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Comparing GatsbyJS vs NextJS in (2022) - Which Should You Choose?

By Ryan Gardner
 on January 1, 2022
Last modified on January 25th, 2022

Comparing GatsbyJS vs NextJS in (2022) - Which Should You Choose?

By Ryan Gardner
 on January 1, 2022
Last modified on January 25th, 2022

Whether you're using a web developer to build your site or you wish to learn everything yourself, it's important for you to understand which website framework to opt for to meet your needs. Nowadays, a website that's highly functional relies on the type of data input from its code. This is why a site generator is essential for you to meet your desired needs for your website. 

But, how do you know which site generator to choose? What's better between a fixed site generator and a server-side rendering one? There are so many comparisons that you should make before choosing the best one for your needs. 

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This is why this comparison between GatsbyJS vs NextJS is essential. Keep on reading to find out more. 

What is GatsbyJS?

If you're looking for a fixed site generator that combines the best parts of your favorite software to give you a user-friendly website developer then this one is it. To build a website from scratch, you need to know how to write a source code that will relay every command that you want your website to do. Behind every highly functional website is a lot of HTML code that has been used to give instructions for you to see what you see when you click on your screen.

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What your GatsbyJS does is that it creates templates of static HTML files that will be used for website building at any stage. These are stored in a database system that's called a CDN. It's faster to access them from this database should you or your web developer require these static site generator files. 

This makes GatsbyJS a very modern site generator framework that is ideal for various tasks such as code splitting, asset optimization, rendering, and other things. 

What is NextJS?

Just like GatsbyJS, NextJS is also a framework that's used to build websites. The only notable difference is that this framework isn't a fixed site generator. Instead, it's used more for websites that interact with servers mainly. 

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So, if you want to build a dynamic website, and you need to generate your HTML code using a server, this is the framework that you should opt for. 

Differences Between GatsbyJS and NextJS 

1. Plugins and Themes

If you want a wide variety of a plugin ecosystem, it's best for you to choose the GatsbyJS framework. These make it a simpler option for you to use because they're optimized for SEO, images, analytics, and much more. 

On the other hand, NextJS does have plugins, but they tend to be much lower when you compare the two. 

2. Server-side Rendering 

When choosing a website building framework, it's always important for you to choose one that gives you the option for scalability. In this case, NextJS provides users with better scalability features when compared to GatsbyJS.

As a static site generator, GatsbyJS lacks the flexibility of server-side rendering. Plus, since it's not a server-reliable framework, it's difficult to use real-time data fetching to ensure that efficient scalability is achieved. 

3. Data Sourcing 

The great thing about using NextJS is that you can use whichever data source that you prefer. However, if you want to use data sourcing on GatsbyJS, you should consider the recommendations provided. In this example, the most common one that's used is GraphQL because of the framework's optimization, and the incremental builds of certain features that it relies on. 

Similarities Between GatsbyJS and NextJS 

1. Site Generation

The fact of the matter is that both of these frameworks are used to create powerful websites. If they're integrated efficiently, they can render the most highly functional websites for you. In fact, the newest version of NextJS has introduced static site generation. 

This means that you can use either framework for your static site. But, NextJS can still be used for your server-reliable framework needs. 

2. Feature Development 

It's so much easier for you to gain more experience as a developer when you use both these frameworks. There's extensive information that's readily available for you if you wish to develop any features of your existing website applications. This means that with basic React framework knowledge, you don't have to learn any of these development tools from scratch. 

3. Incremental Build

This is one of those experimental features that are necessary for developing these frameworks. If you've updated any website pages, you can rest-assure that they're the ones that your chosen framework will build on. This means that you no longer have to worry about spending too much time building pages to match your existing pages. 

The most important thing about incremental building is that it reduces and speeds up build time of your newer pages. 

4. More Features 

The thing is that you want your website generator framework to have loads of other cool features for you to look forward to using. Take Hot Reloading for example. As a website developer, this is a feature that you enjoy using. Code splitting, Caching and Routing are other features that you should enjoy using for both. 

5. SEO Optimization 

Nowadays, everything needs to revolve around SEO. The good thing is that both these frameworks are SEO optimized. With incredible plugins and server-side rendering, you can work while knowing that you're receiving the most of your SEO benefits to reach your full performance. 

One additional thing to note about SEO optimization is that both site generators can export and import custom HTML files to any CND database. To do this, page loading speed is a very significant component. 

GatsbyJS vs NextJS: When to Choose Between the Two?

1. When to Use GatsbyJS?

The main thing that you should know about choosing GatsbyJS is that it has a major problem with its buildup time. Perhaps, the experimental incremental build feature can help to resolve this problem. In the meantime, if you don't have a lot of authors and content that needs to be published, then this is the site generator that you can rely on.

2. When to Use NextJS?

If the aim of the website that you're building is for it to grow exponentially, then this is the site generator framework that you should opt for. You can have the best of both worlds with server-side rendering and static site generation. This means that you can always export your site's HTML pages to suit your needs. 

In addition, you should have access to scalability features that should help you to determine the growth and reach that your site is achieving. This is one of the most useful SEO features that you'll have access to. However, it goes without saying that to get the desired performance from your NextJS, you should have a powerful server. This way, it can process any sized file for enhanced performance. 

In conclusion, it all comes down to what you want your website to do for you. These technologies are there to help make complex site building a lot more digestible for your needs. 

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Article By
Ryan Gardner
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Ryan is a developer at Isotropic Design, and publishes detailed thoughts, analysis, and comparisons on the Isotropic Blog.
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