Gatsby vs Next


In this episode, Wes and Scott debate Gatsby vs Next — how they compare, the pros and cons of each, why you might chose one over the other for your next project, and more!

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Show Notes

5:07 - Server Side Rendering

  • Next.js will render on demand — this allows you to have server rendered pages on demand.
    • Think of a blog website — publish a new blog post and it will immediately start working.
    • Authenticated pages can be server rendered, and thus, pre-loaded for better performance.
  • Gatsby runs at build time only — so you need to have all of your data ready at build time.
    • Pro: This makes for very fast page load.
    • Con: Large websites can take a long time to build.
    • Con: Gatsby can do network fetches from the client, but these lose the benefit of SSR.
  • Ease of SSR:
    • Next.js requires a complicated document.js file if you are fetching data anywhere other than a page component.
      • This will probably get easier with Suspense. Demos are simple, but any real application requires harder config.
    • Gatsby is Easy Peeezy!

11:09 - Data

  • Next.js is unopinionated. Like React, it doesn’t care where your data comes from.
    • getInitalProps();
  • Gatsby has a number of “source” plugins which will pull in data from sources — markdown, WordPress, API, file system. Once you have that data sourced, you can query it with GraphQL.

22:50 - Routing and Creating Pages

  • Next.js makes you create a page in a pages directory. You can nest these as deep as you like. If you want to pass query params, you must do so with a ?query=string. There are several third-party options for getting around this that require a node server.
  • Gatsby allows you to programmatically create pages with their createPage API.
  • For both navigating between pages, they make a Link Component available.

30:49 - Plugins

  • In Gatsby, everything goes through the Gatsby pipeline. This makes things like image compression, pagination, sass, service workers and many other progressive web app pieces very easy.
  • Gatsby makes building a really good website easy.
  • Gatsby Image is SOOOOO amazing.
  • The scope of Next.js is much smaller. They give you a few things, but you generally bring your own approach for most things
    • Routing
    • Linking and prefetching
    • Dynamic Importing

38:42 - Deploying and Hosting

  • Gatsby is just HTML, CSS, and JS at the end of the day, so it can be deployed almost anywhere — Netlify, Github Pages, cheap PHP hosting, etc.
  • Next.js is a Node app. It can be integrated into an existing Express app, or run by itself. Requires a Node server to run it.
  • Next.js has a static generation option, but you’re better off using Gatsby for that.

44:41 - The verdict?

  • Us Next.js for Apps, Gatsby for Websites
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