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The 3 best features announced at Next.js Conf 2021

Next.js conf 2021 announcement post: Lets make the web. Faster.
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Vercel (the company behind Next.js) announced a special edition of their Next.js Conf last month. This was announced as a collaboration with the Google Chrome team, so I was certainly excited! What could be expected on beforehand was even more speed and page loading optimisations and a better developer experience built in to the framework.

And they delivered on that! Next.js 11 was announced, these are my top 3 features:

Conformance

This is a system created on top of ESLint, with a set of predefined rules. These rules will help you as a developer to avoid mistakes which could negatively influence your Core Web Vitals. This could be something like forgetting to set a width and height on your images, not using the <Image> component from next/image, not using the <Link> component for <a> internal links..

To use this feature, just install the Next.js 11 using npm install next@latest in your project, and then run npx next lint. This will create a .eslintrc file, and you will get your errors/warnings in your terminal.

I already upgraded my personal website to Next.js 11, and it was smooth as always. Once installed, I ran the next lint command, and immediately found some possible optimizations!

Image optimisations

Next.js is already doing a lot of image optimisations when you use their <Image> component, and they added some more! In Next.js 11 the width and height of your local images are detected automatically, so you don’t have to set them manually anymore.

There is also a possibility to add a blurred placeholder for your image while it’s loading. Just add placeholder="blur" to your local <Image>, and it will work out of the box.

// example from the docs
<Image src={author} alt="Picture of the author" placeholder="blur" />

If you want to apply this placeholder to external images (coming from a DAM for example), you can provide the <Image> with a blurDataURL property. This should contain a base64-encoded image.

// example from the docs
<Image
  src="https://nextjs.org/static/images/learn.png"
  blurDataURL="data:image/jpeg;base64,/9j/2wBDAAYEBQYFBAYGBQYHBwYIChAKCgkJChQODwwQFxQYGBcUFhYaHSUfGhsjHBYWICwgIyYnKSopGR8tMC0oMCUoKSj/2wBDAQcHBwoIChMKChMoGhYaKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCgoKCj/wAARCAAIAAoDASIAAhEBAxEB/8QAFQABAQAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAb/xAAhEAACAQMDBQAAAAAAAAAAAAABAgMABAUGIWEREiMxUf/EABUBAQEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAMF/8QAGhEAAgIDAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAECEgMRkf/aAAwDAQACEQMRAD8AltJagyeH0AthI5xdrLcNM91BF5pX2HaH9bcfaSXWGaRmknyJckliyjqTzSlT54b6bk+h0R//2Q=="
  alt="Picture of the author"
  placeholder="blur"
/>

A little preview of what it looks like on my website: https://dev-to-uploads.s3.amazonaws.com/uploads/articles/gw4rixzszthneoa640qv.gif

Next.js Live

This is Next.js’ attempt to make the development process more inclusive, so you can easily collaborate with (non-technical) colleagues. Next.js Live puts your development environment into the browser. You get a live URL where everyone you share this URL with can see what you are working on in real time! You can even do live code changes in the browser which are immediately reflected on the website. There’s also a possibility for people to draw on the website to point out potential problems, or to give feedback.

It’s currently in closed beta, but you can already register here. If you want to already try it out with an example project, that’s also possible here.

So some nice announcements, and definitely something to look forward to with Next.js live!

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