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A First Look at Nuxt 3


All of this project's code can be found in the First Look monorepo on my GitHub.


Nuxt is a Vue metaframework that aims to make web development intuitive and performant while keeping great developer experience in mind. The original version, created by Sébastien Chopin in October 2016, was built to emulate the features of Next.js (such as file-system based routing, server-side rendering, and API routes) but with Vue instead of React. Version 3 has been over a year in the making.

We are excited to open source Nuxt 3 after more than a year of intense development. On top of supporting Vue 3 and Vite, Nuxt 3 contains a new server engine, unlocking new full-stack capabilities to Nuxt server and beyond.

Introducing Nuxt 3 Beta

Nuxt 3 is composed of the following core packages:

Package Purpose
nuxt3 Core Engine
nuxi Command line interface
vite-builder or webpack-builder Bundlers
nitro Server engine
kit Development kit
bridge Nuxt 2 Bridge

Together these packages provide a selection of libraries for managing many common concerns for developers building on the web today such as:

Library Common Concern
Vue.js JavaScript framework for reactivity and components
Vite or Webpack 5 Bundler for hot module replacement in dev and bundling for production
esbuild Transpiler for supporting legacy browsers while still using current JavaScript syntax
h3 Server that can serve your application in development and support server-side rendering or API routes
vue-router Routing library to handle client-side navigation

In addition to curating and integrating these tools, Nuxt also provides directory structure conventions for managing pages and components.

Migrating from Nuxt 2 to Nuxt 3

Note: If you don't have a Nuxt 2 project, skip ahead to the section, "Create Nuxt 3 Project from Scratch."

The team has created two migration guides and tooling in the form of Nuxt Bridge to make migrating as smooth as possible . If you have an existing Nuxt 2 project, the team strongly recommends you begin by using Nuxt Bridge to experiment with new features while avoiding breaking changes. Bridge is a forward-compatibility layer that allows you to experience new Nuxt 3 features by installing and enabling a Nuxt module.

All Nuxt 2 modules should be forward compatible with Nuxt 3 as long as they migrate to bridge or if they are already following guidelines. All (upcoming) modules made with @nuxt/kit should be backward compatible with Nuxt 2 projects (even without bridge) as long as they are not depending on a Nuxt 3 / Bridge-only feature. Since Nuxt 3 natively supports TypeScript and ECMAScript Modules, it is useful to avoid CommonJS syntax such as __dirname, __filename, require(), and module.exports as much as possible.

Try Online Example

We will be building a Nuxt application from scratch. However, you can start playing with Nuxt 3 online in your browser on either StackBlitz or CodeSandBox.

Create Nuxt 3 Project from Scratch

Create a blank new directory and initialize a package.json file for defining our scripts and dependencies.

mkdir ajcwebdev-nuxt3
cd ajcwebdev-nuxt3
yarn init -y
yarn add -D nuxt@3.0.0-rc.3 vercel
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Version is current as of June 10, 2022, check the release schedule on GitHub for most recent version.

The project will start with only two additional files:

  • app.vue to display our Vue application
  • .gitignore to avoid accidentally committing stuff that shouldn't be committed
echo > app.vue
echo 'node_modules\n.DS_Store\n*.log\n.nuxt\nnuxt.d.ts\n.output' > .gitignore
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We will create a directory for pages and an api later on.

App Component

app.vue is the main component in your Nuxt 3 applications. This means that anything you add to this file (such as JavaScript or CSS) will be global and included in every page.

<!-- app.vue -->

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With Nuxt 3, the pages directory is optional. If a pages directory is not present, Nuxt won't include the vue-router dependency. This is useful when working on single landing pages or other applications that don't not need routing.

Project Scripts

In your package.json, add the following scripts (build, dev, generate, and preview).

  "name": "ajcwebdev-nuxt3",
  "license": "MIT",
  "scripts": {
    "build": "nuxt build",
    "dev": "nuxt dev",
    "generate": "nuxt generate",
    "preview": "nuxt preview"
  "devDependencies": {
    "nuxt": "3.0.0-rc.3",
    "vercel": "^25.1.0"
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Nuxi is the new CLI for Nuxt 3 and has four main commands:

  1. dev - Start development server
  2. build - Make production assets
  3. generate - Generate static site
  4. preview - Preview production build

Start Development Server

The yarn dev command starts your Nuxt app in development mode and includes hot module replacement. Include the --open flag to automatically open the browser after starting up.

yarn dev
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The CLI will display links to the running application and performance metrics.

Nuxt CLI v3.0.0-rc.3

  > Local:    http://localhost:3000/
  > Network:

ℹ Vite client warmed up in 288ms
ℹ Vite server warmed up in 50ms
✔ Vite server built in 269ms
✔ Nitro built in 171 ms
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Open localhost:3000 to see your application.


Build for Production

The yarn build command builds your Nuxt application for production. It creates a .output directory with your application, server, and dependencies ready to be deployed.

yarn build
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Nitro produces a standalone server dist that is independent of node_modules. The output is combined with both runtime code to run your Nuxt server in any environment and serve you static files.

Pages Directory

The pages directory is optional, meaning that if you only use app.vue, vue-router won't be included, reducing your application bundle size. However, if you do include it, Nuxt will automatically integrate Vue Router and map the files in the pages directory into the routes of your application. Delete app.vue and create two files in a new pages directory.

rm -rf app.vue
mkdir pages
echo > pages/about.vue
echo > pages/index.vue
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Include the previous home page's content in pages/index.vue.

<!-- pages/index.vue -->

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We also created pages/about.vue for an about page. Include the following code to make sure that people know stuff about your things.

<!-- pages/about.vue -->

    <h2>This page tells you stuff about things!</h2>
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Open localhost:3000/about to see the about page.


Server Engine

Nuxt 3 is powered by a new server engine called Nitro. Nitro is used in development and production. It includes cross-platform support for Node.js, browser engines, service workers and serverless. It enables API routes, code-splitting, async-loaded chunks, and hybrid static/serverless modes. The Server API endpoints and middleware internally use h3.

  • Handlers can directly return objects/arrays for JSON response
  • Handlers can return promises that are awaited (res.end() and next() are also supported)
  • Helper functions include body parsing, cookie handling, redirects, and headers

Nitro allows 'direct' calling of routes via the globally-available $fetch helper. If run on the browser it will make an API call to the server. But it will call the relevant function if run on the server and save an additional API call. The $fetch API uses ohmyfetch to:

  • Automatically parse JSON responses (with access to raw responses if needed)
  • Automatically handle request body and params with correct Content-Type headers added

Server Directory for API Routes

The server directory contains API endpoints and server middleware for your project. It is used to create any backend logic for your Nuxt application. Nuxt will automatically read in any files in the ~/server/api directory to create API endpoints. Each file should export a default function that handles API requests.

mkdir -p server/api
echo > server/api/index.js
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Add the following code to index.js.

// server/api/index.js

export default (req, res) => (`
  <h2>Hello from Nuxt 3</h2>
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Open localhost:3000/api and make sure not to include a trailing slash or it will error out.


We could also flesh out this route into a full HTML document.

// server/api/index.js

export default (req, res) => (`
  <html lang="en">
      <meta charset="UTF-8">
      <meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
      <meta name="description" content="A minimal HTML website served on a Nuxt API route.">
      <title>Nuxt 3 API Route</title>

        <h2>Hello from Nuxt 3</h2>
      <footer>ajcwebdev '22</footer>
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What's the point of a framework if you can't deploy it on multiple Jamstack platforms?

Deploy to Vercel

yarn vercel
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? Set up and deploy “~/ajcwebdev-nuxt3”? [Y/n] y
? Which scope do you want to deploy to? Anthony Campolo
? Link to existing project? [y/N] n
? What's your project's name? ajcwebdev-nuxt3
? In which directory is your code located? ./

Auto-detected Project Settings (Nuxt.js):
- Build Command: nuxt generate
- Output Directory: dist
- Development Command: nuxt
? Want to override the settings? [y/N] n

🔗  Linked to ajcwebdev/ajcwebdev-nuxt3 (created .vercel and added it to .gitignore)
🔍  Inspect: [5s]
✅  Production: [copied to clipboard]
📝  Deployed to production. Run `vercel --prod` to overwrite later (
💡  To change the domain or build command, go to
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Deploy to Netlify

echo > netlify.toml
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  command = "yarn build"
  publish = "dist"
  functions = ".output/server"

  from = "/*"
  to = "/.netlify/functions/index"
  status = 200
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Create a GitHub repository with the GitHub CLI by running the following series of commands or visit and follow the instructions provided there.

git init
git add .
git commit -m "the nuxt best thing"
gh repo create ajcwebdev-nuxt3 --public --push \
  --source=. \
  --description="An example Nuxt 3 application deployed on Netlify and Vercel" \
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Connect your repo to your Netlify account.


The build command and publish directory will be included automatically from the netlify.toml file.


Lastly, give yourself a custom domain.




Top comments (2)

procrates profile image

Hi Anthony! Great article:) How would you go about using netlify dev with nuxt 3 functions? Want to use ntl dev to have access to process.env.

I got the functions to work on ntl dev when i ran ntl build before ntl dev. If i make changes they dont work anymore unless i build again.


ajcwebdev profile image

Hey @procrates 👋, thanks for the kind words!

I have not tried Netlify Dev with Nuxt 3 yet so unfortunately I do not have any great insights into your issue, but you might have some luck asking in the Nuxt Discord or the Netlify Forums.