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Next.js 13 Drops with Exciting Updates: Find Out What’s New?

Lavesh Katariya
Lavesh Katariya
May 25, 2023
Clock icon6 mins read
Calendar iconLast updated April 25, 2024
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In the past year, Next.js has been on a thrilling journey, unleashing a series of updates such as improved Next.js Layout, ‘next/image, TurboPack, Next.js SEO, and many more. The long-awaited Next.js 13 release brought exciting new features that left the web development world buzzing with excitement.

Recently, On April 6th, 2023, it announced the latest version, 13.3, with improvements to existing features and the addition of new ones. In this article, we will delve into the latest updates in Next.js since the release of version 13 and explore the new features added in Next.js 13.3.

What is Next.js?

Next.js, a popular web development framework powered by React.js, empowers you to leverage the full potential of the ReactJS library to develop modern and SEO-friendly web applications. It is also popular among developers due to its continuous evolution and modern tooling.

IndicatorsNext.js Popularity
GitHub Stars105k+ Stars
NPM DownloadsMillions of weekly downloads
CommunityActive and large community
Industry adoptionNetflix, Uber, Airbnb, Tiktok, Coinbase, etc.
Developers satisfactionPositive feedback

Please note that the statistics provided in this article are current as of the time of writing.

Let’s recap the developments after the release of the 13 version before moving to the 13.4 release.

  • New [App]Directory (Beta): Improved Next.js Layout

nextjs 13 layoutThis “app” directory was first introduced in Next.js 13, which simplifies the process of designing complex interfaces. The app directory helps structure code efficiently and allows you to organize your code in one location. It also supports server components, data fetching, and streaming. Although it is currently in beta mode, you can explore the new directory by updating it to the latest version.

  • TurboPack – A Rust-powered Bundler [Beta Release]

TurboPackTurbopack, an incremental bundler, is now available in place of Webpack due to its superior performance.  The Next.js team stated that updating large applications could be up to 700 times faster in comparison to using Webpack.

“On an application with 3,000 modules, TurboPack, as stated on the Next.js website, demonstrates remarkable performance with a boot-up time of only 1.8 seconds, surpassing Vite at 11.4 seconds and Webpack at 16.5 seconds.”

Currently in its beta stage, the TurboPack has been improved in the last release with now next/dynamic pages support, improved compile-time evaluation, and so on.

  • Improved Error Overlay

Error overlays are displayed on the screen when there is a mistake in the code, such as a syntax error or a typo, helping developers to pinpoint and troubleshoot issues in their code.

Next.js has significantly improved the error overlay to enhance the debugging experience. Next.js separated the stack traces for Next.js and React in version 13.2, making it easier to identify and debug errors. In case you’re not seeing this feature, ensure you have updated to the latest version of Next.js to take advantage of these improvements.

error

  • Next.js SEO: Built-in SEO Support

 In today’s digital world, developing a high-performing app is just the starting line. To truly succeed, apps should also be optimized for SEO, as it remains a prominent force in the ever-evolving online world. Despite the ever-changing technological landscape, SEO remains an essential strategy for app success, with no signs of fading away anytime soon.

While initially intended as an SEO-optimised framework, it has evolved by incorporating pre-rendered HTML, pushing the boundaries of SEO capabilities. Additionally, a newly introduced API enables users to define metadata and optimize SEO performance.

  • Server Components

React’s server components allow developers to handle UI logic and rendering on the server side while other components are processed on the client side. To put it in other words, your app is capable of utilizing server-side rendering (SSR) alongside client-side components, leveraging both server and client functionalities. This enables developers to utilize the capabilities of both the server and client sides to create flexible applications. Server components are now rolled out in the app directory.

  • Next.js Cache (Beta State)

Caching is a technique that involves storing data in high-speed cache memory, allowing for direct retrieval from the cache instead of making repeated requests to the server. This results in faster data fetching, reduced server load, and accelerated page loading times.

It has been recently introduced in Next.js version 13.2, and it is nearing a stable release. To learn more about the latest developments in Next.js caching, you can refer to the documentation or release notes for up-to-date information.

  • File-based Metadata API

Metadata API allows you to define the meta structure (title, meta, and link inside head tags).

File-based metadata API is introduced in the 13.2 release. It can dynamically generate sitemaps, robots, and favicons and allows developers to generate or define metadata. You can explore this feature in 13.3, available for the App Router.

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What’s New in Next.js 13.4

1. Dynamic Open Graph Generation

The dynamic open graph follows the open graph protocol and offers a more advanced and interactive way of displaying content when shared across social channels.

Developers can now add dynamic graph functionality to websites without needing external tools, thanks to the introduction of dynamic, open graph generation in recent updates.

Let’s take a quick comparison between them to understand better.

FeatureDynamic Open Graph ImagesStatic Open Graph Tags
Metadata ValueDynamic and customizable for each individual pageFixed and unchanged
CustomizationEasy customization of metadataManual updation required
User ExperienceProvides personalized experienceSame content across all channels
Content SharingGenerates images dynamically when content is sharedUses predefined metadata
FlexibilityHighly flexible and adaptableStatic and unchangeable

2. Static Export Support for App Router

For those who don’t know, in the traditional approach, the content was generated when a browser requested it from the server. However, in recent times, content can be stored as static files that are pre-rendered and directly served to the browser, resulting in faster performance.

Put simply, generating a static file ( containing resources such as HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and images) is referred to as static export.

Next.js now has this capability as the app router now supports static export. Now, developers can now define which pages or routes could be served as static files.

By using the “next build” command, you can now generate HTML files for each route in your app.

To enable it fully in your Next.js app, you can use the following configuration in your next.config.js file:

/**

* @type {import('next').NextConfig}

*/

const nextConfig = {

output: 'export',

}

module.exports = nextconfig

3. Parallel Routes and Interception

Parallel routes in a program refer to the capability of processing multiple routes simultaneously. That allows for the efficient handling of a stream of HTTP requests, resulting in faster page loading times.

Interception, on the other hand, encompasses capturing incoming requests and the execution of predefined actions or custom logic prior to route handling. This capability proves beneficial for tasks such as error handling or fulfilling other specific requirements.

Conclusion

In this article, we have discussed the latest updates and enhancements that Next.js 13 has to offer. These updates include an improved app directory, TurboPack, enhanced stable next/image, middleware improvement, and other minor improvements and feature introductions.

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Lavesh Katariya

Lavesh Katariya

With over 8 years of experience in the MERN stack, I specialize in building robust and scalable web applications. Proficient in MongoDB, Express.js, React.js, and Node.js, my passion for clean code and innovative problem-solving ensures high-quality solutions.

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