Build Powerful Web Applications With Next.js & Strapi

TL;DR: When you pair the scalability and ease of use of Strapi with Next.js’s performance, you’ve already got the recipe for a top-notch web application. Use Next.js and Strapi in tandem for the win!

By Ritesh Shah
9 min read

Next.js And Strapi: Introduction 📋

Nowadays, API-centric development architectures are becoming the dominant model for building web applications. The backend side typically involves setting up an API linked to a relational database, which is primarily just a solved problem, using either functional frameworks or tools that enable development with minimal or even zero coding.

Furthermore, this has facilitated a change in the modality of the inner workings of Content Management Systems (CMS). For a long time, data was strongly coupled to its visual interface, i.e. frontend and also to its support.

Most sites were directly connected to their own database, itself fed by the backend system. This was the case, for example, of many blog web engines and CMS such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla and others.

Using NextJS and Strapi to build web apps

With the diversification of communication mediums, companies have realised the need to centralise their content to distribute it as widely as possible instead of being bottlenecked by a one-dimensional database reliance. This trend was typified by the rapid development migration from the backend to the front end with the emergence of JavaScript and Single Page Applications.

This is how decentralised content management systems (known as a headless CMS) appeared, allowing content to be edited and widely distributed on multiple media from a single API location.

In this article, we will explore StrapiJS, one such headless CMS which, as you will soon see, is potent for building web applications of almost any technical sophistication. We’ll also review some additional tips and ideas to help you build web applications using a front-end framework such as Next.js paired up with Strapi.

What Is Next.js? 🧑‍💻

Next.js is an open-source framework developed by Vercel that uses React library and is based on Node.js and Babel. The framework is typically used to build websites and apps. It’s also used for server-side rendering (SSR), HTTP caching, linting and standardisation, in SEO tools, and automatic code-splitting via dynamic imports or webpack bundles.

NextJS logo

Since Next.js is a React framework, creating universal JavaScript applications is easy.

Due to Next.js’s unique features, like automatic code splitting and server-side rendering, the framework makes application performance optimisation easier relative to other front-end frameworks. Next.js also includes a Router API that makes it easy to create dynamic routing and a CLI tool that makes it easy to set up a Next.js project. 

In addition, Next.js offers first-class support for TypeScript, making it an excellent choice for developers who want to use the latest JavaScript features. Thus, if you’re looking for a React framework to build powerful web apps, Next.js is a worthwhile choice.

Next, let’s move to the other side of the equation, represented by the CMS, Strapi.

What Is Strapi, And What Can You Do With It? 🤯

StrapiJS is an open-source headless CMS that has been gaining in popularity due to its ease of use and versatility in building highly customisable backend solutions through easily manageable APIs written in JavaScript.

But what makes Strapi unique is that it’s built on top of Node.js, a popular open-source JavaScript runtime environment. That means it’s extremely fast and scalable – perfect for large projects. And because it runs on Node.js, it can be used with frameworks like NextJS to create excellent universal applications.

Because this is a headless CMS, it can be used with any front-end framework, including React, Vue.js, Angular, and Next.js. In fact, it even comes with a starter kit for creating a NextJS website!

The service is free-to-use for developers who can learn everything they need to know about Strapi and build powerful web applications reasonably quickly. This shallow learning curve means that this CMS platform is ideal for developers who want to build robust applications in relatively less time and effort. 

Strapi offers a unified admin panel with a drag-and-drop interface, which makes it easy to manage your content. Strapi also provides a wide range of plugins to extend the functionality of any web application that you intend to build utilising the platform.

Strapi logo

Moreover, Strapi also has a great plugin system that allows you to add functionality to your app without coding it yourself. For example, you can use plugins to add social media integration, eCommerce functionality, or custom user interfaces through Strapi’s extensive plugin library. 

In addition, Strapi is highly customisable, so you can tailor it to your specific needs. This headless CMS platform is available in free and paid versions, so you can choose the best option for your budget and scale accordingly.

So, if you’re looking for a powerful CMS that can help you manage your content and build next-generation web applications, Strapi is definitely worth checking out!

In fact, many large companies and major enterprises like IBM, Discovery Channel, Toyota, Walmart and eBay are already using Strapi to build and continually manage their blogs, corporate websites and mobile applications.

Ultimately, Strapi is scalable and highly versatile, meaning it can be used to build web applications of almost any size and scope, from single-page apps to complex multi-faceted web applications. 

But that’s not all. Strapi can also be used to build native mobile apps using React Native or Expo. And if you need to create an API for your app or website, Strapi has you covered there as well. All in all, Strapi is a powerful tool that gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to building web and also mobile applications.

✔️ Features of Strapi

To add to that, Strapi has many other features, such as:

  • An intuitive and interactive backend customisation interface.
  • An extensive text editor called “Markdown Editor”.
  • Numerous field types allow infinite combinations of data structures.
  • A highly versatile and customisable API.
  • A rich authentication system utilising JSON Web Token(JWT).
  • Allows you to use both GraphQL and REST to retrieve data.
  • An integrated e-mailing system for registration, password reset, and other account management functions.

Why Is Strapi Great For Building Web Applications? ⁉️🤔

Put simply, Strapi is a good choice for building a web app because it is open source, easy to use, and has a large community of developers who can contribute to the project. 

Strapi is very extensible, meaning that it can be easily customised to fit the needs of your specific project requirements. Additionally, Strapi provides excellent flexibility when it comes to hosting your app. You can host your Strapi app on any platform that supports Node.js, including the most popular hosting providers such as Heroku, AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform. 

Strapi also has a wide range of documentation and support resources available, making it easy to start building your web app. We’ve also already touched base on the platform’s ease-of-use and learning comfortability aspects in the earlier section of this article.

👍 Advantages Of Strapi

As a headless CMS, StrapiJS allows you to model and create content without worrying about its use, providing many potential advantages:

  • The content can be used on any medium.
  • It can easily be hosted on the cloud and scale quickly.
  • The editorial team can edit content easily without worrying about the progress of related projects.
  • Forces editors to create structured and reusable content minimising redundant work and maximising coding efficacy.
  • Offers more security. The CMS is not reached even if the media using it is hacked. The other side of this coin is that the CMS becomes a SPOF (single point of failure) and has to be heavily protected.

What Can You Do With Next.js and Strapi? 😊➕🤗

If your developer knows a thing or two about React, then chances are they’ll know how powerful apps built with the help of Next.js can be.

It is arguably one of the best front end programming frameworks if you want to build a web app for performance, reliability, and scale. However, in most development projects, the front-end side of the equation is rarely a significant roadblock. Most of the time, effort, and resources are spent building and integrating the backend APIs. This is also when most of the bottlenecks and complex issues start to arise in the development cycle.

But, Strapi will do this hard work for you, so you can focus solely on the front end. With the backend part taken care of or at least made easier to navigate, you can focus primarily on building a robust application that functions smoothly and is also easy to use.

Woman using NextJS and Strapi together for building web apps

The combination of Next.js and Strapi is incredible. Building an app with Next.js and Strapi is a great way to create content-driven applications. This is because Next.js provides the structure and flexibility you need to quickly build and deploy your app, while strapi makes it easy to manage your content. Together, they provide everything you need to create a powerful website or application.

With Next.js as your front-end and Strapi as your back-end system, you can build unique web and mobile applications. This combination allows you to build various applications for different purposes, from simple applications like forum apps and blogs to advanced solutions like an extensive eCommerce store and even a podcast app

Putting It All Together 😎

So, there you have it – Next.js and Strapi make for an excellent team for building high-performance web applications.

We’ve talked about Next.js and how it can be used as a front end framework for building web and even mobile applications. We’ve also looked at Strapi, an open-source headless CMS platform built on the base of Node.js, perfect for large projects. So, all said, where do you go from here?

If you’d like some help implementing these types of innovative and intuitive development frameworks into a web application for your business, then we’re here to help. Let’s have a chat and discuss how your business can scale and grow through digital innovation.

Published on October 13, 2022

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