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Astro vs. Next.js vs. Remix — Which One Should You Use for Your Next Project?


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AstroNext.jsRemixWeb Development

Summary (TL;DR): In this article, we are going to compare three popular frameworks for building web apps — Astro, Next.js and Remix. We will compare aspects like performance, hydration, use cases, server-side rendering, ease of use, code splitting and integrations. Read on to find out which one is best for your project.

The introduction of modern frameworks has been revolutionary for building fast websites. Many of these frameworks have leveraged the awesomeness of React to create excellent products with none of the limitations of React like routing, server-side rendering, SEO, and others. 

Knowing which framework is best for you is essential for and entails an in-depth research into them. 

In this article, we will take a deep dive into comparing three of the frameworks built on React. We will look at metrics like performance, hydration, use cases, and others.

While You Are at It, Why Not Learn More About Building Your First Web App With Remix?

Table of Contents

Introduction to Web Applications
>> What Is Next.js?
>> What Is Remix?
>> What Is Astro?
Comparing Astro, Remix, and Next.js
>> Comparison Based on Performance
>> Comparison Based on Hydration
>> Comparison Based on Use Cases
>> Comparison Based on Server-Side Rendering
>> Comparison of Ease of Use
>> Code Splitting
>> Integrations and Extensibility
Key Take-Aways

Introduction to Web Applications

Web applications have become the core of communication for many on the internet. With the advent of libraries like React, there’s been an uprising in the number of frontend frameworks created to improve web apps and developer workflow. This article will cover Remix, Astro and Next.js, three popular frameworks for building web apps, we’d also look at their similarities, major differences and why you should consider each of them for your next web application.

What Is Next.js?

Next.js is an open-source React framework for building web applications. It builds on React to deliver a seamless and fast experience. It comes enabled with out-of-the-box features for page-based routing, server-side rendering, and a better way to build static-generated sites. It comes with Typescript support, rich developer experience, and smart bundling.

These features have made Next.js one of the most widely used React frameworks for building web applications.

What Is Remix?

Remix is a React-based framework for building a rich user interface; It comes with server-side rendering functionalities. Remix allows developers to build full-stack applications. It uses React on the frontend while running a server on the backend. It comes without the box features like cache validation, typescript support, and dynamic routes.

What Is Astro?

Astro is the newest framework in the frontend ecosystem. Astro builds on top of React to provide a more streamlined approach for web applications. It uses the island architecture approach instead of the frequently used single-page architecture. The island architecture approach encourages interactivity in small focused chunks of server-side rendered web pages. Sites built with Astro are more performant and provide an overall great user experience. 

Some unique features include its templating language and the fact that it is framework agnostic. The framework-agnostic nature means that Astro supports building web pages with UI components from different JavaScript frameworks like Vue, Svelte, etc. 

One unique feature of Astro is that it bundles your site to static HTML during the build process. This means that sites built with Astro have little or no JavaScript on the final page! 

Comparing Astro, Remix, and Next.js

In this section, we will compare Astro, Remix, and Next.js. This comparison isn’t to show which of them is better or faster; instead, we are looking at each of them to enable a well-informed choice into which framework is best for you. We will use metrics like performance, hydration, use cases, and ease of use.

Comparison Based on Performance

Astro is built for speed and is accordingly fast. The island architecture approach helps with SEO purposes as it ranks very high on on-site engines. It provides a great user experience and comes with reduced boilerplate code. It also comes with an excellent foundation for style support as it supports most CSS libraries and frameworks. 

Remix boasts faster data fetching by loading data in parallel on the server. Remix supports Server-side rendering, which means that it prerenders pages on the server. With Astro, you get a statically-bundled HTML document with little or no JavaScript, and Remix doesn’t.

Next.js boasts of static builds and server-side rendering capabilities. Next.js also comes with various out-of-the-box methods for fetching data. Some examples include ISR (incremental static regeneration), CSR (client-side rendering), SSG(Static Site Generation) and SSR(server-side rendering). It also comes with support for CSS frameworks and libraries.

Comparison Based on Hydration

Hydration is a technique whereby JavaScript on the client-side converts a static HTML page into a dynamic page. This allows for a nice user experience as it allows users to see a rendered component on the page but with attached event handlers. With static pages, hydration occurs before user interaction. This reduces the user experience.

Astro solves this by a process called partial hydration. Partial hydration is the process by which individual components are loaded only when needed while leaving the rest of the page as static HTML. Island architecture is key to this process as it encourages small chunks of interactivity.

Remix doesn’t have support for partial hydration. There are presumptions that Remix will work with the new React 18’s suspense features, but there is no support for partial hydration with Remix.

Next.js also has no support for partial hydration. Next.js has experimental support for non-JavaScript websites but none for hydrating components.

Comparison Based on Use Cases

  • Building single-page applications: Next and Astro are great for building single-page applications. Remix is excellent for building sites that handle dynamic data.
  • Sessions and cookies: Sessions and cookies are used to store information. Cookies are used on the user or client-side machines while sessions get stored on both the server and the client. Astro and Next.js do not come with support for sessions and cookies. However, when paired with Remix support for sessions and cookies, there are libraries that.
  • Real-time multi-user sites: Next.js and Astro are great for building static sites like portfolio websites and blogs. It is also great for handling authentication and catering to different users. Remix is great for building applications with a focus on dynamic data. It comes with support only for Server-side rendering, so it doesn’t bundle to static files on build time.
  • CSS support: Astro and Next.js come with out-of-the-box support for CSS frameworks and libraries. Styling is a little different in Remix as it doesn’t come with support for most styling frameworks. However, it uses the link tag for linking CSS inbuilt style sheets.

Comparison Based on Server-Side Rendering

Server-side rendering refers to the process of prerendering client-side single-page applications on the server and then sending a fully rendered page on user request. Server-side rendering is very important and essential because server-side rendered applications are SEO-friendly and fast. Apps that support server-side rendering are usually due to their reduced page load time.

Next.js and Astro come with support for server-side rendering while Remix doesn’t. 

Comparison of Ease of Use

Next.js, Astro, and Remix all come with a low learning curve. They are all built on React, meaning that your knowledge of React is enough to set up Next.js, Astro and Remix. They all have developer-friendly documentation that makes them easy to use and set up.
Next comes out of the box with the `create-next-app` CLI command for bootstrapping a Next.js application. Astro comes with the `create [email protected]` command for bootstrapping an Astro application, while Remix comes with the `[email protected]` for Remix apps.

Code Splitting

Code splitting is breaking code into many bundles that can be loaded in parallel or on-demand. This enables you to ship as little JavaScript as possible while the rest of the components get lazy-loaded. All of the discussed frameworks come with code splitting enabled. They also come with out-of-the-box support for routing.

Integrations and Extensibility

All of the discussed frameworks are built on React. This means that they all offer support for integrations and plugins, enabling them to extend their capabilities.

Remix and Astro, being newcomers to the frontend ecosystem, may not offer the same capabilities and integrations. Still, it is expected that these features will become available once they grow in popularity.

Next.js offers a wide range of customizability and extensibility via the next.config.js file. Next.js plugins can be added using this file.

Key Take-Aways

Astro and Remix, while being relatively new, still have amazing features that are bound to make them the default framework for developers in the future, however, Next.js is a very robust framework leveraging React with none of the limitations of React.js like routing, server-side rendering, SEO, etc.

Astro also introduces new concepts like partial hydration and little to no JavaScript on build time, in addition to this, Astro also works with most JavaScript UI libraries, meaning that you can choose which framework you are most comfortable with. 

Remix also introduces new concepts like being a framework for handling both client-side and server-side code. While Next.js does not support concepts like partial hydration or being a full-stack framework, it’s excellent for web applications with a focus on SEO, reduced load time and a lot of routing.

Conclusion

In this article, we have taken a look at Astro, which is a highly performant library for shipping no JavaScript code, Remix which is a framework for handling both client-side and server-side code and Next.js which comes with various methods for data fetching like ISR (incremental static regeneration), CSR(client-side rendering), SSG (Static Site Generation) and SSR (server-side rendering).

We listed metrics like performance, code splitting, hydration, use cases, ease of use, and integrations. With this, you can choose which framework you want to use for your projects.