Enjoy Multiple Screens Live Reload and app building at the same time


A personal tool to help me maintaining my projects. Hope it helpful to you too. It bundles:

1. js|jsx files via browserify or not.
2. css|scss|less|stylus with auto-prefixer or not

It supports URL refactor in html/css for CDN production deployment.

For example, todos.min.js will be renamed as todos.min-jadqu0.js with its version hash added and the url in views files are refactored too.


Install to the project as local dependency

$ npm install appstackr --save-dev

Edit package.json script property as following if express project

"scripts": {
    "start"   : "node ./bin/www",
    "appstack": "appstack",
    "appbuild": "appbuild",
    "appwatch": "appwatch -i --server",
    "devel"   : "DEBUG={app_name}:* node ./bin/www",
    "bsync"   : "npm run devel & npm run appwatch"

Run command - Enjoy Multiple Screens Live Reload & app building at the same time.

$ npm run bsync

It will start the server in DEBUG mode listening on port 3000. Then, start files watch on the files described in stacks.js, including stacks.js itself. Then, start browser-sync and proxy to

Make sure express-generator is not installed, or remove it temporally

Install the generator:

$ npm install -g benpptung/generator

create the app:

$ express /tmp/foo && cd /tmp/foo

Install dependencies:

$ npm install

Rock and Roll

$ npm run bsync
"appwatch": "appwatch --server"

appstackr will direct browser-sync to watch public folder, which is defined in global config, or appstackr-settings.json

"appwach": "appwatch -b"
$ npm run appwatch


module.exports = [
    name: 'site',
    nature: 'js',
    files: 'client/site/style.scss'
  • name: string e.g. site or base/site
  • files: glob pattern, or path resolved to a node module of array, e.g. site/**/*.js, react, react/addons
  • watch: array or string, to watch the files not included in files array. Useful for files required/imported in js or css files.
  • nature: js|jhtml|css|chtml|html
  • commonjs: true, if nature is js|jhtml and browserify options. commonjs is auto set to true
  • browserfiy: browserify() options. Three additonal options: exposes, externals, ignores.
  • autoprefixer: auto-prefixer options to define which browsers want to support.
module.exports = [
    name: 'base/site',
    nature: 'js',
    files: [
      'superagent',                                 // bundle the superagent node module
      'client/site/env.js',                         // bundle a local js file
      'node_modules/ractive/ractive-legacy.min.js', // bundle a node module file using relative path
      'react/addons'                                // bundle the react.js addons module
    browserify: {
      exposes: 'superagent, ractive-legacy.min.js:ractive, react'
        // expose superagent, ractive-legacy.min.js as ractive, react/addons
    name: 'base/helper',
    nature: 'js',
    files: [
    browserify: {
      externals: 'superagent',
        // browserify.external('superagent');
      exposes: 'loader.js:loader' 
        // filename loader.js found in client/helper/**/*.js will be 
        // expose as loader
    name: 'base/iefix',
    nature: 'js',
    files: [
    // if no commonjs or browserify option, concat the js files directly

If see EMFILE appstackr error, it means there are too many files opened. It might happen to require react module. One of the workarounds is to stack its minified file directly, e.g. node_modules/react/dist/react-with-addons.min.js Also, facebook has tried their best to minify their js files, we shall not minify the files again.

To require a ractive template and style rules

var Ractive = require('ractive');
var component = Ractive.extend({
  el: '#alice-box',
  template: require('./ui.ract'),
  data: {
    name: 'Ben',
    unread: 6,
    total: 10
  css: require('./ui.scss') // or css|less|stylus
  1. Put .jsx file in files array of a stack.
  2. require() the .jsx file.
module.exports = [
    "name": "bootstrap",
    "nature": "css",
    "files": [
    "autoprefixer": "> 5%, IE 8"
|-- public
|-- views
|   |
|   \-- components
|-- dist
|-- stacks.js
\-- appstackr-settings.json