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Is Svelte Ready For Prime Time?

Statistics show that 38% of users stop using a website or mobile application if the design is poor. This shows the importance of user experience (UX) in the success of any modern business. Better UX increases a site’s conversion rate, which can contribute to more profits.

There are many ways you can enhance user experience, and one of them is improving your site’s user interface. The tools you use in your front-end development are vital, as they can affect the responsiveness and appearance of the visual elements. 

For instance, some programming languages and frameworks can make navigation buttons and forms less responsive. Most don’t compile the codes before run-time, which may slow down the browser. Developers have created several JavaScript frameworks to try and solve this problem. 

Sveltekit is a recent addition to the front-end development world, offering developers a new way to build web applications with the Svelte framework. With the growing popularity of Svelte, many developers are wondering if Sveltekit is ready to take on the popular front-end framework Next.js.

This article will discuss Svelte’s future in the industry and why many people choose it. 

Introduction to Svelte

Svelte is a modern JavaScript framework created by Rich Harris in 2016. Its usage within the developer community has rapidly grown in recent years because of its simplicity. The framework is also easy to use and has excellent performance. 

Another advantage it has over the likes of React, Angular, and Vue is its approach to web development. Svelte compiles the code at build time and only ships the necessary library to the browser. This reduces the amount of work required at the user’s end. 

  • What is Sveltekit?

Sveltekit is a new addition to the Svetve ecosystem. It was released in 2021 as the successor of the Sapper framework. Sveltekit is built on Svelte and allows developers to create server-rendered applications. 

The latest version of this framework was released in December 2022. According to the announcement on Svelte.dev, this recent release allows companies and solo developers to build production-grade websites. 

One advantage of Sveltekeit is its easy-to-use application programming interface (API). You can accomplish your web design goals even without technical experience. 

The framework also supports server-side rendering, which means the web pages leave the server only after rendering. It also has static site generation (SSG) and client-side routing (CSR). 

SSG allows HTML file generation at build-time, while CSR enhances page navigation and transition on the client’s side. Therefore, Sveltekit is more versatile than Sapper and ideal for building all web apps. 

Sveltekit has been used in production for some of the biggest websites on the web, such as the famous newspaper, the New York Times & noted gambling website, Stake.com.

Whilst the New York Times had direct involvement with Svelte founder Rich Harris, Stake adopted the rendering framework of Sveltekit early in the life cycle in October 2021 during its beta release.

A website responsible for processing billions in transactions may sound risky in implementing software during its beta development; however the foundations of Sveltekit were so strong, especially following Sapper, that the website had immediate benefits over its client-side rendered react app to run its live casino operations

How does Sveltekit compare to its competitors? More on this later in the article. 

What is Next.js?

Next.js is another popular front-end development framework that is slightly older than Sveltekit. It was first released by Vercel on GitHub in 2016 as an open-source project and has since grown to become one of the most popular web frameworks.

To understand Next.js, you’ll first need to learn about React, a JavaScript library. React is one of the most-used libraries for creating interactive UIs. It offers practical functions that developers can use in their projects. 

Like Sveltekit and Svelte, Next.js is built on top of React. It handles the configuration and tooling required for React and provides additional features to optimize your application. 

It’s worth noting that Next.js supports client and server rendering, data fetching, nested routing, and built-in optimization. So, you can build your web’s UI with React and use Next.js features for routing, integration, and other app requirements. 

Comparison of Sveltekit to Next.js

Sveltekit and Next.js are both great options for developing excellent UIs. The end products are scalable, powerful web applications. But despite their similarities, they also have a few distinctive features. 

So, it’d be prudent to consider the following comparison before you switch from Next.js to Sveltekit.

  • They’re both meta-frameworks

A meta-framework is a framework that’s built on top of another framework or library. Sveltekit and Next.js fall under this category because they’re built on top of Svelte and React, respectively.

It’s worth noting, though, that Svelte and React are different in structure and modes of operation. React is a library, and Next.js provides the necessary tooling and building blocks. 

On the other hand, Svelte is merely a compiler. Unlike React, it doesn’t ship its own additional code apart from the one you write.  

  • Their routing process is the same

Routing is a mechanism that decides what happens after a user visits a page. It determines the URL required for various sites.

Since they’re both meta-frameworks, Sveltekit and Next.js routing are pretty much the same. They use file-based routing, which consists of the filename and a given page file’s location. 

  • They both support server-side rendering

Meta-frameworks are known for their server-side rendering capabilities. The web pages are generated on the server and sent to the client, resulting in faster page loads and better search engine optimization (SEO).

Next.js and Sveltekit handle much of the work at build time. Tasks, such as transformation and API calls, are completed before the page loads. Both frameworks allow you to create functions of various pages for execution on the server-side before sending the pages to the browser.

The only difference here is the data-fetching process. In Next.js, you can export a “getServerSideProps” function. It’s a popular technique for fetching data from the server-side. The function returns JavaScript Object Notation (JSON), which is responsible for page rendering. 

If you’re on Sveltekit, you can use the load function to fetch data from the server. Remember, the load function can be defined in a script block within your layout component. 

  • They also support static site generators

A static site generator is an engine that generates static website pages using templates and raw data. This process is done before the user sends a request, reducing the page’s load time. 

Next.js and Sveltekit both support this web design feature. You can use the getStaticProps if you want to fetch static pages using Next.js. 

As for Sveltekit, the function that applies here is “export const prerender = true.” This instructs the framework to pre-render the page rather than doing it upon every request.

  • They vary significantly in their styling

Sveltekit uses single-file components. As such, the Cascading Style Sheet (CSS) is within the component file. 

On the other hand, Next.js employs multiple components. So, on top of CSS, you can also add styled components, helmet components, and JSS to your styling. 

  • Ecosystem 

Another significant difference is in the ecosystem. Next.js has been around for quite a while and has advanced over that period. Therefore, it has a larger ecosystem with a wider range of plugins, libraries, and tools. 

Sveltekit is relatively new in the market, with its 1.0 release launched in December 2022. As you’d expect, it’s ecosystem is still smaller than that of Next.js. But it’s rapidly advancing, thanks to the growing developer community. 

Benefits of using Sveltekit over Next.js

Sveltekit is the most loved front-end framework by developers today. But why is that the case? Here are some of the benefits it has over Next.js:

  • A growing developer community

Of course, Next.js has a superior library, but that’s just because Sveltekit joined the industry a few months. However, Svelte boasts a growing developer community that’s determined to make Sveltekit better in the future. 

  • Simpler syntax

Svelte’s syntax is generally considered to be simpler and more intuitive compared to React’s. This means that developers can often write less code to achieve the same functionality, resulting in faster development times and easier maintenance. 

  • Faster build times

Another thing that differentiates Sveltekit from most frameworks is its approach to web development. It compiles the code during the build process rather than on the user’s browser. This results in smaller applications that can load faster.

  • Single file components

Svelte allows developers to write components in a single file, making the code easier to read and maintain. This contrasts React, which typically requires developers to write components in separate files.

Websites that have adopted Svelte

As mentioned earlier, there are many big brands that have shifted from other JS frameworks to Sveltekit. Among the main reasons for the move is its unique approach that ensures faster page loading speeds. 

Here are some of the sites using this relatively new framework:

  • Daisyui.com

Daisyui.com is a web development website that offers a customizable library for Tailwind CSS. It’s home to many developers, and the fact that it uses Sveltekit for its UI just shows how much trust Svelte has already gained among the experts. 

  • Nytimes.com

This is another famous brand that uses Sveltekit to enhance user experience. It’s a daily newspaper with international news, and it receives millions of users every month. According to statistics, Nytimes.com ranks 75th globally and receives an average of 640 million every month.

  • Svelte.dev

Of course, you’d expect Svelte to use the framework on its website. That’s precisely the case with Svelte.dev adapting the features of Sveltekit. 

  • Finance.ozon.ru

This is the finance site of Ozon, a prominent Russian e-commerce website. Given the high traffic on the site, it’s only wise to invest in a design that doesn’t only appeal to the users but also makes all features responsive. This is exactly what Sveltekit offers, and that’s why the brand opted for the framework. 

  • Downforeveryoneorjustme.com

Modern technology allows you to check if a site is down at any time, and downforeveryoneorjustme.com is one of those solutions. Apart from a website’s status, it provides a list of common issues reported by other users. 

  • Stake.com

Stake.com is a famous crypto-betting company founded in 2017. The brand took less than a decade to grow and become well-known across the globe. 

It initially used React for front-end development, but that has since changed. Today, Stake.com adapted the Sveltekit user interface.

The future of Sveltekit

Sveltekit is constantly becoming a popular name among web developers. As seen in the article, its closest rival so far is Next.js. However, many companies are moving from the React framework to Svelte. 

But is Sveltekit ready to handle the rising demand? Have a look at what the future has for this framework:

  • More developments incoming

If the past few years are anything to go by, Sveltekit is still a work in progress. It’s grown massively since its introduction as the successor of Sapper in 2021. 

The best part is its developers are constantly adding new features, and the latest release is a good proof of that. So, you can expect more developments in the near future to make it a better JS framework. 

  • An increase in adoption is expected

Companies like Stake.com are already moving from React to Svelte. This is an indication that Sveltekit might gain more users in the future as developers learn about its benefits. 

Of course, Next.js still leads in terms of downloads. But it’d be interesting to see what happens in a few years, given that Sveltekit’s official 1.0 release just came in December 2022.

  • Possible competition

The world of web development is always advancing. So, you can expect to see new frameworks emerge in the market. But Sveltekit’s unique approach to web building could help it overcome this growing competition. 

Conclusion

Sveltekit and Next.js have their own strengths and weaknesses. Sveltekit is known for its fast build times and flexible routing system, while Next.js is an established ecosystem. They share a lot of similarities, including server-side rendering and routing. 

However, Sveltekit is slowly edging its competitor. Many big companies are already using this framework. New York Times and Stake.com are some of the notable brands on that list. 

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