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Discovered browserify too late and/or want to share code on server and client?

Think you are stuck with requirejs AMD format for your client side code because there is no time to do the huge refactor?

Don't you fret, browserify-ftw is here to help. For most projects it will be able to perform an upgrade it to a point where it can be browserified immediately, for all others it should get you at least 90% there.


Running browserify-ftw on your project will rewrite the original files!

Therefore you should check all your files into source control and best create a new branch before running it in order to be able to revert to the original state in case something goes wrong.

The generated shim.js is incompatible with the newest browserify and browserify-shim. Therefore it should only be used as guideline to add the proper config to the package.json as explained here.


  • converts all modules of a given project from requirejs AMD to commonjs (nodejs and thus browserify compatible)
  • safe since it parses the code and pulls information from AST (not just search/replace which is error prone)
  • refactor config allows specifiying code style to use for generated code
  • adds proper relative paths deduced from requirejs main.js config
  • generates proper build.js script which generated the browserify bundle
  • shims commonJS incompatible modules like jquery


  • cannot resolve template files (maybe a good time to switch to precompiled templates) ;)
  • directoryFilter not yet supported

step by step examples

Additionally to the below documentation you will find the step by step examples helpful.

Table of Contents generated with DocToc

preparing requirejs config

In order to improve browserify-ftw path resolution you should make some edits to the paths of your config inside your requirejs config file.

The most important step is to set all vendor libraries that are available on npm, (e.g., 'underscore') paths to null and afterwards install them as node_modules and to shim all others.

This preparation step should be performed as follows:

npm modules

Set all paths that should become global requires to null. You should do this for or modules that you will be installing as node_modules.


[ ... ]
  paths: {
    // we'll use the underscore node_module
    'underscore': null
  • generates require('underscore') wherever define(['underscore'], ... is found

shimmed modules

In order to instruct browserify-ftw to shim a non-commonJS module, you need to include a shim config as part of your requirejs config if it isn't part of it already. It has the exact same format as the requirejs shim config. deps declarations will be ignored.


  shim: {
    jquery: { exports: '$' },
    // assuming foo is not published as an npm module, but commonJS compatible
    foo: { exports: null }
  paths: {
      'jquery': 'modules/jquery',
      'foo': 'modules/foo'

Note: When shimming modules, the generated build.js will require browserify-shim, so make sure to install it:

npm install -S browserify-shim

local modules

References not included in paths or set to undefined will be assumed to be in the or relative to the requirejs config path.


[ ... ]
  paths: {
    // omitting below line has the same effect since then 'mymodule' is undefined as well
    'mymodule': undefined
  • generates require('./mymodule') if define(['mymodule'], ... is found in another module that is also in the requirejs config path
  • generates require('../mymodule') if define(['mymodule'], ... is found in another module that is in a folder one level below the requirejs config path
  • since 'myothermodule' is not mentioned in paths it is considered undefined and generated require statements are equivalent to the ones generated for 'mymodule'
  • dependency 'lib/mylib' will be assumed to be at './lib/mylib' (relative to requirejs config path)

dry run

You can try a dry run via browserify-ftw -r require-config.js -e ./entry.js, which will use a default refactor config with dryrun enabled.

preparing a custom refactor config

Update the following file to match the style of your project and save it next to the require-config.js (i.e. as refactor-config.js).

module.exports = {
    quote           :  '\''         // '\'' or '"'
  , style           :  'var'        // 'var', 'comma', 'comma-first'
  , indent          :  2            // the tab size used in your project
  , directoryFilter :  null         // not supported yet
  , fileFilter      :  '.js'        // the extension of the file to upgrade
  , dryrun          :  true         // true|false if true no changes will be written to upgraded files
  , moveStrict      :  true         // true|false if true moves 'use strict;' statement to the top of the file

running browserify-ftw

browserify-ftw has a very simple command line interface. Usage is available via browserify-ftw:

➜  browserify-ftw  
  -r, --requirejs  path to requirejs-config.js file                                             [required]
  -c, --config     path to config to be used for the refactoring                                [default: (built in refactor config)]
  -b, --build      path at which the generated browserify build script should be saved          [default: "./build.js"]
  -u, --bundle     path at which the bundle generated by the browserify build should be saved   [default: "./bundle.js"]
  -e, --entry      path at which the entry file for browserify will be located                  [required]

Therefore after you prepared your require-config.js and a refactor-config.js the following will upgrade your project while printing information about which files are being upgraded:

browserify-ftw -r require-config.js -c refactor-config.js -e entry.js -b ./build.js -u ./build/bundle.js

It should end with "Successfully upgraded your project.".

You can then use valiquire . in order to verify that all require statements are correct. Note that shimmed modules are not found by valiquire, so you can safely ignore warnings about those (i.e., jquery).

If you don't have valiquire installed on your machine you can do so as follows:

npm install -g valiquire

running the generated build script

Assuming you installed browserify local to your project and if you shimmed modules, also browserify-shim, you can run the generated build script in order to create the bundle file.

You then need to change the sourced JavaScript file in your main HTML file e.g., index.html:


  <script src="library/js/build/bundle.js"></script> 

At this point should be ready to run your application.

For more details consult the step by step examples.

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  • thlorenz