Inertia vs Livewire: Comparing Laravel Middleware Frameworks

Inertia and Livewire are often compared and bided against each other. This is because they served a similar purpose and were released around the same time. There are many discussions around which one is better if the two frameworks can be used together. If I had to summarise the entire debate of Livewire vs Inertia, I’d say they are different solutions/approaches to the same problems. 

Inertia works by replacing the Blade views in your Laravel project by returning JavaScript components from controller actions. These components can be built with any modern frontend technology. As opposed to this, Livewire creates special components in Blade. This eliminates the need to write any JavaScript code unless it is strictly required.  

Livewire is a Laravel-specific library, whereas Inertia is a standalone service with adapters for various backend and frontend frameworks like Laravel and Rails (backend) & React Svelte, and Vue (Frontend). You should hire Laravel developers with expertise in integrating Livewire and Inertia in your Laravel project. 

For this comparison, we will only consider Laravel Inertia for making a fair comparison. Without further ado, let’s get right into it – 

Comparison of Livewire vs Inertia for Laravel Development 

Let us compare Livewire and Inertia on different important parameters to understand better their functionalities, capabilities and limitations in the overall Laravel app development process.

Laravel Livewire vs Inertia Installation

To add a new Laravel Livewire component, you can – 

  • Create a Livewire component using Laravel Artisan
  • Fill the Livewire component class and Blade with logic 
  • Livewire component should be called with < Livewire> or ‘@livewire.’
  • Build a routing/navigation system between different components

To add a new Laravel Inertia component, you can – 

  • Start a Vue.js component with a visual template and logic
  • Call the Inertia component using ‘Inertia: : render()’ 
  • Build a navigation/routing system between all components 

Laravel Livewire vs Inertia Development Approach

With Livewire, you can progressively add Livewire components at different places of your Laravel app. Even the data fetching is managed under the Livewire component PHP class. Hence the entire Livewire component stays separate from your application’s controllers. This allows you to embed various components on a single page. They all have their lifecycle and state.

Inertia is an all-in commitment, at least for the particular section you’re willing to use Inertia. Inertia data fetching is done in controllers. This means you need to focus on pages more and less on components concerning client-server communication. 

Livewire allows you to write a data table Livewire component that handles both data fetching and template. In contrast, when using Inertia, you only write a single controller action that returns relevant data to the view. 

Laravel Inertia vs Livewire Rendering Capabilities

Inertia has a hard JavaScript requirement for performing any rendering function. If the server is to return a completely rendered document, Inertia isn’t the ideal framework. Since Laravel Inertia lacks server-side rendering changes, it might impact the initial load experience and first content meaningful paint negatively, challenging the SEO of your Laravel app. 

Livewire wins here since it renders all processes on the server, resulting in shorter first-time paint. Once the contents are downloaded, Livewire executes all scripts to make the page interactive. Livewire has a faster first meaningful paint time than Inertia. 

Laravel Inertia vs Livewire JavaScript Dependency  

Suppose you have limited access to talents proficient in PHP language but not as well versed with JavaScript. In that case, you should stick to Livewire, as it allows you to create appealing and interactive components without writing much JavaScript code. 

In contrast, Inertia requires you to stop writing Blade views and return components from your controller actions. Inertia renders the component rendered in the frontend JavaScript framework of your choice as per the path you mention in response. 

Laravel Inertia vs Livewire Job Market and Prospects

There is a high demand for full-stack Laravel developers. So, if you are well-versed with Inertia and frontend JavaScript frameworks like React, Vue and Svelte, you would get many lucrative jobs outside Laravel’s comfort zone. Alternatively, if you want to dive deeper into the Laravel environment for your profession, using Laravel Livewire will help you create amazing projects in no time. However, you should keep exploring and learning other Laravel-based concepts; otherwise, your career growth will be limited and reach saturation after some time. 

Laravel Livewire vs Inertia Reactivity Handling

Reactivity is a way of assessing how modern web apps handle dynamic content and user interactions. Livewire and Inertia have very different approaches to Reactivity. 

Inertia with Vue handles Reactivity by tracking the changes to each variable and selectively re-rendering any/all affected parts of the DOM. Developers need to define variables for Vue to track to handle Reactivity efficiently. 

Inertia makes the updates on the client-side hence it doesn’t interact with the backend of the state. The limitation of this is that, at times state in the browser is dependent on being in sync with data points from the database in the backend. This causes AJAX to update both frontend and backend. If this update fails, it can lead to issues. 

Livewire, on the other hand, handles Reactivity on the server-side. Dynamic components with frequent updates or ones triggered by user interactions will have to make several AJAX requests to update the state in the server, which can lead to major performance bottlenecks.

When to use Livewire over Inertia?

You should use Laravel Livewire to power your Laravel project in the following situations – 

  • If you need to build a blog/landing page or any other pages with a higher bounce rate, it can hurt the first meaningful paint performance, which can be harmful. Using Livewire for such situations is a better choice. 
  • If you have many development blocks that need to communicate with the server individually. 
  • When you are comfortable with Blade and don’t want to write much JavaScript code. 

When to use Inertia over Livewire?

Use Laravel Inertia over Laravel Livewire for the following situations – 

  • If you are used to developing in Vue, React, Svelte or other JS frameworks
  • When you want to build a smooth SPA like user experience

Final Words

Both Inertia and Livewire are amazingly powerful and reliable Laravel middleware frameworks. Depending on your project requirements and the availability of talent, you should make an informed decision regarding which of the two is better suited for your Laravel app development project



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