Code used in development and production is entirely different. In production, it is necessary to build packages that run fast, automate tasks, manage dependencies, load external modules, and more. Applying the codes rightly can make or break your website. To build an exceptional website, our website development company in Kerala is the ideal place.
Codes are an inevitable part of the web application development process. Tools that help to turn development code into production code are known as build tools. Mostly frontend developers work with the following types of build tools:
- package managers
- task runners
- module loaders
- module bundlers
1. npm (package manager)
The acronym npm stands for Node Package Maid which is the default package manager of Node.js. When Node.js is installed on your system, npm also gets automatically installed and you get to access it from your command-line interface. With npm, you can install any Node.js package with a single command.
All existing Node.js packages are available in the npm registry and you can access them via the search bar on top of npm’s homepage. All you need is to type the name of the package that you are looking for (e.g. ‘postcss’) into the search bar, and you will be directed to the package page that includes everything you need to know about the package, its installation process, and all of its dependencies.
- Easy installation.
- Cross-platform software (Windows, Linux, macOS, SmarOS, and more).
- Includes many packages.
- Provides efficient dependency management through the package.json file.
- Gives multiple configuration options (through the command line).
- Extensive documentation and helpful community.
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2. Yarn (package manager)
Yarn is a front-end package manager. It can be used as an alternative to npm. Since Yarn itself is a Node.js package, Node.js has to be installed before you use Yarn on your system. You can follow the installation guide to use it to manage your frontend dependencies.
npm is a great tool, but building packages with it sometimes takes significant time. This shouldn’t bother you if you don’t have that many dependencies to install, or if you don’t use a package manager regularly.
But if you are a heavy user, it would be ideal to look into Yarn which takes pride in ultrafast build times.
Yarn speeds up the build process. It helps to cache every package so that you don’t have to download your dependencies multiple times. It runs parallel operations that reduce build times even more.
- Cross-platform tool (Windows, Linux, macOS) with separate installation guides for each platform.
- Compatible with all Node.js packages.
- Fast build times.
- Additional security by using checksums to verify the integrity of packages.
- Offline mode.
- Flat mode to avoid creating duplicates.
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3. Grunt (task runner)
Grunt is a front-end task runner. It allows you to automate repetitive tasks like minification, testing, linting, and others. Task runners are not the same as package managers, because you can’t use them to manage dependencies. You make use of them only if you want to perform the same task(s) during each building process.
Grunt being a Node.js package, it can be installed with npm, Yarn, or another Node.js package manager. Grunt keeps the custom dependencies it needs to perform your predefined tasks in the package.json file.
You can define your tasks in the Gruntfile that runs during every building process and automatically performs each task it includes.
- A cross-platform command-line tool that works on any operating system.
- Straightforward configuration process.
- A huge ecosystem with hundreds of plugins to add frontend tools (such as Sass, Jade, JSHint, Handlebars, RequireJS, and others) that complete the pre-configured tasks.
- Asynchronous tasks if needed.
- Extensive documentation.
- Widely adopted.
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4. Browserify (module loader/bundler)
Browserify brings the require() method to the client-side, which can result in a huge performance gain.
- Bundles all Node.js dependencies into a single file.
- Accelerates modular applications that rely on multiple Node.js modules.
- Allows external requirements (you can require modules from other <script> tags).
- Allows to split up bundles if necessary.
- Allows to exclude, ignore, and transform functionalities.
- Provides detailed documentation and a helpful Browserify handbook.
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To turn your development code into production-ready code that runs on any device or platform, the Frontend build tools are of help. Discussed above were some of the most well-adopted build tools that you can use in your web project, including package managers, task runners, and module loaders/bundlers.
Apart from these widely adopted solutions, there are also new tools in the market that are constantly gaining traction. Adding new tools to your workflow will take your development process to the next level. If you are looking forward to making use of the best tools, our web application development services will be of great help.