Is It Necessary To Learn React Before Trying Your Hands With Next.js?

In the current web development world, frameworks has been a major revolution to reduce the efforts of developers. Each framework, consisting of collection of libraries provide a unique way to perform specific tasks. The recent confusion among new developers interested in studying Next.js is whether they should learn React before moving on to Nextjs. But don’t worry all your questions will be answered by the end of this blog.

In this article we will discuss what next.js and react are, difference between them and necessity of react for learning nextjs.

What is React?

It is a JavaScript library which is dedicated to front-end development. React.js mainly focuses on building user-interface easily. It makes use of reusable components. React allows quick rendering of web page making it more search engine friendly. It is used widely as it is easy to learn, provides faster development and moreover it provides the facility of Virtual DOM which increases the performance of this framework to great extent. It mainly focuses on view layer from model, view and controller architecture.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a React framework for developing single page JavaScript applications. It provides numerous benefits to both clients as well as developers while writing the code. It allows us to do Server-side rendering which provides page loading time optimization, automatic code splitting. We will discuss all the features one by one but first let’s see how to install next.js:

Just type the code below in terminal to easily access the Next.js module:

npm install –-save next react react-dom

Server-Side Rendering (SSR)

React components make the user-view part as stated above, but before that Server-Side Rendering is important. Due to this feature the user can easily read content on its browser, once HTML has been received by browser. It reduces your page loading time. SSR helps us to develop an indexable website which helps out our Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Automatic code splitting

Next.js only loads the part of JavaScript and CSS which are required for the current page. That means there will be no extra downloading of JavaScript and CSS to view the page. It results in the faster loading of the user pages. It provides great efficiency as it prevents unnecessary JS and CSS downloading and thus quickens the user content display rate.

Hot Module Replacement (HMR)

The hot module replacement (HMR) help us to reduce our development time which ultimately benefits our clients. It enables us to view the changes that we have made to our application live as soon as it is change. You might be thinking then it’s same as that of live reload feature. But it is not the same. Using HMR it will only reload the modules on which changes are actually made, and whole application is not reloaded.

Some other major features of Next.js are as below:

  • Built-in Caching and automatic Static Optimization.
  • 100% React support.
  • Lambda function support.
  • Stable incremental Static Regeneration.
  • Webpack 5 support
  • No getInitialProps.
  • Persistent Caching for page bundles.
  • Support for Sass Modules and TypeScript.

Difference between React and Nextjs

Nextjs is developed over React so surely inherits its major features. Next.js provides a very easy coding experience. Eg: For creating page on React, we first have to create a component and then add it to the router. But in case of Node.js we just have to add required page in pages folder and required header component link. But for beginner’s point of view, you can always start with Create React App (CRA), as it lets you focus on the front end without taking tension of backend part. You can easily integrate any server of your choice as CRA is only front-end assembly.

Next.js applications are very fast and performance efficient due to server rendering and automatic code splitting. Moreover, it also provides features such as image optimization. React only provides client-side rendering and thus is a little bit less performance efficient.

React is very extensible and include features of routing, state management patterns with libraries like Redux. It is easily customizable for any project. While, Next.js comes with server-side rendering, static export, automatic build size optimization, faster development compilation.

ParametersReact.jsNext.js
Easiness of codeFast coding with CRALess coding
PerformanceRelatively slowFast
FeaturesEasily extensible, routing, management patternsServer-side rendering, automatic code splitting, static export
DocumentationWell-writtenWell-written
CommunityLargeSmall
Easiness to learnEasyEasy

Why is React.js necessary to learn before Next.js?

Now, as you are somehow with both the languages, I just want you to understand that it is necessary to learn React.js before you start trying your hands in Next.js. The Nextjs is built over React.js, so having the knowledge of its functionalities will help you to learn next.js more easily. It’s like the same as C is always mandatory to learn before every programming language to understand the basics.

It is not the case that you should learn the whole react perfectly before starting but you should have the basic work flow knowledge as both will have same kind of workflow. Moreover, Nextjs provides server-side rendering and React provides client-side rendering. So, if you merge them up than rendering on both sides can optimize your application to a great extent. You should atleast have knowledge of basic topics like functional components, hooks and JSX.

What do you think is React.js really that essential? Tell us your opinions in comments below!!

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