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Super 6 NodeJS Bundler That You Must Use In 2024. 🀩

nodejs bundlers

Eager to leverage bundling for your Node.js projects? Well, this article helps you with the best NodeJS bundler and techniques for seamless and effective bundling, setting the stage for enhanced performance and user experience in your applications. With the help of such an awesome Node JS Bundler, you can definitely speed up your workflow.

Know The NodeJS A Bit:

As per the Stackoverflow survey 2023, Node.js was the most used web development technology among professional developers. And why not…!! It offers some fantastic features to build scalable, high-performance applications quickly. Besides, renowned for its ability to quickly produce scalable, high-performance applications, Node.js has established itself as the go-to for web development.

What Is A NodeJS bundler first of all?

Bundling steps in as a crucial solution, acting like a magic wand that combines multiple files and dependencies into one cohesive package. This process not only makes deployment easier but also boosts your application’s performance. That’s why NodeJS Bundlers are required.

Node.js bundlers are basically a tool that compiles modules and libraries of JavaScript code into a single or a few bundled files. These tools are essential in web development for optimizing and managing dependencies in JavaScript applications, especially those designed to run in a browser environment.

Besides, NodeJS Bundlers can also transform the code by compiling newer JavaScript syntax into a form compatible with older browsers, minifying code to reduce file size, and handling non-JavaScript resources such as CSS, images, and HTML.

Purpose of A NodeJS Bundler:

Besides, renowned for its ability to quickly produce scalable, high-performance applications, Node.js has established itself as the go-to for web development. However, as these applications grow in complexity, efficiently managing dependencies and optimizing resources without sacrificing performance can become challenging. That’s where NodeJS bundlers come to the scene.

The main purposes of Node.js bundlers include:

  1. Dependency Management: Bundlers resolve and include all the modules your application depends on, including npm packages and local modules, into the output file(s). This process ensures that all the necessary code is loaded in the correct order.
  2. Code Transformation: Many bundlers come with the ability to transform code using plugins or loaders. This can include transpiling newer ECMAScript (ES6+) syntax to a version compatible with older browsers, compiling TypeScript or JSX (for React), and more.
  3. Optimization: Bundlers can optimize your code by minifying it (removing unnecessary characters without changing its functionality) and tree-shaking (eliminating dead code that is not used anywhere in your application).
  4. Asset Management: Besides JavaScript, bundlers can also handle other assets like CSS, images, and fonts by incorporating them into the JavaScript bundle or by copying them to the output directory in an optimized form.

Types of Node.JS Bundler:

In the context of Node.js, a “bundler” typically refers to two different things, depending on whether you’re developing for the browser or for the server:

1. Bundling for the Browser:

When developing web applications with Node.js, some developers choose to use JavaScript modules written in Node.js style within the browser environment. However, browsers natively support a different module system.

This is where Nodejs bundlers like Browserify or Webpack come in. These tools take your Node.js style code and its dependencies and bundle them into a single JavaScript file that can be understood and executed by the browser. This simplifies the process of using Node.js modules in the browser and avoids issues with loading individual files.

2. Bundling for the Server (Less Common):

In Node.js server-side development, bundling is less common. However, tools like pkg or electron-forge can be used to bundle your Node.js application along with its dependencies into a single executable file. This can be useful for distributing your application without requiring users to install Node.js separately.

In this article, we are going to discuss the Browser bundlers like Webpack & Browserify. Now, let’s start the collection of the best Node.js bundlers.

Benefits of Using A Node JS Bundler:

  • Optimized load times and website performance.
  • Simplified dependency management.
  • Cross-browser compatibility.
  • Enhanced code maintainability.
  • Improved development efficiency.
  • Easy integration of various assets.
  • Reduced bundle size with customizable builds.
  • Facilitated configuration management with environment variables.

The Best NodeJS Bundler:

A Node js bundler compiles many JavaScript code files into a single JS file that you can easily deploy in any JavaScript-based web browser. Furthermore, Nodejs bundlers can also produce a dependency graph as it goes back and forth with the first code file.

Additionally, it can automatically identify dependencies, source files, and third-party dependencies to keep them error-free and up-to-date. In addition, module bundlers facilitate functions like hot module replacement and code splitting to improve app performance.

While Node.js itself doesn’t inherently require bundling, it’s common practice to bundle JavaScript modules and assets for web development when using Node.js. Here are 6 popular bundlers specifically designed for Node.js development (though some can be used for browser-based projects as well).

Now, let’s start the collection.

Webpack

NodeJS Bundlers

Webpack is a powerful and widely-used NodeJS bundler for Node.js applications, standing out as a cornerstone in modern web development. Its primary function is to compile JavaScript modules into bundled assets that are ready for deployment, optimizing the loading time and performance of web applications.

Besides, this Node.js bundler goes beyond simple bundling; it intelligently analyzes your project to create a dependency graph, ensuring that every module and asset your application needs is processed and packaged efficiently.

Advantages

  • It provides a dependency graph to manage dependencies.
  • Supports code splitting, allowing you to split bundles into smaller chunks and load them on demand.
  • Also, supports a wide range of loaders and plugins.
  • Hot module replacement.
  • Large community support.

Disadvantages

  • Steep learning curve.
  • It can be hard to configure if you are new to Webpack.
  • It can increase build times.

How to use Webpack Node JS Bundler?

  • Install Webpack
npm install webpack webpack-cli --save-dev
  • Create Webpack Configuration
 // webpack.config.js
const path = require('path');

module.exports = {
  target: 'node', 
  entry: './src/index.js', 
  output: {
    filename: 'bundle.js',
    path: path.resolve(__dirname, 'dist'),
  },
  // Additional configuration goes here
};
  • If you are using loaders, you can add them under additional configurations under the module attribute below:
module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /\.js$/,
        exclude: /node_modules/,
        use: 'babel-loader',
      },
    ],
  },
  • Update package.json With Webpack
"scripts": {
  "build": "webpack --config webpack.config.js" 
}
  • Run the npm build
npm run build 

Vite: Next-generation frontend tooling

NodeJS Bundlers

Vite is a most popular modern front-end Node JS Bundler tool that significantly improves the front-end development experience. It leverages esbuild for fast builds and offers out-of-the-box support for TypeScript, JSX, CSS, and more. Vite uses Rollup for its production builds. You can also consider using NodeJS monitoring tools as well.

Key Features:

  • Improves the startup time for development servers by using esbuild for pre-bundling dependencies.
  • Lightning Fast HMR (hot module replacement)
  • Typescript & JSX support
  • Optimized Build
  • Universal plugin interface
  • Fully Typed APIs

Pros:

  • Rapid fast development
  • Ease of use
  • Modern Tooling
  • Optimized performance
  • Rich community

Cons:

  • NodeJS dependency
  • Bit new compared to Webpack
  • Compatibility issue with older libraries

How to Use Vite With NodeJS?

  • Install Nodejs
  • Install Vite & create a vite project
$ npm create vite@latest
  • run npm install to install dependencies.
run npm install
  • In a project where Vite is installed, you can use the vite binary in your npm scripts, or run it directly with npx vite
{
  "scripts": {
    "dev": "vite", // start dev server, aliases: `vite dev`, `vite serve`
    "build": "vite build", // build for production
    "preview": "vite preview" // locally preview production build
  }
}
  • Start the development server with npm run dev.

Talking about Vite, we at ThemeSelection provide VueJS Admin Template & Laravel Admin Templates with Vite support. For instance, you can check our Materio VueJS Laravel Admin Template.

Materio VueJS Laravel Admin Template

Materio Vuetify VueJS Laravel Admin Template

Materio Vuejs 3 Laravel Admin Dashboard Template is a highly customizable and developer-friendly dashboard designed for developers and businesses. Built with the latest Laravel 10, Vue.js 3, and Vuetify, Materio offers a modern, clean, and professional design that is both responsive and user-friendly.

Besides, the highest industry standards are considered to bring you the best Laravel Admin Template that is not just fast and easy to use, but highly scalable. Furthermore, Materio includes a wide range of pre-built components, pages, and layouts that can be easily integrated into any web application or project.

Additionally, Materio Admin Panel offers a seamless and efficient development experience. It also includes useful tools such as data tables, charts, forms, and authentication pages, making it an all-in-one solution for building dynamic and scalable web applications.

Features:

  • Based on Laravel 10, VueJS 3 & Vuetify 3
  • Created with Vite 5
  • Composition API
  • Utilizes Vue RouterViteVueUsePinia, etc.
  • Roles & Permission App
  • Available in both Typescript & Javascript
  • Light & Dark Layout
  • Multilingual Support
  • API-ready JWT Authentication flow
  • Access Control (even on CRUD operations)
  • Laravel Passport
  • Laravel Sanctum
  • 5 Dashboard
  • 9 Pre-Designed App
  • Remix Icons and many more.


Also, available in the Bootstrap dashboard version:

Materio free bootstrap admin template

Parcel: The Zero-Configuration NodeJS Bundler for the Web

NodeJS Bundlers

Parcel is a popular Nodejs bundler known for its simplicity and versatility. Unlike webpack, it boasts a zero-configuration setup, making it ideal for both beginners and experienced developers seeking a straightforward bundling experience.

Key Features:

  • Zero-configuration: Parcel automatically detects and transforms various asset types (JavaScript, CSS, images, etc.) without requiring manual configuration.
  • Hot Module Replacement (HMR): Provides instant feedback during development by reloading only changed code sections.
  • Code Splitting: Parcels split code into smaller chunks for faster initial page loads and improved performance.
  • Wide Browser Support: Supports modern browsers as well as older versions with automatic transpilation.
  • Large Community and Plugin Ecosystem: Benefit from a vibrant community and numerous plugins to extend Parcel’s functionalities.

Pros:

  • Easy to learn and use: Perfect for beginners due to its minimal configuration requirements.
  • Fast development experience: HMR and zero-configuration contribute to a smoother development workflow.
  • Flexibility: Handles various asset types and offers code splitting for dynamic applications.
  • Active community and plugins: Continuously updated with new features and support.

Cons:

  • Limited customization: Not as customizable as webpack when complex configurations are needed.
  • Larger bundle sizes: May generate larger bundles compared to highly optimized configurations in webpack.
  • Node.js targeting limitations: While improving, bundling specifically for Node.js environments is less mature compared to webpack.

How to use Parcel Nodejs Bundler:

  • Install Parcel as a development dependency using npm:
npm install --save-dev parcel
  • Create an entry file for your project. For a Node.js project, this might be an <strong>index.js</strong> file at the root of your project:
// index.js
console.log('Hello, Parcel with Node.js!');
  • Modify your <strong>package.json</strong> file to include a start script that uses Parcel to run your Node.js application. Parcel can watch your files for changes and automatically restart your application, similar to tools like Nodemon.
"scripts": {
  "start": "parcel index.js"
}
  • Run Your Application
npm start

ESBuild

NodeJS Bundlers

Esbuild is a rising star in the Nodejs bundler tools, renowned for its unmatched speed and minimalist approach. Unlike traditional bundlers, it prioritizes performance and simplicity, making it ideal for modern web development workflows.

Pros:

  • Remarkable bundling speed
  • Requires minimal configuration
  • Handles JavaScript, TypeScript, JSX, CSS, and JSON natively
  • Optimizes bundles by removing unused code 
  • Supports source maps for debugging
  • Bundles both for Node.js environments
  • ESM & CommonJS Compatibility

Cons:

  • Limited customization
  • Smaller Community & plugin ecosystem
  • Lack of Node.JS Specific features

How to use esbuild with Node.js:

  • Install Esbuild with npm.
npm install --save-exact --save-dev esbuild
  • Create esbuild in your package.json, and add a “build” script that calls esbuild with appropriate options.
JSON
{
  "scripts": {
    "build": "esbuild --bundle --platform=node --outfile=dist/index.js src/index.js"
  }
}

RollupJS

NodeJS Bundlers

Rollup is a module NodeJS bundler for JavaScript that compiles small pieces of code into something larger and more complex, such as a library or application. It uses the standardized ES module format for code, instead of previous idiosyncratic solutions such as CommonJS and AMD.

Besides, ES modules let you freely and seamlessly combine the most useful individual functions from your favorite libraries. Rollup can optimize ES modules for faster native loading in modern browsers, or output a legacy module format allowing ES module workflows today.

Pros:

  • Support tree-shaking to eliminate dead codes
  • code splitting support
  • Also, supports ES6 module syntax
  • Can generate bundles in formats like CommanJS, AMD, UMD & Modules

Cons:

  • Complex configuration
  • Smaller community & plugin ecosystem

How To Use Rollup with NodeJS?

  • To get started, install Rollup with the following command:
npm install --global rollup
  • Compile
# compile to a CommonJS module ('cjs')
rollup main.js --file bundle.js --format cjs
  • Next, to configure create a new file called rollup.config.js in the learn-rollup folder. Inside, add the following.
export default {
  entry: 'src/scripts/main.js',
  dest: 'build/js/main.min.js',
  format: 'iife',
  sourceMap: 'inline',
};
  • Add Rollup Scripts to package.json
"scripts": {
  "build": "rollup build"
}

Browserify: Simple and Seamless JavaScript Bundling

NodeJS Bundlers

Browserify is a Nodejs bundle tool that enables developers to use require(‘modules’) in the browser by bundling up all of the dependencies. This approach allows for modular code development in Node.js style, which can then be compiled into a single JavaScript file for use in web browsers. Browserify revolutionized the way developers think about JavaScript code organization, making it possible to share code between server (Node.js) and client-side (browser) environments seamlessly.

Key Features:

  • Straightforward to use
  • Modular Structure
  • Supports numerous transforms (plugins) that modify code during the bundling process.
  • Enables source maps for easier debugging
  • Offers tools like <strong>watchify</strong> for automatic rebuilding of bundles

Pros:

  • Simple and easy to use.
  • Supports Node.js <strong>require()</strong> syntax in the browser.
  • Access to NPM modules for client-side use.
  • Plugin and transform system for extensibility.
  • A minimal initial configuration is needed.
  • Facilitates modular code structure.

Cons:

  • Slower build times for larger projects.
  • May produce larger bundles compared to newer tools.
  • Limited advanced features like tree shaking and code splitting.
  • Has a learning curve for plugins and transforms.
  • Development and rebuild speed can be slower.
  • Decreasing community focus and support.

Also, check the NodeJS Logging Library

How To Use Browerify With NodeJS?

  • Install broweserify with npm
npm install browserify
  • To bundle your files, run Browserify with your entry file as the input.
browserify main.js -o bundle.js
  • After bundling, include <strong>bundle.js</strong> in your HTML file with a <strong><script></strong> tag.
<script src="bundle.js"></script>

Conclusion:

So, here we briefly discussed the best-ever NodeJS Bundlers.

Well, the ecosystem of Node.js bundlers is diverse, each offering unique strengths and catering to different development needs. Tools like Browserify, Webpack, Rollup, Parcel, esbuild, and Snowpack have significantly contributed to the evolution of web development, making it easier to manage dependencies, improve performance, and develop more complex applications.

  • Browserify brought the simplicity of Node.js module syntax to the browser, fostering a new era of modular web development.
  • Webpack emerged as a powerful and versatile bundler, capable of handling a wide range of assets and transforming them for optimal browser performance.
  • Rollup focused on efficiency, offering smaller bundle sizes through its innovative tree-shaking capabilities.
  • Parcel simplified the bundling process with its zero-configuration approach, making it accessible to developers of all levels.
  • esbuild revolutionized the build speed, leveraging the power of Go to offer an incredibly fast bundling experience.

Each of these tools has its pros and cons, but together, they provide a comprehensive toolkit for modern web development. The choice of bundler depends on specific project requirements, such as build speed, configuration simplicity, compatibility with existing tools, and the need for advanced features like code splitting and module federation.

As the web development ecosystem continues to evolve, these bundlers adapt and improve, ensuring developers have the resources they need to build efficient, scalable, and maintainable applications. The ongoing innovation in this space reflects the vibrant and dynamic nature of the Node.js and wider JavaScript community, pushing the boundaries of what’s possible on the web.

Hope you find this collection helpful.

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