Whether you’re building single-page applications (SPAs), working as a full-stack developer, or simply embedding web components on a webpage—Vue.js is a no-brainer. But with the release of Vue 3 in September 2020, the question of Vue 2 vs. Vue 3 is a natural one.
Is Vue 3 simply a rewrite of Vue 2 with minor improvements? Or does it come with major changes to transform the day-in-a-life of a Vue developer? And which one should you choose for your Vue development project? Let's find out.
What Is Vue.js 2?
Vue 2 came out in October 2016, exactly 4 years before Vue 3. Vue 2 quickly became known as a lightweight, simple, and versatile development framework. Developers used it to create responsive and progressive web interfaces that integrated well with other technologies.
Vue 2 is still being used by companies all over the world, owing both to its multiple benefits and the short time for which Vue 3 has been out. With Vue 2 set to reach end-of-life by the end of 2023, the ecosystem has enough time to migrate to Vue 3.
When To Use Vue 2 and When Not To Use It
Despite Vue 3 being out for more than two years now, Vue 2 should be preferred over its newer variant if:
- Your application environment has dependencies not yet compatible with Vue 3.
- Your work as a developer is limited to maintaining Vue 2 code.
In these cases, it makes little sense to learn or migrate to Vue 3 as you aren’t planning to use it on a daily basis.
But, in every other scenario, migrating from Vue 2 to Vue 3 is the ideal choice. Vue 3 brings more powerful and performant code and is more future-proof. Vue 2 is now in maintenance mode and won’t get any new features for the remainder of its life.
What Is Vue.js 3?
Vue 3 was announced as a smaller, faster, and more maintainable alternative to Vue 2. Vue 3 not only brings newer features to the framework but also improves several drawbacks of Vue 2.
In Vue 2, the code is prone to becoming complex and less readable with an increase in size. Vue 3 attempts to solve this and various other issues of Vue 2 while being largely similar in syntax to Vue 2.
When To Use Vue 3 and When Not To Use It
If you or your team is beginning work on a new Vue development project, Vue 3 should be your default choice. Not only does it offer superior performance than Vue 2 but it’s also much simpler to understand. Moreover, its basic syntax is similar to that of Vue 2, meaning making the switch is easy.
However, you should assess your current development needs to decide whether staying with Vue 2 makes more sense for your situation. You might want to retain Vue 2 in the following scenarios:
- You’re waiting for projects like Vuetify or Nuxt to ship stable versions for Vue 3 before you make the switch.
If you plan to keep using Vue 2 beyond 2023, you can even register your interest here to request extended support beyond its end-of-life.
What Are the Differences Between Vue.js 2 and Vue.js 3?
To adequately choose between Vue 2 and Vue 3, learning the exact technical differences between the two doesn’t hurt. Even if you’re not a technical person, these differences will help illustrate the other arguments in this article better.
The major differences between Vue 2 and Vue 3 are shown below:
- Creating a New Application: You’ll find one of the stark differences between Vue 2 and Vue 3 while creating an application from scratch. To begin the process, you’ll need to install the Vue CLI (Command Line Interface). The command for this differs between Vue 2 and Vue 3:
- Vue 2: npm install firstname.lastname@example.org
- Vue 3: npm install vue
- Multiple Roots: Vue 2 allows the implementation of only a single root node in the template whereas Vue 3 removes this restriction. Developers can now add multiple roots in the same template.
- Fragments: As components can have more than one root node in Vue 3 (due to the introduction of fragments), creating the same component in Vue 3 vs. Vue 2 works differently. Accessing data while creating a component is done by using the ‘reactive’ option in Vue 3, while no such thing is done in Vue 2.
- Setting Up Data: One of the biggest changes introduced in Vue 3 was the Composition API. The Options API in Vue 2 requires the separation of code into different properties. On the other hand, the Composition API of Vue 3 allows grouping the code by function rather than the property type.
- Creating Methods: Creating methods is slightly different in Vue 2 than in Vue 3. In Vue 2, the Options API can be used to define all your methods in one go and organize them as you please.
In Vue 3, however, the Composition API involves declaring methods and then ‘returning’ them so that other parts of your component can access them.
- Lifecycle Hooks: In Vue 2, lifecycle hooks can be accessed directly from the component options. But in Vue 3, almost everything (including lifecycle hooks) is inside the setup() method.
Lifecycle hooks in Vue 3 need to be imported and can then be used inside the setup() method.
- Computed Properties: Using computed properties in Vue 2 is done by adding a ‘computed’ field to the options object. In Vue 3, however, developers need to import ‘computed’ into the component before using it inside the setup() method.
This change was implemented to prevent importing unnecessary packages that were never used, as was the practice in Vue 2.
- Accessing Props: In Vue 2, the keyword ‘this’ was always used to refer to the component and not any specific property. And one could easily access ‘props’. But in Vue 3, ‘this’ is no longer used to refer access props. Instead, the setup() method takes the ‘props’ and ‘context’ arguments to access props.
- Emitting Events: Emitting events is also different in Vue 3 vs. Vue 2. In Vue 2, you could simply use ‘this.$emit’ to emit an event to a parent component. But Vue 3 gives you more control over how properties or methods are accessed.
In Vue 3, this is done by adding the ‘context’ object as the second parameter to the setup() method. Then, you can just call ‘emit’ to send the event to the parent component.
- Portals: The portal feature allows you to render part of a code in one component into a different component in another DOM tree. In Vue 2, a third-party plugin called portal-vue was used to do this.
Vue 3 uses an in-built portal to achieve the same result. A unique tag called <teleport> is used to enclose any code that needs to be ready for teleporting elsewhere.
What Are the Most Important Improvements From Vue 2 to Vue 3?
The technical differences between Vue 2 and Vue 3 are a separate discussion. Perhaps, the more important question is—which of the improvements brought by Vue 3 are the most transformative?
The following changes brought about the most tangible improvements in Vue 3 vs. Vue 2:
- Composition API: As discussed earlier, the Composition API of Vue 3 allows you to organize code logically rather than by different properties. This makes the code in Vue 3 easier to read and understand as its size increases.
- Lifecycle Hooks: Lifecycle hooks are used inside the setup() method in Vue 3. This change made some Vue 2 lifecycle hooks redundant (beforeCreate and created). What it also did was organize every lifecycle hook and its content in a single place (the setup() method).
- Fragments: The introduction of fragments represents another important change in Vue 3 over Vue 2. It allowed the declaration of multiple roots in a single template, hence abandoning the use of unnecessary wrappers. This resulted in an overall cleaner code.
- Teleport: Teleporting a code snippet was made easier in Vue 3 with the <teleport> tag. Developers can render a component in a different location than where it’s placed logically. This feature helps a great deal when using popups and modals.
- Initialization Code: Vue 3 returns a new instance of a Vue app every time ‘createApp’ is used to initialize the app. You can configure each instance as an independent object without affecting the other instances. This comes in handy in large projects or when you need to share functionalities among instances.
Which Version Should You Use: Vue 2 or Vue 3?
The TL;DR of it is—use Vue 3 unless Vue 2 is absolutely needed.
Vue 3 offers faster, more performant, and more maintainable code than Vue 2 while still being lightweight. The changes brought in by Vue 3 provide significant improvements over Vue 2, especially helping remove several of the drawbacks of Vue 2.
As stated earlier, the only reasons you could have for choosing Vue 2 largely come down to dependencies. If some components of your code aren’t yet compatible with Vue 3 or if migrating to Vue 3 isn’t worth the benefits gained, then you could choose Vue 2.
Vue 3 is a more future-proof framework and is fast becoming the preferred choice of both developers and organizations.
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Both Vue 2 and Vue 3 are excellent web development frameworks and enjoy strong support from the community. Depending on your unique business case, neither of the two would disappoint you. And for hiring leading Vue developers from around the world, contact Trio today to find out how we can streamline the process for you end-to-end.