is so popular and here are the key advantages of Next js that are enjoyed by developers:

  • Easy coding mechanism, needs less code, and has enhanced legibility
  • Server-side rendering and Static Generation leading to faster performance
  • Instant visibility to file changes on page refresh
  • Easy customization, import of CSS styles from JavaScript files
  • Enhanced optimization of images with modernized formats
  • Simple deployment mechanism with the fast launch of applications
  • Seamless connection with third-party APIs, creating API routes
  • Tools and bundlers included in the initial configuration setup
  • Better SEO results, faster crawling, and rankings
Advantages of React –

React has always been a popular technology and below mentioned are the major advantages of React, that have attracted developers

  • Relies on JavaScript, has good documentation, and is easy to learn
  • Pre-packaged scripts with tools such as Create React App for faster execution
  • Reusable components to create flexible web applications
  • Easy and less coding with faster creation of dynamic apps
  • Strong community support with effective resources to assist
  • Visibility of changes across pages by editing the main component code
  • Customization is made easy with integration with other tools like Redux
  • Variety of training material, tutorials, and documentation for easy grasping
  • Effective SEO optimization with better results

Next.js vs React Disadvantages

Next js Disadvantages –
  • Does not support dynamic routing
  • Takes a long to create larger sites
  • Lesser community support
Disadvantages of React –
  • Takes a longer time to be interactive
  • Must depend upon other tools since it covers only UI layers
  • Constantly updating documentation for up-to-date information

Next Js vs React Alternatives

Next js Alternatives –

Here are the possible and popular Next js alternatives:

Create React App, Hugo, Gatsby, React Router, React, Angular Universal, LoopBack, RemixJS, etc.

React Alternatives –

Here are the possible and popular React alternatives:

Angular, Ember.js, NativeScript, jQuery, Vue.js, Preact, Next.js, Mithril, InfernoJS, Xamarin, etc.

Next.js vs React: Organizations Using Them

Companies Using Next.js –

Scale, Vercel, Nike, Hulu, Expo, IOTA, Netflix, Invision, Trulia, SumUp, Hashnode, Avocode, Github, etc.

Companies Using React –

Airbnb, Tesla, Facebook, Dropbox, Reddit, Netflix, BBC, Mattermark, CloudFlare, Atlassian, Skype, Walmart, etc.


Next Js vs React: An In-depth Comparison

Before we start comparing Next.js Vs React, let us primarily understand the basic difference between a framework and a library. Both these terminologies look similar but have their own set of differences.

A framework is a system of software and tools for the creation of web applications. It contains libraries for support in building apps. It also takes the support of programs, compilers, toolsets, and APIs. It offers low-level functionality support and hence sets off easily and quickly.

A library is a collection of resources that can be used by developers for a simplified coding process. The flow of applications can be controlled through a library. It includes configuration data, message templates, and pre-written code.

As we evaluate Next.js and React.js, the first one is a framework and the latter is a library.

Parameters Next js React js
Overview A framework on top of React library that simplifies the app development process

Pre-rendering, faster developer compilation, Automated building size optimization

A library ideal for creating user interfaces and provides scripts for user interface

Routing, extensible, State management patterns with libraries such as Redux

GitHub Next.js on GitHub

93.8k stars

20.6k forks

1.3k watching

React.js on GitHub

97.5k stars

25.4k forks

1.9k watching

Ideal Use Cases Ideal for server-side rendering and static websites, Marketing websites, eCommerce stores, blogs, landing pages Ideal for user interfaces for Single Page applications, News sites, delivery platforms, SaaS tools, online streaming
Server-side Rendering Supports Server-side rendering Does not support Server-side rendering
Ease of Learning Needs prior React knowledge to learn Easy to learn
Offline Support Does not need offline support Needs offline support
Scope of applications Can create a complete web application Can create an effective user interface
Index.html file No index.html file in a public folder since it is created based on requirements index.html file available in a public folder oversees the whole application
Speed and Ease of Coding Writing less code and hence easy to adapt and follow Effective coding with the help of CRA
Performance Faster performance with server-side rendering Good performance but not as fast as Next.js
Configuration Capabilities Easily configurable Not very configurable
Maintenance Easy to maintain with updates Needs to be updated on releases
Language JavaScript/TypeScript JavaScript/TypeScript
Third-Party API Support Can have third-party API through API routes More focus on user interface creation
Talent Pool Narrow talent pool Huge talent pool
Community and Documentation Support Smaller and growing developer community with precise documentation Large developer community support with effective documentation

Next js vs React: The Wrap Up

On comparing the two powerful tools – React.js vs Next.js, it is observed that both are powerful in their own territories and offer different types of application creation. Though developers do get confused about when to use Next.js and when to use React.js, both are easy to learn, have good documentation and community support, are cost-effective, and offer a great developer experience.

Developers must analyze and finalize the frontend web development tool based on deciding factors such as SEO requirements, coding essentials, performance needs, project timelines, skilled resource availability, etc.

React will help when there is a creation of beautiful web apps. Next.js will help when there is an SEO-based website with image creation etc. So, as a final say, it is difficult to pinpoint anyone. Choose either and it will be a beneficial choice!

Good Read: Svelte vs React: Comparing Two Frontend JavaScript Frameworks

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