The Future of  Next.js 12

16 Nov 2021

Next.JS was announced by Vercel on October 26, 2021- It is the latest version of its JavaScript framework based on the React library. The CEO of Vercel, Guillermo Rauch, who is also the creator of Next.js, quoted version 12 as ‘the first SDK for the web’ concerning the advanced functionalities.

What is new with Next.JS 12?

Next.js has increased speed which empowers developers in getting better site rankings through Google’s Core Web Vitals. Like Google, Facebook is also a strong support system for Next.js. In the present situation, developers are pushing their limits with codebases. With codebases having thousands of poage entry points, and ten thousand components, modern web development is battling a lot of issues. This has catalyzed ‘native tooling’ in Next.JS 12 version, particularly with the announcement of a compiler built using Rust, a futuristic programming language known for its performance speed.

In Node.JS 12, a Rut-based engine for compilation is combined with the existing JS-optimized infrastructure. This results in three times better development speed and five times better build speed. Additionally, it also offers ten times more speed for specific processes like minification of bundles. 

Node.JS 12 has additional features like ‘running code before a request is completed’ enabled through ES modules and URL imports, instant Hot Module Replacement (HMR), and ‘Middleware’.

In short, Next.JS 12 is the biggest release ever with the following highlights:

  • Rust Compiler
  • Middleware (beta)
  • React 18 Support
  • ‘<Image />’ AVIF Support
  • Not-aware ISR Fallback
  • Native ES Module Support
  • URL Imports (alpha)
  • React Server Component (alpha)

Bringing Next.JS at the edge with New Middleware and Edge Runtime

Next.JS Middleware empowers developers by eliminating the operational burden with the backing of serverless deployment, high scalability among others. Like already mentioned, Next.JS Middleware runs code even before the request is completed. The response can be rewritten, redirected, added with headers, or even streamed HTML based on the users’ influx of requests. Middleware logic is shareable for a set of pages- authentication, bot security, redirects, handles unauthenticated browsers, feature flags, a/b tests, server-side analytics, logging, and more.

Edge functions in Next.JS Middleware are so deployed that it nullifies the leftover tradeoffs with serverless. Edge functions boot up promptly with no cold boots, deploy globally, and backstreaming HTML. Also, Edge Functions reduce the burden on the client by eliminating lengthy routing configuration files and supporting robust applications at the edge. In short, the power of dynamic code generates the power to users with the speed surety of static.

Next.JS Middleware and Edge functions favors:

  • Running JavaScript before even processing requests.
  • Modifying request responses.
  • Defining the entire global infrastructure of applications by fusing a few pieces of code during the deployment time.

Each Edge function is deployed globally, while developers define Next.JS Middleware as part of their Next.JS applications. Even without any configuration, Edge functions run automatically in every region of the Edge network and unlike serverless functions, Edge functions have no cold bots.

What are the Innovative Elements included in Next.JS?

Next.JS 12 is optimized for Developer Experience with the following innovative elements:

  • ES Modules: Next.JS ships smaller bundles to users within the support of ES modules.
  • URL Imports: Seamless integrations with no code and design tools are enabled using the introduction of experimental URL imports, thus improving developers’ experience.
  • Instant HMR and Builds: With zero code changes, Next.JS 12’s Rust-based compiler enables thrice faster Fast Refresh and five times faster production builds.  
  • Next.JS Enhancements (Beta): Next.JS Live runs natively inside the web browser and allows anyone within the link to collaborate by booting up instantaneously.
  • Server-side Rendering Streaming and React Server Components (Alpha): Data can be fetched from the server-side and those results can be streamed to the browser cumulatively with no client-side JavaScript.

Next.JS is termed as the first SDL for the web making developing, building, collaborating, and shipping much swifter than its predecessor. The Next.JS Middleware framework is consistent within the global opportunities of the modern cloud, thus powering websites with more dynamicity, personalization, and performance. Codes can be run anywhere, giving the best of the static and dynamic world with one unified abstraction.

Designers and Business Users Collaboration with Next.JS 12

Next.JS is an in-depth framework for experienced web developers, but Next.JS allows the merging of development with no code and design tools. Thus non-developers can use Next.JS even if they restrict using tools only for collaborating with developers.

According to Vercel CEO Mr. Rauch, the URL import functionality enables “new kinds of seamless integrations into no code and design tools like Framer”. This helps in heightening the number of non-developers among its users.

Framer is a tool used by designers to prototype components or products within a visual user interface and hidden code. The URL imports in Next.JS 12 support a user in importing a component that was visually designed in a tool like Framer. The user can design a component visually like a sketch. The URL of the sketch should be then copied and imported to your codebase and then the visual design of the component tree is completed.

But all this does not mean that non-developers can easily use Next.JS to build an app, but URL imp[ort certainly advocates the ‘low-code functionality to the non-developer user base of Next.JS 12.

Endnote: Next.JS- the future of Web Applications

As of October 2021, it has been five years since Next.JS has been introduced to the developer community and it has been showing a positive growth trajectory as a wide-ranging JavaScript since its instigation. 

When it was introduced in October 2016, it was a small framework designed for server-rendered universal JavaScript web apps. Now it has grown into a framework with Middleware! With Edge functions and React Server components, Next. JS got itself a subtle distinction enabled for its developers.

And one more thing. Then visual designers and business users will not understand the advanced functionalities of Next.JS, because the developers can exercise full control of this framework!


Thanks For Reading!

Webdura Technologies

Webdura Technologies

Webdura technologies is a full spectrum technology company in India with over 10 years of experience in developing technological solutions using ​JavaScript (ES6+), React JS, React Native, Redux, Rematch, Vue JS, Graph QL, Apollo, Meteor JS, Node JS, Gatsby JS, PHP, Wordpress, MySQL, Mongo DB and other latest tools. Webdura technologies have joined hands with many international and national giants to put forth cutting edge applications in this past decade.



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