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Build a Starter Website Using Next.js and Contentstack

Next.js is a minimalistic framework for server-rendered React applications.

This guide will help you create a starter website built on top of Next.js with minimal steps. It uses Contentstack’s Node.js SDK to store and deliver the website content from Contentstack.

Server Side Rendering (SSR) generates website pages at runtime on the server. With SSR, users are served the latest content on their websites.

Note: Learn how to create a starter website with the Next.js framework for React applications with Static Site Generation (SSG).

Let’s look at the steps to create this starter website using Next.js and Contentstack.

Prerequisites

Note: For this tutorial, we have assumed that you are familiar with Contentstack, Next.js, and Bootstrap Stater Apps using CLI. If not, please refer to the Next.js docs and Bootstrap Stater Apps using CLI for more details.

Set Up Your App

Here is an overview of the steps involved in creating our Next.js app:

  1. Set the Region
  2. Login to your Account
  3. Import Content
  4. Create Delivery Token
  5. Build and Configure the Website
  6. Deploy the Website
  1. Set the Region

    To use the North AmericanEuropean, or Azure North American endpoint, run the following command in your terminal (command prompt):

    csdx config:set:region <<region>> 
    

    Note: - For North American users, set the region as NA.
    - For European users, set the region as EU.
    - For Azure North American users, set the region as AZURE-NA.

  2. Login to your Account

    To import content to your stack, first, you’ll need to log in to your Contentstack account via CLI by running the following command in your terminal:

    csdx auth:login
    

    This command will ask you to provide your Contentstack’s account credentials (email and password).

  3. Import Content

    The ‘seed’ command lets you import content to your stack in a few steps. To do so, run the following command in your terminal:

    csdx cm:seed -r "contentstack/stack-starter-app"
    

    This command will prompt the following options as follows:

    • Organization name: You’ll get a list of organizations to which you have access. Select the one from the list where your source stack is located or where you want to create a new stack.
    • Stack preference:

      Next, you need to select your choice to create a new stack:

      • If you select Yes, you’ll receive a list of organizations to which you belong. Then, choose an organization where you are either an owner or admin to create the new stack, and then enter a name for your stack.
      • If you select No, you need to choose the organization where the destination stack exists and select that particular stack where you have the specific permissions for importing content. Refer to the Stack Roles documentation to learn more about permissions.

    Tip: To avoid the chances of any error, we recommend that you select the option of creating a new destination stack. If you choose to import content to an existing stack, ensure that the stack is empty.

    Finally, you’ll get the content imported to your stack.

  4. Create Delivery Token

    A delivery token lets you fetch published content of an environment.

    You can create a delivery token for the “development” environment for running the website on localhost. Later, while deploying your site, you can create tokens for other environments.

  5. Build and Configure the Website

    Download the website code.

    Fire up your terminal, navigate to your project folder, and run the following command to create a configuration file named .env.local.

    cp .env.local.sample .env.local
    

    Note: If you are a Windows user, replace cp with copy in the command given above.

    The .env.local file contains all the necessary config parameters. Open it in any code editor or IDE of your choice, provide your stack credentials as shown below, and save the file.

    CONTENTSTACK_API_KEY = <api_key_of_your_stack>
    CONTENTSTACK_DELIVERY_TOKEN = <delivery_token_of_the_environment>
    CONTENTSTACK_ENVIRONMENT = <environment_name>
    

    Mandatory configuration parameters to enable Live Preview

    Note: The below code is for North America region users only. Refer the configuration code for European region and Azure North American region on the regions configuration page.

    CONTENTSTACK_MANAGEMENT_TOKEN = <management_token_of_the_environment>
    CONTENTSTACK_APP_HOST = app.contentstack.com 
    CONTENTSTACK_API_HOST = api.contentstack.io 
    CONTENTSTACK_LIVE_PREVIEW = true 
    #By default the live preview feature is enabled for this project. To disable it, set "CONTENTSTACK_LIVE_PREVIEW= false".
    CONTENTSTACK_LIVE_EDIT_TAGS = false 
    #By default live editing tags are disabled for this project. To enable it, set “CONTENTSTACK_LIVE_EDIT_TAGS= true”.
    

    Note: Make sure your management token has READ permission only.

    Additional Resource: Go to our Live Preview documentation to learn more about the Live Preview feature in Contentstack.

    Run the following commands in your terminal:

    npm install
    npm run dev
    

    That’s it!

    You can now view the website at http://localhost:3000. And you also have the stack that has all the content and resources for the website. Try experimenting by creating new entries and publishing on the “development” environment. You should be able to see the changes on the website at the localhost.

    Set up Live Preview (Optional)

    Note: In order to use Live Preview, your plan must include this feature. Check our pricing page for more details. 

    The next step is to set up and enable live preview for your website. Follow the steps below to set up live preview feature for your website:

    1. Navigate to the Live Preview section in your stack's “Settings”.
    2. Select the Enable Live Preview checkbox.
    3. Now, select a preview environment and preview URL for previewing live content of your website. Finally, Save your settings. 

    This completes your live preview set up. Now, you can deploy the website using Vercel.

  6. Deploy the Website

    The easiest and the quickest way to deploy a Next.js starter website on production is to use Vercel. You need a Vercel account before you start deploying.

    Note: While deploying the starter website to Vercel, make sure to enable/ disable the Live Preview environment variable as per your requirement.

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