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App Router...RoutingParallel Routes

Parallel Routes

Parallel Routes allows you to simultaneously or conditionally render one or more pages within the same layout. They are useful for highly dynamic sections of an app, such as dashboards and feeds on social sites.

For example, considering a dashboard, you can use parallel routes to simultaneously render the team and analytics pages:

Parallel Routes Diagram

Slots

Parallel routes are created using named slots. Slots are defined with the @folder convention. For example, the following file structure defines two slots: @analytics and @team:

Parallel Routes File-system Structure

Slots are passed as props to the shared parent layout. For the example above, the component in app/layout.js now accepts the @analytics and @team slots props, and can render them in parallel alongside the children prop:

app/layout.tsx
export default function Layout({
  children,
  team,
  analytics,
}: {
  children: React.ReactNode
  analytics: React.ReactNode
  team: React.ReactNode
}) {
  return (
    <>
      {children}
      {team}
      {analytics}
    </>
  )
}

However, slots are not route segments and do not affect the URL structure. For example, for /@analytics/views, the URL will be /views since @analytics is a slot.

Good to know:

  • The children prop is an implicit slot that does not need to be mapped to a folder. This means app/page.js is equivalent to app/@children/page.js.

Active state and navigation

By default, Next.js keeps track of the active state (or subpage) for each slot. However, the content rendered within a slot will depend on the type of navigation:

  • Soft Navigation: During client-side navigation, Next.js will perform a partial render, changing the subpage within the slot, while maintaining the other slot's active subpages, even if they don't match the current URL.
  • Hard Navigation: After a full-page load (browser refresh), Next.js cannot determine the active state for the slots that don't match the current URL. Instead, it will render a default.js file for the unmatched slots, or 404 if default.js doesn't exist.

Good to know:

  • The 404 for unmatched routes helps ensure that you don't accidentally render a parallel route on a page that it was not intended for.

default.js

You can define a default.js file to render as a fallback for unmatched slots during the initial load or full-page reload.

Consider the following folder structure. The @team slot has a /settings page, but @analytics does not.

Parallel Routes unmatched routes

When navigating to /settings, the @team slot will render the /settings page while maintaining the currently active page for the @analytics slot.

On refresh, Next.js will render a default.js for @analytics. If default.js doesn't exist, a 404 is rendered instead.

Additionally, since children is an implicit slot, you also need to create a default.js file to render a fallback for children when Next.js cannot recover the active state of the parent page.

useSelectedLayoutSegment(s)

Both useSelectedLayoutSegment and useSelectedLayoutSegments accept a parallelRoutesKey parameter, which allows you to read the active route segment within a slot.

app/layout.tsx
'use client'
 
import { useSelectedLayoutSegment } from 'next/navigation'
 
export default function Layout({ auth }: { auth: React.ReactNode }) {
  const loginSegment = useSelectedLayoutSegment('auth')
  // ...
}

When a user navigates to app/@auth/login (or /login in the URL bar), loginSegment will be equal to the string "login".

Examples

Conditional Routes

You can use Parallel Routes to conditionally render routes based on certain conditions, such as user role. For example, to render a different dashboard page for the /admin or /user roles:

Conditional routes diagram
app/dashboard/layout.tsx
import { checkUserRole } from '@/lib/auth'
 
export default function Layout({
  user,
  admin,
}: {
  user: React.ReactNode
  admin: React.ReactNode
}) {
  const role = checkUserRole()
  return <>{role === 'admin' ? admin : user}</>
}

Tab Groups

You can add a layout inside a slot to allow users to navigate the slot independently. This is useful for creating tabs.

For example, the @analytics slot has two subpages: /page-views and /visitors.

Analytics slot with two subpages and a layout

Within @analytics, create a layout file to share the tabs between the two pages:

app/@analytics/layout.tsx
import Link from 'next/link'
 
export default function Layout({ children }: { children: React.ReactNode }) {
  return (
    <>
      <nav>
        <Link href="/page-views">Page Views</Link>
        <Link href="/visitors">Visitors</Link>
      </nav>
      <div>{children}</div>
    </>
  )
}

Modals

Parallel Routes can be used together with Intercepting Routes to create modals that support deep linking. This allows you to solve common challenges when building modals, such as:

  • Making the modal content shareable through a URL.
  • Preserving context when the page is refreshed, instead of closing the modal.
  • Closing the modal on backwards navigation rather than going to the previous route.
  • Reopening the modal on forwards navigation.

Consider the following UI pattern, where a user can open a login modal from a layout using client-side navigation, or access a separate /login page:

Parallel Routes Diagram

To implement this pattern, start by creating a /login route that renders your main login page.

Parallel Routes Diagram
app/login/page.tsx
import { Login } from '@/app/ui/login'
 
export default function Page() {
  return <Login />
}

Then, inside the @auth slot, add default.js file that returns null. This ensures that the modal is not rendered when it's not active.

app/@auth/default.tsx
export default function Default() {
  return '...'
}

Inside your @auth slot, intercept the /login route by updating the /(.)login folder. Import the <Modal> component and its children into the /(.)login/page.tsx file:

app/@auth/(.)login/page.tsx
import { Modal } from '@/app/ui/modal'
import { Login } from '@/app/ui/login'
 
export default function Page() {
  return (
    <Modal>
      <Login />
    </Modal>
  )
}

Good to know:

Opening the modal

Now, you can leverage the Next.js router to open and close the modal. This ensures the URL is correctly updated when the modal is open, and when navigating backwards and forwards.

To open the modal, pass the @auth slot as a prop to the parent layout and render it alongside the children prop.

app/layout.tsx
import Link from 'next/link'
 
export default function Layout({
  auth,
  children,
}: {
  auth: React.ReactNode
  children: React.ReactNode
}) {
  return (
    <>
      <nav>
        <Link href="/login">Open modal</Link>
      </nav>
      <div>{auth}</div>
      <div>{children}</div>
    </>
  )
}

When the user clicks the <Link>, the modal will open instead of navigating to the /login page. However, on refresh or initial load, navigating to /login will take the user to the main login page.

Closing the modal

You can close the modal by calling router.back() or by using the Link component.

app/ui/modal.tsx
'use client'
 
import { useRouter } from 'next/navigation'
 
export function Modal({ children }: { children: React.ReactNode }) {
  const router = useRouter()
 
  return (
    <>
      <button
        onClick={() => {
          router.back()
        }}
      >
        Close modal
      </button>
      <div>{children}</div>
    </>
  )
}

When using the Link component to navigate away from a page that shouldn't render the @auth slot anymore, we need to make sure the parallel route matches to a component that returns null. For example, when navigating back to the root page, we create a @auth/page.tsx component:

app/ui/modal.tsx
import Link from 'next/link'
 
export function Modal({ children }: { children: React.ReactNode }) {
  return (
    <>
      <Link href="/">Close modal</Link>
      <div>{children}</div>
    </>
  )
}
app/@auth/page.tsx
export default function Page() {
  return '...'
}

Or if navigating to any other page (such as /foo, /foo/bar, etc), you can use a catch-all slot:

app/@auth/[...catchAll]/page.tsx
export default function CatchAll() {
  return '...'
}

Good to know:

  • We use a catch-all route in our @auth slot to close the modal because of the behavior described in Active state and navigation. Since client-side navigations to a route that no longer match the slot will remain visible, we need to match the slot to a route that returns null to close the modal.
  • Other examples could include opening a photo modal in a gallery while also having a dedicated /photo/[id] page, or opening a shopping cart in a side modal.
  • View an example of modals with Intercepted and Parallel Routes.

Loading and Error UI

Parallel Routes can be streamed independently, allowing you to define independent error and loading states for each route:

Parallel routes enable custom error and loading states

See the Loading UI and Error Handling documentation for more information.