through2 npm library to pipe your gulp stream through Browserify, and use the
babelify Browserify transformer instead of
gulp-babel. Check out the gist
Building with magic
With that as a baseline, build processes that make me wait (or worse, do things manually!) can quickly become beyond frustrating. On the other side of the spectrum, build processes that maintain the illusion of “instant magic” and make it easier to work with the code itself?
To that end, Browserify has been a part of my build process for a while now… I’m enamored with the idea of using not just the same language but the exact same codebase on both the client and the server, and letting Browserify do all the heavy lifting of the boilerplate for that seems like an obvious win.
Additionally, I’ve traditionally been a grunt user, but I made the switch to gulp recently. Two reasons for that: first, I like the philosophy of operating on streams instead of files, but mostly, I like that a gulp task is actually code instead of mostly configuration. It mostly comes down to style and personal preference, but there it is. Making Browserify work in gulp was an interesting exercise at first, but it seemed worth it.
I’ve been excited about some of ES6’s features for a while now: arrow functions, iterators and generators, easier use of classes… these are all awesome. When I’m working on a personal project, I try to make as much use of them as possible, but even Chrome (my browser of choice) doesn’t support the full range yet. So when I hear about Babel (which was named 6to5 at the time), I was instantly on board. It’s a preprocessor that will transpile ES6 to ES5, and according to kangax’s ES6 compatibility table, it’s currently leading in terms of supported feature count. Running a shell command to process everything was of course out of the question, but Babel’s docs have information on using Babel with both gulp and with Browserify.
… erm, that is to say, the docs have information on using Babel with gulp and using Babel with Browserify separately, but trying to get them to play together was not as easy. First, I tried using
gulp-babel and piping that to Browserify, but that didn’t work, as Browserify reads the input files itself and didn’t want to play nicely with my stream. Then I tried using
vinyl-transform and piping the gulp stream through that and using
babelify instead of
gulp-babel, but that let me with a frustrating stack trace that would disappear as soon as I stopped trying to preprocess with babel:
Error: write after end at writeAfterEnd (/Users/problematic/dev/node_modules/browserify/node_modules/readable-stream/lib/_stream_writable.js:161:12) at Labeled.Writable.write (/Users/problematic/dev/node_modules/browserify/node_modules/readable-stream/lib/_stream_writable.js:208:5) at write (_stream_readable.js:602:24) at flow (_stream_readable.js:611:7) at _stream_readable.js:579:7 at process._tickCallback (node.js:442:13)
In frustration, after playing with it for a few hours, I opened an issue on the babelify, and within five minutes (!), one of the devs (possibly the head dev, but I’m not that familiar with the development on the project) got back to me.
Mild embarrassment from not finding the same result as his “quick search” aside, I gave it a whirl, and it works great. I now have my files being preprocessed by Browserify and Babel, managed by gulp. Here’s how my gulp task ended up looking: