When it comes to building web applications, Vue.js has earned its reputation as a highly flexible and developer-friendly framework. But what if you could amplify its features even more, especially to solve challenges around Search Engine Optimization (SEO)? Let’s see Nuxt.js 3 – a robust framework built on top of Vue 3 that takes your development experience to the next level by addressing some inherent limitations of single-page applications (SPAs).

In this blog post, I will delve into why you might want to make the switch, how Nuxt.js 3 amplifies the capabilities of Vue 3, the primary differences you can expect, and the potential challenges you might face during migration. 

Why migrate to Nuxt.js 3?

Vue is a developer-friendly, quickly upgrading framework for creating fast web applications. Such single-page applications have one colossal weakness: they cannot be effectively positioned by search engines since pages are dynamically loaded on the client’s browser. Hence, search robots cannot access content and crawl through text on each page. To improve SEO (search engine optimization), web pages must be rendered on the server side. 

Key features of Nuxt.js 3

That’s where Nuxt.js comes in. It allows you to utilize all functionalities and file structures Vue provides and helps with SSR (server-side rendering). It also includes many useful embedded functionalities and composables, automatic imports, routing based on file structure, and many modules dedicated to handling parts of your projects (authorization, cookies, storage, etc.).

The Nuxt 3 framework has been under development since Q3 2020 and is still getting regular updates. It includes some of the leading technologies, such as Vue 3, TypeScript, Webpack 5, and Vite. The first stable version was released on November 16, 2022, and Nuxt 2 will become deprecated in December of 2023 (just like Vue 2). 

Nuxt 3 comes with zero-config TypeScript support and auto-generated types, so it is recommended to use the composition API to better benefit from it. Vite is the default build tool – it supports HMR (hot module replacement) and can bundle dependencies (cold start times), leading to faster development. 

Differences between Vue 3 and Nuxt.js 3

If you’ve been working with Vue 3, you may wonder how it stacks up against Nuxt.js 3, a framework built on top of Vue. While both frameworks share many similarities – given that Nuxt.js is, after all, a Vue.js framework – they also have crucial differences that can influence your project’s architecture, development speed, and overall performance.

Here’s a comprehensive table highlighting these differences, from how each framework handles component file structure to their approach to routing, server-side rendering, and data fetching. 

Feature / AspectVue 3Nuxt.js 3
Component FilesSingle-File Components, a plain JavaScript objects containing Vue-specific optionsUtilizes exactly the same components as Vue3
RoutingRequires a router fileNo need; routing based on file structure; use nuxt-link instead of router-link
Directory StructureFlexibleCritical for routing, auto-imports of components, layouts, middleware, etc.
Server-Side Rendering (SSR)Possible, but not built-inBuilt-in; quicker page loads, better SEO, and performance on low-powered devices
Data FetchingUse external libraries (such as axios) or custom methodsProvides useFetch and useAsyncData for efficient caching and cross-environment compatibility

Nuxt.js file structure

Most useful directories can be found in the project’s main folder:

  • assets – files that need to be processed by the build tool, such as fonts and stylesheets;
  • components – automatically imported by names based on the structure (for example, file with path components/Base/Input.vue can be used under tag <BaseInput />);
  • composables – encapsulated code containing reusable logic, can access plugin injections;
  • layouts – automatically asynchronously imported, defined in page metadata;
  • middleware – includes code executed before route navigation, global or defined in page meta, has access to route object, runs alphabetically;
  • pages – automatic routes based on nested structure, you can define route params (for example [paramName].vue or optional [[optionalParamName]].vue).

You can, of course, create additional folders for stores, types, utils, public, plugins, modules, and whatever fits your project and your usual file structure.

Possible obstacles to migration from Vue to Nuxt

Troubleshooting in Nuxt 3 might be a bit more difficult than in Vue 3, considering the lower number of developers using this framework. The number of downloads for Nuxt keeps around 500 000 per week, while for Vue this count oscillates around 4 millions. This means less people may encounter similar problems to you and it’s harder to find bug fixes.

Some critical core modules are still in the works and included in the framework’s roadmap, which might be troublesome in new projects. The upcoming features include stable image optimization, dev tools for Nuxt, and 3rd party script management. The PWA module is still updated from its Nuxt 2 counterpart for zero configs, built-in SEO utils, and service worker support. The Auth module is not yet supported in Nuxt 3, so we’re missing automatic authorization and token handling. A few of the futures of the I18n module for handling page localization are still in beta. 

If you’re trying to migrate an existing project, the most important thing is to test every functionality. Some dependencies might need to be configured differently or even replaced with alternatives.

Take advantage of Nuxt.js 3 framework

The most important thing to consider when choosing a framework for your project is to know which functionalities are necessary. Do you want it to show up in Google results? Do you expect significant traffic on your website? Nuxt 3 has many exciting utilities, but it’s another wrapper around Javascript atop Vue. It is getting quite popular, which means more bugs are discovered and reported, and you can find more solutions for problems you might encounter. If the Vue SPA application is enough for your needs, then Nuxt may only bring unexpected complications for your project. But if you have decided to use Nuxt 3, it will offer you many solutions that will make development more manageable and innovative.