The best new features in Next.js 13

Next.js is like React with benefits, in that it delivers all the features of React with ease-of-use conventions and a well-defined client-server stack. Next.js 13 is the newest version, released by Vercel at the Next.js conference in October 2022. It brings a slew of new features, including a bundler called Turbopack and support for several React-incubated optimizations like React Server Components and streaming rendering.

All told, Next.js 13 is a significant milestone, bringing together advancements in React and Next itself in a pleasantly usable developer experience package. This release also packs in considerable behind-the-scenes optimization. Let’s take a tour of what’s new in Next.js 13.

The new Turbopack bundler

Turbopack is a new general-purpose JavaScript bundler and a major feature in Next.js 13. It is intended as a Webpack replacement, and although it’s released as alpha, you can use Turbopack now as the dev-mode bundler from Next.js 13 forward. Turbopack is a new entrant into the bundler competition, where several contenders have vied to overcome Webpack’s dominance.

Turbopack is written in Rust, which seems to be the go-to choice for systems-oriented tooling these days. Rust’s inherent speed is one reason underlying Turborepo’s performance as compared with other build tools. (Rust is something like C++, but with more memory safety.) Interestingly, the bundler space has been very active lately, with the Vite build tool gaining mindshare as the successor to Webpack. Vite is written in Go, a language of similar vintage to Rust. But Rust seems to have the edge

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