Vercel unveiled Next.js 13 at their developer conference last month. The updated version, which is now in beta, adds a tonne of fascinating new features and strengthens the appeal and coherence of React’s server-side rendering and its interactions with interactive client-side components.

Before exploring some of the new features in Next.js 13 and explaining their significance, we will first provide a brief introduction to Next.js in this article.

What is Next.js?

You may create rapid web applications with the help of Next.js, a versatile React framework. By supporting server-side rendering, more server-side functionality, and an improved development and deployment toolchain, the Next.js development framework expands on React.

Performance and SEO are the two most important benefits of server-side rendering with Next.js. An application’s fully drawn initial state can be sent with just one request thanks to server-side rendering. As a result, the content can be indexed by a search engine, requiring less work from the browser. The displayed data can, if necessary, be cached to increase performance even more.

These Next.js features, along with others, can strengthen React’s strong foundation and alleviate some of the shortcomings of a purely client-side approach. Any application where performance and SEO are important should greatly benefit from the inclusion of Next.js to the stack.

Managed to learn more about Next.js, let’s evaluate what the Next.js 13 release has to offer.

What has changed in Next.js 13?

The first thorough attempt to combine React’s two identities—the UI Library and the Architecture—was Next.js 13. What then is new in it?

  • App/Directory for File-Based Routing:

One of the nicest aspects of Next.js is file-based routing. The directory project structure can be used to specify routes rather than navigating through the react-router route settings. By including an entry point to the directory page, a new path can be created.

Additionally, Next.js 13 supports updated file routing with the new directory on top of this concept. An entirely new layout structure and a number of new features and enhancements are brought by the optional app directory.

The new routing system has resulted in some minor changes to the directory structure. There is a directory and page specifically for each path in the route. The content entry point in Next is a js file. js 13. It has to do with how the new route differs from the old one.

We may now include more files in each path directory thanks to the new layout. Additionally, the page.js for a route, like

layout.js – A system for the path & its sub-paths.

loading.js – A system for an instant loading state using React.

Suspense under the hood & error.js, If the main component is unable to load, a component is displayed. Now that each path is its own directory, we can co-locate source files inside of those folders.

File-based routing is a terrific feature that has always been present, and the new app/ directory enhances it. The content routes replicate the structure of the content directory, streamlining development and restoring the ultimate simplicity of building more static pages.

  • React Server Components:

What’s most exciting about the new version of Next.js is the expanded support for React server components. Server components let us run and render React components on the server side for faster delivery, a smaller JavaScript bundle, and less expensive client-side rendering.

In addition, depending on the kind of data required to generate a route, server components are automatically cached at build-time or runtime for added performance benefits. Due to some differences in capabilities between the server and client components, you must arrange your application as follows.

The following table provides a list of the two components’ capabilities. It is taken from the programmes and the documentation, both of which are quite helpful.

Combining server and client components allows you to use server components for fast loaded, non-interactive parts of your programme while using client components for interaction, browser APIs, and other features.

When constructing client components for your Next.js application, you can designate them as such by using the ‘use client’; directive at the top of the file. However, if you utilise any third-party packages, you might need to create a client wrapper.

  • Data fetching and async components:

In addition, Next.js 13 introduces async components, a fresh approach to data collection for server-rendered components. When using async components, we can render systems using Promises using async & await.

When requesting data from an external service or API that returns a Promise, we declare the component as async and wait for the response:

Previous versions of Next.js needed a brand-new API in order to resolve the request data outside of the component’s lifecycle and use it as component props. A Next.js 12 technique for collecting data from a third-party service is shown in the example below:

The old technique is still supported even though it is not in the new app/ directory. To take advantage of the new app/directory structure’s exciting new features, you’ll need to upgrade your server’s componentry. If you’re not ready, you can still use the Next.js 12 pages/routing for your project.

  • Streaming

Before accessing them, users might have to wait for the complete page to generate. The server will transmit the client small pieces of the UI as it is generated. It indicates that bigger pieces won’t get in the way of smaller ones. Of course, as of right now, just the app directory is supported for this feature, and it doesn’t seem that this will change.

This new feature won’t benefit individuals with strong internet connections or speedy Wi-Fi as much as those with weaker connections. There are more of them than you would have thought, in fact. It’s great that faster site loading times will improve their experience.

  • Turbopack

The last important change introduced with Next.js 13 release was a new JavaScript bundler called Turbopack, which is referred to as the “successor to Webpack”. Webpack, one of the most used JavaScript build tools, is tremendously powerful and configurable but may occasionally be slow and complicated.

Turbopack, which was developed by the Webpack creators and is constructed in Rust, promises to be 700 times faster than the original Webpack (and 10x faster than Vite, a more modern alternative).

One modification is the ability to develop plugins in Rust rather than JavaScript. Compared to the total number of JS developers, there are much fewer developers who are proficient in JavaScript.

If you create a brand-new Next.js 13 app, you may test the new Turbopack bundler by launching your development server with next dev —turbo.

  • Other improvements

Additional packages are on the way that could hasten the loading of your graphics and fonts in addition to specific improvements to the operation of links in Next.js 13. They perform the same functions in the app and the pages directory.

  • next/image

The new Image component in Next.js includes less client-side JavaScript, styling and configuration, and improved accessibility. In terms of code changes, the next/legacy/image import has been renamed to next/image, and the next/future/image import has been changed to next/image. A codemod is available to enable quick migration.

  • next/font

You can use Google Fonts (or any other custom font) with the new @next/font without the browser submitting any queries. In addition to other static assets, CSS and font files are downloaded during build time.

  • next/link

It is a novel font system that increases efficiency and privacy by providing automatic font optimization, the possibility to integrate custom fonts, and all of these features without using any outside network requests.

What’s next?

The Next.js 13 beta is so unfinished that it almost counts as an alpha. Even cutting-edge features from the most recent React, which are heavily utilised but are still in the RFC stage, are frequently not included.

No documentation is available, there are flaws that could damage your code, and error reporting is still in its early stages. On your personal computer, you are welcome to test it out. Next.js now has an even stronger emphasis on being a framework with a “powerful backend that just so happens to have a capable frontend” with this upgrade.

The decision? While we advise against utilising it in production, you should give it a shot.

Hire Next.js developers from Nettyfy Technologies rather than separate firms, and create full-stack web apps with the best features and capabilities. At Nettyfy Technologies, we provide professional NextJS development services and specialised ReactJS development services while adhering to just the finest practises. You will have the greatest partners for your project if you choose us, and we’ll make sure to use the best elements of both frameworks to make your web app come to life.

Contact us right away and let’s work together to create a successful app.