Vercel this week extended its effort to redefine how front-end applications are developed to reduce dependencies on backend systems.
The company has created Next.js, which makes it possible to build web applications using a framework based on the React library for creating user interfaces that enable both static generation (SSG) and server-side rendering (SSR). The latest version a Vercel Edge platform based on Next.js has been re-architected to provide faster routing and better caching.
Vercel CEO Guillermo Rauch said that capability results in a 10x performance improvement that, among other things, enables applications that employ the React framework for user interfaces to automatically pre-render, code-split and hot-reload, with no configuration required.
Fresh off raising $21 million in funding, Vercel is committed to making it easier to build highly interactive applications that run in real-time by leveraging Next.js, Rauch said. Vercel claims there are more than 30,000 sites running Next.js in production at organizations such as Airbnb, Hulu, Nike, Ticketmaster and Uber.
At the same time, Vercel is making it possible to run Next.js on a local host, which enables integration with React Refresh from Facebook to enable real-time page change visualization on local hosts. New pages can also be pushed automatically whenever data changes. In addition, developers can replicate all the customized functions from a cloud on a local host.
Finally, the distributed caching provided via Vercel’s content delivery network (CDN) eliminates the need to rely on legacy CDNs that often require repetitive round trips, he said.
As frameworks such as Next.js are embraced, DevOps teams will need to adjust to applications capable of providing richer application experiences without relying as much on backend infrastructure. That shift has implications for everything from the amount of network bandwidth consumed to the performance of web applications. Rather than continually focusing on backend infrastructure to optimize application performance, Rauch said the Vercel platform employs caching, routing and a React framework to optimize application performance.
It’s not clear whether or how much DevOps teams will nudge developers toward frameworks such as Next.js to develop web applications. In theory, the more efficient web applications are the less time and effort that will be needed to monitor applications. In addition, the overall size of the backend IT environment might not need to be as large.