Two javascript frameworks compared: Seveltekit vs Next.js with some futuristic background

12 June 2024

Choosing Between SvelteKit vs Next.js

Irelia Codeheart, Senior Developer

Is SvelteKit better than Next.js? Or is Next.js the best framework for any project? No and no. To choose the right tech stack for your next web development project, it is important to understand the strengths and weaknesses of frontend frameworks. This blog post focuses on the differences between Sveltekit vs Next.js. For other framework performance comparisons, click here.

Understanding SvelteKit and Next.js

SvelteKit and Next.js are two popular JavaScript frameworks. So to start the comparison, let's have a closer look at SvelteKit and Next.js and learn why comparing them makes sense.

The story of the two frameworks

SvelteKit, a framework built around the Svelte language, can still be considered a newcomer. SvelteKit is different from other frameworks because it handles a lot of its processing during the compiling phase. This means, it can create web applications that are faster, lighter and more efficient. A major benefit of this approach is that it produces JavaScript that runs on the user's device, which helps make the application load quickly and perform better.

Svelte was created by Rich Harris, a graphics editor at the New York Times, to reduce the amount of code necessary to create web applications. Inspired by this initiative, the Svelte community later developed SvelteKit as a "next-generation" rendition of Svelte's original vision.

On the other side we have Next.js, a popular JavaScript framework built on top of React. Next.js comes with powerful features and is designed to be a complete solution for creating applications that are rendered on the server using React. The Next.js environment is richly equipped with tools, a variety of settings to adjust, and it integrates seamlessly with existing React libraries, making it robust for developers. This setup is particularly beneficial for those looking to build dynamic websites that perform well across various platforms.

Next.js is the brainchild of Vercel, a cloud company also known for popularizing the JAMstack architecture. Rooted in React, created by Facebook, Next.js is appreciated by a community of developers for the easy integration with the larger React ecosystem.

Why compare Next.js and SvelteKit?

SvelteKit and Next.js both help developers building web applications, but they differ significantly in their methods and strengths. In the upcoming sections, we'll provide a detailed comparison of both frameworks across various aspects such as performance, SEO, application size, routing, data handling, error management, and deployment strategies. This comparison will help clarify which framework is best suited for specific development needs.

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Biggest Differences between SvelteKit vs Next.js

After gaining a fair understanding of both SvelteKit and Next.js, let's now delve deeper to understand their key differences.

Features and Architectural Comparison of SvelteKit and Next.js

SvelteKit builds on Svelte's strengths, focusing on swift deployment, internationalization support, and efficient image handling. This focus results in straightforward, high-performance code. Next.js, tailored for React developers, includes extensive tooling and configurations, with notable excellence in client-side routing for dynamic content management.

Server-Side Rendering Techniques

Both frameworks robustly support server-side rendering (SSR). SvelteKit opts for client-side JavaScript rendering for speedier interactions. Next.js uses server-side rendering to improve SEO through effective code splitting and lazy loading, beneficial for larger projects.

Tools and Ecosystem

Within the expansive React ecosystem, Next.js provides developers a rich selection of tools and libraries, ideal for complex, data-heavy applications. SvelteKit offers strong foundational support and flexibility for content-driven projects, backed notably by Vercel and Render.

Routing in SvelteKit vs Next.js Compared

Next.js stands out with its advanced client-side routing, essential for dynamically managed content. SvelteKit focuses on simplicity and primarily supports static pre-rendering. But it also handles dynamic routes effectively, streamlining development for projects with stable content needs.

State Management: Integrated Solutions vs. Flexible Libraries

State management is another key area of distinction between SvelteKit and Next.js. SvelteKit simplifies state management using Svelte's integrated store system, which provides a more unified approach across all components. In contrast, Next.js offers greater flexibility by allowing developers to choose from various state management libraries, such as Redux or Zustand, based on their project needs and personal preferences.

Both frameworks offer robust solutions tailored to different development styles and project requirements, making your choice dependent on the specific needs of your project.

Performance Analysis: SvelteKit vs Next.js

Next, let's compare performance of SvelteKit and Next.js. There are several key factors we can look at: initial setup and project initiation, built-in error handling, approaches to SEO optimization, and comparing load speeds and app size.

Setup and Project Initiation

Next.js, built on React and JSX, offers familiarity and extensive support, easing the learning curve for those accustomed to React. SvelteKit, with its Svelte-based templating, provides a simpler, more streamlined entry point, potentially speeding up project starts for newcomers.

Next.js and SvelteKit SEO

Next.js shines in Search Engine Optimization (SEO) due to its server-side rendering, allowing for optimal SEO performance and better content visibility. SvelteKit, although not inherently drawback in SEO, might need a bit more tweaking and optimization as it relies on the single-file component approach and does not support traditional server-side rendering.

Application Size and Load Speeds compared

SvelteKit is renowned for loading only the needed code. This can lead to faster load times and smaller app sizes. Svelte's philosophy of compilation over interpretation results in smaller and faster applications compared to those built with Next.js.

Next.js offers features that drastically improve load times and overall user experience. A good example is the automatic next.js code-splitting, which only loads the code necessary for each page.

A significant advancement in Next.js is the integration of Rust-based transpilation. This new feature came with the introduction of Next.js version 12 and replaces traditional JavaScript-based tooling for building and bundling applications. As a result, Next.js applications compile faster and more efficiently. The Rust-based transpiler, part of the Turbopack bundler, improves build times compared to older JavaScript bundlers like Webpack. This is particularly beneficial for large projects that suffer from slow build times due to complex dependencies and large amounts of code.

The adoption of Rust for these tasks reflects a broader industry trend towards leveraging more performant languages in development toolchains to enhance developer experience and application performance.

Real-World Applications of SvelteKit and Next.js

The practical use and resulting performance of SvelteKit and Next.js, two of the leading JavaScript frameworks, is often best understood through real-world applications and case studies. In this section, we will explore known applications developed using these technologies, obtain insights from projects powered by SvelteKit, and delve into the tailored fit of each respective framework towards different project requirements.

Next.js Case Studies

Employing Next.js, TikTok managed to improve its SEO significantly, with the marketing site experiencing a 70% increase in performance scores, which has been instrumental in user acquisition and engagement​​. For example, Ticketmaster leverages Next.js to manage dynamic content and heavy user interactions, ensuring fast and reliable web experiences. Another notable implementation is Twitch, which uses Next.js to handle millions of streaming users by efficiently rendering dynamic content server-side, enhancing both performance and SEO.

Projects built with SvelteKit

SvelteKit, known for its simplicity and minimalistic approach, has been used by companies looking for fast and lean web applications. The New York Times, for instance, has adopted SvelteKit for some of its interactive storytelling and data visualization projects. Its compile-time optimization leads to faster loading times and a smoother user experience. Another example is Razorpay, which utilizes SvelteKit to deliver a seamless payment gateway interface, benefiting from its efficient client-side rendering and reduced bundle size.

Additionally, the new svelte-adders project harnesses SvelteKit’s capabilities, offering modular installation of common add-ons like GraphQL, Prettier, or Tailwind CSS. Developers appreciate SvelteKit's minimalistic approach that doesn't sacrifice capability, favoring a clean, lean codebase.

Recent Developments and Growth in Adoption of Next.js and SvelteKit

Next.js News: Next.js has been consistently evolving, with the latest updates showing significant performance enhancements due to the adoption of Rust-based transpilation and Turbopack, a successor to Webpack. This transition has substantially improved build times and overall application performance, helping Next.js maintain its popularity among developers who need robust, scalable web applications. With over 122,000 GitHub stars (state June 2024), Next.js showcases widespread adoption and remains a popular choice for developers, especially those in enterprise environments (Source: GitHub).

SvelteKit Updates: SvelteKit continues to grow as a framework noted for its simplicity and performance. Although specific adoption numbers are less readily available compared to Next.js, SvelteKit is recognized for its efficient build process that significantly reduces application load times. The framework's design focuses on minimizing boilerplate code, which enhances developer productivity and project maintainability. SvelteKit's community and ecosystem, though smaller than Next.js, are actively expanding, promising a supportive environment for new adopters (Source: GitHub, SvelteKit documentation).

Comparison and Future Prospects

Next.js's robust features and comprehensive ecosystem make it suitable for complex, large-scale applications, especially those requiring detailed SEO management and server-side capabilities. On the other hand, SvelteKit offers a compelling choice for projects where performance, ease of use, and rapid development cycles are prioritized.

Both frameworks are poised for future growth. Next.js is likely to continue leading in enterprise-level solutions, while SvelteKit may see increased adoption as its community grows and more features are introduced. For developers, the choice between Next.js and SvelteKit should consider both the technical needs of their projects and the strategic benefits each framework offers.

For more details, you can explore Next.js on their official site and SvelteKit on their documentation page.

SvelteKit vs Next.js Support and Resources

Documentation, Stack Overflow, GitHub Issues

In terms of resources, both SvelteKit and Next.js offer ample resources to help out developers. The documentation for both these frameworks is quite thorough and novice-friendly.

On Stack Overflow, Next.js community is more active and widespread, hence, you are likely to find solutions to your problems quicker. However, it's notable how quickly the interactions related to SvelteKit have been picking up.

Looking at GitHub issues, Next.js again takes lead due to its larger user base. Nevertheless, open issues in SvelteKit are actively addressed and the speeds of the resolution are commendable. This showcases strong involvement from the official team.

Analyzing Commercial Support and Official Team Assistance

In terms of commercial support, Next.js has the advantage of being backed by Vercel, which offers tailored support plans. These plans are particularly advantageous for enterprises requiring guaranteed uptime and dedicated service. On the other hand, SvelteKit does not offer structured commercial support plans, but its creators and core developers are notably active in community forums, providing hands-on assistance and fostering a collaborative environment.

Considering official team assistance, both frameworks showcase regular updates and consistent communication from the core team.

In conclusion, while Next.js currently has wider community support and more commercial backing. SvelteKit is making significant strides in expanding its user base and enhancing its support network. The support and resources for both these frameworks are dynamic landscapes and are shifting as the communities grow and evolve.

SvelteKit or Next.js? Making the choice

Framework Selection after Project Needs

Deciding between SvelteKit and Next.js should start with a clear assessment of your project's requirements. SvelteKit offers an environment optimized for speed and efficiency, utilizing minimal code which can be particularly beneficial for projects where performance is crucial. On the other hand, Next.js is renowned for features like server-side rendering, automatic code splitting, and lazy loading, which are invaluable for managing dynamic content effectively.

It's also important to consider the technical proficiency of your team. Next.js builds on JavaScript and React, requiring familiarity with JSX. Teams already skilled in the React ecosystem may find Next.js more approachable. Conversely, SvelteKit provides a simpler learning curve with its streamlined approach using JavaScript and the Svelte templating language, which can be ideal for teams new to complex frameworks or those prioritizing rapid development.

Consider the Final Product

Both frameworks support scalable solutions, but Next.js provides more flexibility with its extensive ecosystem and third-party integrations. This makes it suitable for complex, large-scale enterprise applications. SvelteKit, with its straightforward setup and efficient updating mechanism, offers a more streamlined approach, ideal for projects where quick iterations and efficient resource utilization are needed.

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