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Nuxt vs Next: Which JavaScript Framework Suits Your Next Project?

Nuxt vs Next: Which JavaScript Framework Suits Your Next Project?
Nuxt vs Next: Which JavaScript Framework Suits Your Next Project?

To speed up development time while coding, the knowledge of software frameworks has become increasingly important in deciding the appropriate tool to fit your project's requirements. But hold on, what exactly is a software framework and why is it important?

A software framework is a platform that provides a foundation for developers to create software applications by abstraction so you don’t have to write the entire thing from scratch. In the past, developers were responsible for every single line of code and logic implementation— imagine how time-consuming that would have been! Nowadays, there is a choice to either create the logic from scratch or just use a framework and let it do the work for you.

Next.js and Nuxt.js are two of the most popular JavaScript frameworks for web development. Both frameworks provide a great deal of help when it comes to code abstraction and development speed, so it can become overwhelming to decide which framework to use. In this tutorial, you will learn about Nuxt vs Next frameworks, their features, how they compare, their benefits, and their shortcomings.

What is Next.js?

Next.js is an open-source framework used for creating fast and highly scalable web applications in React. It is one of the most popular React frameworks. It handles the tooling and configurations needed for creating a React application, with the major features being the ability to generate static websites and utilize server-side rendering, which enhances page loading speed and provides an extra layer of security. Next.js has features that excel for a variety of reasons, some of which we will discuss in the next section.

Features of Next.js

In addition to speeding up development time and improving site performance, Next.js provides the following amazing features:

File-based Routing system: Next.js makes use of a page router which has a file-based router built on the concept of pages. What this means is that the file name must correspond to the directory it is being linked to. Let's take a look at a code snippet that I'll generate using the Pieces Copilot by simply telling it to Export an about page with an h1 that says "Pieces Copilot is fun to use!". Here's the result:

import React from 'react';
const About = () => {
return (
<div>
<h1>Pieces Copilot is fun to use!</h1>
</div>
);
};

export default About;

Link to code snippet
Making use of a page router, the block of code will be saved in the location pages/about.js and will be accessible at /about, which is quite straightforward compared to the conventional method of routing. In summary, a file in the pages folder represents a new route to a page on the website.

  • Server-Side Rendering: Server-side rendering, also known as "SSR" or "Dynamic Rendering", is a rendering mechanism that displays content (your written code) first on the server, rather than on the browser. SSR provides faster load times, improved search engine optimization, and better accessibility, especially for users on low-end devices, because the web content gets pre-rendered on the server. To use server-side rendering in Next.js, the getServerSideProps function is used, which will be called on every request.
  • Static-Side Generation: Static-side generation, also known as SSG, is a rendering mechanism that displays HTML content at build time. Unlike SSR, SSG does not wait for a request from the user to render content. This is the default render behavior of pages in Next.js that do not need any external data to be fetched at build time. For pages that need external data to be fetched at build time before rendering content (for example, a film website waiting for content from an API), Next.js handles the behavior of rendering using the getStaticProps function.
  • Image and Font Optimization: In a bid to further improve the performance of webpages through optimization of images and fonts, Next.js provides a dedicated <Image/> component that makes use of modern image formats like WebP and AVIF. Images and fonts are loaded as soon as they enter the viewport.
  • CSS Styling: Next.js provides support for a wide range of styling options like inline CSS styling, the use of CSS modules, SASS, and other CSS frameworks like styled-components and Tailwind CSS.
  • Hot Module Reloading: This may not be so useful to the users of a web application, but very useful to developers. Next.js "hot reloads" on saving a block of code from your editor—that is, it automatically refreshes without having to click on the refresh button, which saves a ton of time.

What is Nuxt.js?

Nuxt.js is an open-source JavaScript framework built on Vue.js, Node.js, Vite, and Babel.js used for creating fast, cutting-edge applications. Nuxt.js possesses similar features to Next.js, with the major difference being the web framework it is compatible with. Next.js is a React framework whereas Nuxt.js is a Vue framework.

Features of Nuxt.js

Nuxt.js also has cool features that would sweep any developer off their feet. In addition to server-side rendering, static-site generation, hot module reloading, and file-based routing, some of the other key features of Nuxt.js include:

  • Modules Ecosystem: Rather than make rigorous tweaks to cater to a project's needs, Nuxt.js provides a module system that is used to extend the framework's core logic and further simplify integrations. They are async functions that are called sequentially when you run the command to start your application in development mode. This saves time in developing an application.
  • Auto Import: In comparison to Next.js, where you explicitly import components to be used in another (or root) component, Nuxt.js auto-imports all components based on the file structure. For example, if you have two components; header and footer in a components folder like this:
|components
|- Header.vue
|- Footer.vue

In your layouts/default.vue file, you do not have to import the header and footer components again, it automatically appears like this:

<template>
<div>
<Header />
<slot />
<Footer />
</div>
</template>

Additionally, Nuxt.js also allows auto-import of any Composition API function you write from the "composables/" directory.

  • Data Fetching: Data fetching is the process of requesting data from a server or another component and then using it in your application. Nuxt.js provides composables for handling data fetching in your application. One way to fetch data in Nuxt.js is to use the useFetch method, which is the most straightforward way to handle data fetching in a component. Another way is to use the $fetch method to make network requests based on specific user actions. Alternatively, you can fetch data in Nuxt.js using the useAsyncData method that is used for wrapping logic and returning the results.

Difference between Next.js and Nuxt.js

Before we compare Next.js vs Nuxt.js under certain criteria, it's important to note that while both frameworks provide the foundation for enhanced web performance, the major difference is their framework support; Next.js is a React framework and Nuxt.js is a Vue framework. There are other minor differences worth noting, which we will cover now.

Comparing Nuxt vs Next

In this section, we will take a close look at Nuxt.js vs Next.js installation, syntax, performance, learning curve, active community, and relevance.

Installation

The installation process for both frameworks is quite straightforward provided, you know how to install node packages. Both Next.js and Nuxt.js require node.js for their installation.

To install Next.js in your project, open your terminal and run the line of code below:

npx create-next-app@latest

Then follow the instructions shown on your terminal which will handle your preferences for the languages you wish to use alongside Next.js in your project.

To install Nuxt.js in your project, open your terminal and run the line of code below:

npx nuxi@latest init <project-name>

This installs Nuxt.js and all of the necessary dependencies.

Syntax

The syntaxes of Nuxt vs Next aren't so different, especially if you come from a JavaScript background.

Let's see how we would calculate the sum of two numbers and output the result in Next.js. Instead of writing all that logic by myself, I will be making use of the Pieces Copilot by asking it to Generate a code snippet in Next.js calculating the sum of two numbers. Here's the result and the syntax in Next.js:

// pages/index.js

import React, { useState } from 'react';

const Home = () => {
const [num1, setNum1] = useState(0);
const [num2, setNum2] = useState(0);
const [sum, setSum] = useState(0);

const calculateSum = () => {
const result = Number(num1) + Number(num2);
setSum(result);
};

return (
<div>
<input
type="number"
value={num1}
onChange={(e) => setNum1(e.target.value)}
/>
<input
type="number"
value={num2}
onChange={(e) => setNum2(e.target.value)}
/>
<button onClick={calculateSum}>Calculate Sum</button>
<p>Sum: {sum}</p>
</div>
);
};

export default Home;

Link to code snippet

Quite amazing, isn't it? Now let's run a similar request to the Pieces Copilot, but this time with Nuxt.js. Based on the prompt Generate a code snippet in Nuxt.js calculating the sum of two numbers, here's the output and the syntax in Nuxt.js:

<template>
<div>
<input type="number" v-model="num1" />
<input type="number" v-model="num2" />
<button @click="calculateSum">Calculate Sum</button>
<p>Sum: {{ sum }}</p>
</div>
</template>

<script>
export default {
data() {
return {
num1: 0,
num2: 0,
sum: 0,
};
},
methods: {
calculateSum() {
const result = Number(this.num1) + Number(this.num2);
this.sum = result;
},
},
};
</script>

Link to code snippet

A glaring difference in the syntax of each code snippet is the absence of imports in the Nuxt.js snippet. Nuxt.js takes a raw approach in syntax, which makes it more similar to Vanilla Javascript.

Next vs Nuxt Performance and Speed

If speed and performance are factors that rank highly in your decision between Nuxt and Next, then you don't need to worry. Both frameworks are designed to work as optimally and quickly as possible at a base level (that is, without external packages that may tamper with performance).

Learning Curve

As Next js and Nuxt js are React and Vue frameworks, respectively, the learning curve of each is hugely dependent on your prior knowledge of React or Vue. Naturally, the syntax and logic are built to be easily comprehensible to developers, and it’s easy to learn more thanks to the Next.js docs and Nuxt.js docs, which provide easy-to-grasp breakdowns of various concepts of each framework.

Active Community

Have you ever run into a bug while building an application? Then, in search of possible solutions, you seek answers in several coding forums to see if anyone has run into similar problems. This is where an active community comes in. When a framework or language has a highly active community, it becomes easier to solve bugs, share ideas, and collaborate on projects.

At the time of writing, Next.js has over 114,000 stars on GitHub with 2,965 contributors, which is a huge community as far as web development is concerned. Nuxt.js falls short in comparison, with over 48,300 stars on GitHub and 586 contributors. So, if an active community is a factor you value, then you may want to go with Next.js, as it has a superior number of active users.

Predicted Relevance

Knowing if a language or tool will stand the test of time is very important for developers, especially in their careers. It is not easy to acquire knowledge of new languages, it is of great benefit to developers to learn languages that will remain in use for a long time. While it is not possible to know the future of certain languages, we can make predictions given some metrics.

According to Node Package Manager (NPM), Next.js has about 3.9 million weekly downloads while Nuxt.js has about 438,000. Although Next.js has a significantly higher number of weekly downloads, Nuxt.js still has a robust number of users. We can conclude that both frameworks are relevant and will stand the test of time.

Benefits and Shortcomings: Nuxt vs Next

In this section, we will discuss the benefits and shortcomings of both frameworks, which will further help you make your decision.

Benefits of Next.js

  • It is very popular, which means debugging with the community is easier.
  • It has built-in functionalities for optimization, which translates to faster web speed and better performance.
  • Next.js provides the utmost data security because it is not reliant on direct connections to a database, dependencies, or any other personal information.
  • It has a wide range of deployments; Next.js applications can be deployed anywhere that has Node.js support.
  • Next.js applications have powerful SEO capabilities that do the groundwork to ensure your sites rank well (given the right keywords).

Shortcomings of Next.js

  • Compared to Nuxt.js, it has a steep learning curve.
  • Next.js does not have a built-in state management, which means developers will have to resort to a third-party state management library.
  • The default file-based routing system is not fully optimized for dynamic routing.
  • Next.js does not have a wide range of plugins to be used in development, which means slower development time for developers in this regard.

Benefits of Nuxt.js

  • It is easier to learn when compared to Next.js and other JavaScript frameworks.
  • Nuxt.js provides further flexibility between Server-Side Rendering and Server-Side Generation.
  • It is very good for SEO.
  • It runs very quickly thanks to the built-in functionality of automatic code splitting, auto-imports, and automatic asynchronous data loading on the server.

Shortcomings of Nuxt.js

  • Due to its relatively small community, Nuxt.js has a limited number of resources and documentation to help developers.
  • Integrating custom libraries with Nuxt.js is difficult.
  • High traffic on your web application may cause a strain on the server.
  • Debugging in Nuxt.js is difficult.

Nuxt vs Next: Making Your Choice

We’ve closely examined both frameworks, so I believe you have chosen between Nuxt.js and Next.js by now. If you haven’t, it is important to note that there is no clear winner between Nuxt and Next, as it is dependent on your project's requirements.

If you're working on a large-scale application that is heavy on server-side rendering and know JavaScript principles, then you may want to go with Next.js. However, if you are seeking to use a framework that is more user-friendly and covers logic like code splitting and auto-imports, and also want to switch seamlessly between server-side rendering and static-site generation, then Nuxt.js is your best choice.

Conclusion

In this article, you have learned all about Nuxt vs Next, their features, an in-depth comparison, benefits, and shortcomings. You can now proceed to use whichever framework suits the requirements of your project.

Want to maximize your time like I have done in the article using the Pieces Copilot? Then check out Pieces’ collections of JavaScript snippets and Node.js snippets, and download the Pieces for Developers Desktop App.

P.S. Not Sold on Nuxt.js? Then see how Next.js compares with RedwoodJS. Have fun!

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