@considonet/g-build
A simple front-end building tool built on top of gulp and webpack
Last updated 4 months ago by pawelgabryelewicz .
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G-Build 4.0

A simple front-end building tool built on top of gulp and webpack

Licence: MIT

Copyright (C) 2017-2020 Paweł Gabryelewicz | www.considonet.com

What is G-Build?

G-Build is a front-end building automation tool build on top of webpack and gulp. It works in a similar way to scaffolds done with tools such as @vue/cli.

You might say that there is no need for such tool - we all can configure webpack, npm and/or gulp on our own. This is true, but when you consider maintaining the developers team across several projects, some standardization had to be done. After several years our projects become more and more fragmented and we were unable to re-use common code across the projects due to configuration incompatibilities.

G-Build was created as an internal tool to be used in all the projects done by our software studio. The goal is to keep the configuration simple and unified across all projects without the need of copying-and-pasting the webpack and gulp config files. This approach allowed us to keep the same building environment in all our projects (PHP- and Microsoft .NET-based), support modern JavaScript and TypeScript and gradually introduce support for the cutting-edge front-end technologies. You are also welcome to contribute in this project (since version 2.2.1 G-Build is available on GitHub).

Starting from version 4.0 the philosophy of this tool changed a bit. Now G-Build tries to provide an optimized and stable environment but leaves the final configuration to the developer. So babel, postcss and linters are now project-specific and default configs (mimicking previous G-Build behavior) are available as separate packages.

G-Build considers your front-end solution to be organized into several directories:

  • JS (files such as .js, .ts, .jsx, .vue etc.)
  • Styles (SCSS/CSS files)
  • Misc (anything else stored in the assets directory - for example favicons)
  • EJS (for EJS templates)

Please refer to the configuration manual below for more details. Each of these 4 primary tasks is optional (disabling can be achieved by specifying false as output path).

Core features

General

  • Cross platform (tested and actively used on Windows, Mac and Linux)
  • 5-minutes configuration

JavaScript and related tasks

  • ES6/TS to ES5 transpilation using babel
  • JS modules support with highly optimized webpack configuration
  • Microsoft TypeScript 3.x support
  • React.js support (supporting JSX and TSX)
  • Vue.js support (including TypeScript support, decorators and vue-class-component syntax)
  • JS/TS code linting using eslint

CSS, image assets and related tasks

  • SCSS compilation using the latest dart-sass compiler, with a custom smart module importer (more powerful than the default node-sass / dart-sass and webpack SCSS compilers - incl. support for sass-eyeglass module syntax).
  • Optional CSS processing using PostCSS (this allows to use autoprefixer, cssnano and more)
  • Optional seamless WebP image assets conversion (including CSS rewrites and non-compatible browsers support)
  • Optional assets optimization (using imagemin)
  • Optional SCSS code linting using stylelint

Misc features

  • EJS template compilation
  • Pre-configured browser-sync-based live-reload HTTP server and proxy supporting both PHP and Microsoft .NET projects and allowing to do CORS calls (Access-Control-Allow-Origin)
  • Integrated PHP server support (if php-cli available)

Suggested opinionated packages to work with

These packages are providing setup similar to G-Build versions prior to 4.0.

Usage

Command line

The following cli commands (tasks) are available and should be configured in your project package.json file:

  • gbuild build Builds the solution using production settings
  • gbuild watch Constantly watches your files and builds them using production settings
  • gbuild serve Constantly watches your files, builds them using development settings and serves them with browser-sync
  • gbuild assets Cleans up the assets directory and re-copies them. This command is also executed when running build, watch and serve tasks. However watching tasks do not clean up and re-copy the files during each change detected.
  • gbuild fontastic Downloads the icons from Fontastic Cloud service and builds the CSS file with font assets

The following parameters are supported: -c, --config <configfile> - (optional) specifies path to the main configuration file (default ./gbuildconfig.js). The path is relative to directory where your package.json file is stored.

Configuration

The configuration is stored in the root directory where your project's package.json file is stored.
Configuration consists of the following files:

Main configuration file (by default gbuildconfig.js)

The main G-Build configuration file exported as cfg - so everything has to be wrapped in exports.cfg = {} directive.

Please mind that some of the settings have their defaults (to keep things simple) and don't need to be configured - see details below:

paths.projectRoot

Your project (not just frontend) root directory. If you prefer to keep your frontend files (including package.json and all the node_modules) in a specific directory, please specify the path to your project root directory (in this case ../). Defaults to ./.

paths.input

G-Build keeps the input source files split into several directories - for JavaScript, styles, miscellaneous and EJS files. It is required to set them using relative paths to the location of your project's package.json file (so sometimes not projectRoot). Default values:

{
  "css": "./css",
  "js": "./js",
  "misc": "./misc",
  "ejs": "./ejs"
}
paths.output

Required setting. The build output directories set relatively to the location of your project's package.json file. The syntax is similar to paths.input setting.

For projectRoot set to ./ (default) example settings are:

{
  "css": "./assets/css",
  "js": "./assets/js",
  "misc": "./assets/misc",
  "ejs": false
}

For projectRoot set to ../ example settings are:

{
  "css": "../assets/css",
  "js": "../assets/js",
  "misc": "../assets/misc",
  "ejs": "../ejs"
}

If any of the paths.output paths are set to false, the relevant task will not be executed. So if you want to disable JS compilation, just set paths.output.js to false (feature available from version 2.4).

paths.public

New setting introduced in 2.1. Used to configure HTTP requests for lazy loaded import() statements. This setting uses the same syntax as paths.output and paths.input. However only js key is supported at the moment. Example: for paths.public.js set to /assets/js/ (mind the trailing slash) import(/* webpackChunkName: "vue" */"vue") will request the JS file using the URL /assets/js/async/async.vue.js. See core features section to learn more about lazy bundle importing.

jsEntries

Required setting. Defines entry points for your app. Can contain more than one JS entry point resulting in more generated bundle files. The key contains the input source file (with an extension) and the value contains the output file (without the extension!). Example setting resulting in compilation of index.ts (from the paths.input.js directory) to app.js (in the paths.output.js directory):

{
  "index.ts": "app"
}
postcss

New setting introduced in 4.0, replacing autoprefixer, postcssPresetEnv and flexbugs settings. If set to true PostCSS processing will be applied to the style files and a regular configuration file has to be provided. G-Build no longer processes (S)CSS code and allows the developer to fully customize the configuration depending on the project needs.

Default: false (feature disabled).

For our projects we usually use postcss-preset-env with autoprefixer configuration. Additionally PostCSS Flexbugs Fixes can be applied to make the cross-browser CSS development easier. See PostCSS Configuration for more details.

webpSupport

This key enables WebP support in your project. This can dramatically increase your website performance on Chrome, Firefox and Android devices. The feature includes automatic image conversion and CSS rewriting to support older browsers. The goal is to keep it seamless - the developer has to prepare image assets like before. Then they'll get converted and a corresponding CSS syntax will be generated during the build and serve processes.

Default: false (feature disabled). If changed to anything else (for example to {}, the following default settings are respected and can be overridden:

{
    extensions: [ "png" ], // specifies file extensions to convert and rewrite
    parentElement: "body", // specifies which selector will contain feature detection classes
    noSupportClass: "no-webp", // feature detection class: no webp support
    noJsClass: null, // feature detection class: no javascript support
    supportClass: "webp", // feature detection class: webp support
    replaceExtension: true, // replace original file extension instead of appending .webp
    codecConfig: {
      lossless: true
    }
}

For codecConfig see imagemin-webp GitHub page.

If noSupportClass and noJsClass are null the ruleset will be appended, not replaced.

Example usage:

.myimage { background-image: url('./img/image.png'); }

will be replaced with a new ruleset:

body.no-js .myimage { background-image: url('./img/image.png'); }
body.no-webp .myimage { background-image: url('./img/image.png'); }
body.webp .myimage { background-image: url('./img/image.webp'); }

To disable the rewrite in a specific ruleset, add a comment /* no-webp */ inside. As this is quite a new feature, it is recommended to experiment, which setup works best for your project.

Because of a spotty browser support, the CSS rulesets rely on browser feature detection. This can be achieved easily using our package: @considonet/support-classes. If you don't like it, you can also use Modernizr or supports-webp npm package. The noJsClass is by default set to null so the website doesn't force the device to download non-webp contents (to save the amount of data transferred). However, no image will be displayed until JS code gets executed. If it's crucial to serve the contents for JS-disabled browsers, this setting might be useful.

browsersync

Specifies browser-sync-specific configuration. To make things really simple, this setting doesn't follow any standards for browser-sync config - the following keys are supported:

  • browsersync.spa - determines whether browser-sync-spa plugin is used. Useful for developing SPA apps with a default index.html file and routing support. This setting works only if browser-sync runs in the server mode (not proxy).
  • browsersync.port - determines the TCP port under which the browser-sync server is available. If a specific port is already in use, browser-sync will take the next available port. The ports are displayed in the console once browser-sync starts the HTTP server.
  • browsersync.openBrowser - determines whether running browser-sync opens the page in your default browser.
  • browsersync.urlRewrites - URL rewrites to handle better hybrid SPA apps with static URLs. Example setting:
[ 
  { 
    src: /^\/[A-z]{2}\/store-locator/,
    dest: "/storelocator.html" 
  }
]
  • browsersync.proxiedUrl - sets the URL for the proxy mode. Not needed when running in auto mode.
  • browsersync.mode - determines in which mode G-Build should start the browser-sync service. The following settings are available:
    • serve - launches a static HTTP server with a root directory set in paths.projectRoot
    • proxy - launches a proxy server proxying requests to the URL set in browsersync.proxiedUrl. Useful for docker-based solutions or locally hosted projects using apache etc.
    • auto - detects the running environment in a smart way (detecting a Visual Studio solution, PHP solution or a static frontend package). When VS solution is detected, G-Build automatically configures the browsersync.proxiedUrl to the IIS Express URL and port set in the .csproj file. When a PHP solution is detected, G-Build runs a php-cli server and proxies it through browser-sync. If none of the above are detected, it runs in the static HTTP server mode.
  • browsersync.notify - determines whether browser-sync should display in-browser notifications (usually about content reload).

The default browsersync configuration is sufficient for most of the projects and looks like this:

{
  "spa": false,
  "port": 3000,
  "openBrowser": true,
  "urlRewrites": [],
  "mode": "auto",
  "notify": true
}
webpack

Specifies webpack-specific configuration. Because G-Build automatically generates a pre-set webpack configuration, this setting doesn't follow any standards for webpack config - the following keys are supported:

  • enableBundleAnalyzerServer - determines whether to run a diagnostic webpack-bundle-analyzer server to understand your JS bundle structure and sizes.
  • extractModules (new in 2.1) - determines whether to extract modules from node_modules to external files. If set to true there will be an additional bundle file created in your paths.output.js directory with a name vendor.[yourInputJSEntryFileName].js. When used with proper content hashing in the bundle file names, can speed up the page load as the user wil download only the updated bundle, not the runtime and the modules. If there are multiple entry points, webpack considers all the modules as shared and prepares the bundles in an alphabetical order. So if two of the entry points are using package1 but only the second one uses package2, the first vendor bundle will contain package1 and the latter will contain package2. So basically the second entry point will also need a vendor bundle for the first entry point. To have two completely separated vendor bundles, you need to run G-Build (and webpack) twice, with separate setups. This can be achieved using -c command line parameter.
  • modules
    • modules.externals - specifies external modules available in the global JS namespace. Example usage scenario: assuming that jquery is included in the HTML file from the CDN, the module shouldn't be bundled any more. In this case we set up a key-value array where the key specifies the module name and the value specifies the global variable under which the module is available. In this case the setting should be set to:
    {
      "jquery": "jQuery" // because window.jQuery will contain the imported "jquery" module
    }
    
    • modules.alias - specifies the module resolving aliases. This setting uses the offical webpack syntax specified in the docs.

The default webpack configuration looks like this:

{
  "hardSourceCache": false,
  "enableBundleAnalyzerServer": false,
  "extractModules": false,
  "modules": {
    "externals": {},
    "alias": {}
  }
}
fontastic

Specifies configuration for the Fontastic Cloud support. The following settings are required if you would like to use this feature:

  • id - ID taken from the Fontastic CSS. Example: for the URL https://file.myfontastic.com/SomeCode123456/icons.css just paste SomeCode123456.
  • fontsDir - directory path relative to your project's package.json directory. Without trailing slash! Example: ./css/base/fonts
  • scssFile - generated SCSS file path, also relative to your project's package.json directory. Example: ./css/base/_fontastic.scss

Each time the fontastic cli task is executed, the SCSS file will be replaced and the font file assets will be stored in the fontsDir.

customWatchers

Determines additional file paths (using glob syntax) triggering the browser-sync reload. The paths are relative to the project root specified in paths.projectRoot. Example usage: ["./Views/**/*.tpl"]. Default is empty - [].

php

Enables (true, using default settings), specifies non-standard settings (using the directives below) or disables (false) PHP server support. The non-standard settings can be defined using the following settings:

  • php.bin - determines the php binary command. Default is php.
  • php.port - determines the TCP port under which the PHP server will be available. Default is 9000.

Default php setting is false. This setting can be overridden with browsersync.mode set to auto - when a PHP project is detected, G-Build will try to launch PHP server anyway. If the setting is true, PHP server will be launched always, regardless of the project type detection.

lint

Specifies whether the code should be linted. This supports the following settings:

  • js - if set to true eslint will run to check compiled .ts and .js files. These also include all the variants such as .vue or .jsx files. ESLint config file has to be placed in the same directory as package.json. Default: false (it was not possible to disable it before version 2.4; also prior to version 4.0 the default value was true).
  • scss - if set to true stylelint will run to check your SCSS files. The rules for stylelint should be defined in Stylelint configuration (all formats are supported) in the same directory as package.json file, according to the documentation. If the linting fails, the code still remains compiled. Default: false
optimizeAssets

Feature since 2.4. Specifies whether during the production build the image assets should be optimized (losslessly compressed). This is should be harmless for any files. Optimization is done using imagemin and applies to GIF, JPEG, PNG and SVG files. Default is true.

logVerbosity

Specifies the logging verbosity in the range of numbers 0 and 5 where 1 specifies minimal (but usually sufficient) logging and 5 very detailed messages. Setting to 0 disables the console messages completely. Default is 1.

cleanDirectories

Specifies whether to purge the output directories before compilation - specified for the same keys as for paths.output - boolean value per each directory type. Defaults:

{
  "css": true,
  "js": true,
  "misc": true,
  "ejs": false
}

Prior to version 2.4 it was not possible to disable directory cleaning.

ejsVars

Specifies variables passed to the EJS templates. You can put here any object to be accessed from ejs files.

Example usage:

{
  "someVar": "hello"
}

The variable will be accessible in EJS file using <%= someVar %>.

Default setting is {}.

bubbleNotifications

Specifies which system notifications should be displayed when G-Build is compiling. Default settings:

{
  "js": true,
  "styles": true,
  "ejs": true
}
  • js notifications are displayed when JavaScript/TypeScript errors happen, linting fails or first successful compilation occured
  • styles notifications are displayed if SCSS compilation and style linting fail
  • ejs notifications deal with EJS compilation failures

The notifications might be helpful when G-Build runs in a minimized console window.

Configuration file: tsconfig.json

TypeScript compiler configuration file. The following settings are considered as recommended (due to the usage of webpack for module resolution and babel for ES6 to ES5 transpiling):

{
  "compilerOptions": {
    "strict": true,
    "noEmit": true,
    "target": "es6",
    "allowSyntheticDefaultImports": true,
    "moduleResolution": "node",
    "allowJs": true,
    "experimentalDecorators": true,
    "jsx": "preserve",
    "keyofStringsOnly": true,
    "resolveJsonModule": true
  }
}

BrowsersList configuration

Starting from G-Build 4.0 targetBrowsers config key is not supported. Please follow BrowsersList docs for more details. You can use package.json browsersList key or a dedicated configuration file.

Babel configuration

Starting from G-Build 4.0 webpack.coreJsVersion and webpack.usagePolyfills settings are removed from the G-Build config file and are no longer supported. Instead please use Babel configuration to handle all the settings related to JS and TS transpilation).

To maintain compatibility with the setup of G-Build prior to version 4.0 we have prepared a dedicated Babel preset (@considonet/babel-preset-typescript) that has to be installed as a project dev dependency. Then the following Babel setting should be sufficient:

{
  "presets": [ "@considonet/babel-preset-typescript", { "vue": true } ]
}

Make sure to have all the dependencies installed, including @babel/core itself. G-Build supports Babel 7 and newer.

ESLint configuration (optional, required when code linting enabled)

Starting from G-Build 4.0 eslint is again used to lint the code, this time also for TypeScript. To properly handle TypeScript files, please refer to TypeScript ESLint project docs. You can prepare an .eslintrc.js file or provide the settings via eslint key of package.json. ESLint configuration is not required when lint.js is set to false.

PostCSS configuration (optional, required when postcss enabled)

Starting from G-Build 4.0, no additional (S)CSS processing is done (except WebP prefixing) and therefore there is no longer autoprefixer and postcssPresetEnv setup.

Instead when new setting postcss is set to true, PostCSS configuration has to be provided (otherwise style building task will fail). You can prepare postcss.config.js file or provide the settings via postcss key of package.json.

In case of minification (for example using cssnano) probably you'd like to do it only for production builds. To determine whether production or development settings are used, please refer to context env variable (production or development).

For example:

module.exports = ctx => ({
  map: ctx.options.map,
  parser: ctx.options.parser,
  plugins: {
    cssnano: ctx.env === 'production' ? {} : false
  }
})

To retain compatibility with the setup of G-Build prior to version 4.0 we have prepared a dedicated config package (@considonet/postcss-config) that has to be installed as project dev dependency. Then the following Babel setting should be sufficient:

module.exports = {
  plugins: [ require("@considonet/postcss-config")({ normalize: false }) ]
}

Removing normalize: false setting will forcibly prepend normalize.css with settings optimized for chosen BrowsersList configuration.

Stylelint configuration (optional, required when style linting enabled)

Please follow original Stylelint documentation. Usually saved as .stylelintrc file or as as stylelint section in package.json. Not required when lint.scss is set to false.

FAQ

How to be able to import .vue files into TypeScript files?

TypeScript needs to be informed that exports from .vue files are of type Vue. Because .vue files are imported and transpiled using vue-loader, the type declarations don't exist in the transpiled .js file. In this case please create a so-called shim file (usually we keep it in /shims/vue.d.ts) containing:

declare module "*.vue" {
  import Vue from "vue";
  export default Vue;
}

Future plans

The following features are for now on our roadmap:

  • Project scaffolding
  • Support for <style> tags in SFCs (such as .vue files)

Current Tags

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