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Alex for OpenSign

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Thinking Beyond Next.js: When Not to Use It for Your Project

Next.js has garnered a reputation for being the Swiss Army knife of React frameworks — offering server-side rendering, static site generation, and smart bundling out of the box. But is it the be-all and end-all solution for web development? Let's explore why Next.js might not fit every project.

Next.js offers a mix of traditional and modern web development techniques. It supports both server-side rendering and static site generation, caters to TypeScript enthusiasts, and streamlines styles and image optimization. With fast refresh features, developers get instant feedback on their React components, making for a delightful development experience.

Next.js's version 13 brought game-changing features like Turbopack, boasting unparalleled build performance, and a new routing system enhancing developer experience. The framework seemed unstoppable, promising faster load times, reduced JavaScript sizes, and smoother user experiences.

For businesses, Next.js can mean better SEO, faster time-to-market, and a more cohesive omnichannel presence. It's designed to meet the high demands of modern web traffic and user expectations.

Is Next.js Developer's Paradise? Not Always. It provides a zero-config, TypeScript-ready platform that simplifies development. Yet, its fast-refresh and automatic code-splitting features, while impressive, also set a high bar for developer competency.

Flexibility in Next.js demands continuous management. It lacks a variety of pre-built pages, offloading more front-end development responsibilities onto your team. This can mean ongoing costs for businesses as you'll need skilled front-end developers to build and maintain the custom UIs.

Next.js does not come with a state management solution, leaving you to integrate one like Redux or MobX. The platform also falls short on plugins, which can limit rapid feature expansion compared to other ecosystems.

Next.js is not lightweight by default. For simple projects, the provided infrastructure can be overkill, leading to unnecessarily bloated applications.

Consider lightweight projects or sites where static content dominates — a simpler solution like Create React App or Gatsby could serve better. For those who seek a leaner stack, exploring alternatives like Svelte or Vue could be more suitable.

Next.js is a formidable framework, but it's not universal. The decision to use it should be informed by the scale, complexity, and specific needs of your project. Not every web development scenario will benefit from its robust offering.

We are still using the good old Create-react-app for our popular open source project “OpenSign” which is an open-source document e-signing infrastructure.

⭐ OpenSign on GitHub

Have you had an experience where Next.js was not the right choice? Share your stories below and let's learn from each other's journeys in web development.

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