Book Image

React Application Architecture for Production

By : Alan Alickovic
Book Image

React Application Architecture for Production

By: Alan Alickovic

Overview of this book

Building large-scale applications in production can be overwhelming with the amount of tooling choices and lack of cohesive resources. To address these challenges, this hands-on guide covers best practices and web application development examples to help you build enterprise-ready applications with React in no time. Throughout the book, you’ll work through a real-life practical example that demonstrates all the concepts covered. You’ll learn to build modern frontend applications—built from scratch and ready for production. Starting with an overview of the React ecosystem, the book will guide you in identifying the tools available to solve complex development challenges. You’ll then advance to building APIs, components, and pages to form a complete frontend app. The book will also share best practices for testing, securing, and packaging your app in a structured way before finally deploying your app with scalability in mind. By the end of the book, you’ll be able to efficiently build production-ready applications by following industry practices and expert tips.
Table of Contents (13 chapters)

Next.js application overview

Next.js is a web framework built on top of React and Node.js, allowing us to build web applications. Because it can run on the server, it can be used as a full-stack framework.

Why Next.js?

Using Next.js has multiple benefits. We want to use it because of several reasons:

  • Very easy to get started with: In the early days of React, it was very challenging to start a project. To get a simple page on the screen, we had to deal with many tools such as Webpack, Babel, and others. We still use those tools today, but fortunately, most tooling configuration is hidden from us with an interface to extend the configuration if required.

Besides the challenges of setting up the project, it is very challenging to maintain all those dependencies over time. Next.js hides all those complexities away from developers and allows them to get started quickly with a new project.

  • Allows multiple rendering strategies: Being able to use multiple rendering strategies is probably the main reason why we want to use Next.js, although it comes with other great benefits. First, it allows us to define the behavior of page rendering at the page level, meaning we can define how we want to render each page individually. It also supports multiple rendering strategies, such as the following:
    • Client-side rendering
    • Server-side rendering
    • Static site generation
    • Incremental static regeneration

We will be using different strategies based on the application’s needs.

  • Performance optimizations: Next.js is built with web performance in mind. It implements performance optimization techniques such as the following:
    • Code splitting
    • Lazy loading
    • Prefetching
    • Image optimization

That sums up why we want to use Next.js for our application. Now, let’s see what the Next.js application structure looks like.

Next.js application structure

The easiest way to get started with Next.js is to use the create-next-app CLI to generate a new application.

Since we have already generated the application as part of the code samples, we do not need to use the CLI, but if we were generating the application from scratch, we would execute the following command:

npx create-next-app@latest jobs-app --typescript

By executing this command, we would generate a new Next.js application with TypeScript configured out of the box.

There are a couple of things that are specific to Next.js. Let’s look at the following file and folder structure of a simple Next.js application:

- .next
- public
- src
  - pages
    - _app.tsx
    - index.tsx
- next.config.js
- package.json

Let’s analyze each file and folder one by one:

  • .next: Contains production-ready files generated by running the build command of Next.js.
  • public: Contains all static assets of the application.
  • src/pages: This is a special folder in Next.js where all pages defined here become available at corresponding routes. This is possible thanks to the filesystem-based routing system. The pages folder can also live in the root of the project, but it is nice to keep everything in the src folder.
  • src/pages/_app.tsx: The _app.tsx file is a special file that exports a React component that wraps every page when rendered. By wrapping pages with this special component, we can add custom behavior for our application, such as adding any global configurations, providers, styles, layouts, and more to all the pages.
  • src/pages/index.tsx: This is how we declare pages of the application. This shows how the root page is defined. We will dive into Next.js-specific routing in the upcoming chapters.
  • next.config.js: This is where we can extend the default functionalities such as Webpack configuration and other things in a simple way.
  • package.json: Every Next.js application includes the following npm scripts:
    • dev: Starts a development server on localhost:3000
    • build: Builds the application for production
    • start: Starts the production build on localhost:3000

We will cover more on these topics in the following chapters, but for now, this should give us enough information to get started with Next.js.