Oh my, what a controvertial topic, but anyway.
Undoubtedly, Next.js reigns supreme in the world of web development meta frameworks as of 2023. With a staggering 4 million daily downloads (according to NPM Trends), it stands as the de-facto choice for handling React both on the server and client, owing much of its success to robust marketing efforts.
But are there any alternatives that can match or exceed Next.js capabilities? Here are my top four meta frameworks, each with its own set of pros and cons, based on my firsthand experiences.
4th place: NextJS
Next.js, as mentioned earlier, is the most popular meta framework. It’s created by Vercel, primarily for Vercel, supported by Vercel, and promoted by Vercel.
- Large and active community with extensive Q&A resources
- An extensive ecosystem surrounding it
- The most established among the four frameworks
- Tied to Vercel, which may lead to vendor lock-in concerns
- Exclusive to React
- Lacking some features compared to other frameworks
3rd place: Remix
Remix recently has been acquired by Shopify, this promises an even brighter future.
- Backed by Shopify, no vendor lock-in (yet)
- Embraces web standards
- Relatively straightforward to grasp
- React only
- Limited adoption and a smaller community
- Action, loader, and page components bundled into the same file can be a drawback
2nd place: SvelteKit
SvelteKit has won my affection with its thoughtful design, separating concerns into distinct files. It seamlessly integrates with various cloud adaptors, and the Svelte framework itself is highly approachable.
- Exceptional separation of concerns, including actions, loaders, hooks, and more
- Offers user-friendly and configurable cloud adaptors
- Limited community and adoption
- Some peculiar behavior in Svelte LSP when used with TypeScript
1st place: Astro
My top pick is Astro, without a doubt. The very website you’re reading this review on is built with Astro, which offers unparalleled flexibility in terms of tooling choices.
Whether you prefer React, Preact, Svelte, Solid, or something else entirely, Astro accommodates it all. It has adopted the concept of “islands,” allowing you to use different frontend frameworks for different parts of your app, even enabling server-side rendering for all of them.
- Unparalleled flexibility; use the tools and frameworks you prefer
- Multiple adaptors available for various cloud providers
- Comes with pre-built tools for creating blogs and documentation
- Smaller community compared to some other frameworks
In conclusion, the choice of a meta framework depends on your project’s specific requirements and your affinity for certain technologies. Next.js, Remix, SvelteKit, and Astro all have their strengths and weaknesses, and the ideal choice may vary from one project to another.