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0.3.18 • Public • Published


A personal opinioned tool to strategically stack up front-end bundles from js, jsx, css, scss, less, stylus, html-styled template files( swig, ractive, mustache ), or pure html files. Using browserify, browser-sync, uglifyjs, auto-prefixer, htmlcompressor..etc.

Add hashes to the stacked bundles. So the browser can long-term cache js, image and css files. Speed up website in production environment.

Beware to use this tool. It is only working and tested on node.js 4.4.3, so there should be some problems if node.js > 4.4.3.

Todo list

  • switch Gaze to chalk.
  • multiple stack files to separate concerns
  • update modules
  • rewrite entirely to make it easy to maintain


Install to the project as local dependency

$ npm install appstackr --save-dev

Edit package.json script property as following( use express as example )

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

Add a stacks.js file like following

module.exports = [
    name: 'base/site',
    nature: 'js',
    files: 'path/to/client/**/*.js'
    name: 'base/site',
    nature: 'css',
    files: [

Stack up front-end bundles /js/base/site.min.js and /css/base/site.min.css

$ npm run appstack

Run command

$ npm run bsync

Find the view files, edit the src and href pointed to /js/base/site.min.js and /css/base/site.min.css


Generate an express project with appstackr installed

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

Stack up front-end bundles:

$ npm run appstack

Start server & appwatch together

$ npm run bsync
Stack up bundles while starting appwatch
"appwatch": "appwatch -i --server"
Use browser-sync server ( No your own routes & views )

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


stacks.js setup

module.exports = [
    name: 'site',
    nature: 'js',
    files: 'client/site/**/*.js'

stacks.js options

  • 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.
Example to bundle modules into stacks
module.exports = [
    name: 'base/bundle',
    nature: 'js',
    files: 'superagent, insert-css',
      exposes: '*' // Make all modules outside the bundle with require().
    name: 'base/site',
    nature: 'js',
    files: [
    browserify: {
      exposes: [
      // Make private module outside the bundle using <file_name>:<module_name> pattern
    name: 'base/shim',
    nature: 'js',
    files: [
    // concat plain js files
browserify tranforms support

Require scss|less|styl|css file directly in js or jsx

var React = require('react');
var insCSS = require('insert-css');


module.exports = React.createClass(...);

react.js support
  1. Put .jsx file in a stack.
  2. or require .jsx file in the codes.
auto-prefixer support
module.exports = [
    "name": "bootstrap",
    "nature": "css",
    "files": [
    "autoprefixer": "> 5%, IE 8"

Default directory structure

|-- public ( hold the js/css/image files )
|-- views ( hold the view files for server routes )      
|-- stacks.js ( how to stack up front-end bundles )
\-- appstackr-settings.json ( configure appstackr, e.g. define your own public js folder name )


$ npm run appbuild

Create dist folder, auto-refactor the views, public assests. Upload public assets to cdn server, and point views folder to dist/views in production environment.


appstackr has no source map. To figure out what's wrong, use the following command to beautify the codes and see where the error is in browser console. If not sure which source file it is, use stacks.js as an index. e.g. to check example.min.js

$ npm run appstack -- -bf example:js


  1. appstackr is designed as a local dependency in a project. That said, if you upgrade your global build tool, it's very possible your next building results of js|css files will be changed. Thereafter, in your CDN, these static files will have different version hash tags, then your customers are forced to reload the new static files, just because you upgrade your build tool.

  2. appstackr is not designed to be a public project or replace other tools. It's just a personal opinioned tool in my produciton environment, continuely improvement is for sure.

  3. appstackr is an inspiration after couple years using ANT to maintain my websites. It had been a nightmare, and I don't want it to happen again. One of the most important priority in appstackr is less is more, including no more verbose syntax in building script, easy to tell where are the source files, and where are the destination files.


npm i appstackr

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