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Next.js Conf Highlights

Next.js Conf was streamed all around the world by over 34,500 viewers on a custom platform this week on Tuesday. It was full of great news for the Next.js framework and ecosystem.

We'll do a deep dive of some Next.js 10.0 features later, but for now, this update includes a short overview of each.

Here's the keynote:

So that keynote covered quite a few releases. Next 10 is out, Next.js Analytics launched, and Next.js starter kits were introduced with Commerce being the first.

Let's briefly get into these.

Next.js 10.0

This announcement was somewhat expected. There were lots of indicators pointing to Next.js 10 being released at this conference. Coordinating planned secretive launches while working on open-source software in public is nearly impossible.

What I was surprised by was how many updates were included in Next 10.

They introduced 20 new features while reducing the bundle size by 16% ๐Ÿคฏ

Let's talk about the feature ๐Ÿ‘‡

Next.js Image optimization

According to the Next.js 10 release blog post, images take up 50% of the total bytes on web pages.

When looking for performance optimizations, the first place I generally look is the images:

  • Are images properly sized?
  • Are images served with modern formats?
  • Are we serving images using a CDN?

The Next.js Image Component takes care of a lot of that.

The Next.js image component is exactly what we have been wanting for images in React.

Pass it a path - local or remote - and it just works. Specify sizes, formats or Image services (cloudinary, imgix...)

this is so awesome! pic.twitter.com/PN7yytFF1T

โ€” Wes Bos (@wesbos ) October 28, 2020

The Next.js team, with help from the Chrome team at Google, came up with an RFC for the component only 55 days ago:

[RFC] Image Component for Next.js ยท Discussion #16832 ยท vercel/next.js

Think of the Image component as mostly a drop-in replacement for the existing HTML element.

Read more about it on the release blog post.

Next.js Internationalization

One of the most common use cases for needing a custom server (opting out of the "Pit of success" of Next.js) is internationalization.

Translating your site into multiple languages is critical to many business' success, yet it's often treated as an afterthought.

This release of Next.js makes internationalization a first-class citizen.

Now, you won't need to create a custom server to handle i18n routing, content, etc.

Check out the RFC, release notes, and documentation to learn more.

Next.js Analytics

I'm probably most excited about this added feature. Core Web Vitals are going to be a big deal & making it easy for developers to track them is a huge win.

Vercel launched Next.js Analytics yesterday, which are built right into both Next.js and the Vercel platform.

Right now, you can enable Next.js Analytics on any app that's on version 10.

Next.js Conf Highlights

There is a catch though; you only get one app per Hobby account.

This makes tons of sense, though. Recording and processing all of this real-time data is very hard, both in terms of processing and storage.

To have an unlimited collection of Core Web Vitals, you'll likely have to be on one of the higher paying tiers at Vercel.

A few quick questions below ๐Ÿ‘‡

Is this feature Vercel only? For now, yes.

Is there a limit on how much data I can collect? Yes. Right now, only a single day view exists on Hobby tiers. I'd assume that limit is larger for paid plans.

Can I track Core Web Vitals some other way? Totally! Under the hood, it's very likely this feature uses the existing reportWebVitals function that I wrote about a while back:

Next.js Conf Highlights

Monitoring performance in Next.js

I'm excited to see where Next.js Analytics goes!

Next.js Commerce

Next.js Commerce is borrowing the idea of headless CMS sites and applying it to ecommerce.

Next.js Commerce

The all-in-one starter kit for high-performance ecommerce sites.

This is a great option for people who want a custom front end with the performance and reliability of a platform like Shopify or BigCommerce

BigCommerce is the first to partner with the Next.js team and right now you can configure a headless BigCommerce deployment with a custom Next.js site with just a few clicks.

Next.js Conf Highlights

I believe this will become the de facto starting point when building brand new Next.js ecommerce sites in the future.

Other updates

Below are some notable updates that tackle performance and improving developer experience.

  • React 17 support was added
  • as properties no longer needed on href
  • Improved CSS loading for 3rd party components
  • Blocking mode for getStaticPaths
  • Codemod CLI (expect one soon for the Image Component)
  • Fast Refresh enabled for .mdx files

FAQ

Q: Can I view the talks online yet?

A: Not yet, they're working on getting them all uploaded to their Some of them are uploaded now. Check out their YouTube channel.

Q: I heard there was swag. Where can I get it?

A: You can grab any remaining swag at nextjs.org/give. I'm personally hyped about these clogs.

Next.js Conf Highlights

P.S. - They're donating the profit to some great charities (check at the bottom of the /give page).

Q: What was the theme of this release of Next.js?

A: I'd say it's pretty clear the Next.js team cares a lot about performance. Almost every feature ties back to performance in some way.

While the Commerce launch doesn't explicitly talk about performance, they did mention how important page speed is for conversion rates on ecommerce sites.

Not only were features added in Next.js 10, but the overall bundle size decreased as well.

Q: I heard there is a Next.js Discord. Where can I join?

A: Here's an invite link: https://discord.gg/KNKF84E

Q: Where can I get more info on Next.js Analytics/Commerce/Image Component?

A: Hey, glad you asked! I'm doing a deep dive into each of these features in the coming weeks. If you're not already, subscribe at the bottom of the page to get notified when they go out.

For now, the Next.js docs do a pretty good job:

Conclusion

Overall, I'd say it's a great time to be a Next.js developer. The ecosystem is growing quite rapidly & the folks at Vercel seem to have the backing of quite a few tech giants (AWS, Google, Shopify, and Facebook to name a few).

Next.js has a lot of momentum right now โ€“ I'm excited to see what happens next (pun intended).

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