Next.js is a framework for React, and since its initial release five years ago, it has swiftly become one of the most prominent and most-used platforms for app development. It's flexible without being too open-ended, it's easy to learn, and it's designed to work for both server-side and client-side design. There's no wonder that it's among the most widely-used platforms available today.
Not too long ago, we wrote up a rundown of the differences between Create-React-App and Next.js, but it can be tricky to visualize all of that in the abstract. What can Next.js be used for in the real world? Check out these examples of apps made with Next.js.
Regardless of how you feel about cryptocurrencies in general, you can't deny that CoinMarketCap is one of the foremost authorities on all things crypto.
Next.js is great for building a site with static site elements and dynamically-filled data while maintaining a speedy load time. CoinMarketCap loads exceptionally quickly and populates fields with data ranging from coin values to trending coins to a feed of recent video content created by coiners.
The site also uses React (obviously; Next.js is a framework for React) and Node.js for its server-side code. You can see how the combination of technologies gives it a speedy loading time and very responsive design, even though it's drawing in dozens or hundreds of data points from its servers with every page load.
You can change language or currency, even enable/disable dark mode with the click of a button, and watch the page adjust in real-time; no need for a full reload. That's the power of Next.js. For added features, check out the top corner.
TailwindCSS provides a website builder/designer powered primarily with CSS. It's essentially a framework and engine for creating, deploying, maintaining, and building CSS to beautify and design a website. It doesn't do anything CSS doesn't normally do, but it provides a framework and tool to allow you to build it without the hassle of doing everything manually.
Just check out their website for various "live" demos showcasing what it can do.
While we could go on about all of the cool features of TailwindCSS, that's not the point. The point is to examine their website. See how fast it loads? See how easily elements can adapt to changes you make with the click of a button, whether it's part of one of their demos or the toggle between light and dark mode at the top? Those are features of Next.js built into their design.
TailwindCSS is great because it can also use with Next.js to design your own website. They've categorized and optimized CSS uniquely and interestingly, making it much easier to use, easier to implement, and faster than most of the alternatives, including just manually coding CSS.
Next.js is a small, agile, and easy-to-use framework. These features make it perfect for creating quick, small projects, which is why you see it as the basis for a massive array of small-scale sites and proof of concept ideas.
That doesn't mean it's only used by small sites, however.
The truth is, Next.js is used by some of the largest websites in the world, too.
One of the most significant advantages of Next.js is building a static page to hold dynamic data. You know, the front page always looks the same but is populated with various data streams, which change depending on when you load it, even throughout the day.
IMDb is one such site that exemplifies this design. Their pages are all static but populated with the relevant data, whether it's the video stream on the front page or the static information about a movie in individual film records. It even maintains a user's browsing history and shows you dynamically-populated data customized just for you. Imagine trying to do that with plain old web dev!
Starbucks is another billion-dollar company using Next.js for its site design. In this case, you can see that the Starbucks homepage is very light on elements. It's essentially just a stack of large-format CTAs for things like their menus, their rewards card, and their partnership with food delivery.
Where things get more complicated and interesting is in their Stories section. Starbucks Stories feature everything from individual employee tales to the company's efforts to preserve the environment and the communities they join. You may or may not be skeptical about the truth of their efforts – they are, after all, a billion-dollar company – but they will certainly let you explore their efforts with a quick, reactive Next.js implementation.
One of the tell-tale signs a site is using Next.js is when you click between sub-pages or elements, and the page loads quickly or immediately. At the same time, it takes a very slight moment – fractions of a second, but just barely enough to notice – for the dynamic data to load in. You can see this on Starbucks if you tab between sub-sections.
Who doesn't know Hulu by now? Next.js power the video giant and Netflix competitor.
After all, if you think about it, what better use case for something like Next.js? You want a framework that allows for easily-generated, static, fast-loading pages. You want the ability to dynamically adjust and load in server-side data without requiring a full page reload. A framework page with data about a media piece, plus a dynamic element to display the video data and the video itself? That's a perfect use case for Next.js implementation.
Hulu isn't alone, either. Netflix also uses Next.js for the same set of reasons. Both of them are pretty similar in design and infrastructure when you get right down to it, so it's no surprise they run on the same architecture.
Many people assume that it's a massive overhead cost and a considerable expense to run a site and service like Netflix or Hulu. They're right, but it's not because of the web design itself. The site's actual design itself doesn't need to be expensive or run on expensive architecture. Instead, it's because of the sheer cost of the servers required to store the video files and the bandwidth necessary to serve millions of people at a time.
You might have noticed something about the sites listed above. All of them showcase dynamic data from a server on a static client page, but they all do so in primarily grid-and-table-based formats. It's easy to do that. Populating a table or loading a grid of images is the most straightforward web design to accomplish.
What about something a little more complicated? Something that doesn't align nicely to a grid? Something like, say, national borders?
Take a world map, with all of the countries delineated, and then make each nation a dynamic source of information. That's what WorldPopulationReview does, at least at the top of their page. Their interactive map lets you see the population numbers for any country you can highlight with your cursor.
Moreover, any element you click on will let you drill down to that element and see even more data about it, from tables to charts to graphs, all nicely presented and loading near-instantly.
Next.js is an excellent framework to use when you have a lot of heavy, complicated data that can display in a compelling and visually-distinct way. A lot of this data isn't necessarily easy to parse at a glance if it's presented as a plain old table, after all.
Critically, of course, all the site has to do to update their page is update whatever data sources they pull from. Since much of the data comes from third parties, they barely need to do that. Everything populates and updates automatically.
Another example of a significant brand using Next.js, Hilton is a global hotel chain using the framework for their website.
Another thing you might have noticed about pretty much all of the sites above is that they tend to have relatively static information and purposes. They exist to showcase information, possibly in exciting ways (like WorldPopulationReview and CoinMarketCap), or they live to show you media (like Hulu, Netflix, and IMDb). Even those that provide their services or products, like TailwindCSS, are little more than interactive ways of displaying information. Click on the call to action from TailwindCSS, and you're just taken to the documentation page, which is itself just a series of elements displaying information.
Hilton is a little different and a little more advanced. While a core part of their service is still just showing information from a database – hotel location and room information – it also has all of the advanced data processing and task handling necessary to pick and book rooms.
There's a lot more going on here. Your data can change based on the date and duration of a stay, based on location (of course), and based on membership level. Yet, all of it is comfortably handled by Hilton's web design, all using Next.js. It just goes to show how easily the framework can take just about anything you throw at it.
One of the foremost resources for all things video games (and many things related to nerd culture, including movies and comics), IGN has a massive web presence and is one of the top websites in the world. It's also absolutely packed with content, given that they have an unending stream of publishing for just about every new piece of media that comes out, as well as older media they slowly build up guides and resources for.
Next.js is used to make an extremely lightweight front-end that loads very quickly. This functionality is critical to IGN because video game and nerd culture niches are highly competitive. There are easily a dozen or more sites competing for every single topic and keyword they want to rank for, which means IGN needs every advantage they can get to take one of the top few spots.
It's well-known that a fast-loading website is a huge part of modern-day SEO. Google prioritizes a fast-loading site over a slower-loading site, even if that slower site might have slightly better content. The average user has such a short attention span that they can't cater in another direction.
In many cases, a site's edge needs to take over the top spots from its competitors. Next.js is an excellent framework for precisely this reason. Sites designed using it are typically extremely fast to load their initial framework and most considerable content, which is all part of Google's Core Web Vitals.
Gartic proves another capability of Next.js that many others don't; multi-user functionality. Gartic provides a collaborative drawing game, sort of like Pictionary, with online matchmaking and multi-user rooms.
This impressive site just shows that Next.js is a robust framework that you can use to make pretty much anything you can dream up. Individual, largely-static pages? Sure! Enormous, sprawling services for a global entity? Easy. Interactive games with dozens of users simultaneously? Why not? You can do anything you imagine using Next.js as the front end and server interface.
Do you have a big idea? Do you want to bring that idea to life? We're experienced in making different products and services using Next.js and a host of other modern technologies.
Here's the deal: you can make it yourself or hire the pros.
All you need is an idea and a budget. There's no obligation, no up-front costs, and nothing at stake beyond your time. Contact us today to discuss your vision and how we would go about creating it for you.
You can also see our past work to see what kinds of sites we build for people just like you.
In web app development, technologies come and go like the winds. Sometimes a popular technology falls by the wayside in a matter of months. Occasionally a newcomer to the field swi…
The world of technology is a pulsing cycle. You'll have a period of expansion, where new technology is developed, and multiple different spin-offs, iterations, and variations appea…