Adding Browserify into the mix

Having already written my first gulp task, I was ready to get a bit more advanced. My first task was to concatenate javascript files, including putting my local version of jQuery in front of my own javascript, so there was a single file to download, with all the required plugins before.

However, I’d already heard of Browserify, and wanted to see if this would work with Gulp (short answer – yes!). Browserify is a tool which lets you “require” plugins in your javascript, and then processes these at build time (for example, in a Gulp task) to automatically include the plugins as well. This would achieve the same end result as my current concatenation task, but without me having to keep and manually update local copies of the plugin files, as I could get Browserify to do the job of finding and including them.

I went through a few different iterations, all of which worked but were a bit messy for one reason or another (including using the gulp-browserify plugin, which is deprecated!) but I’m going to skip over those and skip straight to my final implementation.

So I needed to include a copy of extra plugins at the top of my Gulp file…

var browserify = require("browserify");
var source = require("vinyl-source-stream");

Then I updated my task to look this this…

gulp.task("js",function(cb) { 
  browserify(jsFiles).bundle(),
    .pipe(source("script.js")
    .pipe(gulp.dest("build/js"));
});

Notice that I am no longer using Gulp.Src to pick up the javascript files from the array, Browserify is now handling this, and I’m using the “bundle” method to concatenate them, instead of using gulp-concat. During this “bundle” method, the javascript is also being processed to find any “require” statements.

For me, I needed to require jQuery and a few other bits, so at the top of my project javsacript file, I added the following lines…

var jQuery = require("jquery");
window.$ = window.jQuery = jQuery;
require("jquery.easing");
require("bootstrap/js/scrollspy");

As you can see, you can simply use the “require” method by itself, or you can assign the exported method to a variable. In the case of jQuery, it needs to be stored globally in order for Bootstrap to load properly.

I also went from including all of the Bootstrap library from a CDN to just including the component that I required, which saves on filesize!

It’s now really easy to include new libraries and plugins into my javascript, by simply installing them using NPM, and including them using Browserify, as part of my automated Gulp task.

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