Nuxt.js is a companion Node.js framework created on top of Vue.js. Using the
Vue.js ecosystem and its libraries like
automates and simplifies the creation of statically generated or server-side
rendered (SSR) websites. Developing with Nuxt.js is efficient and accessible to
developers of all skill levels.
Alongside alternatives like React’s Next.js, Nuxt.js can seem quite similar. Both are considered minimalistic frameworks, have automatic code-splitting functionality and automate the building of server-side-rendered projects.
But despite their twin-like names, Nuxt.js is different from Next.js in some crucial areas. It works exclusively with Vue.js apps, so it's less opinionated on things like project syntax. There’s no need to lock yourself into using JSX-based components, and there’s far less manual configuration required. Routing and navigation are set up automatically using your project directory. ES6 and ES7 compilation require no extra work. And you get an auto-updating server, allowing for much quicker development.
Perhaps most importantly, Nuxt.js offers unparalleled performance, accessibility and SEO. In benchmarks against Next.js and Nest.js, Nuxt.js scores highest in those three areas: 98, 100 and 100 respectively, for a simple application.
Nuxt.js aggregates libraries from the Vue.js ecosystem like
vue-server-renderer into a single package. Each library provides
essential functionality that Nuxt.js then abstracts for developers.
vue provides the core Vue.js functionality for the front end. It enables a
component-based, modular project structure for an application as well as
vue-router configures routes and navigation based on Vue components,
automatically prepared based on a standardized project structure.
When using the ‘store’ option to create a project, Nuxt.js includes
handle global state management. Useful for more advanced applications,
extends the existing state management abilities of Vue.js, allowing all parts of
an application to read and write state information to a central store.
When paired with Nuxt.js’s own server-rendering functionality, these core Vue.js
libraries allow Nuxt.js to automatically server render
vue components inside
the pages directory. But note that for single page applications, Nuxt.js can
also statically generate (pre-render) assets for static hosting. And Nuxt.js
supports an extensive array of modules that
can be added to your project.
Taken together, these libraries make creating a blazing-fast, SEO-friendly
application from scratch as simple as installing Nuxt.js and running
npx create-nuxt-app <project-name>.
This is favorable for many reasons. Server-side rendering promotes data
security, as there are no client requests to make outside of fetching templates
to render. Private API keys and encryption details aren’t exposed to the
(which can be huge) don't have to finish loading on the client side for a web
page to render, expediting page load times. Search-engine optimization improves
as well. Loading pages on the server prevents search engine crawlers from having
markup, crawlers can more easily index your website. Finally, refining
components and pages for SEO by adding metadata comes built in with the Nuxt.js
Nuxt.js makes all these benefits accessible by automating of most of the workflow required to get an SSR project up and running.
Should you choose to forego using a server for your project, Nuxt.js also allows
you to create statically generated websites by simply running
Nuxt.js takes the project’s components and generates pre-rendered pages for them
at build time, saving the client’s machine from having to do any rendering at
When generating routes for Vue.js components, Nuxt.js creates separate build files for each route and page, thus avoiding having to load every single component in the project on each page load. Only components on the current page are loaded, resulting in shorter load times.
Known as automatic code splitting, this process creates small chunks of code from large codebases. With these smaller chunks, Nuxt.js allocates memory in smaller units, ensuring those files get it that really need it. And Nuxt.js handles this automatically for all projects.
Compared to Next.js, Nuxt.js is young, and both its share of the job market and its community are small. Based on npm downloads and stars on GitHub repositories, Next.js is close to three times more popular than Nuxt.js. As a result, Nuxt.js doesn’t offer the benefits of as large a community as Next.js.
A smaller community means a smaller pool of developers in which you can ask questions, solve problems and build new projects. Despite the simplicity and great documentation that Nuxt.js offers, it may thus take longer to solve a Nuxt.js problem than in Next.js.
In the industry, the state of affairs for Nuxt.js is similar. Largely due to the immense popularity of React.js in the industry, companies are more likely to use Next.js or other React-based companion frameworks than adopt a completely different approach in the form of Vue.js or Nuxt.js. So, whether you’re an employer or a potential employee, using Nuxt.js over Next.js might present problems.
Developing universal web applications is one of Nuxt.js’s most common use cases. You can build a web application with Nuxt.js in three ways: server-rendered, single page application and statically generated.
For server-rendered apps, Nuxt.js inserts itself as middleware into your existing server. Single-page applications generated with Nuxt.js can be run either with a server or, if you prefer, without, in a kind of hybrid mode somewhere between server-rendered and statically generated. In this serverless hybrid mode, statically generated apps create their HTML and assets at build time.
Employing any of the three modes for a project requires just a few commands. There’s no complex configuration needed; Nuxt.js takes care of it all behind the scenes.
While all of the foregoing is possible with the base framework, Nuxt.js also supports additional modules to extend its functionality, allowing you to build apps of any complexity in a wide variety of configurations.
Statically generated websites built using Nuxt.js are faster, easier to build and more SEO-optimized than competitors like Next.js. The possibilities are many, and you can find examples of JAM stack websites built with Nuxt.js all over the internet.
nuxt generate command starts Nuxt.js automatically creating HTML for
each of its defined routes at build time.
As we mentioned earlier, there are three main approaches to deploying a Nuxt.js app: server-rendered, single-page application and statically generated.
For a server-side-rendered or "universal” deployment, Nuxt.js projects must be built first and then started, using the following two commands:
nuxt build nuxt start
For single-page applications whose content is updated at run time (via real-time
API calls), projects must be built first, with content generated automatically
after the build. Depending on whether you want the app to run server-side,
either set Nuxt.js to SPA mode or just run
# To run Nuxt.js in SPA mode nuxt build --spa
# For SSR apps nuxt build
For a statically generated deployment, projects must generate static files so they can be hosted without a server. Depending on the Nuxt.js version, this is done via the following commands:
# For Nuxt >= 2.13 - after adding target: static to nuxt.config nuxt build && nuxt export # For Nuxt <= 2.12 nuxt generate
If approachability and efficiency top your priority list when choosing a framework, Nuxt.js is perfect for you. At its core, Nuxt.js aims to minimize the learning curve and developer effort involved in building SSR or static websites.
From building routes to setting up an auto-updating server, Nuxt.js handles trivial tasks so you don’t have to. Paired with Vue.js, it brings to your projects a less opinionated syntax and a modular component structure. This is accompanied by unparalleled performance, accessibility and search engine optimization. However, it isn’t perfect; Nuxt.js’s comparative youth means that its community and talent prospects are not as strong as competitors like Next.js.
Nuxt.js makes development easy for developers of all skill levels. Its versatility speaks for itself. In this age of specialized frameworks, it can be whatever you want it to be.