Next JS vs Gatsby: Choosing Your React Framework

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Next JS vs Gatsby Choosing Your React Framework

Introduction

Today, we will discuss Next js Vs Gatsby both are popular frameworks for building web applications, particularly focusing on React-based projects. You can decide for yourself which one to choose based on your requirements, once we discuss the features of Next.js and Gatsby, Next.js advantages, Gatsby advantages, apps developed with Next.js and Gatsby, etc.

Whether it is for mobile app developmentweb app development, or any other software development, it’s a tough task to choose a perfect technology or platform for developing your business solution. And when you have to choose between two prominent players, it’s even more difficult. So, in order to pull you out of the fix, we are here with yet another comparison.

So, let’s have a look at all the aspects of Next js vs Gatsby in detail, to help you understand which one is the perfect fit for your business solution.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is an open-source development framework that is built on top of Node.js. It is used to enable React-based functionalities for web applications that include, static website development and server-side rendering.

Next.js is totally based on React, Babel, and Webpack. With the amazing features that Next.js has to offer, it is gaining popularity among the developers’ community as well.

Next.js supports effective front-end development, as it uses Jamstack architecture that differentiates between front-end and backend. Next.js is known for reducing the burden on web browsers by using server-side rendering that dynamically generates HTML through the server whenever any new request is received.

Next.js extends great support to static page generation, including CDN caching, static page generation, etc. Thus, it is considered perfect for developing large-scale applications and dynamic websites with robust server interactions.

What is Gatsby?

Gatsby is an open-source framework to develop static websites and apps that combine the functionalities of GraphQL, React, and Webpack into a single tool. With numerous exciting and helpful features, Gatsby is slowly gaining the position of being the first choice for modern app and web development.

For providing amazing features that include faster page loads, code-splitting, server-side rendering, data prefetching, image loading, etc., Gatsby uses pre-configuration to develop websites that make use of only static files.

The incredible speed of Gatsby is all thanks to its PRPL architecture. Google developed PRPL architecture to build apps and websites that work smoothly on various devices with unreliable internet connections.

PRPL stands for:

  • Push the critical resources for the initial URL route. This uses the HTTP/2 server push that ensures that you provide site assets to the users before they have asked for it.
  • Render initial route. This is the basic rendering of any web page.
  • Pre-cache remaining routes. Gatsby uses Pre-fetch and cache by a service worker to identify and include any hyperlinks, also downloading their code, before they are needed.
  • Lazy-load and create remaining routes on-demand. As and when the user scrolls down any pages, all the hyperlinks that come into the viewport are also pre-downloaded.

Why Next.js?

Wondering about the amazing Next js features that has to offer that make it so popular? We are here with the best features for you,

1. Server-side rendering

In Next.js, the React components can be rendered on the server-side before the HTML is sent to the client. Basically, on receiving each client request, the HTML is generated, making the web pages faster and more powerful.

Thus, server-side rendering is an apt solution for increasing the speed and performance of web pages.

2. Image component & optimization

When you are considering images or media files for your website, the first thought that strikes you is image optimization to improve the website’s speed and be more user-friendly.

Here’s where Next.js wins the battle. It provides a tag for automatic image optimization to convert the images to the modern image format WebP that provides the highest quality and best size.

3. Static file serving

Next.js has a folder named “Public” in the root directory, which is the house for all the static documents, images, etc. This is an amazing feature of Next.js that serves the static resources in the “Public” folder that the code can reference from the base URL(/).

4. Fast refresh

With the Fast refresh feature of Next.js, which is available in all the Next.js applications on 9.4 or newer, you can see the changes within seconds. This feature provides instantaneous feedback on all the edits you make to the react components, and that too, without losing the component state, you can see them within seconds.

Why Gatsby?

After getting an introduction to Gatsby, you might be wondering what made Gatsby great, well, let’s have a look at some of the exciting reasons,

1. Enables modern workflow

Gatsby provides support for all the latest web standards and amalgamates technologies such as GraphQL, React, and Webpack. Thus, Gatsby offers complete support for all modern workflows.

2. Gatsby cloud

Gatsby provides custom cloud infrastructure for building websites with incremental builds, deploying powerful developer previews, real-time CMS previews, and auto-generated Lighthouse reports.

3. On-point documentation

Gatsby’s documentation is considered a gold standard for any open-source documentation ever. With clear, comprehensive, and contextual documentation, even beginners can learn it quickly.

4. Out-of-the-box performance

Gatsby provides fantastic performance by maximizing the site performance using various strategies. These strategies include highly inherent critical assets, effective code-splitting, preloading and pre-fetching of assets, and more.

When to choose Next.js?

There are numerous scenarios where Next.js can be used to excel the performance and provide the best features. Here are some of the popular use cases of Next.js.

  • Client-side rendered applications
  • Web portals
  • Large multi-user websites
  • Big eCommerce websites
  • Finance websites
  • SaaS and B2B websites

When to choose Gatsby?

Gatsby is used to developing static websites and is quite popular as a Static Site Generator. Some of the significant use cases of Gatsby are,

  • Static content websites
  • Documentation websites
  • Personal blogs or Portfolio websites
  • Highly secure websites
  • Progressive web apps
  • SEO-friendly websites
  • Headless CMS compatible websites

Successful Websites Built with Next.js

Successful websites built with Next.js

With the huge success of Next.js and its increasing popularity among developers as well as businesses, many giants have embraced it. Here are a few Next.js examples of successful websites,

Tiktok

One of the popular social media platforms that allow users to share short-form videos, TikTok, uses Next.js to elevate the experience for millions of users.

Twitch

By utilizing the best features of Next.js, Twitch social media platform was interacting, chatting, and sharing different types of content together.

Hulu

Like Netflix, Hulu is an online streaming platform powered by Next.js, which provides its users with movies, series, and TV shows online.

AT&T

This wireless plan, phone, and accessories provider giant has embraced Next.js with all the features to ensure users have a smooth and seamless experience.

PlayStation Competition Center

PlayStation constantly holds new tournaments for the players, and to sign up for the tournaments, they have used Next.js to develop PlayStation Competition Center.

Successful Websites Built with Gatsby

Successful websites built with Gatsby

Gatsby is also increasingly popular with the number of companies developing their websites with Gatsby is also increasing. Let’s have a look at some of the famous ones,

Airbnb

Airbnb uses Gatsby to develop two of their websites Airbnb Developers’ Blog, and Airbnb Engineering & Data Science. Also, it believes in the power that Gatsby provides to build attractive designer websites for launching its products as well.

Just Do It by Nike

Another big name that has embraced Gatsby is Nike. This website mainly shares the experiences, dreams, and stories of people. Nike used the goodness of Gatsby for its Just Do It project.

Braun

Braun used Gatsby for the development of the store for their Canadian branch. This popular razor brand is quite happy to embrace Gatsby and is looking forward to using it for more branches.

Figma

Even Figma could not hold back from using Gatsby to develop their website. All the exciting features of Gatsby have elevated the popularity and usefulness of Figma even more.

PayPal Developer Documentation

The modern face of commerce with PayPal is built on Gatsby. This amazing website is known as PayPal Developer Documentation that even supports commerce platforms and elevates developer experience.

Next JS vs Gatsby: Choosing the Best React Framework

Next js vs Gatsby graph

When you are considering Next.js and Gatsby, apart from many differences, these two frameworks are quite similar.

Let’s have a look at some of the major similarities between Next js and Gatsby,

  • Both Next.js and Gatsby don’t have a very steep learning curve. The reason is that if you already know how to build React-based websites, then this experience can be utilized.
  • It is very easy to set up both these frameworks with comprehensive docs and add desired features on top of it.
  • Faster development is offered by Next.js and Gatsby both, as they both offer hot-reloading.
  • With built-in routing for creating new pages, code-splitting and code-optimization are done by default.
  • The page load speed is fast in both Next.js and Gatsby as they pre-fetch the links before they appear in the viewport to save time.

Now you might be wondering if these two have so many similarities, then how can you choose one for your development.

Well, here are a few major differences between Next.js and Gatsby to help you make a decision.

  • Next.js is a server-side rendering tool, and its newer versions from 9.3 support Static Site Generation.
  • And in the case of Gatsby, it is just a Static Site Generator, and that’s the only way to use it.
  • When we discuss data handling, Next.js is more flexible than Gatsby.
  • In Gatsby, only GraphQL is to be used for overall data handling. And in the case of Next.js, it’s the developer’s choice as to how they want to fetch the data.
  • The community is highly engaging and gets support from various interesting agency programs due to Gatsby’s extremely easy to work and pleasant environment.
  • Next.js has slightly taken a step back when it comes to the size and engagement of the community.
  • On the one hand, where Gatsby allows usage of various plugins, extensions, themes, integrations, and more to make development easier.
  • Next.js encourages the developers to custom-build their plugins, extensions, etc., to make possibilities unlimited as well as make projects ultra-customized.

Next JS vs Gatsby: Developer’s take

When it comes to the comparison of such popular and well-versed frameworks, who can give a better verdict than the developer himself. With experience as both, a Next.js developer as well as Gatsby developer, here’s the ace techie sharing his point-of-view.

Let’s see what Nisharg Shah, Full-stack Developer, at OpenXcell has to say,

I have used both Next.js and Gatsby in many projects and I love them both. But I am slightly more inclined towards Next.js due to the following reasons:

  • Provides full-stack option with inbuilt express.
  • Provides the option for SSR & SSG.
  • It’s very helpful when you expect your content to grow a lot over time.
  • It has the option of SSR, so you will implement your website in a way that you can see your updated content immediately on your website.
  • It has more community support than Gatsby.
  • Awesome & friendly documentation.
  • Next 12 with middleware and fast refresh support with rust compiler.

I used Gatsby in some of my projects and I felt that it’s hard to learn for beginners because the documentation Gatsby has is slightly ambiguous and it favors GraphQL more than REST. Most APIs are built-in the REST, so developers usually don’t use it. Gatsby has too many plugins to implement the same functionality, but it’s hard to achieve and difficult to learn.

Gatsby is good when it comes to the small application and does not affect the user if the content of the application will change after some time. Gatsby 4 is released now and it supports SSR, but the documentation and the tutorial presented on the internet are not sufficient, so I suggest using Next.js.

Final thoughts: What to Choose Between Next JS vs Gatsby

When comparing such young and easy-to-learn React frameworks, it becomes a slightly tough task to choose from Next.js and Gatsby. Both these frameworks have features that are applicable for different use cases and application types. Neither Gatsby is Next.js alternative, nor Next.js of Gatsby, both have their own unique identity.

You need to wisely choose from Next.js and Gatsby depending upon your requirements and business solution type. If you still have any ambiguity, then our expert techies are at your service to guide you through the entire process and help you make your decision and development. So whether you want to create a Next.js app or Gatsby app, we are here.

| ALSO READ: Next JS vs React – A Guide To Choosing The Right Framework

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author
Bhoomi Ramanandi
AUTHOR

Bhoomi Ramanandi is a Content Writer who is working at OpenXcell. With an IT background and more than 7 years of experience in the writing field, she loves learning new technologies and creating useful content about them. She loves pens and paper as much as she loves pan and pepper. Give her the latest technology or any recipe, she is always up for it.

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