However, some tasks are very important in the development process, such as minification, unit testing, and web page refreshing. These tasks are not just very boring, but stressful and demoralizing as well. Despite this, these tasks still have to be done.
Let’s get into the thick of things, and see how these technologies help improve the development workflow.
One should be able to give a good shot as to what this does, according to its name. Webpack is used for bundling many web packages and different dependencies, including CSS files and images, then creates modules for them before bundling them into manageable output files.
This helps increase productivity and reusability, as it reduces the load time of development packages by splitting the dependency tree into chunks and loads them on demand, meaning that it consumes less of memory.
Webpack can be installed using the npm command:
npm install -g webpack
And with Yarn:
yarn add webpack --dev
Webpack is a pretty complex tool. However, you could learn it easily over time by going over some online tutorials. Tutorials on the tool can easily be found. It is very popular. You can find out more about this package on the website.
You would agree that a tool like this would make your work easier and faster as the projects roll in. Grunt is a pretty large library and offers about 6000 plugins, including popular plugins such as CoffeeScript, Less, RequireJS, JSHint, Sass, Stylus, and a whole lot more to “make the easy task of automation easier than ever.”
Grunt doesn’t stop at the automation of your tasks. You also get to manage your image file sizes and the quality of your web pages after development. This goes a long way in helping you improve the load speed of your websites without compromising quality. While Grunt is built on Node, you do not have to be proficient in using Node.js to be able to make use of this library. Just like Webpack, it is very popular and it won't take a long time before you are able to find your way around the tool.
Grunt can be installed using the npm command:
npm install -g grunt
It also has its own command line tool. This and much more can be explored on the official website.
Gulp is a task or builds runner for project development. It allows for an easy and smooth development workflow. With Gulp, you find that one tool that gives you the much-needed opportunity to spend more time on your code and not on configuration processes.
It can also be installed using an npm command:
npm install -g gulp
With Gulp, you don’t have to spend so much time learning how the APIs work, as it provides four simple APIs which include:
Gulp has a large ecosystem of users, so it is a pretty popular tool. You can learn more from the official website.
It doesn’t stop there. You can also write code in the browser just as you normally would do in Node.js by simply using “require.” Browserify seeks to extend the Node ecosystem into the browser by providing much of Node’s core functionality.
Browserify can simply be installed using npm:
npm install -g browserify
You can find out more about this awesome tool on the official website.
Brunch is a Node package, and can also easily be installed using:
npm install -g brunch
With Brunch, you do not have to start your projects from scratch anymore, as it has very efficient skeleton installers which make starting a project easy. It is a pure build tool without the need for any configurations, and its seamless configuration and compilation allows for rapid development of projects. You can find out more from the official website.
You can easily install Yeoman using the npm:
npm install -g yo
After the installation of Yeoman, you can then install the needed generator using:
npm install -g generator-webapp
Then you can easily create an application using the Yeoman tool:
This saves you the time of having to go through the process of navigating directories in the command line before creating these applications. Yeoman is not dependent on language, which means it is also used for the creation of applications in other languages. This also means that you can get solutions to any issues you come across while trying to make use of this great tool.
If you have yet to wrap your head around the “generator” concept, it is, unfortunately, beyond the scope of this article. You can easily find tutorials online and also on the official website.
Getting to choose the best build tool for you could be a very trying process, but it could be very instrumental in dictating how your development experience will go.
All the tools talked about in this article are very similar. However, they have their differences, with an edge over one another in different areas.
Grunt is best if a lot of repetitive work needs to be done, like configuring independent tasks requiring different files.
Gulp is best if a lot of repetitive work needs to be done on Node streams and involves opening and closing of the same files using pipe chains.
Browserify is great at packaging Node.js modules for browsers.
Brunch is best for setting up new large projects from scratch, as it needs near zero configuration requirements due to the availability of skeletons.
Yeoman is best if you already have a basic setup and would like to remake something similar - you can easily scaffold another one.
All in all, all these tools can complement one another and create high efficiency when used together.