Building Dynamic Routes in Next.js 14

Anton Ioffe - November 13th 2023 - 11 minutes read

In the evolving landscape of web development, Next.js 14 stands as a beacon of innovative routing capabilities, empowering developers to craft highly scalable and efficient applications. As you embark on this voyage through the depths of dynamic routing, you will unravel the sophisticated mechanisms baked into this framework. From the intricacies of leveraging useRouter for state-of-the-art route management to mastering catch-all segments, and from refining performance to adopting suave design patterns for maximal reusability—this article is poised to elevate your Next.js craftsmanship to new pinnacles. Prepare to transform your approach to routing as we dissect and reconstruct the pillars of Next.js 14's dynamic routes, ensuring your web applications are not just robust but are elegantly aligned with modern standards of development excellence.

The Paradigm of Dynamic Routes in Next.js 14

Dynamic routes in Next.js 14 play a crucial role in modern web application development, addressing the need to cater to varying user interactions through URL patterns that dynamically respond to content. With the specific enhancements in Next.js 14, these routes have become more intuitive and powerful. Developers define dynamic segments within brackets—['slug'].js, for instance—allowing the route structure to adapt at runtime to diverse content requirements. This approach keeps routes scalable and maintainable, consistent with the evolving complexities of creating content-rich web applications.

The need for dynamic routes surfaces when delivering personalized or data-centric content via URLs that maintain a uniform appearance. Whether it's to feature individual products, user profiles, or dynamic articles, Next.js 14 strengthens the capability to create SEO-friendly and clear paths to custom content views. The framework carries onwards its convention over configuration stance, with its filesystem-based routing intuitively reflecting URL structures and elevating content's search engine discoverability.

Consider the following example where we configure a dynamic route for product details:

// File: pages/products/[id].js
export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
    const { params } = context;
    const { id } = params; // Accessing the dynamic segment 'id'
    // Fetch product details using the 'id'
    return { props: { /* ... */ } };

function Product({ /* ... */ }) {
    // Render the product details
export default Product;

Accessing /products/1 triggers getServerSideProps with { id: '1' }, dynamically rendering the content for product one.

Next.js 14 also promotes enhanced support for nested dynamic routes, imperative for applications that encompass multilevel data structures. A structure like pages/blog/[year]/[month]/[slug].js implements URLs with several dynamic parts, offering meticulous solutions for intricate routing requirements. These features provide users and search engines a clear hierarchy and a detailed contextual understanding of the content presented.

For a nested route example:

// File: pages/blog/[year]/[month]/[slug].js
export async function getServerSideProps(context) {
    const { year, month, slug } = context.params; // Accessing nested dynamic segments
    // Fetch blog post using the year, month, and slug
    return { props: { /* ... */ } };

function BlogPost({ /* ... */ }) {
    // Render the blog post details
export default BlogPost;

In this setup, the URL /blog/2021/09/react-router corresponds to the dynamic segments captured and utilized within getServerSideProps.

Next.js 14's routing improvements enrich the developer experience, with dynamic segments reflecting the directory and file naming in the project contributing to a more intuitive management of content-based routes. This congruence between filesystem layout and URL pattern facilitates the creation and extension of dynamic, content-driven applications. By incorporating these routing capabilities, developers are enabled to craft user-friendly URLs that embody the essence of modern, accessible web design principles.

Leveraging useRouter for Stateful Route Management

Leveraging useRouter for Stateful Route Management involves harnessing the full potential of Next.js's useRouter hook to manage routes that require dynamic state management. In certain complex scenarios, it's paramount to understand both the advantages and potential pitfalls associated with its use. The useRouter hook comprises various properties and methods that are essential for programmatically controlling navigation and route state.

For instance, consider an e-commerce dashboard where admins need to edit specific products based on the product ID. By using the useRouter hook, developers can access the query parameter for fetching the necessary product details directly. Here's a snippet showing how this might be achieved:

import { useRouter } from 'next/router';

export default function ProductEdit() {
  const router = useRouter();
  const { productId } = router.query;

  // Assuming fetchProduct is a function that fetches product data
  const product = fetchProduct(productId);

  if (!product) {
    // Handle loading or error state
    return <div>Loading...</div>;

  // Proceed with rendering the Edit form populated with product data
  return <ProductForm initialValues={product} />;

In the code above, the router's query object is destructured to access the productId. The fetchProduct method is a hypothetical function that retrieves product data. This approach can be quite powerful, but also runs the risk of becoming unwieldy if not managed carefully. It's crucial to handle loading or null states for situations where the productId might not be immediately available due to Next.js's client-side navigation or when the data fetching is in progress.

When dealing with server-side rendering (SSR) or statically generated pages with dynamic routes, intricate issues may arise. For SSR pages, the query parameter is populated on each request, which ensures fresh data at the cost of performance. On the other hand, statically generated pages will only populate the query parameter once during the build process. It is the responsibility of the developer to reconcile these differences and ensure that the expected route state is managed correctly.

For performance reasons, developers often consider prefetching data for their dynamic routes, which can be achieved using the router.prefetch() method. However, excessive prefetching can strain server resources, particularly when dealing with a large number of dynamic routes. Here, a balance must be struck between responsiveness and resource utilization.

In conclusion, careful consideration must be given when hydrating route state in a dynamic context. The useRouter hook provides a powerful toolkit for stateful route management, but it demands a disciplined approach to handle complex scenarios effectively. Evaluating the trade-offs between real-time data accuracy (with SSR) and performance (with static generation) is key, and special attention is required to mitigate issues that might arise from client-side navigation and data fetching delays.

Mastery of Catch-all and Optional Catch-all Segments

Catch-all segments in Next.js 14 are a powerful technique for handling a wide array of URL paths with a single file, yet the mechanics of their use are often misunderstood. A catch-all route, such as pages/shop/[...slug].js, is used when you want to capture all paths that follow a certain pattern, like /shop/clothes/tops. The slug parameter becomes an array containing each segment of the path, which gives you the flexibility to handle hierarchical URLs without creating separate files for each level. The real mastery lies not just in using the feature, but in combining it with front-end logic to parse the slug array and render content conditionally based on the URL's deep structure. Doing this efficiently can have a noticeable impact on performance, and care must be taken to minimize heavy computations based on the route parameters.

Conversely, optional catch-all segments broaden route matching by including scenarios where specific segments may not be present at all. Illustrated by renaming a file to [[...slug]].js, this naming convention stipulates that the route /shop should be resolved by the same file that handles /shop/clothes and deeper nested paths. This flexibility is a boon for situations where a base route should display default content or a summary view, and additional path segments should refine the view to show more detailed content. It consolidates route handling and allows developers to create more modular and reusable components. However, this strategy can complicate the component logic, as it introduces additional states the page has to handle: from displaying an overview to rendering specific items selected by deeper routes.

An exemplar code snippet showcasing optional catch-all routes may look like this:

// pages/shop/[[...slug]].js
export async function getServerSideProps({ params }) {
    const { slug } = params || {};
    // Fetch data based on the depth of the slug
    let products = await fetchProducts(slug);
    return { props: { products }};

export default function Shop({ products }) {
    // Render different components based on the slug provided
    return (
            { => (
                <ProductSummary key={} product={product} />

In the snippet, the fetchProducts function must be adept at handling a slug of arbitrary length, including an empty slug for the base route. Also, this example implies there's potential for memory inefficiency if not handled properly: the deeper the route, potentially the more data gets fetched and held in memory. Developers should consider strategies to only fetch what is visible to the user to maintain performance.

Common pitfalls with these routing techniques often include over-fetching data, which hampers performance and scalability, and overly complex component logic due to handling multiple route states. To circumvent these issues, consider executing data fetching at the minimum level necessary, and architect your components to be as agnostic of the routing details as possible while still maintaining the flexibility required by the application's specific use cases.

Are you using catch-all or optional catch-all routes in your applications responsibly, by creating modular and performant components? What patterns and practices have you found to be most effective in maintaining readability and reducing complexity in these scenarios? Engage with these strategies to optimize your Next.js applications and achieve a robust, scalable routing solution.

Performance Optimization in Dynamic Routing

Dynamic routing in Next.js offers great flexibility, but it also introduces potential performance bottlenecks. One such issue is hydration mismatches, which occur when the server-rendered markup differs from the client's initial render. This can happen if route parameters are used in the component's initial state in ways that differ between client and server. To mitigate this, ensure that the dynamic parameters from routes are handled consistently during server-side rendering and client-side hydration. An example of a well-handled component is:

export async function getServerSideProps({params}) {
    // Presumed existence of fetchUserData function to fetch user data
    const userData = await fetchUserData(;
    return { props: { userData } };

const UserProfile = ({ userData }) => {
    // Correct usage: The userData prop is hydrated with the same data 
    // from server-side, ensuring no mismatches occur.
    return <ProfileLayout userInfo={userData} />;

Prop drilling is another performance concern in dynamic routes, where deeply nested components require data from higher levels, resulting in unnecessary component re-renders and convoluted code. Leveraging Context API or state management libraries can alleviate this issue. Here's how you could use Context to avoid prop drilling:

import { createContext, useContext } from 'react';

export const UserContext = createContext(null);

const UserProfilePage = ({ userData }) => {
    return (
        <UserContext.Provider value={userData}>
            <ProfileLayout />

// Assume ProfileLayout internally uses ProfileDetails or other child components
const ProfileDetails = () => {
    const userData = useContext(UserContext);
    // Access userData without prop drilling
    // ...

For efficient data loading, attention must be paid to how and when data is fetched. Using getStaticProps or getServerSideProps for data fetching ensures that the necessary data is loaded alongside the main content render, avoiding client-side fetches that can lead to longer load times and affect SEO:

export async function getStaticProps({ params }) {
    // Presumed existence of fetchPageContent function to fetch page content
    const pageContent = await fetchPageContent(params.slug);
    return { props: { pageContent }, revalidate: 3600 };

Memory leaks often arise when event listeners or subscriptions are not properly cleaned up in dynamically loaded components. It's essential to use the useEffect hook to manage side-effects and clean up to avoid such issues:

import { useEffect } from 'react';

// Assuming `router` is a provided Next.js router object
useEffect(() => {
    const handleRouteChange = url => {
        console.log(`App is changing to ${url}`);
    }'routeChangeStart', handleRouteChange);

    // Cleanup on unmount
    return () => {'routeChangeStart', handleRouteChange);
}, [router]);

Sluggish page transitions can severely impact user experience. Next.js supports automatic code splitting for each route, but it’s wise to manually split heavier, non-critical components using dynamic imports. It should be noted that SSR should typically be enabled for performance benefits unless there's a specific reason to disable it for a component. Here’s how you might conditionally load an expensive component and clarify when SSR can be turned off:

import dynamic from 'next/dynamic';
import { useState } from 'react';

// Dynamic import is used as an optimization technique to load a component only when needed
const HeavyComponent = dynamic(() => import('../components/HeavyComponent'), {
    loading: () => <p>Loading...</p>,
    ssr: false // Disable server-side rendering for this component if it depends on browser-specific objects

const Page = () => {
    const [loadHeavy, setLoadHeavy] = useState(false);

    return (
            <button onClick={() => setLoadHeavy(true)}>Load Heavy Component</button>
            {loadHeavy && <HeavyComponent />}

Deploy strategies like these to ensure that dynamic routes perform optimally and enhance the scalability and maintenance of your Next.js applications.

Thoughtful Abstractions and Design Patterns for Reusability

In the realm of dynamic routing in Next.js, the prospect of enhancing reusability often leads us to abstract logic from our components. While custom hooks can elegantly encapsulate shared logic such as data fetching, it is imperative to discern when to use hooks versus when to employ Higher-Order Components (HOCs). Hooks are suited for encapsulating stateful behavior and side effects tied to the component's lifecycle, as showcased in our useProductReviews hook example.

// useProductReviews encapsulates the logic for fetching and storing reviews
function useProductReviews(productId) {
    const [reviews, setReviews] = useState([]);

    // Effect hook for fetching data when productId changes
    useEffect(() => {
        // fetchData is a utility function that fetches the reviews
        async function fetchData() {
            const response = await fetch(`/api/products/${productId}/reviews`);
            const data = await response.json();
    }, [productId]);

    return reviews;

// ProductReviews component for rendering, leveraging useProductReviews
function ProductReviews({ productId }) {
    const reviews = useProductReviews(productId);
    // Component focuses on presentation using the fetched data
    // ...

On the flip side, HOCs provide an abstraction layer for enhancing components with additional properties or behavior. These are useful when you need to apply consistent changes across multiple components, such as injecting route-related props or wrapping components with additional data providers. This approach, however, must be carefully managed to avoid prop pollution and ensure that the added props are relevant to the component.

While custom hooks like useProductReviews reduce duplication, they can introduce challenges such as overfetching of data if not carefully managed. Overfetching occurs when a hook fetches more data than necessary for the current render, which can waste client and server resources. Additionally, hooks that depend on external state, like route parameters, need robust error handling and loading states to gracefully manage the asynchronous nature of data fetching.

Abstracting route logic into HOCs or using container components can be a significant boon to the organization and reusability of a codebase. Containers segregate the data-fetching logic, acting as data providers for their child components. Here, ProductContainer manages state and data fetching, while ProductDisplay is a pure presentational component.

// Container component responsible for data fetching and state management
function ProductContainer({ productId }) {
    const product = // Logic to fetch product based on productId
    // ProductDisplay is concerned only with presentation details
    return <ProductDisplay product={product} />;

// Presentational component for rendering the product
function ProductDisplay({ product }) {
    // Only responsible for rendering the UI based on the product data
    // ...

However, it is prudent to be mindful of the trade-offs when using such patterns. Containers may distance the data layer from the presentational layer, potentially leading to deep component hierarchies or excessive prop drilling. We must weigh the benefits of abstraction against the accruing complexity.

As we aspire to refine our dynamic routes, let us pose introspective queries: "Does our abstraction genuinely reduce redundancy and facilitate understanding?" and "Is this abstraction universally useful, or does it preemptively optimize a narrow aspect?" Properly addressing these questions ensures that our efforts towards maintainable and scalable codebases don't inadvertently spiral into unwarranted complexity.


In the article "Building Dynamic Routes in Next.js 14," the author explores the powerful routing capabilities of Next.js 14 and how they can be leveraged to create scalable and efficient web applications. The article covers topics such as dynamic routes, leveraging useRouter for stateful route management, catch-all and optional catch-all segments, performance optimization, and thoughtful abstractions and design patterns for reusability. The key takeaways include understanding the paradigm of dynamic routes, utilizing useRouter effectively, mastering catch-all and optional catch-all segments, optimizing performance in dynamic routing, and implementing thoughtful abstractions and design patterns. The challenging task for the reader is to consider how they can optimize the performance of their own dynamic routes by exploring techniques such as code splitting and efficient data loading.

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