An Introduction to Browserify

Browserify is a popular build tool that allows you to use Node.js modules directly in the browser. Using Browserify, you can more easily manage JavaScript dependencies and integrate with the npm ecosystem. In this article, we'll discuss what Browserify is, how it works, and the benefits of using Browserify with your JavaScript project.

What is Browserify?

Browserify is a build tool that allows you to use Node.js modules directly in the browser. You can use require with Browserify the same way you can with Node. Browserify provides a common way to structure all of your JavaScript code by bundling dependencies into a single file that can be referenced within a <script> tag in the browser.

How Browserify Works

Browserify works by specifying an entry point file and searching for all require() calls. Based on this search, Browserify generates a stream of concatenated JavaScript files that is written to a single bundle.js file. This output file can be referenced via a regular <script> tag in the browser.

The Benefits of Using Browserify

Without a tool like Browserify, you are forced to include JavaScript dependencies independently in your project. This typically means downloading and referencing a series of third-party libraries (ie jQuery, Angular, UnderScore, Backbone) via <script> tags. While this is the traditional approach to using JavaScript dependencies, it becomes increasingly problematic the more dependencies you have. Specifically, controlling script loading sequence is difficult and the order in which you reference scripts can cause issues. With Browserify, every dependency is bundled into a single file so you only have to make one reference.

Browserify allows you to maintain a modular approach to developing different features as well. Just like Node.js, you can utilize module.exports and require to separate your code into different files.

An additional advantage with Browserify is its use of transforms. Transforms work by injecting streams between resolved modules and content that is returned to transpile / convert code. Using transforms, you can support things like ES6 and JSX without having to precompile your code.

Conclusion

Browserify makes it possible to use node modules directly in the browser. It integrates well with npm and allows you to bundle your JavaScript dependencies into one file that can be referenced within a <script> tag. Using Browserify, you can leverage the power of npm to conveniently package your JavaScript dependencies and implement a modular approach to your project.

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Posted by stackchief
November 29, 2017

it should also be noted that Browserify is typically used with a task runner like Grunt or Gulp...especially if you want to compare it's efficiency to Webpack.