Building and Using Async Components in Vue.js 3

Anton Ioffe - December 29th 2023 - 9 minutes read

In the flourishing landscape of web development, Vue.js 3 stands as a beacon of innovation and performance, offering a compelling suite of features designed for sophisticated modern applications. This article delves into the powerful paradigm of asynchronous components, an essential tool in the Vue.js armory that promises to revolutionize the way developers build reactive user interfaces. As we navigate the depths of async component patterns, loading state strategies, and Vue's novel Suspense feature, to the synergy between Vue Router and lazy loading, we'll not only unearth the technical intricacies but also demonstrate their application through a tangible, real-world project. Whether you're looking to sharpen your Vue mastery or seeking insights to architect high-performance apps, this exploration will equip you with advanced approaches that could redefine your development workflow and elevate user experiences to new heights. Prepare to embrace asynchrony and refine your Vue craft with the sophisticated patterns awaiting you in the following sections.

Deep Dive into Async Component Fundamentals

Asynchronous components are a powerful feature for Vue.js developers who seek to improve the responsiveness and performance of their applications. They are particularly useful in large-scale projects, where components become heavy or depend on external resources that may not be immediately necessary. The async approach allows them to split their codebase into manageable chunks that are loaded only when needed, thus reducing the initial load time and providing a smoother user experience.

In Vue.js 3, asynchronous components are facilitated through the defineAsyncComponent helper method, a dedicated function that wraps a dynamic import. The import statement itself returns a promise, which resolves to the Vue component once it's available. This elegant abstraction makes the process of declaring async components declarative and consistent with the rest of the Vue ecosystem. Instead of the previous version's simple function-returning-promise pattern, Vue 3 enhances readability and developer experience with its explicit async component definition.

Underpinning the defineAsyncComponent method is JavaScript's native promise-based architecture, which caters to handling asynchronous operations such as network requests or delayed computations. When an async component is invoked, Vue internally manages the promise lifecycle—waiting for the component definition to be resolved or rejected. This aligns perfectly with modern web development practices, where handling asynchronous code cleanly and efficiently is paramount.

Leveraging this promise-driven setup, Vue 3 introduces lazy-loaded components, which greatly contribute to performance optimization. Lazy loading defers the loading of components until they are actually required, thus saving on resource consumption and accelerating the initial rendering process. This feature is vital for improving time-to-interactive metrics in web applications, especially when dealing with complex component structures or large bundles of third-party libraries.

The utility of asynchronous components, however, extends beyond mere performance gains. From maintaining a cleaner codebase to ensuring modular, maintainable, and reusable components, the defineAsyncComponent method equips Vue developers with a scalable solution. It underlines the commitment to simplicity and elegance in Vue.js 3, paving the way for dynamic applications that adapt to the user's environment without compromising on developer ergonomics or application maintainability.

Patterns for Managing Loading States and Error Handling

When building async components in Vue.js 3, a common UX challenge is managing multiple loading states that can clutter the interface with redundant spinner indicators. To address this, we use higher-order components that consolidate loading indicators into a single, cohesive UI element. For example, Vue's defineAsyncComponent allows us to specify a loadingComponent that serves as a placeholder during the component load operation:

import { defineAsyncComponent } from 'vue';
import LoadingComponent from './components/LoadingComponent.vue';

const AsyncComp = defineAsyncComponent({
  loader: () => import('./Foo.vue'),
  loadingComponent: LoadingComponent

By setting a loadingComponent, we enhance the UX by providing a unified loading state, rather than multiple, dispersed ones. This approach improves perceived performance as users are not overwhelmed by multiple loading signals simultaneously.

Another crucial aspect of async components is handling errors gracefully. Since async operations might fail, introducing error handling strategies becomes paramount. Vue offers an errorComponent option in conjunction with defineAsyncComponent, which allows developers to define a friendly UI for error states when a component fails to load:

import ErrorComponent from './components/ErrorComponent.vue';

const AsyncComp = defineAsyncComponent({
  loader: () => import('./Foo.vue'),
  errorComponent: ErrorComponent

Utilizing an error component not only improves robustness but also maintains a consistent user experience in failure scenarios. However, there is a delicate balance between being overly intrusive and providing necessary feedback; hence, the design and behavior of this component should be align with the app's overall design.

Beyond the baked-in functionality for loading and error feedback, it is important to consider the delay and timeout behavior of async components. Vue allows setting a delay before showing the loading component and a timeout duration that triggers the error component if the loading takes too long. While setting these values, one must consider the typical network speed of the target user base to avoid premature timeouts or flickering loading states:

const AsyncCompWithOptions = defineAsyncComponent({
  loader: () => import('./Modal.vue'),
  delay: 200, // delay in milliseconds
  timeout: 3000, // timeout in milliseconds
  errorComponent: ErrorComponent,
  loadingComponent: LoadingComponent

When it comes to enhancing user experience, it's paramount that developers thoughtfully craft these indicators to be informative without being disruptive. A well-considered delay might prevent unnecessary flicker on fast connections, while a reasonable timeout ensures that users aren't left waiting indefinitely.

In some scenarios, it might be necessary to implement custom strategies for loading state indicators, such as progress bars or partially loaded skeletons. Here, you must balance the complexity of your implementation against the improvements to user experience:

// Custom logic for a progress bar
watchEffect(() => {
  if (AsyncComp.isLoading) {
    // Start the progress bar
  } else {
    // Complete the progress bar

Remember, the additional complexity should always be justified by a tangible enhancement in UX. Are you making the user's wait more bearable or simply adding visual noise? These are the considerations to keep in mind while refining your async component strategies.

Integration with Vue 3's Suspense for Seamless Asynchronous Operations

Vue 3's Suspense component serves as a sophisticated mechanism for handling the rendering lifecycle of asynchronous components, enabling a seamless experience. When you introduce Suspense into your Vue application, you create opportunities to provide fallback content for your components while they are in a pending state, typically due to data fetching requirements. This fallback content is what users see before the actual component is ready to be rendered, which is vital for maintaining a fluent user experience, especially with slower network conditions.

One approach to integrating Suspense is to define a fallback slot that contains provisional content, such as a "Loading…" message or a spinner. This strategy has the advantage of keeping the user informed about the ongoing processes, without leaving the UI empty or abruptly changing the layout once the data is loaded. The downside, however, can be upfront complexity in your component tree, as coordinating multiple async components under a single Suspense can involve meticulous state management to ensure that the intended user experience is delivered.

For nested or dependent components, where one component’s data-fetching relies on the successful resolution of another, Suspense shines by wrapping these components together. Rather than handling loading states individually within each component, Suspense can govern the display collectively. This promotes readability and modularity within the application. Nevertheless, this feature requires a clear understanding of the interdependencies between components to prevent unintended behaviors like excessive re-renders or unexpected fallback content display.

Using Suspense, however, does come with common pitfalls, such as neglecting the single root requirement within the fallback slot. Ignoring this constraint will raise warnings from Vue, emphasizing the necessity for a single encapsulating element, like a <div> or <main>. Another common mistake is not appropriately handling error states since Suspense itself does not offer an error-handling API. This can be mitigated by using the onErrorCaptured hook to manage any exceptions that could occur during the async component's lifecycle.

In crafting a well-architected Vue application, Suspense can be a powerful ally for managing asynchronous operations. It challenges developers to think critically about loading states, UX design, and error resilience—inviting questions like: How will users perceive the content while it’s loading? Does the fallback content adequately represent the pending state of the application? Considering these nuances, Suspense allows us to build applications that are both performant and delightful to use.

Optimizing Performance with Lazy-Loaded Vue Router Views

Lazy loading with Vue Router offers a powerful means to enhance a web application's performance. By using the dynamic import() syntax within the routes configuration, developers direct the bundler to partition the app's codebase into manageable, route-associated chunks:

// This will create a separate chunk for the About view,
// loaded only when the '/about' route is navigated to.
const About = () => import(/* webpackChunkName: "about-view" */ './views/About.vue');

For an optimized user experience, it is wise to group related components within the same chunk. Doing so consolidates the related files, minimizing the number of separate requests needed and ensuring simultaneous loading for components that often share the same route:

// Grouping 'user' related components into the same chunk
  path: '/user/profile',
  component: () => import(/* webpackChunkName: "user-chunk" */ './views/UserProfile.vue')

However, the granularity of chunk division must be managed wisely. Inappropriate sizing of chunks can be problematic – too small, and the app may suffer from request overhead; too large, and the benefits of lazy loading vanish under the weight of excessive code lumped together.

When implementing lazy loading in conjunction with Vue Router, it is also paramount to consider how users interact with the application. For instance, when a user switches rapidly between pages, developers must prevent redundant fetching and avoid loading indicators that disrupt the flow. Integrating Vuex or similar state management patterns helps ameliorate this by caching the components:

// Vuex state with a cached component
const store = new Vuex.Store({
  state: {
    cachedComponents: {}
  actions: {
    loadComponent({ commit }, componentName) {
      if (!this.state.cachedComponents[componentName]) {
        const component = import(`./views/${componentName}.vue`);
        commit('CACHE_COMPONENT', { componentName, component });
      return this.state.cachedComponents[componentName];
  mutations: {
    CACHE_COMPONENT(state, { componentName, component }) {
      state.cachedComponents[componentName] = component;

This caching mechanism ensures that navigation to previously visited routes is efficient, with the components already loaded and ready to render. Perfecting your application's lazy loading scheme thus becomes a continuous process, one that should be honed through the careful observation of users' interactions and performance metrics. Such meticulous refinement leads to an experience where performance and user comfort coexist in harmony.

Practical Application: Building an Async Web Component with Vue 3

To seamlessly integrate async components within a Vue 3 web application, we can utilize the defineAsyncComponent method to facilitate on-demand fetching of components. Consider the following example that defers the loading of a component until it is actually required:

import { defineAsyncComponent } from 'vue';

const AsyncHelloWorld = defineAsyncComponent(() =>

This async component then needs to be registered within the Vue application. For a global scope, inclusion is straightforward with the app.component method as demonstrated:

import { createApp } from 'vue';

const app = createApp({});
app.component('async-hello-world', AsyncHelloWorld);

In deployments where multiple web components are at play, it's strategic to utilize Vue CLI’s wc-async target. This technique generates a lean entry file upfront that handles all custom element registration and defers individual component loads until they're invoked in the user interface:

// Using CLI for building web components asynchronously
vue-cli-service build --target wc-async --name foo 'src/components/*.vue'

This method bolsters performance through a singular runtime reducing redundancy across the component spectrum, and through smart splitting, curtails overall bundle sizes. What's realized are quicker initial render times and lower memory footprints since only the essential code is loaded synchronously.

Ensuring that users do not perceive the loading process as obstructive is antecedent in asynchronous components deployment. For a more elegant handling of component loading states, configuration options like delay and timeout can be essential:

const AsyncHelloWorldWithOptions = defineAsyncComponent({
  loader: () => import('./components/HelloWorld.vue'),
  loadingComponent: MyLoadingComponent,
  errorComponent: MyErrorComponent,
  delay: 200,
  timeout: 3000

Strategic deployment and thoughtful configuration of async components capacitate a balance between robust performance and a fluid user experience. It's imperative to consider and adjust the interstitial state durations with user-centric deference, reconciling the nuances of interaction and performance in your Vue 3 application.


In this article about building and using async components in Vue.js 3, the author explores the benefits and techniques of leveraging async components to improve the responsiveness and performance of Vue applications. They discuss fundamental concepts, loading state management, integration with Vue 3's Suspense feature, and optimization with lazy-loaded Vue Router views. The key takeaways include understanding how async components can enhance user experience, implementing loading states and error handling strategies, utilizing Suspense for asynchronous operations, and optimizing performance with lazy loading. As a challenging task, readers are encouraged to create their own custom loading state indicators, such as progress bars or partially loaded skeletons, while considering the impact on the overall user experience.

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