10 min read

Next.js vs Nuxt.js - Is There A Clear Winner?

When it comes to building scalable, interactive web applications, Nuxt and Next.js are two of the most popular choices.

Tim Davidson
Author
Tim Davidson

Nuxt vs. Next: Which One Should You Use?

When it comes to building scalable, interactive web applications, Nuxt and Next.js are two of the most popular choices. Nuxt.js is a frontend framework built on top of Vue.js. It provides built-in features and tools, making it easier to create complex applications. Next is built on top of React and more bare-bones, providing only the essentials and leaving more room for customization.

Nuxt.js homepage

Simply put, Nuxt is more opinionated than Next. This means that it has more defined conventions and standards, which can make development faster and simpler. However, it can also be more restrictive. Next is less opinionated and thus, provides more flexibility, but this can also make development more of a challenge.

Next.js homepage

Part of the comparison between Nuxt and Next needs to take into consideration the fact that React is arguably more mature and further in its evolution than Vue. The maturity of both frameworks is inherited by all the tools and abstracted frameworks such as Next and Nuxt.

Here's a super quick pitch. If you're researching the best technology for your upcoming project but don't have the time or expertise to build the product yourself, please reach out! We'll help you understand all your options and help bring your vision to life. The worst that can happen if you get some free, experience-backed advice.

This article will compare the two frameworks to help you decide which one suits your next project.

What is Nuxt.js?

Nuxt.js is a framework created to make it easier for developers to create universal Vue.js applications. With Nuxt.js, developers can bundle JavaScript, HTML, and CSS together on the client side, which saves time and avoids the need for multiple files. Additionally, Nuxt.js uses Vuex to manage application state and custom SSR hooks for prerendering pages on the server. This makes it easier for developers to create high-quality, interactive applications without worrying about complex codebase management.

Features of Nuxt.js

Nuxt has a number of great features that extend Vue.js in ways that make it useful for building highly performant applications and websites:

Server-Side Rendering

Nuxt.js makes it easy to get started with server-side rendering (SSR). Vue.js is a fantastic framework where this is possible, but it requires a lot of boilerplate code to set this up. Nuxt.js eliminates this boilerplate code by making it easier to create Universal applications. Nuxt.js also provides a great example of how to start an application without any configuration.

Static Site Generation

You can use Nuxt.js to build static sites as well. This means you can get all the benefits of server-side rendering (SSR) without worrying about the server-side rendering part.

Code Splitting

As the name suggests, code splitting allows you to split your code into different bundles. This way, you can load only the necessary code on the client side, which can help improve your app's performance and reduce its size.

Modular Codebase

Nuxt.js has a modular codebase, allowing you to reuse code across different projects easily.

SEO optimization

SEO is the practice of improving the visibility of a website or web page so that it may rank higher in search engine results pages (SERP). Nuxtjs gives you meta tag management capabilities for search engines to index your content easily and increase brand visibility.

Auto-importing

One of the great features of Nuxt 3 is that it automates the process of importing components. This means that you can focus on writing your content, and the Nuxt 3 platform will take care of everything else. In addition, Nuxt 3 provides a new folder - composable - which will automatically import the Composition API function you define. And lastly, Nuxt 3 offers a great experience for TypeScript developers by automatically generating type definitions for you.

Hot reloading

Hot reloading is a powerful feature that allows you to preview changes to your page without reloading the entire page. This means you can test changes quickly and see the results right away. With Nuxt.js, you can reload individual parts of your page without affecting the rest of the page. This is a huge time saver and can be a crucial tool for debugging and testing.

Pros and cons of using Nuxt.js

Let's look at the advantages of Nuxt.js:

  • Easy to learn- Nuxt.js is (relatively) easy to learn. Vue, and by extension, Nuxt are well known amongst the development community as the "easiest" JavaScript framework to learn - especially when compared with React or Angular.
  • Scalable - Nuxt.js is highly scalable. It can be used to create a large-scale web application, largely thanks to the rendering options it provides.
  • Async data - Nuxt.js automatically loads async data on the server-side before rendering the page.
  • Improves SEO for SPAs
  • Automatic code splitting
  • Improves app performance thanks to server-side rendering capabilities
  • Nuxt.js enables developers to build fast, making it an ideal framework for building MVP

Disadvantages of Nuxtjs

  • Lacks some useful plug-ins such as Google Maps, calendar, etc.
  • High app traffic can strain the server
  • Insufficient documentation
  • Nuxt authentication is a nightmare to work with
  • The Vue community is significantly smaller than React and Next, so issues and bugs with the framework are slower to be resolved

What is Next.js?

Next.js is a minimalistic framework for server-rendered React applications created by Vercel (formerly Zeit). Next.js comes packaged with Node.js and takes care of the server-side rendering for your React applications, making it easy to add a custom look and feel to your applications. It also has a highly modular architecture that makes it easy to extend and customize.

This makes Next.js perfect for creating custom components or modules that can be used in your applications. Additionally, it enables your application to load faster by storing prerendered HTML files on the server. In turn, this improves your website's ranking on search engines in addition to improving user experience.

Features of Next.js

Next.js is packed with features that effectively make it a full-stack development framework. These features include:

Static generation

Static generation refers to the ability of Next.js to prerender pages at build time rather than runtime. This results in a significantly faster and more responsive user experience, as well as improved SEO for search engines.

When a Next.js application is deployed, the build process will generate HTML files for each page. These static HTML files are then served by a web server, such as Nginx or Apache, without the need for Node.js. This offers several benefits over traditional server-side rendering, including reduced server load, lower latency, and increased security.

Environment variables

Environment variables are global variables that can be used to configure the behaviour of Next.js applications, including the database connection string, the base URL, and the location of static assets.

Next.js makes it easy to manage environment variables with the help of a .env file. The .env file is a text file that contains a list of key-value pairs, one per line. Keys are case-sensitive and must be unique. Values can be any string, including blank strings.

Next.js will automatically load environment variables from the .env file when the application is started. This makes it easy to manage configuration settings for different environments (development, staging, production, etc.).

Lazy loading

Lazy loading is a technique for loading resources on demand. This can be used to improve the performance of an application by only loading resources that are required at a given time instead of loading all resources upfront. With lazy loading, an application can start up faster and use less memory, making it possible to load additional resources on demand as needed.

Automatic code splitting

Next.js automatically splits your code into separate files that can be loaded on demand, which reduces the amount of JavaScript that needs to be downloaded by the client. This results in a faster loading time for your web applications.

Server-side rendering

Next.js supports server-side rendering out of the box, which means that your web application will be rendered on the server before it is sent to the client. This makes your web applications more SEO friendly and can improve the user experience.

Pre-rendered React

Next.js is a tool that is used to build React applications. It provides React developers with the necessary tooling for developing React component libraries applications.

Prefetching

Prefetching is a technique that allows Next.js to load data from external sources before the application actually needs it. This means that the data is available immediately when needed, without waiting for a network request to complete. This can be a huge performance boost for applications using external data sources, such as APIs.

The framework provides a built-in way to prefetch data from external sources, which makes it easy to add this functionality to your application with just a few lines of code. In addition, Next.js will automatically prefetch data for any linked resources visible in the viewport, further enhancing your application's performance.

CSS and Sass support

Next.js has built-in support for CSS and Sass so that you can write your stylesheets directly in your component files. This makes it easy to keep your styles consistent across your project and helps to avoid duplication. You can write your stylesheets in a variety of ways. You can use traditional CSS, or you can use Sass to write your stylesheets. Sass is a preprocessor that adds several features to CSS, including variables, mixins, and nesting.

import styles from './Button.module.css'

export function Button() {
  return (
    <button
      type="button"
      // Note how the "error" class is accessed as a property on the imported
      // `styles` object.
      className={styles.error}
    >
      Destroy
    </button>
  )
}

ESLint Support

ESLint is a popular JavaScript linting tool that helps developers identify and fix errors in their code. Next.js has built-in support for ESLint. This means that developers can use ESLint right out of the box to easily find and fix errors in their Next.js applications, making them more reliable and easier to maintain.

Pros and cons of Next.js

Advantages of Next.js for businesses:

  • Offers fast performance thanks to code splitting and lazy loading
  • Improves an app's SEO and user experience, which results in more traffic and a better conversion rate
  • The static sites generated by Next.js have no direct connection to the database, user data, or any other sensitive information. This guarantees data security.
  • Next.js web applications are accessible on any platform
  • Has a robust community of users who can help in troubleshooting
  • Supported by Vercel with an environment that can do some awesome stuff like edge rendering, A/B testing and native exposure to backend functions.

Disadvantages of Next.js

  • Routing issues -- Next.js is limited to using a file-system-based router. This cannot be changed, and as such, you'll be forced to use Node.js for dynamic routing.
  • Next.js doesn't have an internal state manager. You must include state managers such as redux and Mobx in your app.
  • The versatility offered by Next.js means that you'll need continued maintenance. As such, you must have an in-house or a dedicated developer to handle any adjustments.
  • Has few plug-ins

Similarities between Nuxt and Next.js

Here are the similarities between the two frameworks:

  • Nuxt and Next.js are JavaScript frameworks allowing developers to easily create modular, scalable web applications.
  • Both frameworks have in-built Typescript support.
  • Both frameworks are open source and have a large community of contributors
  • They both allow you to create reusable components.
  • They are both used in building server-side rendered and static web applications.
  • They both help in building SEO-friendly applications
  • Both support dynamic routing

Differences between Nuxt and Next.js

State management

The biggest difference between the two frameworks is how the state is managed. Nuxt.js uses a centralized state management pattern called Vuex. This means you can access data from multiple components and add actions and mutations for accessing and manipulating this data. This makes it easy to keep track of the application's state and update all components that need to be updated when the state changes.

Next.js uses a component-based state management pattern called Redux. This means that each component has its own state, and you have to use actions and reducers to access and manipulate data from other components.

Both of these state management patterns have their own pros and cons. Vuex is easier to learn and use, but it can lead to problems with code duplication and tight coupling. Redux is more difficult to learn and use, but it can help prevent problems with code duplication and tight coupling.

Developer experience

Nuxt provides developers with modules for integrating new technologies into their websites seamlessly. This ecosystem of modules makes it easy to build fast, which translates to a short time to market for enterprises. Next.js, on the other hand, doesn't have these modules to support development. Instead, it relies on the extensive libraries built on top of React. The big difference here is that these libraries aren't out-of-the-box or tightly integrated into the framework as Nuxt's modules. As a developer, you might have to use boilerplate code to get them running.

Automatic code splitting

Next.js has built-in code splitting that automatically splits the JavaScript bundle into multiple files that are loaded on demand. Nuxt.js, on the other hand, has to be configured to use Webpack code splitting.

Frequently asked questions

Here's a few questions that you might still be wondering about the comparison between Next.js and Nuxt.js.

Is Nuxt better than Next.js?

No. It all depends on your use case and preference. Nuxt is ideal for building a universal app - an app that's executed on the client and server-side - while Next is ideal for building websites, web applications or headless eCommerce sites (take a look at our article about headless eCommerce examples) that require real-time or frequent updating of content.

What's the difference between Nuxt and Next.js?

The main difference between Nuxt and Next.js is that the former is built on top of Vue.js, while the latter is built upon React.js. Beyond this, the frameworks share a lot of similarities.

Summary

Nuxt and Next.js are powerful frameworks for building user interfaces and web applications. However, each framework has unique strengths and weaknesses, which you should consider before choosing either. If you liked this article, check out our blog for more!

Written by
Tim Davidson

Tim Davidson

Tim is the face of the company. When you want to kick off a new project, or an update on your existing project, Tim is your man!

Read more on the subject

Digital Product Design Process

Tim Davidson

How To Improve UX Using Micro-Interactions

Tim Davidson

SaaS Design: A Mobile-First Approach

Tim Davidson

Don’t miss out on the latest stories!

Sign up for my newsletter to receive the latest news from the blog, you’ll get pinged every few months with a digest from the tech world.

Thank you for reaching out!