thank u, next.js

Issue #7.August 3, 2020.2 Minute read.

This newsletter is an economic miracle.

Next.js releases v9.5

f yo couch

Why don’t I stretch out?

thank u, next… Next.js released v9.5 last week and doubled down on its recent commitment to static site generation with a new incremental static re-generation feature.

Wtf does that mean? It’s a long name for a new mechanism that lets you update existing pages on your site by statically re-rendering them in the background as traffic comes in. The goal is to give you the benefits of both static and dynamic content. Check out this Github Reactions demo to see it in action.

Other features from v9.5: Customizable base path, redirects and rewrites, Webpack 5 beta, and more.

How did we get here?

In the good ol’ days, (before COVID and that terrible twitter joke format from last week) it was easy to choose between Gatsby and Next.js. If you wanted to build a static site you used Gatsby, and if you wanted server-side rendering you used Next.js.

Then, everything changed when the Fire Nation attacked VC’s wrote checks.

Gatsby and Vercel (the company behind Next.js) both raised fat stacks of cash with the idea that they could use their very popular open source frameworks as distribution channels for their paid platforms.

But taking VC money means your company needs to grow fast, which means your distribution channels need to grow fast, too. So it’s probably not a coincidence that Next.js announced support for static site generation right around the time they announced their first big VC investment. Supporting more use cases means more users, which ultimately means more revenue (in theory).

The bottom line

The new features in Next.js 9.5 help to beef up the framework’s new static site offering, while continuing to add to its already robust feature set for SSR. This is exciting news for Next.js fans, but what about Gatsby? Does this new static support from Next.js send a message that “this town ain’t big enough for the both of us? Or is there room for more than one winner? I guess we’ll wait and see.

This week in history

myspace tom

Heroes get remembered, but legends never die.

Edgy teens found a new internet home when Myspace officially launched 17 years ago this week. The OG social network was originally built with ColdFusion and SQL (before later migrating to ASP.NET), and was processing 1.5 billion page views per day at its peak. It clocked in as the #1 most visited site in the US in 2006, ahead of Google and Yahoo.

Since the glory days, the company has been bought, sold, and re-sold to everyone from Justin Timberlake (that sounds like a joke, it’s not) to Time Magazine. At this point, I don’t think a big comeback is gonna happen.

The most lasting legacy of Myspace might be the way it inspired a whole generation to learn the basics of HTML and CSS in order to customize their profiles.

Cool bits

  1. Felix decided to serve us some real-life nightmare fuel by building an entire 1991 Macintosh Quadra with Mac OS 8.1 running in an Electron app. It’s a beautiful abomination.

  2. Josh walks you through creating a basic physics simulation in JavaScript that will make you wish you had actually paid attention in physics back in high school.

  3. Etienne wrote about simplifying your JavaScript (and impressing your coworkers) by using .map(), .reduce(), and .filter().

  4. Aaron made a video about 21 “life-changing” JavaScript tips that comes with a helpful, downloadable cheat sheet.

  5. This side-by-side comparison of React and Vue 3 gives an in-depth look at the similarities and differences between the two technologies when building the same to-do app.

  6. Adam wrote about 3 lesser-known TypeScript concepts. How many did you know?

  7. Tinykeys is tiny, modern library for key bindings with a nice live demo, so you can check it out for yourself.

  8. Elijah Manor wrote about how to natively format JavaScript dates and times with some helpful graphics and code examples.

This week on


What do you think is the single most important problem that the Web/JS community should be working on?

We’ll show off some of the best responses in next week’s issue.