TALL stack vs VILT stack

What is Stack?

Stack is a set of technologies that work well together and has been tested by developers all over the world. There are as many stacks out there as there are fish in the sea, but what makes a stack truly good or bad is its usability in actual projects, and if the output product is usable, maintainable, and scalable.
There are several reasons why you would choose one stack over the other, based on the project. Generally, newer is not necessarily better. In this article, we will talk about the two stacks as TALL stack and the VILT Stack.

What Do They Have in Common?

The TALL and VILT are two technology stacks for creating interactive applications both using Laravel as their core. VILT (Vue.js, Inertia, Laravel, TailwindCSS), as well as TALL (TailwindCSS, Alpine.js, Laravel, Livewire), is a set of technologies that have been tested to work really well together. In this article, we are going to explain what VILT and TALL stack means, how they compare to each other, how these stacks are employed, and what are the major pros and cons of each of them.

Laravel

Laravel is an open-source PHP framework that was created and developed by Taylor Otwell. It makes building web applications a breeze. Laravel follows the MVC pattern and if you have a solid understanding of the pattern and you have basic knowledge of PHP, it will be very easy to get started with.
Laravel makes use of existing packages as well as has created its own unique approach to well-known problems. The resulting web application is more standardized and implementing new features and replacing existing ones has never been easier.
Laravel provides a comprehensive collection of functionalities that makes full use of PHP’s known and unknown features. Laravel provides a wide array of capabilities that improves the development process and help you create a testable and scalable codebase.
It is also important to note that when creating a web application using Laravel, you will be able to benefit from countless existing open-source packages developed and maintained by the huge Laravel community. Having a vast amount of tools already at your disposal saves a lot of time in the process of designing and developing web applications.

Tailwind CSS

Tailwind is a low-level utility first CSS framework, meaning every class you make is not an abstract class of a set of CSS properties, in most cases, one class name will only add one CSS property. This makes it very easy for the developer to experiment with various designs and customize any component without worrying about some other component being affected.
The essential pro of tailwind is that it does not enforce design specifications or how the website must look; instead, simply just connect small elements in order to create a one-of-a-kind user interface. Tailwind is a set of auto-generated classes and CSS properties based on the configuration files. Meaning we can actually configure tailwind by extending its config file so that it will generate some custom classes that are specific to our website(Font sizes, colors, etc.). This makes tailwind easily customizable and can be used for almost any project.
When discussing Tailwind CSS advantages, it should be mentioned that it is distinguished by a faster UI design process, as well as the ability to employ utility classes to construct designs without coding CSS as it was in the old method, and your Laptop won’t go crazy from watching all the SASS/SCSS files and rebuilding them over and over.

TALL Stack

Tall stack is one of the most popular stacks out there thanks to Livewire, which has replaced the need of using frontend frameworks like React and Vue for a lot of the Laravel developers. The TALL Stack includes four major technologies such as

  • Tailwind
  • Alpine
  • Laravel
  • Livewire

Using these four technologies, PHP developers can develop applications way faster and without the need of using a full-fledged Javascript framework. However, we live in an era where we have a plethora of options at our disposal, particularly if we want to implement different types of features and tasks way faster and more effectively.

Alpine

While talking about the TALL stack another concept that should also be highlighted is Alpine. Alpine.js is a lightweight front-end framework for incorporating JavaScript functionality into HTML. It is indeed best utilized whenever the project just needs a few lines of JavaScript, including when you need just one or two sidebars, tabs, windows, or image selection. The framework is ideal for server-side-rendered applications like Laravel that require you to control certain DOM elements. It also is quicker to set it up and therefore has no building stages because it lacks a virtual DOM.

Alpine.js provides the reactive as well as declarative characteristics of large frameworks such as Vue and React at a significantly cheaper cost. You may manipulate your DOM and add interactive functionality whenever the need arises. You can most likely achieve most of the requirements that you might need on the frontend side. For example, under specific situations, it displays and conceals DOM nodes, binds data to inputs, monitors for events, and modifies the UI as needed.

Since AlpineJs is most commonly used with Livewire, there are also helper functions for alpine to communicate with Livewire. For example by triggering livewire events or entangling data to livewire properties. If you use livewire without any frontend tools you will probably have a need for AlpineJs arise in one way or another.

Livewire

Livewire is the final and most important(after Laravel of course) element of the TALL stack. Livewire is a full-stack framework for Laravel that enables developers a way to create reactive applications without the need for javascript, just using PHP classes and components. Of course, javascript is still there working its magic, but developers have no need to know what’s behind the curtains. When a user makes a change, Livewire’s JavaScript library sends a request to the webserver, then the webserver processes the given information and returns a modified object. After that Livewire modifies the front end according to recent changes. Because the user will not see anything, it appearÏs to be a SPA app.

Its main inspiration is VueJs but they replaced the Vue component’s script part with PHP class, this makes it easily maintainable since all the logic is in one language, wherein classic approach you would have some logic in javascript(which is also kinda redundant because you can’t really trust javascript for logic part of the application). This means that logic in most cases would be duplicated, one for js and one for PHP.

Livewire renders the first output on the server-side. This makes this framework SEO-friendly. This is an excellent stack to use, especially if you want to develop a dynamic and reactive app but are not ready to dive into a complete JavaScript framework like Vue.js. It has certain specificity that you should read into while utilizing the Livewire framework.

One of the greatest advantages of the TALL stack is that using the Livewire platform may significantly shorten the development time. Cutting the whole web development cycle may save companies time & expense while also empowering programmers to become even more efficient, and that can be a monetarily rewarding path.

Of course, it isn’t all sunshine and rainbows, the biggest disadvantage for the TALL stack is its use of HTTP requests. Since it utilizes HTTP requests for all the dom-manipulation and communication between frontend and backend it’s really easy to miss something in the process and cause a lot more requests than would otherwise be down to a minimum. Also as the project grows and more and more parts of the website need to be reactive it will increase the number of requests to the server. Also Debugging the application could be pretty bothersome.

VILT Stack

The essential thing to understand about the VILT Stack is that it is similar to the TALL Stack, except it is built with Vuejs rather than Livewire like the TALL Stack was. It also enables you to create SPAs without developing an API using InertiaJS. This is a stack that enables users to operate quickly, provides general code cleanliness with explicit separation of responsibilities, employs the finest contemporary CSS standards, and is reactive. This framework employs four different technologies including:

  • Vue.JS
  • Inertia.JS
  • Laravel
  • Tailwind CSS

While talking about TALL stack vs VILT stack, how do they compare, we can clearly see that they have two major technologies in common: Laravel and Tailwind CSS. So let’s go through the concepts that differentiate these two frameworks: Vue.JS and Inertia.JS.

Vue.JS

Vue.JS is a library that is both fast and lightweight. VueJS, like React, uses a virtual DOM and provides a quick, reactive approach to solving problems onÏ the front-end. VueJs offers an elegant way of creating reusable components. Although you can create components similar to what ReactJs approach is, the classic approach to components for vue is to have `script` and `template` tags in a single component, you can also have `style` but that is not required. Fact that you have your HTML separate from the script part of the code makes it easier to read and maintain the codebase.

If you wonder when to use Vue.js, you should note that VueJs is lightweight, but that doesn’t mean it’s worth using on every project. Since vue utilizes js for rendering and updating dom elements it will always be at least a little slower than plain HTML. So if you are planning on building an action-heavy frontend website/application you will probably enjoy vue.js’s company along the way.

The biggest con for vue.js and almost all the other frameworks used to be its increased bundle sizes for bigger projects. This is most of the time solved by code splitting and dynamic component loading so it’s not really a big issue anymore. So when planning a project with vue.js try to remember to load as little js as you possibly can, to increase the performance of the application.

Inertia.JS

InertiaJs acts as a bridge between Laravel and Frontend, VueJs in VILT Stack’s case. Think of Inertia as the glue that connects the two. Inertia does this via adapters. We currently have three official client-side adapters (React, Vue, and Svelte) and two server-side adapters (Laravel and Rails).

Inertia is actually a multi-layered package. Multi-layered means you can use as much abstraction as you want with inertia. For the simplest use, you can basically use inertia to return views from controllers, just like you would do from normal laravel controller methods, which means you don’t have to change your mindset just to pass data to the frontend.

It takes advantage of the Laravel backend. It serves as the link between Laravel and Vue. For instance, rather than controlling your routing using Vue, you will be able to transfer this to Laravel. So you will get a server-side rendered vue js application. It combines the greatest of server-side and client-side JS.

Conclusion

TALL stack is a perfect set of technologies to choose from if you want your backend developers to be as productive on the frontend as they are on the backend. But you will have to make some sacrifices along the way.

VILT stack is a more stable version of the TALL stack, so it will offer you more stability and scalability options in the future. But the fact that you will have essentially two major technologies (VueJs and Laravel) in the same project is in my opinion a little problematic. But most of the time it’s worth the hassle.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is TALL Stack?

Tall stack is one of the most popular because of the accessibility of Livewire, which has overtaken competitors like React and Vue for many Laravel programmers. The TALL Stack is made up of four essential parts, namely Tailwind CSS, Alpine, Laravel, and Livewire. People are able to use these four technologies to create more customizable and quicker projects, but also innovations that would otherwise be difficult to achieve. Nevertheless, you should use the TALL stack if you want to finish all sorts of projects and tasks much faster and more efficiently.

What is Livewire?

Livewire is a full-stack framework for developing dynamic components without the need for JavaScript, instead of relying on PHP and the blade. When a user changes something, Livewire’s JavaScript sends a request to the webserver, which then refreshes the webpage. Livewire is a Laravel framework that facilitates the construction of dynamic interfaces while staying faithful to Laravel’s limitations. This platform is SEO-friendly.

 

Written by Keti Getiashvili

Based on an interview with Nika Jorjoliani

 

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