Pages and Layouts in Next.js

Pages and Layouts in Next.js

Enhancing Next.js Applications: Harnessing the Power of Pages and Layouts

Next.js offers a powerful file-system based routing system that makes it easy to create dynamic and nested routes. Additionally, you can create reusable layouts to structure your pages consistently across your application.

Pages Router in Next.js

The Pages Router in Next.js is based on the concept of pages, where each page is a React component exported from a .js, .jsx, .ts, or .tsx file in the pages directory. When a file is added to the pages directory, it's automatically available as a route. Here's an example:

export default function AboutPage() {
  return <div>AboutPage</div>
}

In the above example, the About component will be accessible at /about.

Index Routes

Next.js automatically routes files named index to the root of the directory. For example:

  • pages/index.js/

  • pages/blog/index.js/blog

Nested Routes

Next.js supports nested files, where files in nested folders are routed accordingly. For example:

  • pages/blog/first-post.js/blog/first-post

  • pages/dashboard/settings/username.js/dashboard/settings/username

Pages with Dynamic Routes

Next.js supports pages with dynamic routes using brackets []. For example, pages/posts/[id].js will be accessible at posts/1, posts/2, etc.

Layout Pattern

You can deconstruct a page into a series of components in Next.js, allowing for reusable layouts. For example, you might have the same navigation bar and footer on every page. Here's an example layout component:

// components/layout.js
import Navbar from './navbar';
import Footer from './footer';

export default function Layout({ children }) {
  return (
    <>
      <Navbar />
      <main>{children}</main>
      <Footer />
    </>
  );
}

Single Shared Layout with Custom App

If you have one layout for your entire application, you can create a custom app and wrap your application with the layout. This preserves component state when changing pages:

// pages/_app.js
import Layout from '../components/layout';

export default function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) {
  return (
    <Layout>
      <Component {...pageProps} />
    </Layout>
  );
}

Per-Page Layouts

If you need multiple layouts, you can define the layout on a per-page basis by adding a getLayout property to your page. This allows for complex nested layouts:

// pages/index.js
import Layout from '../components/layout';
import NestedLayout from '../components/nested-layout';

export default function Page() {
  return (
    /** Your content */
  );
}

Page.getLayout = function getLayout(page) {
  return (
    <Layout>
      <NestedLayout>{page}</NestedLayout>
    </Layout>
  );
};
// pages/_app.js
export default function MyApp({ Component, pageProps }) {
  // Use the layout defined at the page level, if available
  const getLayout = Component.getLayout ?? ((page) => page)

  return getLayout(<Component {...pageProps} />)
}

Data Fetching in Layouts

Inside your layout, you can fetch data on the client-side using useEffect or a library like SWR. However, because the layout file is not a page, you cannot use getStaticProps or getServerSideProps currently.

import useSWR from 'swr'
import Navbar from './navbar'
import Footer from './footer'

export default function Layout({ children }) {
  const { data, error } = useSWR('/api/navigation', fetcher)

  if (error) return <div>Failed</div>
  if (!data) return <div>Loading...</div>

  return (
    <>
      <Navbar links={data.links} />
      <main>{children}</main>
      <Footer />
    </>
  )
}
Conclusion
In conclusion, Next.js provides a robust and intuitive approach to routing and layout management, leveraging the filesystem for automatic route generation and offering versatile options for creating dynamic, nested, and parameterized routes. The framework's layout patterns enable developers to construct reusable layouts, enhancing the consistency and maintainability of the application's UI. By harnessing these features, developers can efficiently structure their applications, streamline navigation, and deliver a seamless user experience. Whether you're building a simple website or a complex web application, Next.js equips you with the tools needed to design a well-organized and scalable project.