Next.js 3 has even more fun goodies to play around with

Next.js: A minimalistic, universal framework for JavaScript web apps

Jane Elizabeth
Shutterstock / studiostock

Next.js wants to be the next PHP of the internet, except for JavaScript. With a minimalist approach to server-rendered apps, this highly customizable framework is simple enough for beginners to get up and go. The newest version, Next.js 3 has even more fun goodies to play around with. Dig in!

JavaScript isn’t the easiest to deploy on the first go. While there are some projects that aim to simplify the experience, some of them are more difficult than others. Often, you need to know client-side routing or page layout, or how to perform server-side tasks.

In comparison, PHP is dead simple: create some files, write some PHP code, and then deploy it. No muss, no fuss. Routing isn’t much of a worry and the server renders the app by default.


Next.js is bringing the PHP experience to JavaScript. Simple, yet customizable; instead of PHP, you get to build with JavaScript and React. With over 17,000 stars on GitHub, Next.js has improved wildly since its initial offering last year. And now, Next.js 3 is available. Let’s take a closer look at this minimalist framework.

SEE MORE: Facebook to relicense React, Jest, Flow, and Immutable.js under MIT license

Universal JavaScript (or Isomorphic JavaScript, if you want to sound very sci fi about it), is just code that can be run the same on the server, browsers, mobile devices, and any other kind of platform. While there are a whole host of frameworks and libraries out there that can help you build a universal server-rendered React or JavaScript application, Next.js is likely one of the most minimalistic.

Next.js is a small framework that ships with a number of cool features, including:

  • Server-rendered by default
  • Automatic code splitting for faster page loads
  • Simple client-side routing (page based)
  • Webpack-based dev environment which supports Hot Module Replacement(HMR)
  • Able to implement with Express or any other Node.js HTTP server
  • Customizable with your own Babel and Webpack configurations

Next.js 3

The newest version, Next.js 3 has even more fun goodies to play around with. Dynamic import allows for a codebase that can be split up into several sections that can later be dynamically loaded. The community-driven static export feature allows users to create a truly static site with no need for a server to deploy it.

In pure functionality, things have improved dramatically in small but important ways. For one, the startup time is now twice as fast. The color scheme in error messages has changed to be more readable. (Look, aesthetics are important, okay?)

SEE MORE: JavaScript cheat sheet: Tips & tricks

And, also important, the core bundle size for Next.js has decreased, which is always good for your battery life. Other big changes include improved hot module replacement and an opt-in utility that makes it easier to dynamically load Reactive components.


If you’re interested in Next.js, head on over to their website or GitHub page to check them out. You’re not the only one: Next.js is gaining fans (and stars) quick!

Jane Elizabeth
Jane Elizabeth is an assistant editor for

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