Extending RouterLink

The RouterLink component exposes enough props to suffice most basic applications but it doesn't try to cover every possible use case and you will likely find yourself using v-slot for some advanced cases. In most medium to large sized applications, it's worth creating one if not multiple custom RouterLink components to reuse them across your application. Some examples are Links in a Navigation Menu, handling external links, adding an inactive-class, etc.

Let's extend RouterLink to handle external links as well and adding a custom inactive-class in an AppLink.vue file:

<template>
  <a v-if="isExternalLink" v-bind="$attrs" :href="to" target="_blank">
    <slot />
  </a>
  <router-link
    v-else
    v-bind="$props"
    custom
    v-slot="{ isActive, href, navigate }"
  >
    <a
      v-bind="$attrs"
      :href="href"
      @click="navigate"
      :class="isActive ? activeClass : inactiveClass"
    >
      <slot />
    </a>
  </router-link>
</template>

<script>
import { RouterLink } from 'vue-router'

export default {
  name: 'AppLink',

  props: {
    // add @ts-ignore if using TypeScript
    ...RouterLink.props,
    inactiveClass: String,
  },

  computed: {
    isExternalLink() {
      return typeof this.to === 'string' && this.to.startsWith('http')
    },
  },
}
</script>

If you prefer using a render function or create computed properties, you can use the useLink from the Composition API:

import { RouterLink, useLink } from 'vue-router'

export default {
  name: 'AppLink',

  props: {
    // add @ts-ignore if using TypeScript
    ...RouterLink.props,
    inactiveClass: String,
  },

  setup(props) {
    // toRef allows us to extract one prop and keep it reactive
    // https://v3.vuejs.org/api/refs-api.html#toref
    const { navigate, href route, isActive, isExactActive } = useLink(toRef(props, 'to'))


    // profit!

    return { isExternalLink }
  }
}

In practice, you might want to use your AppLink component for different parts of your application. e.g. using Tailwind CSS, you could create a NavLink.vue component with all the classes:

<template>
  <AppLink
    v-bind="$attrs"
    class="inline-flex items-center px-1 pt-1 border-b-2 border-transparent text-sm font-medium leading-5 text-gray-500 focus:outline-none transition duration-150 ease-in-out hover:text-gray-700 hover:border-gray-300 focus:outline-none focus:text-gray-700 focus:border-gray-300 transition duration-150 ease-in-out"
    active-class="border-indigo-500 text-gray-900 focus:border-indigo-700"
    inactive-class="text-gray-500 hover:text-gray-700 hover:border-gray-300 focus:text-gray-700 focus:border-gray-300"
  >
    <slot />
  </AppLink>
</template>