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Nextjs getServerSideProps: Best Tips for Great User Experience

Next.js is a React framework that is often used for building web applications. In Next.js, getServerSideProps is a function that allows you to fetch data at the request time before a page is rendered on the server. This function runs on the server side and is used to pre-render pages dynamically. In this article, we’ll explore what NextJS getServerSideProps is, how to use it, and provide practical examples to illustrate its power.

What is getServerSideProps?

getServerSideProps is a Next.js function that runs on the server side before rendering a page. It is particularly useful when you need to fetch data at request time and want to pre-render a page on each request.

When you use getServerSideProps, the data fetching happens at runtime on every request. This means that the data is always fresh, and you can personalize the content based on the user’s request.

Why is getServerSideProps Important?

When a client-side renderer loads a page, JavaScript fetches data from the server using the page’s URL. The page may be unable to be scanned and analyzed by search engines, causing slow load times and poor SEO.

This method renders the page on the server with the data pre-loaded. By delivering the page this way, the browser receives all the necessary data faster and can experience the page as soon as possible. Our pre-rendered page can include data from the server easily through getServerSideProps. In addition to delivering a better user experience, it ensures fast loading times.

getInitialProps vs getServerSideProps​

getInitialProps and getServerSideProps are two methods used in Next.js for data fetching during the server-side rendering (SSR) process. Both of these methods allow you to fetch data and pass it as props to your React components, but they have some differences.

1. Usage in Functional Components:

  • getInitialProps can be used with both class components and functional components.

  • getServerSideProps is specifically designed for functional components and cannot be used with class components.

2. Execution Context:

  • getInitialProps is executed on both the server and the client side during navigation.

  • getServerSideProps is executed only on the server side during each request.

3. When They Are Called:

  • getInitialProps is called during the initial server-side rendering and subsequent client-side navigation.

  • getServerSideProps is called on every request to the page on the server-side.

4. Return Type:

  • getInitialProps returns an object that is merged with the existing props.

  • getServerSideProps returns an object with a props key, which should be an object containing the props you want to pass to the component.

Here’s an example of how you might use each of these methods:

Example using getInitialProps:

// This works with both class components and functional components

function MyPage({ data }) {
  // Your component code
}

MyPage.getInitialProps = async () => {
  const res = await fetch('https://api.example.com/data');
  const data = await res.json();

  return { data };
};

export default MyPage;

Example using getServerSideProps:

// Import React if not already imported
// import React from 'react';

// Functional component for your page
function MyPage({ data }) {
  // Your component code here
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Your Page</h1>
      <p>Data from the server: {JSON.stringify(data)}</p>
    </div>
  );
}

// getServerSideProps function is used for server-side rendering
export async function getServerSideProps() {
  // Fetch data from an API or any other source
  const res = await fetch('https://api.example.com/data');
  
  // Parse the response into JSON format
  const data = await res.json();

  // Return an object with a 'props' key
  // The value of 'props' is an object that will be passed to the MyPage component as props
  return {
    props: {
      data,
    },
  };
}

// Export the component as the default export
export default MyPage;
  • The MyPage the component is a simple functional component that takes data as a prop and displays it.

  • The getServerSideProps function is an asynchronous function that fetches data from an API (https://api.example.com/data in this case).

  • The fetched data is returned as an object with a props key. The value of props is an object containing the data that will be passed as props to the MyPage component when it is rendered on the server side.

  • The MyPage component is then exported as the default export of the module.

When a user accesses this page, the getServerSideProps function is executed on the server side, fetching the data and passing it as props to the MyPage component, which is then rendered on the server side and sent to the client.

Basic Usage of getServerSideProps

To use getServerSideProps, you need to export it as a function in your page component. This function should return an object with the data you want to pass as props to your component.

npx create-next-app my-app

With this command, a new Next.js application will be created in the my-app directory. After the application has been developed, open the directory and use the following command to launch the development server:

cd my-app
npm run dev

This is how your app will appear after opening the file in your code editor.

// pages/example.js

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

const Example = ({ data, error }) => {
  const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true);

  useEffect(() => {
    // Simulate loading delay for a better user experience
    const delay = setTimeout(() => {
      setLoading(false);
    }, 1000);

    // Clear the timeout on component unmount
    return () => clearTimeout(delay);
  }, []);

  // Check for errors
  if (error) {
    return <div>Error: {error.message}</div>;
  }

  // Render loading state while data is being fetched
  if (loading) {
    return <div>Loading...</div>;
  }

  // Render your component using the fetched data
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>{data.title}</h1>
      <p>{data.description}</p>
    </div>
  );
};

export async function getServerSideProps() {
  try {
    // Fetch data from an API or any data source
    const res = await fetch('https://api.example.com/data');
    
    // Check for a successful response
    if (!res.ok) {
      throw new Error('Failed to fetch data');
    }

    // Parse the response data
    const data = await res.json();

    // Return the data as props
    return {
      props: {
        data,
      },
    };
  } catch (error) {
    // Handle errors by returning an error prop
    return {
      props: {
        error: {
          message: 'Failed to fetch data',
        },
      },
    };
  }
}

export default Example;

The getServerSideProps function fetches data from an API (https://api.example.com/data) and returns it as props to the Example component. The fetched data is then used to render the page. This version of the Code includes a loading state that provides a better user experience while waiting for data to be fetched. Additionally, it handles errors gracefully by displaying an error message if the data-fetching process fails. Feel free to customize it further based on your specific needs and preferences.

Handling Errors

getServerSideProps can also handle errors during data fetching. If an error occurs, you can redirect the user to an error page or provide a custom error message.

// pages/example.js

import React, { useState, useEffect } from 'react';

const Example = ({ data, error }) => {
  const [loading, setLoading] = useState(true);

  useEffect(() => {
    // Simulate loading delay for a better user experience
    const delay = setTimeout(() => {
      setLoading(false);
    }, 1000);

    // Clear the timeout on component unmount
    return () => clearTimeout(delay);
  }, []);

  // Check for errors
  if (error) {
    return <div>Error: {error.message}</div>;
  }

  // Render loading state while data is being fetched
  if (loading) {
    return <div>Loading...</div>;
  }

  // Render your component using the fetched data
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>{data.title}</h1>
      <p>{data.description}</p>
      {/* Additional content based on your data */}
    </div>
  );
};

export async function getServerSideProps() {
  try {
    // Fetch data from an API or any data source
    const res = await fetch('https://api.example.com/data');
    
    // Check for a successful response
    if (!res.ok) {
      throw new Error('Failed to fetch data');
    }

    // Parse the response data
    const data = await res.json();

    // Return the data as props
    return {
      props: {
        data,
      },
    };
  } catch (error) {
    // Handle errors by returning an error prop
    return {
      props: {
        error: {
          message: 'Failed to fetch data',
        },
      },
    };
  }
}

export default Example;

In this example, I’ve added a loading state using the useState and useEffect hooks to simulate a delay in rendering while the data is being fetched. This helps improve the user experience by providing feedback that something is happening in the background.

Feel free to adapt this code further based on your specific requirements. You can customize the loading state, add more content based on the fetched data, or include any other features that enhance the overall user interaction in your application.

Context and Parameters

You can also access the context and parameters of the current request within Nextjs getServerSideProps. This allows you to dynamically fetch data based on the user’s request.

// pages/[id].js

import React from 'react';

const DynamicPage = ({ data }) => {
  // Render your component using the fetched data
  return (
    <div>
      <header>
        <h1>{data.title}</h1>
      </header>
      <section>
        <p>{data.description}</p>
        {/* Add more sections or components based on your data */}
      </section>
      <footer>
        <p>Published on: {data.publishedDate}</p>
        {/* Additional footer information */}
      </footer>
    </div>
  );
};

export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
  try {
    // Access the parameter from the context
    const { id } = context.params;

    // Fetch data based on the parameter
    const res = await fetch(`https://api.example.com/data/${id}`);
    
    // Check for a successful response
    if (!res.ok) {
      throw new Error('Failed to fetch data');
    }

    // Parse the response data
    const data = await res.json();

    // Return the data as props
    return {
      props: {
        data,
      },
    };
  } catch (error) {
    // Handle errors by redirecting to a custom error page
    return {
      redirect: {
        destination: '/error', // specify your error page
        permanent: false,
      },
    };
  }
}

export default DynamicPage;

In this example, I’ve added a header, section, and footer to the DynamicPage component for a more structured layout. Additionally, I included a check for a successful response in the getServerSideProps function and added a redirect in case of an error.

Feel free to further customize this code based on your specific requirements, adding more sections, components, or error-handling strategies as needed for your dynamic pages.

Advantages of Utilizing getServerSideProps

With the help of the robust feature called GetServerSideProps, we can retrieve data from the server and provide it as props to our page component. It guarantees quick load times, enhances SEO, and provides a more satisfying experience for consumers.

Furthermore, we can quickly add dynamic data to our sites using getServerSideProps instead of client-side JavaScript. This implies that it can enhance the usability and proficiency of our application without making it more complicated.

Here’s a basic example of how you can use nextjs getServerSideProps in a Next.js page:

// pages/[slug].js

import React from 'react';

const DynamicPage = ({ data }) => {
  // Render the page using the fetched data
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>{data.title}</h1>
      <p>{data.description}</p>
    </div>
  );
};

export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
  // Fetch data from an external API or database based on the slug parameter
  const { params } = context;
  const response = await fetch(`https://api.example.com/data/${params.slug}`);
  const data = await response.json();

  // Pass the data to the page component as props
  return {
    props: {
      data,
    },
  };
}

export default DynamicPage;

In this example, The getServerSideProps function is an async function that receives a context object containing information about the current request.

  • It fetches data based on the dynamic parameter (slug) from an external API or database.

  • The fetched data is then passed to the page component as props.

  • The page component (DynamicPage) receives the data as a prop and can render the page with dynamic content.

When a user visits a page generated by this setup, the server will fetch the data and pass it to the page component at the request time, allowing for dynamic content generation. Keep in mind that using getServerSideProps may result in slower initial page loads compared to static site generation methods. However, it’s useful for pages that require data fetching on every request.

Key Features of NextJS getServerSideProps

Here is a simple table that breaks down the key aspects of the getServerSideProps function in Next.js dynamic content generation.

AspectsDescription
Function NamegetServerSideProps
TypeAsync function
Input Parametercontext object containing information about the current request
Data FetchingFetches data based on the dynamic parameter (slug) from an external API or database.
Data PassingPasses the fetched data to the page component as props.
Page ComponentDynamicPage component receives the data as a prop and renders the page with dynamic content.
Execution FlowWhen a user visits a page generated by this setup, the server fetches the data at the requested time and passes it to the page component, allowing for dynamic content generation.
Performance ConsiderationThis may result in slower initial page loads compared to static site generation methods, suitable for pages that require data fetching on every request.

Nextjs getServerSideProps: A Comprehensive Overview for Developers

getServerSideProps is a valuable tool in the Next.js toolkit, offering the capability to perform server-side data fetching and dynamic rendering. This function empowers developers to create personalized and responsive web applications by fetching data at runtime based on user requests.

Understanding the fundamentals of getServerSideProps is crucial for developers looking to enhance the performance and user experience of their Next.js applications. By grasping the concepts outlined in this article and diving into practical examples, you’ve taken a significant step toward mastering this powerful feature.

The majority of getServerSideProps’ features and how they may aid in creating applications that are more efficient, quicker, and search engine friendly were addressed today. I hope that the article by PureCode.AI has been enjoyable and educational for you to read and Understand about NexJS getServerSideProps.

Now that you have a solid understanding of getServerSideProps, it’s time to put your knowledge into action. Consider implementing this feature in your current or upcoming Next.js projects to experience its full potential firsthand. Experiment with different data sources, handle errors gracefully and explore how dynamic rendering can elevate your application’s functionality.

Don’t hesitate to refer back to this Purecode.AI article as a guide or reference as you integrate getServerSideProps it into your projects. As you embark on this journey, remember that continuous exploration and hands-on experience are key to becoming proficient with this feature.

Yash Poojari

Yash Poojari