Native Page Transitions With SvelteKit Using The View Transitions API

Published Sep 8, 2023

Table of Contents

What Is The View Transitions API?

The View Transitions API is a new browser API that lets you easily create animated transitions between different states in your app.

You can find the source code on GitHub.

In the past you had to reach for the FLIP animation technique if you wanted to do impossible layout animations but it wasn’t easy until now.

The View Transitions API makes it easy to create state and page transitions for single-page (SPA) and traditional multi-page applications (MPA). It works by creating a snapshot of the DOM before and after the change and does a cross-fade by default, but it can be customized with CSS transitions.

You can read Smooth and simple transitions with the View Transitions API which includes a lot of examples to learn everything about the View Transitions API. At the time of writing the View Transitions API is only supported in Chromium based browsers, but Safari and Firefox are working on implementing it.

That being said Chrome has the majority share of the browser market at over 60%. If a browser doesn’t support the View Transitions API your site is going to work as normal.

Animating Page Transitions

Using the View Transitions API is simple.

// snapshot old DOM 📸
document.startViewTransition(() => {
  // DOM update
  // snapshot new DOM 📸

This is fine for state transitions but to animate page transitions we have to know when the page changed.

To know when the page changed we can use the onNavigate lifecycle function in SvelteKit.

<script lang="ts">
	import { onNavigate } from '$app/navigation'

	onNavigate((navigation) => {
		if (!document.startViewTransition) return

		return new Promise((resolve) => {
			document.startViewTransition(async () => {
				await navigation.complete

If the browser doesn’t support the View Transitions API we don’t do anything.

If the browser supports the View Transitions API we return a promise to wait for the page to navigate and load the data. After that is done we resolve the promise and do the transition.

🐿️ If you’re using TypeScript you’re going to get an error because the View Transitions API types don’t exist yet in which case you can add a @ts-expect-error or @ts-ignore line comment to ignore the error.

To control the animation there’s a new ::view-transition pseudo-element that has the selectors for the old and new transition.

└─ ::view-transition-group(root)
   └─ ::view-transition-image-pair(root)
      ├─ ::view-transition-old(root)
      └─ ::view-transition-new(root)

You can target the pseudo-elements with CSS to customize the transition.

::view-transition-new(root) {
	animation-duration: 4s;

You can use the animations tab in your developer tools to inspect view transitions.

You can make the page fly in and out of view but also do other fun transitions like the Star Wars wipe effect using CSS blend modes, or the Batman transition.

If you don’t want to use page transitions you can set view-transition-name to none on :root.

:root {
	view-transition-name: none;

The view-transition-name value can be anything including none.

If you don’t want the header to be included in the page transition you can separate it from the rest of the page.

header {
  view-transition-name: header;

This is how simple it is to animate the active page marker.

&[aria-current='page']::before {
  view-transition-name: active-page;

You can also animate different DOM elements between page transitions like the planet title and image.

<div class="planets">
  {#each planets as { name, image }}
    <a href="planets/{name.toLowerCase()}" class="planet">
      <img src={image} alt={name} style:--planet="image-{name}" />
      <h2 style:--title="title-{name}">{name}</h2>

.planets {
  display: grid;
  grid-template-columns: repeat(auto-fit, minmax(200px, 1fr));
  gap: 4rem;

  & h2 {
    view-transition-name: var(--title);

  & .planet {
    display: grid;
    place-content: center;
    text-align: center;

    & img {
      width: 280px;
      opacity: 0.8;
      transition: opacity 0.3s ease;
      user-select: none;
      view-transition-name: var(--planet);

      &:hover {
        opacity: 1;

You need to give the view-transition-name a unique name to know what changed which is why we set the name using CSS variables.

The same goes for the new elements your old elements are going to transition to.

<div class="container">
  <div class="description">

    <h1 style:--title="title-{}">{}</h1>


    <MakeReservation />

    <div class="details">
      {#if planet.details}
        {#each planet.details as { title, value }}
          <div class="item">

	.container {
		/* ... */

		& img {
			width: 100%;
			margin-block: 4rem;
			view-transition-name: var(--planet);

	.description {
		align-self: center;

		& h1 {
			width: fit-content;
			font-size: 3rem;
			text-transform: capitalize;
			view-transition-name: var(--title);
		/* ... */

Animating State Transitions

The View Transitions API is not only useful for animating page transitions but also animating state transitions.

Let’s use the View Transitions API to animate the state change when a user does a reservation for a flight to some planet.

<script lang="ts">
	type State = 'idle' | 'loading' | 'success' | 'error'
	let state: State = 'idle'

	function transition(action: () => void) {
		if (!document.startViewTransition) {

	function makeReservation() {
		if (state !== 'idle') return

		transition(() => (state = 'loading'))

		Math.random() > 0.5
			? setTimeout(() => transition(() => (state = 'success')), 2000)
			: setTimeout(() => transition(() => (state = 'error')), 2000)

		setTimeout(() => transition(() => (state = 'idle')), 3000)

<button on:click={makeReservation} data-state={state}>
	{#if state === 'idle'}
		Make reservation
	{:else if state === 'loading'}
		<LoadingIcon />
		Making reservation...
	{:else if state === 'success'}
		<CheckIcon />
		Your ticket has been reserved
	{:else if state === 'error'}
		No tickets available

	/* ignore aspect-ratio */
	:global(html)::view-transition-new(reservation) {
		width: 100%;
		height: 100%;

	button {
		--background: hsl(220 40% 28%);

		all: unset;
		margin-top: 2rem;
		padding: 1rem;
		font-weight: 600;
		background-color: var(--background);
		text-shadow: 1px 1px 1px hsl(0 0% 0% / 60%);
		border-radius: 4px;
		cursor: pointer;
		transition: background-color 0.3s ease;
		view-transition-name: reservation;

		&[data-state='success'] {
			display: flex;
			gap: 0.5rem;

		&[data-state='loading'] {
			--background: hsl(60 40% 28%);

		&[data-state='success'] {
			--background: hsl(120 40% 28%);

		&[data-state='error'] {
			--background: hsl(9 40% 28%);

That’s how simple animating state transitions is, and it only required a couple of lines of code.

SvelteKit gives you complete control over the View Transitions API but in the future there might be an abstraction you can like the sveltekit-view-transition project from @PaoloRicciuti.

Respect The Motion Preference For Users

With great power comes great responsibility.

Don’t forget to respect the motion preference for users but keep in mind that prefers-reduced-motion doesn’t mean no motion.

@media (prefers-reduced-motion) {
	::view-transition-new(*) {
		animation: none !important;

That’s it! 😄


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