Building a JAMstack website with Cosmic JS

Building a JAMstack website with Cosmic JS

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to build a JAMstack website using Vue.js, Nuxt.js and Cosmic JS

In this tutorial, you'll learn how to build a JAMstack website using Vue.js, Nuxt.js and Cosmic JS

Let's first define our JAMstack: 'J' stands for JavaScript, our application uses Vue.js. 'A' stands for APIs, and we are using the powerful APIs of Cosmic JS. 'M' stands for Markup, which is Nuxt.js in this example. For this tutorial, we will be building a simple fitness studio website. In the end, we will deploy it on Netlify which gives serverless backend services and hosting. Let's get started.

TL;DR

Checkout the demo

Download the codebase

Introduction

We are building a **JAMstack **website with the powerful APIs of Cosmic JS. This website is about fitness and the body. The first page is dynamic with some navigations provided by Vue.js. On the left side navigation, you will find the link to the blog, whose data is also coming from the Cosmic JS via the Cosmic JS APIs. Let's start now with the requirements.

Requirements

The one and the only requirement is Node.js. Install it on your system to run npm commands.

Getting Started

Here we are using npm but you can also use yarn to install packages. So if you have installed above software, run the following command to a quick start:

npx create-nuxt-app jamstack_app

Here jamstack_app is your desired name of the app. Now go to the root of the created folder, and run the following command to run it in development:

npm run dev

Now visit: http://localhost:3000/ to view the project in development mode.

Learn more about Nuxt.js quick starter kit here: Nuxt.js Starter Kit

Folder Structure

After creating the app, you will get the same folder structure as given in the picture:

Let's explain the main folders and files of this structure. package.json file contains the record of all modules installed in your project. Static folder contains the static files used in the project like logo and images. Pages folder contains the pages like home page and blog etc. node_modules has all modules installed and layout contains styling of the project. Config folder is created by us to save the config.js file which will be used at the time dynamic requests to the Cosmic JS server.

Configuration

We have generated the Nuxt.js app with the app generator but the main configuration is pending to make our app a complete JAMstack app. With the creation of the app, JavaScript and Markup part of the app completed. Now we are configuring the API part of the app that means the Cosmic JS part.

For this, you need a Cosmic JS account. Sign up for Cosmic JS official website, it is totally free. Then create a free bucket and create your first object type: 'blogs'. Or you can import a built-in bucket, way to import it is given in the below heading.

Now click the basic setting option in your dashboard, it will open your basic setting page as shown above. Note down your bucket slug, bucket_id. Now generate the read and write keys and save them on your computer. Now save them in your project also. For this create a config folder and create a config.js file in it and save as given below:

const config = {
    
bucket_name: "jamstack_app",
bucket_slug: "jamstack_app",
bucket_id: "YOUR COSMIC BUCKET_ID",
read_key: "YOUR COSMIC READ_KEY",
write_key: "YOUR COSMIC WRITE_KEY",
url: "https://api.cosmicjs.com/v1/"

}
export default config;

In-built Bucket

If you don't want to create a new bucket, then you have an option to import a readymade bucket. For this, download the bucket.json file from our Git codebase and import it from your dashboard from the Import/Export option, check below image for visual help:

Home Page

Let's get started with the first page that is the home page. In this we will render the dynamic data from Cosmic JS server with APIs, it will show you the Vue.js part of the website. Here we are going to write the detail of our website and will implement navigation in the header of the website as well as in the bottom part will give a button to navigate to blog. Check out the code of homepage at location: pages/index.vue


<template>
  <v-layout column justify-center align-center>
    <v-flex xs12 sm8 md6>
      <div class="text-xs-center">
      </div>
      <v-card>
        <v-card-title class="headline"><h2>{{title}}</h2></v-card-title>
        <v-card-text>
          <div v-html="body"></div>
          <br>
          <img
          :src="`${image}`"
          alt="Fitness"
          class="mb-5"
      >

          <hr class="my-3">
          
          <div class='float-left'><p><b>About us</b></p><div v-html="about"></div></div>

          <div class='float-right'><p><b>Contact us</b></p><div v-html="contact"></div></div>
        </v-card-text>
        <v-card-actions>
          <v-spacer/>
          <v-btn color="primary" flat nuxt to="/blog">Read Blog</v-btn>
        </v-card-actions>
      </v-card>
    </v-flex>
  </v-layout>
</template>

<style>
.float-left {
  float: left
}
.float-right {
  margin-left: 300px
}
</style>
<script>
import axios from "axios";
import config from '../config/config';
export default {
  asyncData (context) {
    return axios.get(config.url + config.bucket_slug + '/object-type/homes',{
            params: {
                read_key: config.read_key
            }
        })
      .then(res => {
        return {title : res.data.objects[0].title, body: res.data.objects[0].content, image: res.data.objects[0].metadata.image, about: res.data.objects[0].metadata.about_us, contact: res.data.objects[0].metadata.contact_us}
      });
  }
};
        
</script>

This page is a template plus vue.js code and pure dynamic in nature. Here we applied a link at the bottom which navigates to the blog page and this blog page is also pure dynamic in nature.

The Layout of the Website

The complete layout of the app is coded in a single file for good structure. Here we are customizing the header, footer and other color schemes of the app. Check out the code for layout layouts/default.vue

<template>
  <v-app dark>
    <v-navigation-drawer
      v-model="drawer"
      :mini-variant="miniVariant"
      :clipped="clipped"
      fixed
      app
    >
      <v-list>
        <v-list-tile
          v-for="(item, i) in items"
          :key="i"
          :to="item.to"
          router
          exact
        >
          <v-list-tile-action>
            <v-icon>{{ item.icon }}</v-icon>
          </v-list-tile-action>
          <v-list-tile-content>
            <v-list-tile-title v-text="item.title" />
          </v-list-tile-content>
        </v-list-tile>
      </v-list>
    </v-navigation-drawer>
    <v-toolbar
      :clipped-left="clipped"
      fixed
      app
    >
      <v-toolbar-side-icon @click="drawer = !drawer" />
      
      <v-toolbar-title to="/"><v-btn to="/">JAMstack Website using Vue.js, Nuxt.js and Cosmic JS</v-btn></v-toolbar-title>
      <v-spacer />
      <v-btn
        icon
        @click.stop="rightDrawer = !rightDrawer"
      >
      </v-btn>
    </v-toolbar>
    <v-content>
      <v-container>
        <nuxt />
      </v-container>
    </v-content>
    <v-footer
      :fixed="false"
      app
    >
    <v-layout
      justify-center
      row
      wrap
    >
      <span class='center-align'>Proudly Powered by <a href='https://cosmicjs.com/'>Cosmic JS</a></span>
      </v-layout>
    </v-footer>
  </v-app>
</template>

<script>
export default {
  data() {
    return {
      clipped: false,
      drawer: false,
      fixed: false,
      items: [
        {
          icon: 'apps',
          title: 'Home',
          to: '/'
        },
        {
          icon: 'bubble_chart',
          title: 'Blog',
          to: '/blog'
        }
      ],
      miniVariant: false,
      right: true,
      rightDrawer: false,
      title: 'JAMstack Website using Vue.js, Nuxt.js and Cosmic JS'
    }
  }
}
</script>

<style>
.center-align {
  text-align: center!important
}

</style>

Here we defined the body color of the website along with the header, footer, and navigational effects. In the navigation, we have given route to blog page and route to the home page as well. In the header of the app, we have given navigation to home to the title of the website.

Blog Page

This is the second page of our website, it handles the dynamic fetching of the data from Cosmic JS server with the help of Cosmic JS APIs. First of all, check the code and then we will explain it. Code is placed at the location: pages/blog.vue

<template>
  <v-layout>
    <v-flex text-xs-left>
       <v-btn color="primary" flat nuxt to="/">Back</v-btn>
      <h1>{{title}}</h1><br>
      <div>
      <img
        :src="`${image}`"
        alt="Fitness_quotes"
        class="mb-5"
      >
      </div>
      <div v-html="body"></div>
    </v-flex>
  </v-layout>
</template>
<script>
import axios from "axios";
import config from '../config/config';
export default {
  asyncData (context) {
    return axios.get(config.url + config.bucket_slug + '/object-type/blogs',{
            params: {
                read_key: config.read_key
            }
        })
      .then(res => {
        console.log(res.data.objects[0].metadata.image.url);
        return {title : res.data.objects[0].title, body: res.data.objects[0].content, image:res.data.objects[0].metadata.image.url}
      });
  }
};
        
</script>

There are two part of the page, first is template and second if JavaScript part. In the template, we have given the route to the home page with the back button and rendered the title and body of the blog.

In JavaScript part, we have made of a GET request to the Cosmic JS server with the help of Cosmic JS API. This API is the combination of the static URL, bucket slug and object type. In GET request, read key is necessary to get the data from the server. After a successful request, we manipulated the data and passed to variables as shown in the code.

Static Folder

In the codebase, check out the static folder. As the name describes, it contains the static data and in our case, it contains the static images of our project. As you know our front page id totally static, image shown on the front page resides in this folder. In the same way, any static image or logo which will be used in the project must be placed here.

What Have We Built?

We have built a **JAMstack **website with the powerful APIs of Cosmic JS. In JAMstack:

'J' stands for JavaScript and here Vue.js used as JavaScript part of JAM, 'A 'stands for API, here Cosmic JS used as the API part of JAM, Meaning of 'M' is Markup, here Nuxt.js is used as the markup. Here the main part is the API part, we have made a GET request with the help of which and got the quick response. This request made with the help of axios module and then JSON data manipulated easily. Format of the Cosmic JS API response is very simple to handle.

Deployment to Netlify

We have built an app with Vue.js, Nuxt.js, and Cosmic JS, but it is not a pure JAMstack app until we can deploy the static assets to a CDN. For this example, we will deploy it to the serverless backend service provider Netlify.

Install the Netlify CLI and Nuxt CLI:

npm i -g netlify-cli npm i -g nuxt Build the static files
npm run build

Then deploy to Netlify. You will be prompted to select the folder. Type dist to deploy the dist folder.

netlify deploy

Conclusion

With the help of Cosmic JS you can create powerful applications. In this example, we were able to build a JAMstack application with the API power of Cosmic JS.

How to build enterprise Vue.js applications with Nuxt?

How to build enterprise Vue.js applications with Nuxt?

Learn How to build enterprise Vue.js applications with Nuxt: Nuxt is a progressive framework based on Vue.js to create modern web applications. It is based on Vue.js official libraries (vue, vue-router and vuex) and powerful development tools (webpack, Babel and PostCSS). Nuxt goal is to make web development powerful and performant with a great developer experience in mind.

Nuxt is a progressive framework based on Vue.js to create modern web applications. It is based on Vue.js official libraries (vue, vue-router and vuex) and powerful development tools (webpack, Babel and PostCSS). Nuxt goal is to make web development powerful and performant with a great developer experience in mind.

  1. Based on Vue-router and Vuex, it also uses Webpack, Babel and PostCSS.

  2. Goal, make web development powerful and performant.

Ok, so a sales pitch, what else?

The WHAT and WHY

Ok, so we love using Vue.js, it works great to use a router, a store, adding UI and so on, so why should we consider Nuxt?

The answer is SSR, Server side rendering

Why is that such a big deal? Well, search engines, they were made to crawl static pages and most SPA frameworks don't produce static pages but dynamic pages. This causes a problem if you want your app's SEO, to be any good, i.e end up high up on a Google search result. If you have a productivity app you might not care about that so much but if you have an e-commerce store you might be out of business if you haven't got this aspect covered.

Is that all Nuxt offer?

There is more. Nuxt makes it easy to bring in things such as code-splitting. Code splitting is an important aspect of the user experience. It allows us to only load as much of our app initially that's needed. It works like this, imagine the user visits your site. You only load a tiny portion of the app so the user perceives you got a fast-loading app - everyone's happy. As the user discovers more and more of your app they start navigating to other parts of it.

At this point, we load in the code needed for that new part the user is navigating to. This approach does a lot for the user experience, especially in places where the network connection is not that good. Having this for free in Nuxt is a big deal.

There is more to Nuxt of course, like hot module replacement, being able to load async data before SSR, a great approach to working with Sass, Less and so on.

Features

Here's a full list of all features Nuxt is offering:

  • Write Vue Files (*.vue)
  • Automatic Code Splitting
  • Server-Side Rendering
  • Powerful Routing System with Asynchronous Data
  • Static File Serving
  • ES2015+ Transpilation
  • Bundling and minifying of your JS & CSS
  • Managing <head> element (<title>, <meta>, etc.)
  • Hot module replacement in Development
  • Pre-processor: Sass, Less, Stylus, etc.
  • HTTP/2 push headers ready
  • Extending with Modular architecture

That's quite the list right?

SSR and code splitting is what really sells it for me though. How about we try to learn it next?

Schema, lifecycle

Let's try to get ourselves a mile-high view of Nuxt. There are some steps from the incoming request to a rendered page.

In Nuxt we use a directive called <nuxt-link> to navigate between pages.

  1. nuxtServerInit, a store is part of your next app. This is an action we can define in the store if we want. It can be used to place data in the store the first thing we do, like a logged-in user. Read more here
  2. middleware, middleware are custom functions that can run before the rendering of a route. You could, for example, ensure that the user is properly authenticated before being able to see a specific route. Read more here
  3. validate, in this step, we validate that we are dealing with a valid request, for example, we could be validating that an incoming request has the correct route parameters
  4. asyncData() & fetch(), here we have the chance of fetching data asynchronously that will be part of the SSR rendering, for example, we could be fetching translations or some other data we need to render our page
  5. Render, here we render the page

SPA or SSR mode

If for any reason, you prefer not to use server-side rendering or need static hosting for your applications, you can simply use SPA mode using nuxt --spa.

In combination with the generate feature, it gives you a powerful SPA deployment mechanism without the need to use a Node.js runtime or any special server handling.

read more about available commands here:

https://nuxtjs.org/guide/commands

SSR, Static site generation

The big innovation of Nuxt.js comes with the nuxt generate command.

When building your application, it will generate the HTML for every one of your routes and store it in a file.

How does that work?

-| pages/
----| about.vue
----| index.vue

turns into

-| dist/
----| about/
------| index.html
----| index.html

Great for crawlers :)

Hosting

Of course, you need to host your app somewhere. Currently, Netlify offers a great and easy way to do so with a simple command:

https://vueschool.io/lessons/how-to-deploy-nuxtjs-to-netlify?friend=nuxt

Creating an App

There are two ways to create apps in Nuxt:

  1. Wizard, Using create-nuxt-app, this will trigger a wizard where you are asked to add/opt in to different things
  2. Manually, A simple NPM install of nuxt and you need to define most things yourself.

Create an app with create-nuxt-app

We can use the command create-nuxt-app to get a full-fledged project. The only thing we need to do is choose among different options.

Let's run the following command:

npx create-nuxt-app <project-name>

or yarn:

yarn create nuxt-app <project-name>

This triggers a dialog, first choose Server-side framework:

-1- server-side framework

This is what will help us to do things like server side rendering that we use for static site generation.

  • None (Nuxt default server)
  • Express
  • Koa
  • Hapi
  • Feathers
  • Micro
  • Fastify
  • Adonis (WIP)

-2- select UI library

Of course you want your app to look good. Below are all the most known UI libraries that will be included in your project.

Then select UI library:

  • None (feel free to add one later)
  • Bootstrap
  • Vuetify
  • Bulma
  • Tailwind
  • Element UI
  • Ant Design Vue
  • Buefy
  • iView
  • Tachyons

-3- choose Testing framework

Do you want testing? No? Well, you need it. Jest and AVA are both good options.

  • None (feel free to add one later)
  • Jest
  • AVA

-4- select mode

This is where we select to have our app server side rendered or not. I'd go with Universal myself.

Select Universal or SPA mode

-5- http

fetch works of course but it's kind of nice when you can use a battle tested library like axios.

Add axios module for HTTP requests

-6- linting

You do lint right? We want our code to look consistent.

Add ESLint

-7- prettier

Add Prettier

-8- launch app

Launch app

cd <project-name>
npm run dev

the app should now be running on http://localhost:3000.

That was simple right? You opted into some tried and testing libraries that are sure to make your app better.

Below is your project overview, the result of running the creation tool.

Get started, from scratch

Let's have a look at the second approach, creating our app from scratch. First, we create a directory for our app to live in:

mkdir <project-name>
cd <project-name>

Update package.json

Next, let's add the necessary command to package.json so we can start up our app from the terminal:

{
  "name": "my-app",
  "scripts": {
    "dev": "nuxt"
  }
}

Now we can type npm run dev, to start the app.

Install nuxt

Next, let's install the nuxt library itself and save a reference to it in package.json:

npm install --save nuxt

Pages directory

Nuxt has some great conventions, so creating directories with certain names has meaning. That is the case with the directory pages. Everything, with file ending .vue, that is placed under the pages directory, will turn into a route.

<!-- index.vue -->
<template>
  <h1>Hello world!</h1>
</template>

Now run

npm run dev

This will start up our app. Let's go to the browser at http://localhost:3000 and have a look.

We have an app :)

Now try changing the template in index.vue, note how the change is reflected in the browser. This is because Nuxt comes with hot module reloading, it responds to changes.

Demo - SSR

Let's demonstrate the server-side rendering and how that works. As we mentioned before placing files under specific directories have meaning. We will continue to work with our pages directory.

This time, let's do the following:

  • Create a file products.vue under pages
  • Generate static site

Create a file

Let's create products.vue, under pages directory, with the following content:

<!-- products.vue -->
<template>
  <h1>Products</h1>
</template>

Our directory pages should now look like this:

-| pages/
---| index.vue
---| products.vue

Generate static site

Next up, let's generate those static files to make search engines everywhere happy.

We do this with the help of nuxt generate. Let's add that command to package.json and its scripts section like so:

"generate": "nuxt generate"

Next we run npm run generate, and we get a dist directory created, looking like so:

We can now easily host the content under dist using a tool, like for example http-server.

It looks like this in the browser:

As you can see http://localhost:5000/products/ and http://localhost:5000/products/index.html lead to the same place.

Working with Assets

Additionally to the pages directory, there's another directory that has special meaning. It's called assets. In there you can put images as well as stylesheets.

Working with image assets

Let's give it a try by doing the following

  • Creating assets directory and place a sample image file in there
  • Refer to sample image file in a Component

Create assets

We create our assets directory and place a file budapest.jpeg in there. Now your directory should look like the following:

-| assets/
---| budapest.jpeg
-| pages
--- | products.vue

Refer to asset

This time we want render our image asset. For this we will update products.vue to:

<!-- products.vue -->
<template>
  <div>
    <h1>Products</h1>
    <img src="~/assets/budapest.jpeg" alt="image" />
  </div>
</template>

What if we want to set this from code though? Then we extend the component to look like this:

<!-- products.vue -->
<template>
  <div>
    <h1>Products</h1>
    <img :src="img" alt="should work" />
  </div>
</template>
<script>
const url = require('~/assets/budapest.jpeg')

export default {
  data() {
    return {
      img: url
    }
  }
}
</script>

as you can see we need to import the resource to ensure we get the correct URL to our resource, like so:

const url = require('~/assets/budapest.jpeg')

Working with Style assets

You can use different approaches to styling in Nuxt like Sass, Scss, Less and CSS. For this example let's use scss.

To compile scss, we need some additional libraries. You need to run the following installation command in the terminal:

npm install node-sass sass-loader --save

This will give us the needed libraries so Nuxt can do the rest.

There are two ways we could be using scss now:

  1. Define styling in the component directly
  2. Create an external file and place in the assets directory

Define scss in the component

Let's start with defining the styles in the component directly, like so:

<!-- sample.vue -->
<template>
  <div class="images">
    add some nice images here
  </div>
</template>
<style lang="scss">
  .images {
    margin: 15px;
    padding: 20px;
    display: flex;
    justify-content: center;
    box-shadow: 0 0 10px grey;
  }
</style>

Nuxt will compile the above and apply it to any matching CSS classes.

Define an external file

The other way we can work with styling assets is by creating separate files.

Let's create the file page.scss under assets/scss with the following content:

.page {
  .title {
    font-size: 20px;
  }
}

NOTE, we can create the styling file directly under assets directory but I just like to separate concerns so I recommend a directory approach like so:

-| assets/
---| images/
---| scss/

We also need to point this out to Webpack so it finds it, so go and create a file called nuxt.config.js in the root and give it the following content:

module.exports = {
  css: [
    '@/assets/scss/page.scss'
  ]
}

Now our directory structure for the whole project should look something like so:

-| assets/
---| scss/
---| images/
-| pages/
-| nuxt.config.js
-| package.json

NOTE, nuxt.config.js is a configuration file that Nuxt will read from if it exists. There are a lot more you can do with nuxt.config.js and we have reason to come back to it.

Working with routing

ok, we understand how we can create different pages by simply creating them in the pages directory. How to move between pages though?

Simple, use <nuxt-link>

We get a lot of routing set up for free. So given the following file structure:

pages/
--| user/
-----| index.vue
-----| one.vue
--| index.vue

we would get routing set up like so:

router: {
  routes: [
    {
      name: 'index',
      path: '/',
      component: 'pages/index.vue'
    },
    {
      name: 'user',
      path: '/user',
      component: 'pages/user/index.vue'
    },
    {
      name: 'user-one',
      path: '/user/one',
      component: 'pages/user/one.vue'
    }
  ]
}

Dynamic routing

We should understand by now how our file structure affects the routing. There are more aspects of routing we need to understand though namely dynamic routing.

Consider the following file structure:

pages/
--| _slug/
-----| comments.vue
-----| index.vue
--| users/
-----| _id.vue
--| index.vue

We see the usage of underscore, _ in both the directory _slug and the Vue file _id.vue. This is how we create routes with parameters.

Let's look at the resulting routes:

router: {
  routes: [
    {
      name: 'index',
      path: '/',
      component: 'pages/index.vue'
    },
    {
      name: 'users-id',
      path: '/users/:id?',
      component: 'pages/users/_id.vue'
    },
    {
      name: 'slug',
      path: '/:slug',
      component: 'pages/_slug/index.vue'
    },
    {
      name: 'slug-comments',
      path: '/:slug/comments',
      component: 'pages/_slug/comments.vue'
    }
  ]
}

our file structure:

--| users/
-----| _id.vue

resulted in a route looking like this /users/:id?.

NOTE, the ? means that's it's optional if you want to make it mandatory you need the file structure to look like this:

--| users/
-----| _id/
---------| index.vue

Also

--| _slug/

resulted in /:slug

Validate route params

Now that we know how to deal with parameters in the routes, how do we validate those parameters?

We can add a validate() method for that. If it fails the check it will automatically route you to the 404 page.

export default {
  validate ({ params }) {
    // Must be a number
    return /^\d+$/.test(params.id)
  }
}

Nested routes

Sometimes you might have routes within your routes. You might have a /products route that in itself might render different pages depending on how the full route looks.

Let's say if we go to /products, it should load a product list but if it goes to /products/1, it should load a product detail. If we have this scenario it means we will have the following behavior:

  • a shell, this page can contain static and dynamic data and will need to contain a <nuxt-child/> component tag
  • a specific file structure

Let's have a look at the file structure:

pages/
--| products/
-----| _id.vue
-----| index.vue
--| products.vue

The above will treat products.vue as the shell page and it will generate the following routes:

router: {
  routes: [
    {
      path: '/products',
      component: 'pages/products.vue',
      children: [
        {
          path: '',
          component: 'pages/products/index.vue',
          name: 'products'
        },
        {
          path: ':id',
          component: 'pages/products/_id.vue',
          name: 'products-id'
        }
      ]
    }
  ]
}

To learn more about routing, check here:

https://nuxtjs.org/guide/routing

Working with async

When a request comes to a specific route we can bring in data asynchronously and use that to render the page. For that, we can use asyncData and fetch our data. Below we have a Vue component where asyncData are asking for data. It will block rendering until the data is fetched. We end by returning the data. The data we return ends up being amended to the data property of the component. As w can see in our <template> we are referring to article that was part of the data we returned from asyncData.

<template>
  <div v-if="article">
    <h3>
    {{article.title}}
    </h3>
    <div>
      {{article.description}}
    </div>
  </div>
  <div v-else>
    <h3>Sorry</h3>
    No article with that name 
    <strong>{{slug}}</strong>
  </div>
</template>
<script>
function getData(slug) {
  const content = {
    docker: {
      title: 'Docker 101',
      description: 'this is about Docker'
    },
    dotnet: {
      title: '.NET news',
      description: 'this is about .NET'
    }
  };
  return new Promise(resolve => {
    setTimeout(() => {
      resolve(content[slug]);
    }, 5000)
  })
}
export default {
  async asyncData ({ params }) {
    console.log('slug', params.slug);
    const res = await getData(params.slug)
    // called every time before loading the component
    return {
      article: res,
      slug: params.slug
    }
  }
}
</script>

Layout

For the layout we want to cover three cases:

  • default page, this is the page that constitutes the default rendering of a page unless you explicitly override it.
  • error page, we can specify a page that will take care of all erroneous responses.
  • custom layout, we will cover how to define a custom layout component and show how to use our custom layout

First off, let's create the directory layouts, like so:

---| layouts
---| pages

Default page

To create a default layout, simply create a component default.vue, like so:

---| layouts
-------| default.vue

Next, give it the following content:

<template>
  <div>
    <div class="header">Hello route demo</div>
    <div class="subheader">
      <div class="item">
        <nuxt-link to="/">Home page</nuxt-link>
      </div>
      <div class="item">
        <nuxt-link to="/products">Products</nuxt-link>
      </div>
    </div>
    <nuxt/>
  </div>
</template>
<style scoped>
</style>

In our template we create a header section with CSS class subheader, in it we have a number of <div> elements, each with a <nuxt-link> element, that's our navigational link.

We also render the <nuxt/> element, now this is important. This is the element that renders our page content, if you forget this page then it won't work properly.

Error page

We can create an error page that will allow us to capture all errors. Let's create the component error.vue, like so:

---| layouts
-------| error.vue

Give it the following content:

<template>
  <div class="container">
    <h1 v-if="error.statusCode === 404">Page not found</h1>
    <h1 v-else>An error occurred</h1>
    <nuxt-link to="/">Home page</nuxt-link>
  </div>
</template>
<script>
export default {
  props: ['error']
  // ,layout: 'blog' // you can set a custom layout for the error page
}
</script>

Note, how we have a input property error, like so props: ['error']. Additionally notehoow we can filter on status code and can render different messages depending on what the error is:

<h1 v-if="error.statusCode === 404">Page not found</h1>

Custom layout

Lastly, let's show how to create and apply a custom layout. You can name your custom layout component anything you want. We elect to name our component blog.vue, like so:

---| layouts
-------| blog.vue

Next let's give it some content, like so:

<template>
  <div class="blog">
    <h1>Here's the template for an article</h1>
    <nuxt class="page" />
  </div>
</template>

This looks just like default.vue in that we have a <nuxt> element somewhere to make sure we render the page content.

How do we use it?

Good question. Let's take a page component and set the layout property, like so:

<template>
  <div>
    <h3>Docker 101</h3>
    <div>
      {{content}}
    </div>
  </div>
</template>
<script>
export default {
  layout: 'blog',
  data() {
    return {
      content: 'something...'
    }
  }
}
</script>

Note, how we point out the layout: 'blog', thereby we refer to our layout by its name, minus the file extension.

Summary

That was quite a lot in one article. Guess what though, there's a lot more to learn.

Let's recap on our learnings, we learned:

  • The WHAT and WHY of Nuxt, it's important to understand the reason for wanting to use something. In the case of Nuxt, we learned that it had an opinionated architecture relying on convention. We also learned that it used a lot of great standard libraries for state management and server-side rendering.
  • Static site generation, we learned how we can address the SEO problem that most SPA apps suffer from.
  • How to create our Nuxt app in two ways, with a wizard and manually
  • Assets, we learned how to deal with assets, images as well as styles
  • Routing, then we covered routing, by convention based on our directory structures but also how to deal with dynamic routing
  • Async, then we learned how to use a method like asyncData() to read asynchronous data before rendering a page.
  • Layout, we learned how to create different layouts like default, error and a custom layout.

That was a lot but hopefully, you are now so comfortable with Nuxt that you see its value and can find out the rest you need in the docs.

Responsive ecommerce template built with Vue.js and Nuxt.js

Responsive ecommerce template built with Vue.js and Nuxt.js

Responsive ecommerce template built with Vue.js and Nuxt.js

Vuemmerce - Ecommerce Template

Responsive ecommerce template built with Vue.js and Nuxt.js

Installing
# install Vue cli
npm install -g @vue/cli

# clone repository
git clone https://github.com/ivanlori/Vuemmerce.git

# install dependencies
npm install

# serve with hot reload at localhost:3000
npm run dev

# prepare for production via webpack
npm run production

# generate static pages via nuxt.js for static hosting
nuxt generate

Screenshot

Template Demo


Authors
Contributing on Vuemmerce

Thanks for your interest!

To contribute, please ensure that you have stable Node.js and npm installed.

Follow the steps below.

  1. Follow the Installing instructions
  2. Check the open issues out
  3. Create your branch with a reference to the open issue
  4. Commit your changes: git commit -am 'Add some feature'
  5. Push to the branch: git push origin my-new-feature
  6. Submit a pull request

If you have any questions, feel free to email me at [email protected].


Changelog

See the release notes into changelog.md


License

This project is licensed under the MIT License - see the LICENSE.md file for details

GitHub

ivanlori/Vuemmerce

Nuxt.js: a Minimalist Framework for Creating Universal Vue.js Apps

Nuxt.js: a Minimalist Framework for Creating Universal Vue.js Apps

In this article, you'll learn how we can take advantage of Nuxt.js to build server-rendered JavaScript applications with Vue.js. Learn how to use its generate command to generate static files for our pages, and deploy them quickly via a service like Firebase Hosting.

In this article, you'll learn how we can take advantage of Nuxt.js to build server-rendered JavaScript applications with Vue.js. Learn how to use its generate command to generate static files for our pages, and deploy them quickly via a service like Firebase Hosting.

Universal (or Isomorphic) JavaScript is a term that has become very common in the JavaScript community. It’s used to describe JavaScript code that can execute both on the client and the server.

Many modern JavaScript frameworks, like Vue.js, are aimed at building single-page applications (SPAs). This is done to improve the user experience and make the app seem faster, since users can see updates to pages instantaneously. While this has a lot of advantages, it also has a couple of disadvantages, such as long “time to content” when initially loading the app as the browser retrieves the JavaScript bundle, and some search engine web crawlers or social network robots won’t see the entire loaded app when they crawl your web pages.

Server-side rendering of JavaScript is about preloading JavaScript applications on a web server and sending rendered HTML as the response to a browser request for a page.

Building server-side rendered JavaScript apps can be a bit tedious, as a lot of configuration needs to be done before you even start coding. This is the problem Nuxt.js aims to solve for Vue.js applications.

What Nuxt.js Is

Simply put, Nuxt.js is a framework that helps you build server-rendered Vue.js applications easily. It abstracts most of the complex configuration involved in managing things like asynchronous data, middleware, and routing. It’s similar to Angular Universal for Angular, and Next.js for React.

According to the Nuxt.js docs, “its main scope is UI rendering while abstracting away the client/server distribution.”

Static Generation

Another great feature of Nuxt.js is its ability to generate static websites with the generate command. It’s pretty cool, and provides features similar to popular static generation tools like Jekyll.

Under the Hood of Nuxt.js

In addition to Vue.js 2.0, Nuxt.js includes the following: Vue-Router, Vuex (only included when using the store option), Vue Server Renderer and vue-meta. This is great, as it takes away the burden of manually including and configuring different libraries needed for developing a server-rendered Vue.js application. Nuxt.js does all this out of the box, while still maintaining a total size of 57kB min+gzip (60KB with vuex).

Nuxt.js also uses webpack with vue-loader and babel-loader to bundle, code-split and minify code.

How it works

This is what happens when a user visits a Nuxt.js app or navigates to one of its pages via <nuxt-link>:

  1. When the user initially visits the app, if the [nuxtServerInit](https://nuxtjs.org/guide/vuex-store/#the-nuxtserverinit-action "nuxtServerInit") action is defined in the store, Nuxt.js will call it and update the store.
  2. Next, it executes any existing middleware for the page being visited. Nuxt checks the nuxt.config.js file first for global middleware, then checks the matching layout file (for the requested page), and finally checks the page and its children for middleware. Middleware are prioritized in that order.
  3. If the route being visited is a dynamic route, and a validate() method exists for it, the route is validated.
  4. Then, Nuxt.js calls the asyncData() and fetch() methods to load data before rendering the page. The [asyncData()](https://nuxtjs.org/guide/async-data/ "asyncData()") method is used for fetching data and rendering it on the server-side, while the [fetch()](https://nuxtjs.org/api/pages-fetch/ "fetch()") method is used to fill the store before rendering the page.
  5. At the final step, the page (containing all the proper data) is rendered.

These actions are portrayed properly in this schema, gotten from the Nuxt docs:

Creating A Serverless Static Site With Nuxt.js

Let’s get our hands dirty with some code and create a simple static generated blog with Nuxt.js. We’ll assume our posts are fetched from an API and will mock the response with a static JSON file.

To follow along properly, a working knowledge of Vue.js is needed. You can check out Jack Franklin’s great getting started guide for Vue.js 2.0 if you’re new to the framework. I’ll also be using ES6 Syntax, and you can get a refresher on that here: sitepoint.com/tag/es6/.

Our final app will look like this:

The entire code for this article can be seen here on GitHub, and you can check out the demo here.

Application Setup and Configuration

The easiest way to get started with Nuxt.js is to use the template created by the Nuxt team. We can install it to our project (ssr-blog) quickly using the vue-cli:

vue init nuxt/starter ssr-blog


Once you’ve run this command, a prompt will open and ask you a couple of questions. You can press Return to accept the default answers, or enter values of your own.

Note: If you don’t have vue-cli installed, you have to run *npm install -g @vue/cli* first, to install it.

Next, we install the project’s dependencies:

cd ssr-blog
npm install


Now we can launch the app:

npm run dev


If all goes well, you should be able to visit http://localhost:3000 to see the Nuxt.js template starter page. You can even view the page’s source, to see that all content generated on the page was rendered on the server and sent as HTML to the browser.

Next, we can make some simple configurations in the nuxt.config.js file. We’ll add a few options:

// ./nuxt.config.js

module.exports = {
  /*
   * Headers of the page
   */
  head: {
    titleTemplate: '%s | Awesome JS SSR Blog',
    // ...
    link: [
      // ...
      {
        rel: 'stylesheet',
        href: 'https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/bulma/0.7.2/css/bulma.min.css'
      }
    ]
  },
  // ...
}


In the above config file, we simply specify the title template to be used for the application via the titleTemplate option. Setting the title option in the individual pages or layouts will inject the title value into the %s placeholder in titleTemplate before being rendered.

We also pulled in my current CSS framework of choice, Bulma, to take advantage of some preset styling. This was done via the link option.

Note: Nuxt.js uses vue-meta to update the headers and HTML attributes of our apps. So you can take a look at it for a better understanding of how the headers are being set.

Now we can take the next couple of steps by adding our blog’s pages and functionalities.

Working with Page Layouts

First, we’ll define a custom base layout for all our pages. We can extend the main Nuxt.js layout by updating the layouts/default.vue file:

<!-- ./layouts/default.vue -->

<template>
  <div>
    <!-- navigation -->
    <nav class="navbar has-shadow" role="navigation" aria-label="main navigation">
      <div class="container">
        <div class="navbar-start">
          <nuxt-link to="/" class="navbar-item">
            Awesome JS SSR Blog!
          </nuxt-link>
          <nuxt-link active-class="is-active" to="/" class="navbar-item is-tab" exact>Home</nuxt-link>
          <nuxt-link active-class="is-active" to="/about" class="navbar-item is-tab" exact>About</nuxt-link>
        </div>
      </div>
    </nav>
    <!-- /navigation -->

    <!-- displays the page component -->
    <nuxt/>

  </div>
</template>

<style>
  .main-content {
    margin: 30px 0;
  }
</style>


In our custom base layout, we add the site’s navigation header. We use the <nuxt-link> component to generate links to the routes we want to have on our blog. You can check out the docs on [<nuxt-link>](https://nuxtjs.org/api/components-nuxt-link "<nuxt-link>") to see how it works.

The <nuxt> component is really important when creating a layout, as it displays the page component.

It’s also possible to do a couple of more things — like define custom document templates and error layouts — but we don’t need those for our simple blog. I urge you to check out the Nuxt.js documentation on views to see all the possibilities.

Simple Pages and Routes

Pages in Nuxt.js are created as single file components in the pages directory. Nuxt.js automatically transforms every .vue file in this directory into an application route.

Building the Blog Homepage

We can add our blog homepage by updating the index.vue file generated by the Nuxt.js template in the pages directory:

<!-- ./pages/index.vue -->
<template>
  <div>
    <section class="hero is-medium is-primary is-bold">
      <div class="hero-body">
        <div class="container">
          <h1 class="title">
            Welcome to the JavaScript SSR Blog.
          </h1>
          <h2 class="subtitle">
            Hope you find something you like.
          </h2>
        </div>
      </div>
    </section>
  </div>
</template>

<script>
  export default {
    head: {
      title: 'Home'
    }
  }
</script>

<!-- Remove the CSS styles -->


As stated earlier, specifying the title option here automatically injects its value into the titleTemplate value before rendering the page.

We can now reload our app to see the changes to the homepage.

Building the About page

Another great thing about Nuxt.js is that it will listen to file changes inside the pages directory, so there’s no need to restart the application when adding new pages.

We can test this, by adding a simple about.vue page:

<!-- ./pages/about.vue -->
<template>
  <div class="main-content">
    <div class="container">
      <h2 class="title is-2">About this website.</h2>
      <p>Curabitur accumsan turpis pharetra <strong>augue tincidunt</strong> blandit. Quisque condimentum maximus mi, sit amet commodo arcu rutrum id. Proin pretium urna vel cursus venenatis. Suspendisse potenti. Etiam mattis sem rhoncus lacus dapibus facilisis. Donec at dignissim dui. Ut et neque nisl.</p>
      <br>
      <h4 class="title is-4">What we hope to achieve:</h4>
      <ul>
        <li>In fermentum leo eu lectus mollis, quis dictum mi aliquet.</li>
        <li>Morbi eu nulla lobortis, lobortis est in, fringilla felis.</li>
        <li>Aliquam nec felis in sapien venenatis viverra fermentum nec lectus.</li>
        <li>Ut non enim metus.</li>
      </ul>
    </div>
  </div>
</template>

<script>
export default {
  head: {
    title: 'About'
  }
}
</script>


Now, we can visit http://localhost:3000/about to see the about page, without having to restart the app, which is awesome.

Showing Blog Posts on the Homepage

Our current homepage is pretty bare as it is, so we can make it better by showing the recent blog posts from the blog. We’ll do this by creating a <posts> component and displaying it in the index.vue page.

But first, we have to get our saved JSON blog posts and place them in a file in the app root folder. The file can be downloaded from here, or you can just copy the JSON below and save in the root folder as posts.json:

[
    {
        "id": 4,
        "title": "Building universal JS apps with Nuxt.js",
        "summary": "Get introduced to Nuxt.js, and build great SSR Apps with Vue.js.",
        "content": "<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>",
        "author": "Jane Doe",
        "published": "08:00 - 07/06/2017"
    },
    {
        "id": 3,
        "title": "Great SSR Use cases",
        "summary": "See simple and rich server-rendered JavaScript apps.",
        "content": "<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor in reprehenderit in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>",
        "author": "Jane Doe",
        "published": "17:00 - 06/06/2017"
    },
    {
        "id": 2,
        "title": "SSR in Vue.js",
        "summary": "Learn about SSR in Vue.js, and where Nuxt.js can make it all faster.",
        "content": "<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi in voluptate velit esse cillum dolore eu fugiat nulla pariatur. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>",
        "author": "Jane Doe",
        "published": "13:00 - 06/06/2017"
    },
    {
        "id": 1,
        "title": "Introduction to SSR",
        "summary": "Learn about SSR in JavaScript and how it can be super cool.",
        "content": "<p>Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat. Duis aute irure dolor. Excepteur sint occaecat cupidatat non proident, sunt in culpa qui officia deserunt mollit anim id est laborum.</p>",
        "author": "John Doe",
        "published": "11:00 - 06/06/2017"
    }
]


Note: Ideally the posts should be retrieved from an API or resource. For example, Contentful is a service that can be used for this.

Components live in the components directory. We’ll create the <posts> single file component in there:

<!-- ./components/Posts.vue -->
<template>
  <section class="main-content">
    <div class="container">
      <h1 class="title has-text-centered">
        Recent Posts.
      </h1>
      <div class="columns is-multiline">
        <div class="column is-half" v-for="post in posts" :key="post.id">
          <div class="card">
           <header class="card-header">
            <p class="card-header-title">
              {{ post.title }}
            </p>
          </header>
          <div class="card-content">
            <div class="content">
              {{ post.summary }}
              <br>
              <small>
                by <strong>{{ post.author}}</strong>
                \\ {{ post.published }}
              </small>
            </div>
          </div>
          <footer class="card-footer">
            <nuxt-link :to="`/post/${post.id}`"
              class="card-footer-item">
              Read More
            </nuxt-link>
          </footer>
        </div>
      </div>
    </div>
  </div>
</section>
</template>

<script>
  import posts from '~/posts.json'

  export default {
    name: 'posts',
    data () {
      return { posts }
    }
  }
</script>


We import the posts data from the saved JSON file and assign it to the posts value in our component. We then loop through all the posts in the component template with the v-for directive and display the post attributes we want.

Note: The *~* symbol is an alias for the */* directory. You can check out the docs here to see the different aliases Nuxt.js provides, and what directories they’re linked to.

Next, we add the <posts> component to the homepage:

<!-- ./pages/index.vue -->
<template>
<div>
    <!-- ... -->
    <posts />
</div>
</template>

<script>
import Posts from '~/components/Posts.vue'

export default {
  components: {
    Posts
  },
  // ...
}
</script>


Adding Dynamic Routes

Now we’ll add dynamic routes for the posts, so we can access a post for example with this URL: /post/1.

To achieve this, we add the post directory to the pages directory and structure it like this:

pages
└── post
    └── _id
        └── index.vue


This generates the corresponding dynamic routes for the application like this:

router: {
  routes: [
    // ...
    {
      name: 'post-id',
      path: '/post/:id',
      component: 'pages/post/_id/index.vue'
    }
  ]
}


Updating the single post file:

<!-- ./pages/post/_id/index.vue -->
<template>
  <div class="main-content">
    <div class="container">
      <h2 class="title is-2">{{ post.title }}</h2>
      <div v-html="post.content"></div>
      <br>
      <h4 class="title is-5 is-marginless">by <strong>{{ post.author }}</strong> at <strong>{{ post.published }}</strong></h4>
    </div>
  </div>
</template>

<script>
  // import posts saved JSON data
  import posts from '~/posts.json'

  export default {
    validate ({ params }) {
      return /^\d+$/.test(params.id)
    },
    asyncData ({ params }, callback) {
      let post = posts.find(post => post.id === parseInt(params.id))
      if (post) {
        callback(null, { post })
      } else {
        callback({ statusCode: 404, message: 'Post not found' })
      }
    },
    head () {
      return {
        title: this.post.title,
        meta: [
          {
            hid: 'description',
            name: 'description',
            content: this.post.summary
          }
        ]
      }
    }
  }
</script>


Nuxt.js adds some custom methods to our page components to help make the development process easier. See how we use some of them on the single post page:

  • Validate the route parameter with the validate method. Our validate method checks if the route parameter passed is a number. If it returns false, Nuxt.js will automatically load the 404 error page. You can read more on it here.
  • The asyncData method is used to fetch data and render it on the server side before sending a response to the browser. It can return data via different methods. In our case, we use a callback function to return the post that has the same id attribute as the route id parameter. You can see the various ways of using this function here.
  • As we’ve seen before, we use the head method to set the page’s headers. In this case, we’re changing the page title to the title of the post, and adding the post summary as a meta description for the page.

Great, now we can visit our blog again to see all routes and pages working properly, and also view the page source to see the HTML being generated. We have a functional server-rendered JavaScript application.

Generating Static Files

Next, we can generate the static HTML files for our pages.

We’ll need to make a minor tweak though, as by default Nuxt.js ignores dynamic routes. To generate the static files for dynamic routes, we need to specify them explicitly in the ./nuxt.config.js file.

We’ll use a callback function to return the list of our dynamic routes:

// ./nuxt.config.js

module.exports = {
  // ...
  generate: {
    routes(callback) {
      const posts = require('./posts.json')
      let routes = posts.map(post => `/post/${post.id}`)
      callback(null, routes)
    }
  }
}


You can check here for the full documentation on using the generate property.

To generate all the routes, we can now run this command:

npm run generate


Nuxt saves all generated static files to a dist folder.

Deployment on Firebase Hosting

As a final step, we can take advantage of hosting by Firebase to make our static website live in a couple of minutes. This step assumes that you have a Google account.

First, install the Firebase CLI, if you don’t already have it:

npm install -g firebase-tools


To connect your local machine to your Firebase account and obtain access to your Firebase projects, run the following command:

firebase login


This should open a browser window and prompt you to sign in. Once you’re signed in, visit https://console.firebase.google.com and click Add project. Make the relevant choices in the wizard that opens.

Once the project is created, go to the project’s hosting page at [https://console.firebase.google.com/project/<project](https://console.firebase.google.com/project/<project "https://console.firebase.google.com/project/<project") name>/hosting and complete the Get started wizard.

Then, on your PC, from the root of your project directory, run the following command:

firebase init


In the wizard that appears, select “Hosting”. Then select your newly created project from the list of options. Next choose the dist directory as the public directory. Select to configure the page as a single-page app and finally select “No” when asked if you want to overwrite dist/index.html.

Firebase will write a couple of configuration files to your project, then put the website live at [https://<project](https://<project "https://<project") name>.firebaseapp.com. The demo app for this article can be seen at nuxt-ssr-blog.firebaseapp.com.

If you run into problems, you can find full instructions on Firebase’s quickstart page.

Conclusion

In this article, we’ve learned how we can take advantage of Nuxt.js to build server-rendered JavaScript applications with Vue.js. We also learned how to use its generate command to generate static files for our pages, and deploy them quickly via a service like Firebase Hosting.

The Nuxt.js framework is really great. It’s even recommended in the official Vue.js SSR GitBook. I really look forward to using it in more SSR projects and exploring all of its capabilities.