Vercel is an infrastructure as a service company that provides a front-end-as-a-service product, which simplifies the deployment and management of the user-facing part of applications for engineers. Unlike traditional deployment methods where the front-end and back-end are deployed together on the same server, Vercel allows teams to deploy the front-end easily and separately from the back-end, eliminating the need for infrastructure setup and management.
Vercel provides the ability to preview deployments, offers serverless functions, analytics, and a range of additional features. It allows separate front-end deployment, eliminating infrastructure setup as well. They also offer cloud-like features such as storage and databases. It's becoming the standard for headless front-end deployment and is used by a vast number of businesses.
How Vercel handles Next.JS
Vercel has a significant role in creating and maintaining Next.js, one of the most popular web frameworks for React. As an open-source and free web framework, Next.js has gained significant popularity and is widely used by developers. Web frameworks enable developers to build web servers and front-ends without having to write custom code. Vercel's ownership of Next.js allows them to seamlessly integrate it into their commercial front-end-as-a-service product with various performance optimizations. Notably, every function in the "API" folder is automatically deployed as a serverless function in Vercel, providing an easy back-end for developers.
Why you should use Next.js and Vercel
Next.js and Vercel are an excellent combination for creating scalable and maintainable web applications. There are many reasons why developers should choose this combination for projects, but here are some of the most compelling ones:
Incredible developer experience:
Next.js empowers developers to leverage a combination of React and Node.js, enabling the creation of feature-rich front-end applications with support for server-side rendering, static pages, and incremental static regeneration. The isomorphic nature of Next.js page components allows developers to write code flexibly and create dynamic applications quickly.
Vercel's Edge Runtime allows Next.js applications to deploy server functions to the edge, resulting in incredibly fast response times and low latency in production. The platform's efficient handling of static pages and server-side rendered content can handle a large amount of concurrent requests, making it ideal for high traffic websites.
It handles dynamic apps extremely well:
For dynamic content, Next.js is a fantastic tool. It can handle fast-changing content and ensure that content relates to each other. The framework also has built in support for APIs and can expose these endpoints to other applications.
Next.js is an open-source framework that is completely free to use. Vercel's generous free tier allows teams to deploy their full-stack applications to the network for free, and the platform's pay as you go pricing model is affordable as websites grow.
Next.js is a semi-opinionated framework that provides a basis of rules and folder structure around how applications are written. However, it is also highly customizable and can integrate easily with other software or APIs. Custom integrations can be built around the Next.js application, making it very efficient for developers to extend or build on top of.
Empowering developers - incredible tooling and a passionate community
Next.js has a passionate and active community, and developers can easily find answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. The platform also has thousands of open-source plugins and integrations built by the community, which can speed up development time. Vercel's community managers are also very responsive, helpful and incredibly knowledgeable.
Vercel with Sanity
Vercel has a brilliant integration with Sanity, a fully customizable and flexible headless CMS. Vercel provides a one-click deployment for Sanity Studio, the CMS's editing environment. With Vercel's integration, developers can deploy their Sanity Studio directly to Vercel's global edge network, ensuring high performance and low latency. Additionally, Vercel offers features like automatic SSL and custom domains, making it easy to set up a secure and branded CMS experience in combination with Sanity.
Vercel as front-end cloud
Vercel is more than just a front-end-as-a-service offering. It provides a collection of services centred on the front-end that make building apps easier. It has consistently released supporting features to make it a legitimate place to build your entire application.
Vercel's implementation of Edge Functions is interesting as it runs server side/back-end code serverlessly to handle things like authentication, experimentation, and more. They also provide statistics and dashboards on your site’s performance and accessibility through their Analytics feature. With their CLI/API, you can interact programmatically with Vercel to do things like run deployments, run performance checks, etc. Vercel's new features, such as simple object storage, managed databases, and visual editing, are all geared towards making Vercel a cloud focused on the front-end and abstracting the back-end.
To sum up, Vercel offer an exceptional developer experience with efficient handling of dynamic apps, affordability, customizability, and a passionate community. Vercel, as a front-end cloud, provides managed infrastructure for developers to build and run entire applications with a focus on abstracting the back-end, which is complemented by its Edge Functions, Analytics, and CLI/API features.