Deploying a Next.js Store on HCL Commerce

Deliver a sub-second Next.js website on HCL Commerce with Layer0

Next.js is an open-source React-based isomorphic framework for server-side rendered (SSR) applications. Through the use of a server, Next.js automatically splits code and dynamically generates the HTML every time a new request comes in to ensure speedy page loads. Key benefits of Next.js include: built-in SSR, automatic code splitting, page caching and route prefetching, file-system routing, and CSS-in-JavaScript styling. 

HCL Commerce, previously known as IBM WebSphere, is designed for enterprise level B2B eCommerce, offering flexible catalogue management, great scalability, personalization and deployments on multi/macro sites. HCL Commerce is a cloud-based, API-first platform, which offers two proprietary frontends: a React Reference Storefront and a Java JSP Storefront. HCL Reference Storefront is new a closed source proprietary frontend, meant to keep you on the platform. The platform's APIs include: REST and SDKs.

HCL Commerce supports both traditional/monolithic and headless architectures. The Standard Architecture is designed to separate individual front-end storefronts from the backend servers, leading to increased security, scalability, flexibility and improves the ease of development and deploys. This Standard Architecture uses traditional Java JSP server-side rendering, while the second architecture, React Store Architecture, does not. React Store Architecture is based on a Single Page Application (SPA) model, which is a client-centric headless Store that makes API calls. Currently, it does not support SSR. Moreover, neither architectures support PWA or AMP out of he box, significantly hindering website performance.

Layer0 lets you deliver your Next.js storefront on HCL Commerce in sub-seconds. Websites on Layer0 see median speeds of 320ms, as measured by Largest Contentful Paint (LCP). However, Layer0 is much more than a website accelerator. It is a Jamstack platform for eCommerce. Layer0 makes websites faster for users and simpler for frontend developers to maintain. The platform was built specifically for large-scale, database-driven websites, such as eCommerce and Travel, and provides the following benefits: 

  • Jamstack for eCommerce via both pre-rendering and just-in-time rendering
  • Zero latency networking via prefetching of data from your product catalog APIs
  • An edge that can be configured natively in your Next.js app (CDN-as-JavaScript)
  • Edge rules that can run locally, in pre-production and production environments  
  • Automated, full-stack preview URLs from GitHub, GitLab, or Bitbucket with every new branch and push
  • Performant split tests at the edge and A/B tests that do not slow down the site, canary deploys, and personalization
  • Serverless JavaScript that is much easier and more reliable than AWS Lambda

With Layer0, your Next.js HCL Commerce store will run in sub-second speeds and your developers will be empowered to control edge caching and reduce rework using the various developer productivity tools that come with the platform.

Check out J.Jill, a sub-second HCL Commerce storefront on Layer0. The retailer delivers 390ms average page loads across its site. Guide to Iceland, is another great example of the speeds attainable on the Layer0. Iceland's largest eCommerce website, built with React, increased its site speed by 55% and its Lighthouse Score from 40 to 99, passing all three of Google's Core Web Vitals.

Layer0 is also a main contributor to React Storefront (RSF), an open source eCommerce frontend framework built on Next.js, which powers over billion dollars in eCommerce revenue a year. Try it out if you are in the process of building a modern frontend for an eCommerce site. Or if you're already using Next.js, use the this guide to deploy your Next.js application on Layer0 and get sub-second loads in as little as 1 hour of work. 

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