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7 Advantages of Next.js Over the Create React App

by Deborah Iroegbu

October 9, 2023

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Introduction

As web development continues to evolve, React has firmly established itself as one of the most popular and widely used JavaScript libraries for building user interfaces. As React continues to soar, developers have a choice between different tools and frameworks to enhance their workflow and create better user experiences.

The two prominent choices in this landscape are Next.js and Create React App (CRA). While both serve as powerful tools for building React applications, this article highlights the 7 advantages of using Next.js over the Create React App.

Before we begin, let’s evaluate the differences between these two powerful tools:

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a front-end framework that makes it easy to build fast websites with React. It allows you to build supercharged, SEO-friendly, and extremely user-facing static websites and web applications using the React framework. Next.js is the best tool for building production-ready applications with all the features you need.

What is the Create React App?

On the other hand, the create-react-app command is a wonderful tool for beginners, allowing you to rapidly create and execute a React project. It does not require any manual configuration. This tool wraps all of the vital dependencies such as Webpack and Babel for the React project itself, allowing you to focus just on developing React code.

7 Advantages of Next.js Over the Create React App

1. Server-Side Rendering (SSR) and Static Site Generation (SSG)

One of the most significant advantages of Next.js is its built-in support for Server-Side Rendering and Static Site Generation. SSR allows rendering a web page on the server and sending a fully-rendered page to the client, which improves performance and SEO. SSG takes this a step further by generating static HTML files during build time, reducing the load on the server and enabling faster page loads.

Create React App, lacks basic support for SSR and SSG, this requires additional configuration and other external libraries to achieve similar functionalities.

2. Improved Performance and SEO

With Next.js, performance is optimized right out of the box. SSR and SSG capabilities contribute to faster initial page loads and improved Time To Interactive (TTI), resulting in a better user experience.

Furthermore, search engines favor sites with faster load times and well-structured content, making Next.js an excellent choice for projects that require strong SEO performance.

3. Automatic Code Splitting

Code splitting minimizes initial load times by breaking your application’s code into smaller chunks that are loaded on demand. Next.js provides an automatic code splitting, ensuring that only the necessary JavaScript is sent to the client, thereby reducing the time it takes for a page to become interactive.

While Create React App also supports code splitting, Next.js handles this process seamlessly, improving overall application performance.

4. Simplified Routing

Next.js simplifies routing by providing file-based routing. Each page component can be represented by a corresponding file within the “pages” directory. By directly reflecting the application’s routes in the file structure, this approach makes navigating straightforward.

In contrast, Create React App requires an additional configuration, React Routing, to handle routing, making Next.js a more developer-friendly option.

5. API Routes

Next.js includes a powerful feature known as API routes, which enables developers to create API endpoints without servers, within their application. This functionality streamlines the process of building and managing APIs, reducing the need for a separate backend server.

In Create React App, setting up serverless API endpoints can be more complex and might involve using external services or libraries.

6. Full Control Over Babel and Webpack

Next.js provides developers with the ability to customize and configure Babel and Webpack to meet specific project requirements. This level of control is crucial for optimizing build processes, integrating third-party libraries, and fine-tuning performance.

While Create React App offers just the basic, Next.js’s flexibility allows for structured optimizations and a more efficient development process.

7. CSS Modules and Stylesheet Handling

Next.js offers native support for CSS Modules, allowing for better organization of styles and preventing global CSS conflicts. This feature promotes cleaner and more maintainable code by isolating component-specific styles.

Create React App supports CSS Modules as well, but Next.js’s seamless integration enhances the development experience for styling React components.

Conclusion

Generally, it is important to choose the right tools and frameworks that can significantly impact a project’s success. While Create React App remains a popular choice for quickly setting up a React application, Next.js stands out with its awesome feature set and enhanced integration of server-side rendering, static site generation, routing, API routes, and more.

These 7 advantages of Next.js over Create React App, including enhanced performance, SEO, code splitting, and customization options, make it a compelling option for developers seeking to build high-quality, performant, and user-friendly applications and websites.

As you embark on your next web development journey, consider the unique benefits that Next.js can bring to your projects. However, Charisol offers an amazing website and application development using Next.js.

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Deborah Iroegbu

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