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2.0.0-next.2 • Public • Published

Webpack Extension Reloader

A Webpack plugin to automatically reload browser extensions during development.

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npm install webpack-extension-reloader --save-dev


yarn add webpack-extension-reloader --dev

Solution for ...

Have your ever being annoyed while developing a browser extension, and being unable to use webpack-hot-server because it's not a web app but a browser extension?

Well, now you can have automatic reloading!

Note: This plugin doesn't allow Hot Module Replacement (HMR) yet.

What it does?

Basically something similar to what the webpack hot reload middleware does. When you change the code and the webpack trigger and finish the compilation, your extension is notified and then reloaded using the standard browser runtime API.
Check out Hot reloading extensions using Webpack for more background.

How to use

Using as a plugin

Add webpack-extension-reloader to the plugins section of your webpack configuration file. Note that this plugin don't outputs the manifest (at most read it to gather information). For outputing not only the manifest.json but other static files too, use CopyWebpackPlugin.

const ExtensionReloader  = require('webpack-extension-reloader');

plugins: [
  new ExtensionReloader(),
  new CopyWebpackPlugin([
      { from: "./src/manifest.json" },
      { from: "./src/popup.html" },

You can point to your manifest.json file...

plugins: [
  new ExtensionReloader({
    manifest: path.resolve(__dirname, "manifest.json")
  // ...

... or you can also use some extra options (the following are the default ones):

// webpack.dev.js
module.exports = {
  mode: "development", // The plugin is activated only if mode is set to development
  watch: true,
  entry: {
    'content-script': './my-content-script.js',
    background: './my-background-script.js',
    popup: 'popup',
  plugins: [
    new ExtensionReloader({
      port: 9090, // Which port use to create the server
      reloadPage: true, // Force the reload of the page also
      entries: { // The entries used for the content/background scripts or extension pages
        contentScript: 'content-script',
        background: 'background',
        extensionPage: 'popup',
    // ...

Note I: entry or manifest are needed. If both are given, entry will override the information comming from manifest.json. If none are given the default entry values (see above) are used.

And then just run your application with Webpack in watch mode:

NODE_ENV=development webpack --config myconfig.js --mode=development --watch 

Note II: You need to set --mode=development to activate the plugin (only if you didn't set on the webpack.config.js already) then you need to run with --watch, as the plugin will be able to sign the extension only if webpack triggers the rebuild (again, only if you didn't set on webpack.config).

Multiple Content Script and Extension Page support

If you use more than one content script or extension page in your extension, like:

entry: {
  'my-first-content-script': './my-first-content-script.js',
  'my-second-content-script': './my-second-content-script.js',
  // and so on ...
  background: './my-background-script.js',
  'popup': './popup.js',
  'options': './options.js',
  // and so on ...

You can use the entries.contentScript or entries.extensionPage options as an array:

plugins: [
  new ExtensionReloader({
    entries: { 
      contentScript: ['my-first-content-script', 'my-second-content-script', /* and so on ... */],
      background: 'background',
      extensionPage: ['popup', 'options', /* and so on ... */],
  // ...


If you don't want all the plugin setup, you can just use the client that comes with the package.
You can use by installing the package globally, or directly using npx:

npx webpack-extension-reloader

If you run directly, it will use the default configurations, but if you want to customize you can call it with the following options:

npx webpack-extension-reloader --config wb.config.js --port 9080 --no-page-reload --content-script my-content.js --background bg.js --extension-page popup.js

If you have multiple content scripts or extension pages, just use comma (with no spaces) while passing the option

npx webpack-extension-reloader --content-script my-first-content.js,my-second-content.js,my-third-content.js --extension-page popup.js,options.js

Client options

name default description
--help Shows this help
--config webpack.config.js The webpack configuration file path
--port 9090 The port to run the server
--manifest The path to the extension manifest.json file
--content-script content-script The entry/entries name(s) for the content script(s)
--background background The entry name for the background script
--extension-page popup The entry/entries name(s) for the extension pages(s)
--no-page-reload Disable the auto reloading of all pages which runs the plugin

Every time content or background scripts are modified, the extension is reloaded :)
Note: the plugin only works on development mode, so don't forget to set the NODE_ENV before run the command above


Please before opening any issue or pull request check the contribution guide.


This project is under the MIT LICENSE


npm i @bartholomej/webpack-extension-reloader

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