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Lucas, Kiya | 02.11.2022

NextJS 13 and React Server Components - A Deep Dive

Webentwicklung > NextJS 13 and React Server Components - A Deep Dive

NextJS 13 was released last week and its biggest feature is a new app directory with a new file-based routing system. The new folder also supports React Server Components.

This marks a new evolution for React server-side rendering. Previously, server-side rendering with React followed a process such as this:

  • Server loads all data needed for the page (either at build time or when the request is made).

  • Server renders all react components to HTML.

  • Client loads all HTML.

  • Client then loads JavaScript code.

  • The client "hydrates" the HTML, rerendering all react components and comparing it with the received HTML.

  • Finally, the page is interactive.

With React Server Components, the process is transformed to:

  • Server renders initial HTML skeleton, to the first Suspense boundary, and starts fetching data.

  • The skeleton HTML is sent to the client.

  • As the server finishes data loading, components are rendered on the server and streamed to the client as HTML.

  • The client loads React and only React Client Components.

  • The client hydrates only the React Client Components.

  • Finally, the page is interactive.

Thus, the client needs to load much less JavaScript, only for interactive components.

For a demonstration, I created a simple gallery viewer for HelloPaint. You can find the deployed version here and the GitHub repository here.

During this project, I learned:

  • Rendering mui components (material-ui) as server components was an issue (Emotion is possibly unsupported as of now?).

  • Tailwind and DaisyUI functioned well.

  • Data is loaded using the use() React hook, which takes a promise and waits until the promise is resolved.

In the context of data loading with graphql, urql, and graphql-codegen, it looks something like this:

1import {graphql} from "../../lib/gql";
2import {Client} from "@urql/core";
3import { use } from "react";
4import Image from "next/image";
5import {Like} from "./like";
7const client = new Client({
8  url: "",
12const galleryQuery = graphql(/* GraphQL */`
13  query GalleryPosts {
14      galleryPosts(query: {limit: 30}) {
15          id
16          title
17          imageUrl
18          description
19      }
20  }
23const load = async () => {
24  return client.query(galleryQuery, {}).toPromise();
28export default function Home() {
30  const data = use(load());
32  [...]

However, if you attempt to use useState from within a server component, you'll find an error stating that this is only functional within a Client Component.

To bypass this, adding use client; at the top of the file will ensure that it functions as a normal React component. You can continue to explore these new features and updates directly from the NextJS 13 blog post.

  • What is the new feature in NextJS 13?
  • What are React Server Components?
  • What differences do they bring in React server-side rendering?
  • How can you create a simple application using these features?
  • What insights were gained from the project?
Lucas Meurer
Lucas (Softwareentwickler)

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