It's not the easiest tool to learn due to its configuration-driven approach, but it's incredibly powerful. The purpose of this guide is to help you get started with webpack and then to go beyond the basics.
Webpack isn’t the only solution for this problem, and a collection of different tools have emerged. Task runners, such as Grunt and Gulp, are good examples of higher level tools. Often the problem is that need to write the workflows by hand. Pushing that issue to a bundler, such as webpack, is a step forward.
Webpack takes another route. It allows you to treat your project as a dependency graph. You could have an index.js in your project that pulls in the dependencies the project needs through standard
import statements. You can refer to your style files and other assets the same way if you want.
Webpack does all the preprocessing for you and gives you the bundles you specify through configuration and your code. This declarative approach is powerful, but it's difficult to learn. Webpack becomes an indispensable tool after you begin to understand how it works. This book has been designed to get through that initial learning curve and even go further.
This book has been designed to complement the official documentation of webpack. The official documentation goes deeper in many aspects, and this book can be considered a companion to it. This book is more like a quick walkthrough that eases the initial learning curve while giving food for thought to more advanced users.
The book teaches you to develop a composable webpack configuration for both development and production purposes. Advanced techniques covered by the book allow you to get the most out of webpack.
The book is based on webpack 2. If you want to apply its techniques to webpack 1, you should see the official migration guide as it covers the changes made between the major versions. There are also codemods at the webpack-cli repository for migrating from webpack 1 to 2.
The book starts by explaining what webpack is. After that, you find multiple parts, each of which discusses webpack from a different direction. While going through those chapters, you develop your webpack configuration. The chapters also double as reference material.
The book has been split into the following parts:
There's a short conclusion chapter after the main content that recaps the main points of the book. It contains checklists that allow you to go through your projects against the book techniques.
The appendices the end of the book cover secondary topics and sometimes dig deeper into the main ones. You can approach them in any order you want depending on your interest.
Given eventually webpack will give you an error, the Troubleshooting appendix at the end covers what to do then. It covers a basic process on what to do and how to debug the problem. When in doubt, study the appendix. If you are unsure of a term and its meaning, see the Glossary at the end of the book.
If you don’t know much about the topic, consider going carefully through the early parts. You can scan the rest to pick the bits you find worthwhile. If you know webpack already, skim and choose the techniques you find valuable.
In case you know webpack well already, there is still something in the book for you. Skim through it and see if you can pick up new techniques. Read especially the summaries at the end of the chapters and the conclusion chapter.
Given this book receives a fair amount of maintenance and improvements due to the pace of innovation, there's a versioning scheme in place. Release notes for each new version are maintained at the book blog. You can also use GitHub compare tool for this purpose. Example:
The page shows you the individual commits that went to the project between the given version range. You can also see the lines that have changed in the book.
The current version of the book is 2.0.19.
If you run into trouble or have questions related to the content, there are several options:
If you post questions to Stack Overflow, tag them using survivejs. You can use the hashtag #survivejs on Twitter for the same result.
You can find more related material from the following sources:
Big thanks to Christian Alfoni for helping me craft the first version of this book. That inspired the whole SurviveJS effort. The version you see now is a complete rewrite.
This book wouldn’t have been possible without the original "SurviveJS - Webpack and React" effort. Anyone who contributed to it deserves my thanks. You can check that book for more accurate attributions.
Thanks to Mike "Pomax" Kamermans, Cesar Andreu, Dan Palmer, Viktor Jančík, Tom Byrer, Christian Hettlage, David A. Lee, Alexandar Castaneda, Marcel Olszewski, Steve Schwartz, Chris Sanders, Charles Ju, Aditya Bhardwaj, Rasheed Bustamam, José Menor, Ben Gale, Jake Goulding, Andrew Ferk, gabo, Giang Nguyen, @Coaxial, @khronic, Henrik Raitasola, Gavin Orland, David Riccitelli, Stephen Wright, Majky Bašista, Gunnari Auvinen, Jón Levy, Alexander Zaytsev, Richard Muller, Ava Mallory (Fiverr), Sun Zheng’an, Nancy (Fiverr), Aluan Haddad, Steve Mao, Craig McKenna, Tobias Koppers, Stefan Frede, Vladimir Grenaderov, Scott Thompson, Rafael De Leon, Gil Forcada Codinachs, Jason Aller, @pikeshawn, Stephan Klinger, Daniel Carral, Nick Yianilos, Stephen Bolton, and many others who have contributed direct feedback for this book!
This book is available through Leanpub (digital), Amazon (paperback), and Kindle (digital). By purchasing the book you support the development of further content. A part of profit (~30%) goes to Tobias Koppers, the author of webpack.