Next.js 14: What’s New and How It Elevates Your Web Development Game

Next.js 14 logo on black background, symbolizing the advancements in web development.

Introducing the latest release of Next.js 14:

Next.js 14 is the newest updated version of Vercel’s popular React-based web development framework and its released date is 26 October 2023. This release is packed with enhancements and features that promise to elevate the web development experience. With a strong focus on performance, usability, and new tools, it aims to simplify the process of creating web applications.

In this article we are going to discuss about new features in Next.js 14 like Turbopack, Server Actions (Stable),Partial Prerendering (Preview),Next.js Learn (New) and more. So, Get ready for recent developments in Next.js 14.

Certainly, here’s a summary of the new features in Next.js 14:

Turbopack:
  • 5,000 tests are now passing for the App & Pages Router.
  • The local server startup is 53% faster.
  • Code updates are 94% faster with the introduction of Fast Refresh.
Server Actions (Stable):
  • This feature focuses on progressively enhanced mutations.
  • It is integrated with caching and revalidating mechanisms.
  • Offers the flexibility of simple function calls or native support for working with forms.
Partial Prerendering (Preview):
  • This feature promises a fast initial static response and the ability to stream dynamic content.
Next.js Learn (New):
  • Introduces a free course that covers various topics, including the App Router, authentication, databases, and more.
  • These additions and improvements enhance Next.js by boosting performance, functionality, and educational resources.

So, let’s dive right in these new updates detail .

You can either upgrade to Next.js 14 today or get started with:

Terminal
npx create-next-app@latest

Next.js Compiler: Turbopack

Since Next.js prevoius versions, They’ve been working to improve local development performance in Next.js in both the Pages and App Router.

Previously, they were rewriting next dev and other parts of Next.js to support this effort. It’s great to hear that Next.js has adopted a more incremental approach for their updates. Incremental updates often mean smaller, more frequent changes rather than large, infrequent updates. This can make it easier for users to adapt to new features and improvements while minimizing disruptions.

Next.js has made a significant achievement by having 5,000 integration tests for “next dev” pass successfully with the help of Turbopack, their underlying Rust engine. These tests cover 7 years’ worth of bug fixes and issue reproductions. This demonstrates the robustness and reliability of their system, ensuring a more stable and bug-free development experience.

While testing it on vercel.com, which is a large Next.js application, you can see:

  • It has made substantial performance improvements, with local server startup now being up to 53.3% faster.
  • Additionally, code updates benefit from a significant boost, with Fast Refresh making them up to 94.7% faster.
  • These enhancements result in quicker development and a more efficient workflow for developers.

    Up to 53.3% faster local server startup

    With 90% of tests for next dev now successfully passing, you can expect consistently improved and more reliable performance when using next dev --turbo. This indicates a significant advancement in the reliability and speed of Next.js development when utilizing the “turbo” option.

    If you have specific details or release notes about this new approach, feel free to share them, and I can provide a more detailed summary.

    Forms and Mutations

    With Next.js 14, the focus is on enhancing the developer experience for creating data mutations and improving the user experience in scenarios involving slow network connections or form submissions from lower-powered devices.

    This version aims to simplify data mutation processes for developers while ensuring a smoother and more efficient experience for users in challenging network conditions or with less powerful devices.

    Server Actions (Stable)

    What if you didn’t need to manually create an API Route?

    Imagine not having to create API Routes manually. Instead, you can define a secure server-side function and call it directly from your React components. Next.js, in version 14, has adopted the latest React canary, which includes stable Server Actions, making this process smoother and more efficient. The App Router is now built on the stable React canary channel, ensuring reliability for frameworks that embrace new features.

    The previous example from the Pages Router can be simplified to one file:

    app/page.tsx

    Server Actions are designed to be familiar to developers who have experience with server-centric frameworks from the past. They are built on web fundamentals such as forms and the FormData Web API, making it easier for developers to work with and integrate them into their projects.

    While using Server Actions through a form is helpful for progressive enhancement, it is not a requirement. You can also call them directly as a function, without a form. When using TypeScript, this gives you full end-to-end type-safety between the client and server.

    With Server Actions in Next.js, you can achieve data mutations, page re-renders, and redirects in a single network roundtrip. This ensures that the correct data is displayed on the client, even if the upstream data provider is slow.

    Moreover, you have the flexibility to compose and reuse various actions, allowing you to incorporate multiple actions within the same route for efficient and dynamic functionality.

    Caching, Revalidating, Redirecting, and more

    Server Actions are smoothly incorporated into the complete App Router model, providing the following capabilities:

    Revalidate cached data with revalidatePath() or revalidateTag()
    Redirect to different routes through redirect()
    Set and read cookies through cookies()
    Handle optimistic UI updates with useOptimistic()
    Catch and display errors from the server with useFormState()
    Display loading states on the client with useFormStatus()

    Partial Prerendering (Preview)

    Next.js is providing a sneak peek into “Partial Prerendering,” an optimization in their compiler. This feature is aimed at enhancing dynamic content by delivering a quick initial static response. It’s the result of a decade’s worth of research and development in server-side rendering (SSR), static-site generation (SSG), and incremental static revalidation (ISR).

    It promises to bring significant improvements to the performance and rendering of web content.

    Metadata Improvements

    Before your page content can start streaming from the server, certain crucial metadata, including information about the viewport, color scheme, and theme, must be sent to the browser initially. This ensures a seamless user experience, preventing issues like page flickering caused by theme color changes or layout shifts due to viewport adjustments.

    In Next.js 14, they have separated blocking and non-blocking metadata. Only a limited set of metadata options are designated as blocking, and they aim to ensure that non-blocking metadata doesn’t hinder a partially prerendered page from delivering the static shell, further optimizing the user experience.

    Certain metadata options have been deprecated and will be removed in a future major version. These include:

    viewport: which controls initial zoom and other viewport properties.
    colorScheme: which determines support modes (light/dark) for the viewport.
    themeColor: responsible for setting the color of the chrome around the viewport.

    With Next.js 14, new options, namely “viewport” and “generateViewport,” have been introduced to replace these deprecated options. All other metadata options remain unchanged. This update aims to provide more efficient and modern alternatives for managing viewport-related settings.

    So,You have the opportunity to begin implementing these new APIs right away. The existing metadata options will still function as before, ensuring backward compatibility. This means you can gradually transition to the new APIs at your own pace while maintaining the functionality of your current setup.

    Next.js Learn Course

    They are launching a new, free course on Next.js Learn. This course covers the following topics:

    • The Next.js App Router
    • Static and Dynamic Rendering
    • Streaming
    • Partial Prerendering (Optional)
    • Adding Search and Pagination
    • Mutating Data
    • Handling Errors
    • Styling and Tailwind CSS
    • Optimizing Fonts and Images
    • Creating Layouts and Pages
    • Navigating Between Pages
    • Setting Up Your Postgres Database
    • Fetching Data with Server Components
    • Improving Accessibility
    • Adding Authentication
    • Adding Metadata

    Next.js Learn has provided valuable education to millions of developers, imparting knowledge about the fundamental aspects of the framework. They are excited to receive feedback on their new addition. To access the course, simply visit nextjs.org/learn. Your feedback and input are greatly appreciated.

    Motivation

    Next.js has been attentive to user feedback, acknowledging that the abundance of runtimes, configuration choices, and rendering methods can be overwhelming. Users desire both the speed and dependability of static content while still accommodating fully dynamic and personalized responses. The aim is to maintain excellent global performance and personalization without increasing complexity, making it more accessible and user-friendly.

    The challenge they faced was to enhance the developer experience by simplifying the existing model without adding new APIs for developers to master. Although there have been previous methods for partial caching of server-side content, they still needed to align with the developer experience and composability objectives they strive for. The goal was to improve usability and maintain a seamless, adaptable approach.

    Coming soon

    Partial prerendering is currently in active development. Further updates and details about this feature will be shared in an upcoming minor release of Next.js. Stay tuned for more information and enhancements in the near future.

    FAQs about Next.js 14

    What is next.js 14 release date?

    Next.js 14 is released on 26 October 2023.

    What are the features of Next.js 14

    Next.js 14 has Turbopack, server Actions (Stable),Partial Prerendering (Preview),Next.js Learn (New) and metadata improvements.

    Can any one use Next.js 14

    Yes, anyone can use, whether you’re an individual developer or part of a larger team.

    Conclusion

    In conclusion, Next.js is introducing several exciting new features in its latest version, Next.js 14. These updates aim to enhance developer experience, streamline performance, and provide better support for dynamic content and personalization without adding complexity.

    Next.js is also offering a new, free course on Next.js Learn to help developers further their understanding of the framework. Exciting updates are on the horizon, so be sure to keep an eye out for future minor releases for more information and enhancements.

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