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Next.js Routing

Next.js App Router

In Next.js, the App Router is used to define and structure an application’s routes and their UIs. It is defined by creating a folder named app at the project’s root level.

Next.js Folders and Reserved Files

In the Next.js App Router, folders define path segments, and reserved files within, like page.tsx, define that segment’s UI.

├── app
│ ├── users /users
│ │ ├── page.tsx UI
│ ├──settings /settings
└── │ ├── page.tsx UI

Next.js Nested Routes

In Next.js, nested routes can be created by creating nested folders.

├── app
│ ├── users
│ │ ├── profiles /users/profiles
└── │ │ ├── page.tsx UI

Composition of URL Paths

A URL path is composed of path segments and comes after the URL domain.

For example, in the URL

  • is the domain.
  • /catalog/language/javascript is the path.
  • /catalog, /language, and /javascript are path segments.

Next.js Navigation

Next.js provides SPA-like navigation with the useRouter() hook and <Link> component.

The useRouter() hook returns a router object which contains methods like push(path), back(), and forward() for navigation.

The <Link> component extends the <a> element by adding features like prefetching.

'use client'
import { useRouter } from 'next/navigation'
import Link from 'next/link'
export default function MyPage() {
const router = useRouter()
return (
<Link href="/">Home</Link>
<button onClick={router.back}>Back</button>

Next.js page.tsx

In Next.js, a page.tsx is a reserved file that defines a unique UI for its containing path segment and makes it accessible.

To use page.tsx, you must default export a React component.

// in page.tsx in the folder /app/settings
export default function SettingsPage() {
return (
<h1>Your Settings</h1>

Next.js layout.tsx and template.tsx

In Next.js, layout.tsx and template.tsx are reserved files used to create shared UIs.

Similarities include:

  • Requiring a default export React component.
  • Exported component receives a children prop of type ReactNode.
  • Wraps other reserved files and nested routes.

Differences include:

  • A template.tsx component will be re-instantiated while layout.tsx component will not.
  • At least one root layout.tsx returning the <html> and <body> elements is required in the App Router.
// In root layout.tsx
export default function RootLayout({children}: { children: React.ReactNode}) {
return (
<h1>Root Layout</h1>
// In template.tsx
export default function Template({children}: {children: React.ReactNode}) {
return (
<h2>Template Layout</h2>

Next.js Dynamic Segments

In Next.js, a dynamic segment is created by wrapping a folder’s name in square brackets, for example, /app/users/[userId].

The page.tsx component exported from this folder will receive a params prop which will contain the dynamic segment data (as a string) and be referenced using the dynamic segment folder name (userId).

// In /app/users/[userId]/page.tsx
export default function UserPage({ params }: { params: { userId: string }}) {
const userId = params.userId // Access dynamic segment data
return (
<h2>My User Page for: {userId}</h2>

Next.js Catch-all Dynamic Segment

In Next.js, dynamic segments can be further modified to be made catch-all and optional. A catch-all segment is created by prefixing a dynamic segment with ellipses like /app/articles/[...articleIds].

A catch-all segment’s page.tsx component will receive a params prop containing the dynamic data as an array of strings referenced using the dynamic folder name (articleIds).

To make the catch-all dynamic segment optional, you wrap it in another pair of square brackets like: /app/articles/[[...articleIds]].

// In /app/articles/[[...articleIds]]/page.tsx
export default function ArticlesPage({ params }: { params: { articleIds: string[]}}) {
const articleIds = params.articleIds // Retrieve dynamic segment data
return (
{ => (<p>Article Id is: {id}</p>))}

Next.js Reserved Files

Next.js reserves special files used to define UIs by default exporting a React component. Some of the special files include:

  • layout.tsx: Defines a shared UI.
  • template.tsx: Defines a shared UI.
  • error.tsx: Defines an ErrorBoundary fallback UI.
  • loading.tsx: Defines a Suspense fallback UI.
  • not-found.tsx: Defines an ErrorBoundary fallback UI for an unknown segment or nested segments.

Next.js Reserved File Component Hierarchy

Next.js defines a component hierarchy for reserve file components. The hierarchy is:

  1. layout.tsx
  2. template.tsx
  3. error.tsx
  4. loading.tsx
  5. not-found.tsx
  6. page.tsx

Any nested hierarchy will be placed within the hierarchy of its parent.

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