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Comparative Analysis: Laravel Livewire, Splade, and Inertia.js

/* by Ajay Patel - July 3, 2023 */

Comparative Analysis: Laravel Livewire, Splade, and Inertia.js

In the Laravel ecosystem, there are numerous packages available to aid developers in their quest for efficient, responsive, and user-friendly web applications. Among these packages, Laravel Livewire, Splade, and Inertia.js have gained significant traction for their unique capabilities and robust features. In this blog post, we will delve into a detailed comparison and analysis of these three popular Laravel packages.

Laravel Livewire

Laravel Livewire is a full-stack framework that facilitates the building of dynamic interfaces within the Laravel ecosystem. The main allure of Livewire lies in its simplicity. It enables developers to create interactive front-end interfaces using PHP, eliminating the need for JavaScript. Thus, developers can create real-time components, like a real-time search component, within the comfort of Laravel.

The way Livewire works is by rendering the initial component output with the page (similar to a Blade include), making it SEO friendly. Upon interaction, Livewire sends an AJAX request to the server with updated data. The server re-renders the component and responds with the new HTML, and Livewire intelligently mutates the DOM according to the changes.

Inertia.js

Inertia.js offers a different approach. Dubbed as the “modern monolith,” Inertia allows developers to build single-page applications (SPAs) without having to deal with the typical complexity associated with SPAs. Unlike Livewire, Inertia does not try to replace JavaScript with PHP; instead, it blends the best of both worlds. It replaces your application’s server-side rendered views with JavaScript page components, allowing developers to build the entire frontend using VueReact, or Svelte while maintaining the productivity of server-side frameworks like Laravel.

Inertia.js essentially acts as a client-side routing library, making page visits without forcing a full page reload. This is done using the <Link> component, a light-weight wrapper around a normal anchor link. When an Inertia link is clicked, Inertia intercepts the click and makes the visit via XHR instead. When Inertia makes an XHR visit, the server detects that it’s an Inertia visit and returns a JSON response with the JavaScript page component name and data (props). Inertia then dynamically swaps out the previous page component with the new page component and updates the browser’s history state. The result is a smooth single-page experience.

Splade

Splade, on the other hand, combines the magic of Inertia.js with the simplicity of Blade. It provides an easy way to build Single Page Applications (SPAs) using standard Laravel Blade templates, enhanced with renderless Vue 3 components. This way, you can create interactive web applications while still enjoying the ease of use that comes with Blade.

Splade comes with several built-in components that make it easier to quickly build forms, handle data, and create interactive elements like modals. It also supports lazy loading of data and templates, and it comes with a robust table component with built-in Query Builder. It’s not about replacing JavaScript but rather giving you a head start with the built-in components.

Comparison and Analysis

While all three packages – Livewire, Inertia.js, and Splade – aim to enhance the Laravel ecosystem, they do so in different ways.

Livewire is a great choice for developers who prefer to stick with PHP for boththe front-end and back-end. With its AJAX-driven approach, it allows for real-time updates and interactive components without requiring the developer to write JavaScript. It’s quite SEO friendly as it renders the initial component output with the page. However, being entirely PHP-based, it may not be the best choice for those who want to take advantage of the rich ecosystem of JavaScript libraries and frameworks.

Inertia.js, in contrast, is an excellent choice for developers who want to build SPAs using JavaScript frameworks like Vue, React, or Svelte for the front-end while still leveraging Laravel’s robustness on the back-end. Its blend of client-side and server-side rendering makes it a compelling choice for modern web applications. However, it may require a more profound understanding of JavaScript and its frameworks compared to Livewire.

Splade, though relatively new, provides an intriguing middle ground. It incorporates elements of Inertia.js’ approach but with Laravel’s Blade templating engine. This allows developers to enjoy the simplicity of Blade while gaining the benefits of a SPA. It comes with several built-in components to speed up development, but it may not yet have the community support and extensive resources available to the more established Livewire and Inertia.js.

In conclusion, the choice between Laravel Livewire, Inertia.js, and Splade largely depends on the specific needs of your project and your comfort level with PHP and JavaScript. Each of these packages has its strengths, and understanding these can help you choose the right tool for your Laravel project.

I hope this comparison and analysis of Laravel Livewire, Inertia.js, and Splade has been informative and will aid you in making a more informed decision on which package to use in your next Laravel project.

Stay tuned for more Laravel-related content, and happy coding!