You may be feeling worn down from senior developers insisting that the traditional method of building web apps—slow code—is the best place for you to start as you learn the ropes in web development. Reliable as they are and oozing with coding wisdom, their old paradigms can sometimes get in the way of empowering young developers in trying new technologies.
Fortunately for you and many others in today’s programming landscape, a React framework like Next.js is here to make life easier and help build web applications faster.
To stand out among the thousands (maybe millions) of graduates churned out by universities either Ivy-league class or completely obscure, it pays to know that Next JS is gaining steam in the web development world. Touted as a “game changer” by web builders old and new, Next JS might be the framework that will help you create a hireworthy portfolio. And later you will see 6 Junior front-end developer portfolio examples for Next JS project inspiration.
Created in 2016, Next.js is an open-source web framework which enables React-based web applications with server-side rendering and generates static websites.
React developers building a complete web application from scratch can run into many hurdles such as:
The Next.js framework promises to solve all these problems, and according to Vercel’s website, “aims to have best-in-class developer experience.” It takes advantage of server-side rendering to reduce the burden on web browsers and enhances overall security.
The use of ‘hot reloading’ captures changes as they are made—removing the burden of having to restart your server. This feature lets any revisions made to the application code be reflected instantly in the web browser (Note: A few browsers may require page refresh).
Another neat feature, hot module replacement, allows you to replace modules live. This Next.js feature speeds up development by retaining application state lost during a full reload, and through updating only on what’s changed.
For a comprehensive list of built-in Next.js features and the Next.js environment, please visit Vercel’s Next.js page.
To strengthen your software developer portfolio, you might want to include one or two web developer portfolio projects built using the Next.js framework. Doing this may help shortlist you when recruiters are specifically ordered by hiring managers to screen for applicants who are familiar with the framework. And even if they aren’t, showcasing a few Next.js projects could help you stand out.
Refine your portfolio with these six Next.js project ideas for web apps to build.
Chibuike Nwachuku provides a good example of a URL shortener built using Next.js, Tailwind CSS and Strapi. As a developer, you might have a good idea just how off-putting the sight of a long URL is—who would want to remember dannyandtinaswedding.blogpost.com/rsvp-yes-or-no/confirm? This is where a URL shortener comes in handy, with its advantages of aesthetic appeal, analytics tracking, and link swapping, to name a few.
In fact, if this project doesn’t speak to you, no problem! You can actually utilize Nextjs route masking to create succinct URLs that are clean and SEO friendly.
Through trial-and-error, Caleb Olojo built his own blog using Next.js CMS and MDX. In his own case study, he teaches how you can create a similar blog like his and walks you through the issues he encountered at first. The functions he wrote uses the Node.js’ File System API and calls these functions at the server-side in the pages folder since Next.js has some data-fetching methods that run on the server.
In an article for the blog Ably, Jo Franchetti teaches you how you can create a real-time chat application using Next.js. The web app is built upon the Next.js create-next-app template and contains a React component, which in her case uses the site Ably to send and receive messages. When you create next app , you are able to send or publish messages over an Ably channel, and clients that use it will be subscribed to the channel and will receive messages.
Here’s a simple project idea to get your feet wet—a single page React app built with Next.js, TypeScript and Theme UI. This pricing/tip calculator shared on GitHub highlights the conveniences of using Next.js which include automatic transpilation and bundling, hot code reloading, server rendering, and static file serving.
Lawrence Eagles, who wrote Build an API with Serverless Functions in Next.js shows the advantage of rendering React components into HTML pages at build time, made possible using Next.js. “Whether you are using SSR (server-side rendering) or SSG (static site generation) in Next.js,” Eagles says, “your React components are already rendered into HTML pages by the time they reach the browser.”
Sheliak is an open-source authentication service and was built using Django, React, and GraphQL. Did you know that you could also build a single-sign-on authentication system using Next.js? Introducing the NextAuth.js library, explained extensively by Kingsley Ubah in Implementing user authorization in Next.js.
These six examples should get you to appreciate the benefits of building a web application using a Next.js project structure. You may not get noticed by recruiters right away, but at least you’re able to develop Next.js skills—a toolkit best acquired through doing. A helpful tip when attempting these projects—follow the steps carefully, and try to compare with other examples you can find online. When you’re trying to get hired as a developer, it’s good to keep in mind that there are many ways to build something just as there are many ways to build a web application aside from using the Next.js framework.
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