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Resolve URL gulp plugin


Gulp plugin that resolves relative paths in url() statements based on the original source file using sourcemaps.

Use in conjunction with the sass plugin and specify your asset url() relative to the .scss file in question.

This loader will use the source-map from the SASS compiler to locate the original .scss source file and fix relative url paths.

Getting started

# via npm 
npm install gulp-resolve-url --save-dev


gulp.task('styles', function (){
    return gulp.src('./src/**/*.scss', { base: './src' })


#### Source maps required

Note that **source maps** must be added to gulp stream. You need to use for example gulp-sourcemaps plugin.

### Options
Options are passed as the first parameter to the gulpResolveUrl function.

var gulpResolveUrl = require('gulp-resolve-url');

Where ... is aa object with the following properties.

  • attempts Limit searching for any files not where they are expected to be. This is unlimited by default so you will want to set it 1 or some small value.

  • silent Do not display warnings on CSS syntax or source-map error.

  • fail Syntax or source-map errors will result in an error.

  • keepQuery Keep query string and hash within url. I.e. url('./MyFont.eot?#iefix'), url('./MyFont.svg#oldiosfix').

  • debug Show verbose information on the file paths being searched.

  • root An optional directory within which search may be performed. Relative paths are permitted. Where omitted process.cwd() is used and should be sufficient for most use cases.

There are some additional hacks available without support. Only do this if you know what you are doing.

  • absolute Forces the url() to be resolved to an absolute path. This is considered bad practice.

  • includeRoot (experimental, non-performant) Include the project root in file search. The root option need not be specified but includeRoot is only really useful if your root directory is shallower than your build working directory.

Note that query parameters take precedence over programmatic parameters.

How it works

A rework process is run on incoming CSS.

Each url() statement that implies an asset triggers a file search using node fs operations. The asset should be relative to the original source file that was transpiled. This original source is determined by consulting the incoming source-map at the point of the url() statement.

Usually the asset is found relative to the original source file O(1).

However in cases where there is no immediate match, we start searching both deeper and shallower from the starting directory O(n). Note that n may be limited by the attempts option.

This file search "magic" is mainly for historic reasons, to work around broken packages whose assets are not where we would expect.

Shallower paths must be limited to avoid the whole file system from being considered. Progressively shallower paths within the root will be considered. Paths featuring a package.json or bower.json file will not be considered.

If the asset is not found then the url() statement will not be updated with a Webpack module-relative path. However if the url() statement has no source-map source information the loader will fail.

The loader will also fail when input source-map sources cannot all be resolved relative to some consistent path within root.

Use the debug option to see exactly what paths are being searched.

Limitations / Known-issues

File search "magic"

Failure to find an asset will trigger a file search of your project.

This feature was for historic reasons, to work around broken packages, whose assets are not where we would expect. Such problems are rare now and many users may not be aware of the search feature.

We now have the attempts option to limit this feature. However by default it is unlimited (attempts=0) which could make your build non-performant.

You should explicitly set attempts=1 and increase the value only if needed. We will look to make this the default in the next major release.


Where url() statements are created in a mixin the source file may then be the mixin file, and not the file calling the mixin. Obviously this is not the desired behaviour.

The incoming source map can vary greatly with different transpilers and their mixins. Use a source map visualiser to see more. If the source-map shows the correct original file and the mixin still doesn't work then raise an issue and point to the visualisation.

Ultimately you will need to work around this. Try to avoid the mixin. Worst case you can try the includeRoot option to force a search of your project sources.