Nested Routes in Nextjs: A Complete Guide with Step-by-Step Examples

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Next.js, a powerful framework for building server-side rendered React applications, simplifies the process of web development by providing built-in features such as routing. A common requirement in many applications is the ability to create nested routes. This guide will thoroughly explain how to implement nested routes in NextJS, ensuring that your website can handle complex navigation patterns with ease.

Introduction to Nested Routes in NextJS

Nested routing is a concept central to modern web development, especially when dealing with applications that require a hierarchical structure of views and components. In the context of Next.js, nested routes enable developers to build complex and deeply structured web applications efficiently. This approach aligns with the component-based architecture of React, allowing developers to encapsulate and manage related parts of their application’s UI in an organized manner.

Understanding how to implement nested routes in NextJS is crucial for several reasons:

  1. Enhanced User Experience:
    Nested routes allow for the creation of a more intuitive navigation flow. Users can navigate through different layers of the application without losing their sense of place or context, which is particularly useful in applications like e-commerce sites, dashboards, and multi-step forms.
  2. Improved Scalability:
    As applications grow, managing the routing structure can become increasingly complex. Nested routes help in organizing routes in a scalable hierarchy, making it easier to manage large codebases and expand the application’s functionality without disrupting existing routes.
  3. Simpler State Management:
    By structuring pages and components into nested routes, state management can be localized to specific parts of the application. This reduces dependencies and potential conflicts across components, leading to more maintainable code.
  4. Seamless Lazy Loading:
    Next.js supports automatic code splitting and lazy loading of components based on the route. With nested routes, components are only loaded when needed, which can significantly improve the performance of the application.
  5. Direct Linking and Bookmarking:
    Each level of a nested route can correspond to a specific state of the application, which can be directly linked or bookmarked. This is advantageous for user retention and SEO, as users can return to a specific state of the application through a URL.

By mastering nested routes in NextJS, developers can take full advantage of these benefits, leading to robust applications that are both user-friendly and performant. This guide will provide step-by-step examples on setting up and utilizing nested routes effectively within your Next.js projects, ensuring you have the knowledge to implement this powerful feature correctly.

Step 1: Setting Up Your Next.js Project

Before diving into nested routes in NextJS, ensure you have Node.js installed on your computer. Then, you must set up a Next.js project if you haven’t already. Here’s how to get started:

  1. Create a new Next.js app:
npx create-next-app my-next-app
cd my-next-app

2. Run the development server:

npm run dev
  1. This command starts the development server on http://localhost:3000. Visit this URL in your browser to see your new Next.js application.

Step 2: Understanding the File System Based Routing

Next.js uses a file-system-based routing mechanism. This means that it automatically routes files in the pages directory to corresponding URLs. For example, a file pages/about.js is accessible at http://localhost:3000/about.

Step 3: Creating Nested Routes

To implement nested routes in Next.js, you need to create a nested directory structure within the pages folder. Here’s how you can do it:

Also, Read: Next.js Dynamic Route Segments: A step by step with Examples

  1. Create a nested directory:
    • Navigate to the pages directory.
    • Create a new folder named product.
    • Inside the product folder, create an index.js file. This will correspond to the route /product.
  2. Add a nested route:
    • Inside the product folder, create a new folder named [id] where id is a dynamic segment.
    • Create an index.js file inside the [id] folder. This file will now correspond to the route /product/:id, where :id can be any value.

Example Code for Nested Routes

Here’s what the directory structure should look like:

pages/
|-- product/
    |-- index.js        // Accessible at /product
    |-- [id]/
        |-- index.js    // Accessible at /product/:id

And here’s a simple example of what pages/product/[id]/index.js might contain:

import { useRouter } from 'next/router';

const ProductPage = () => {
  const router = useRouter();
  const { id } = router.query;

  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Product {id}</h1>
      <p>Details about product {id}.</p>
    </div>
  );
};

export default ProductPage;

Step 4: Linking Between Pages

To navigate between pages using nested routes in Next.js, use the Link component from next/link. Here’s how to link to a nested route:

Also Read: Exploring Next.js Data Fetching Methods: A step by step example

import Link from 'next/link';

const HomePage = () => {
  return (
    <div>
      <h1>Welcome to Our Store</h1>
      <Link href="/product/1">
        <a>Go to Product 1</a>
      </Link>
    </div>
  );
};

export default HomePage;

Conclusion

Implementing nested routes in NextJS is straightforward thanks to its file-system-based routing. By organizing your pages into a nested directory structure, you can easily manage complex applications with multiple layers of navigation. This guide should help you understand and implement nested routing in your Next.js projects, enhancing both their structure and functionality.

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