The two and a half + one flavors of next.js’s pre-rendering

Confused by the title? Don’t be, we will take a look at the different pre-rendering options provided by next.js.

According to the documentation, next.js has two flavors of pre-rendering Static Generation (SSG) and Server-side Rendering (SSR):

Two forms of Pre-rendering
next.js has two forms of pre-rendering: Static Generation and Server-side Rendering. The difference is in when it generates the HTML for a page.
https://nextjs.org/docs/basic-features/pages#two-forms-of-pre-rendering

What are the other one and a half options? Let’s take a deep breath and go for a deep dive!

1st flavor: Static Generation (SSG)

The HTML is generated at build time and will be reused on each request. It’s the recommended one, because SSG pre-rendered pages are easy to cache and fast to deliver. Usually they have a lower time for first paint and less blocking time.
In case you need dynamic data you can use combine it with Client-side Rendering.

To prepare a page for Static Generation (SSG) use getStaticProps and it is run on build time.

Minimal example

import Page from '../Page';
export default Page;

export async function getStaticProps() {
    return { props };
}

2nd flavor: Server-side Rendering (SSR)

The HTML is generated on each request. You can easily add dynamic data or consume external API’s and render their data to the HTML file before serving it to the client.

To prepare a page for Server-side Rendering (SSR) use getServerSideProps and is run on every request instead of on build time.

Of course you can create a “hybrid” next.js app by using Static Generation and Server-side Rendering depending on the page.

Minimal example

import Page from '../Page';
export default Page;

export async function getServerSideProps() {
    const props = await getData();
    return { props };
}

2nd and a half flavor: Incremental Static Regeneration (ISG)

The HTML is generated at build time and this cached version is shown initially.
Then, the current, updated version is generated, shown and replaces the cached version of the page and consequent visitors will receive the new version immediately.
It’s like a hybrid solution of SSG and SSR with a stale-while-revalidate caching strategy. Using ISR instead of SSR will massively increase your application’s performance and improve your Lighthouse score as well as your user’s experience.

To prepare a page for Static Generation (SSG) use getStaticProps with the revalidate property.

Minimal example

import Page from '../Page';

export default Page;

export async function getStaticProps() {
    return { props, revalidate: 30 };
}

Plus one flavor: $ next export

All the above examples are build for production with $ next build and they are relying on the build-in node.js server. Even with the static sites from SSG you need a host with node.js support (for example https://www.vercel.com or https://www.netlify.com).

If you’re running $ next export instead, next.js will create a truly static version of your page which you can drop into any webserver and thus can be served from any host.

But be careful, of course this works only with SSG-ready pages and even then some next.js features are not available:

  • Incremental Static Generation (ISG) is not supported
  • API Routes are not supported
  • getServerSideProps are not supported
  • Internationalized Routing is not supported
  • The next/image component’s default loader is not supported

Summary:

next.js‘s flavors or pre-rendering:


Follow me on Twitter: @_martinkr or https://dev.to/martinkr/ for code snippets or quick tipps.

originally posted at https://dev.to/martinkr/the-two-and-a-half-one-flavors-of-next-js-s-pre-rendering-44o

Martin Krausehttp://mkrause.info/
“It’s only work if somebody makes you do it.” • craft code • creative ideas • cutting edge • adventures above and below the sea level

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