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bilel salem
bilel salem

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Next.js 14: Server Components and Client Components Explained

Hello everyone, السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

Next.js 14 continues the tradition of offering server components and client components, allowing you to build performant and interactive web applications. Here's a detailed breakdown of these concepts:

Server Components

  • Execution: Run exclusively on the server during the initial request.
  • Rendering: Server-side rendering (SSR) generates pre-rendered HTML sent to the browser.
  • Benefits:
    • Faster Initial Load: Improves perceived performance by delivering pre-built HTML, ideal for SEO.
    • Data Fetching: Can directly access server-side data sources for content generation.
    • Reduced Bundle Size: Code doesn't get shipped to the client, minimizing initial JavaScript download.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Limited Interactivity: Relies on subsequent requests for user interactions, potentially impacting responsiveness.

Client Components

  • Execution: Run on the client-side (browser) using JavaScript.
  • Rendering: Handled by the browser after receiving JavaScript code from the server.
  • Benefits:
    • Rich Interactivity: Enables dynamic updates and user interactions within the browser.
    • Offline Functionality: Can potentially function with limited internet connectivity (depending on implementation).
    • Smaller Server Load: Reduces server workload by handling interactions on the client.
  • Drawbacks:
    • Slower Initial Load: The browser needs to download and parse JavaScript before rendering, potentially impacting initial render time.
    • Limited Data Access: Direct access to server-side data sources is restricted.

Choosing Between Server and Client Components

  • Default Behavior: Next.js uses server components by default, offering a balance between performance and SEO benefits.
  • Choosing Client Components: Use the use client directive to opt-in to client components. This is ideal for highly interactive elements or those requiring access to browser APIs.

Next.js 14 Enhancements

While the core concepts remain the same, Next.js 14 introduces some exciting features that impact server and client components:

  • Turbopack: This optional development server significantly improves build performance, benefiting both server and client components by speeding up development iteration.
  • Server Actions: Now stable in Next.js 14, server actions provide a powerful way to fetch data and handle mutations on the server while offering progressive enhancement (initial static rendering followed by dynamic updates). This can be used with both server and client components for improved data handling.
  • Partial Prerendering (Experimental): This experimental feature allows for a mix of static site generation (SSG) and SSR. You can prerender the initial content of a page while keeping dynamic parts for server-side rendering. This can further optimize performance for specific scenarios involving server and client components.

Example: Blog with Server and Client Components

  • Posts List (Server Component): A page displaying a list of blog posts can be a server component for fast initial load. It fetches data on the server and renders pre-built HTML.
  • Like Button (Client Component): A Like Button for each post would benefit from being a client component. Clicking the button triggers a client-side update (like state change) and potentially a server action to update the like count on the server.

In Summary

By understanding server and client components in Next.js 14, you can build performant and interactive web applications. Leverage Next.js 14's features like Turbopack and server actions to enhance development experience and data handling. Remember to consult the official Next.js documentation for the latest implementation details on features like partial prerendering.

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