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    All-in-one TypeScript and Sass compiler for web applications! 📦 🚀

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    Machine-Wide (simpler and convenient)

    npm install -g instapack

    If you encounter errors during installation, try:

    • Using shell as Administrator or elevated privileges (sudo), clear the npm cache: npm cache clean --force and then: npm install -g instapack --no-optional

    • Or downgrade to npm 4 to avoid buggy npm 5: npm install -g npm@4

    • Or use Yarn instead: yarn global add instapack

    Per Project (consistent build)

    npm install instapack@[version] -D -E or yarn add instapack@[version] -D -E then modify the project's package.json

      "scripts": {
        "build": "ipack"

    After that, npm run build or yarn run build

    Programmable Node.js API is also provided if you wish to integrate instapack into your own build script.

    Quick Start Guide

    cd E:\VS\MyWebApp
    ipack new empty

    Out of the box, these files will be used as the program entry points:

    • client/js/index.ts compiled to wwwroot/js/ipack.js

      • Include this file at the bottom of your HTML / before </body> using <script> so the browser can render the page while downloading the script.

      • Anything imported from node_modules will be put into ipack.dll.js. Please also include this file in your HTML just before ipack.js

    • client/css/index.scss compiled to wwwroot/css/ipack.css

      • Include this file at the top of your HTML / before </head> using <link> so the browser can style and render the page as it loads.

      • Spiced 🌶 with AutoPrefixer for applying CSS vendor-prefixes automatically!

    • Concatenate files listed in package.json (

      • Usually the output file should be included in the HTML before ipack.js

    Practical guides can be read in the books folder.

    System Requirements

    Currently supported Node.js is the latest version 8 LTS.

    When using Visual Studio 2017 (Update 2 or above), install the latest TypeScript SDK for Visual Studio 2017.

    When using Visual Studio 2015 (Update 3 or above), install the latest TypeScript SDK for Visual Studio 2015.

    If using the latest Visual Studio Code, it should come with the latest TypeScript support out of the box.


    • Hyper-opinionated web app client project builder with near-zero configurations. It just works! 💖

    • Built-in new project scaffold tool. 🎁

    • Rich debugging experience: set breakpoints, view variables, and step into the TypeScript source code! 🔍

    Design Goals

    • Lower the barrier of entry for developing a modern web app. 👼

    • Introduce structure to the app client source code. 🏢

    • Improve source code quality and maintainability with type hints and compile-time checks. 👓

    • Enforce best practices when building apps, which may significantly impact page load time. (e.g. bundling and minification) ✈️

    • Unify team build system across multiple projects, for any frameworks. ✊

    • Blur the boundary between design time and coding time using lightning fast watch + dev compilation mode. ⚡️

    But... Why?

    Recently every hecking framework on this planet 🌏 has their own CLI, but only few are able to support TypeScript out of the box. Hence, most people gave up on TypeScript right off the bat... 💔

    instapack is an initiative to develop a command line tool for compiling most apps developed using mainstream JS frameworks, with a 🍋 twist: It can easily build an app written in TypeScript with minimal or no further configurations!

    Powered by webpack, instapack effortlessly devours modules written using modern JS standards (ES Harmony, CommonJS, AMD, UMD) and is capable of importing HTML templates out of the box. instapack is battle-tested 🔪 and is designed to cover most normal use cases when developing a modern web app.

    With this powerful tool, you can save time ⌚️, save precious SSD space 👾, and save yourself from the pain of manually maintaining project build scripts! ☕️


    You may use instapack or ipack to invoke the command line interface.

    new [template]

    Scaffolds a new instapack project into your existing app folder where the command line is invoked. The following templates are available:

    If no template parameter is provided, vue will be chosen. 🖖

    build [project]

    Performs compilation against selected project type. Available projects: all, js, css and concat. If no project parameter is provided, all will be chosen.

    In addition, build flags are available:

    • --watch or -w enables automatic incremental build on source code changes. 🤖

    • --dev or -d disables build outputs optimization and minification for FAST build! 🔥

    • --xdebug or -x disables source maps, producing undebuggable outputs. (Slightly improves build speed)

    • --stats generates stats.json next to the TypeScript build outputs, which can be fed to webpack-bundle-analyzer or webpack-visualizer. For sanity, this flag will be ignored when using -d or -w flags.

    You can combine multiple build flags, for example: ipack -dw = dev + watch mode for massive productivity gainz! 💪


    Remove all files in the output folders.


    • package-manager allows setting default package manager to be used for restoring and integrity-checking node_modules prior build. Possible values: yarn, npm, disabled (default: yarn)

    • mute-notification disables toast alert on build fails in watch mode when set to true. Possible values: true and false (default: false)


    instapack puts configurations inside package.json to reduce project files clutter. For example, this is the included package.json with vue template:

    name, version, private, dependencies, and devDependencies fields were removed for brevity.

      "instapack": {
        "output": "wwwroot",
        "concat": {},
        "alias": {
          "vue": "vue/dist/vue.esm",
          "jquery": "jquery/dist/jquery.slim"
    • input allows setting the input folder name. By default, it is set to client

    • output allows setting the output folder name. By default, it is set to wwwroot

    • jsOut allows setting the JS output file name. By default, it is set to ipack.js

    • cssOut allows setting the CSS output file name. By default, it is set to ipack.css

    • alias allows overriding module import calls from all files, including dependencies. Read more ↗

      • TypeScript paths compiler option in tsconfig.json will be translated into aliases with caveats:

        • Due to technical limitations, only the first path in the string array will be honored!

        • "All modules" pattern * will not be honored because it dirties the packages namespace!

    Packages are imported without relative paths, therefore * path turns all project modules into package imports. This can cause the project to be less maintainable or confusing...

    • externals allows rewriting module import calls from all files, including dependencies, to globally exposed objects via window object. Read more ↗

    For example:

      "instapack": {
        "externals": {
          "jquery": "$"
    // converts this...
    import jQuery from 'jquery';
    // into something similar to this...
    // const jQuery = window["$"];

    so CDN can be used! 🎉

    <script src=""></script>
    • concat allows packing browser libraries to be consumed directly from <script src="..."> rather than as a module.

      • The file names will be resolved node-style (but NOT their contents), which allows concatenating packages downloaded from npm to be bundled, minified, and then placed into the output JS folder.

      • Use concatenation for libraries that cannot be imported / do not need to be imported (for example, jQuery plugins). This hybrid approach allows excellent interop with older libraries!

      • For consuming the libraries within the TypeScript app code: include the concatenated file BEFORE the app bundle then...

        • Combo with the externals module configuration for easy import using require / CommonJS module syntax.

        • Alternatively (for strongly-typed import), write a TypeScript module declaration (declare module) then import using ES Modules syntax.

        • Possible but not recommended: reference the library objects directly from the window (e.g. window['$']).

    A concat configuration example: (produces vendor.js bundle handy for ASP.NET MVC)

      "instapack": {
        "concat": {
          "vendor": [


    instapack version 6.4.0+ supports .env in the project root folder. Environment variables declared within will be used to define process.env (using process.env in TypeScript requires @types/node package installed).

    For example: FOO=bar will define process.env.FOO as 'bar'

    Due to technical reasons, .env file cannot be watched.


    In addition, build flag --env accepts object-like notation to be passed as process.env variables.

    • Variables passed using the flag will be merged with variables defined in .env

    • Variables passed using the flag takes takes priority / overrides the variables defined in .env

    For example: ipack --env.FOO=bar --env.HELLO=world

    Variables coming from process.env are always strings.

    Babel (BETA)

    instapack version 6.4.0+ supports .babelrc in the project root folder. Here are some use cases where this feature can be useful:

    • You may use Babel instead of TypeScript to transpile JS to ES5: set TypeScript target to esnext then use @babel/preset-env

    • You may use Babel instead of TypeScript to compile JSX: set TypeScript jsx to preserve then use the framework-compatible JSX plugin. For example: babel-plugin-transform-react-jsx, babel-plugin-transform-vue-jsx, babel-plugin-inferno

    Module Systems

    TypeScript / ES Modules

    Imports and exports other .ts / .tsx files in the project or normal JS modules from node_modules. This technique allows the ease of development using intellisense for modules with type definitions:

    • The module has "typings": "something.d.ts" in its package.json. For example: vue, linq

    • The module has @types installed. For example, react and @types/react

    import List from 'linq';

    When the imported module does not have any type definitions, it will be imported as any data type (no intellisense).

    ES Modules: Dynamic Import

    instapack version 6.4.0+ supports code-splitting using ES Modules dynamic import() syntax:

    import('lunr').then(lunr => {
      // similar to: import * as lunr from 'lunr'

    An excerpt of build log when using dynamic import:

    [02:41:10] ipack.0.js 70.1 kB
    [02:41:10] ipack.dll.js 220 kB
    [02:41:10] ipack.js 2.76 kB
    • Unlike ipack.dll.js which must be referenced explicitly before ipack.js, the lunr module in ipack.0.js will be automatically downloaded on-demand to reduce asset size during initial page load.

    • The import() method returns a Promise object which resolves to the downloaded module, which can be await-ed in TypeScript!

    • The number 0 is an auto-generated chunk name, which can be overridden using the magic comment import(/* webpackChunkName: "lunr" */ 'lunr') (generates ipack.lunr.js instead).

    • This feature will be especially useful when a gigantic library is required in just one or two components, but not the whole app!

    To use this syntax within TypeScript, module compiler option in tsconfig.json must be set to esnext (instead of the usual es2015).

    CommonJS / Node.js require

    • Easily imports ordinary JS modules within the project or from node_modules. However, you will NOT get intellisense! (Modules will be imported as any data type.)

    • Imports a static JSON file to be parsed as JS object.

    let $ = require('jquery');
    let settings = require('./settings.json') as ISettings;
    • Imports an .html file to be minified and then stringified. This technique is invaluable for working with frameworks relying on HTML-based templates such as AngularJS, mustache.js / Handlebars.js, and Vue.js:
    let template = require('./mytemplate.html') as string;

    CommonJS require method in TypeScript is provided through @types/requirejs or @types/node packages.

    Use as type-hint for clarity and convenience.

    Vue Single-File Components (BETA)

    instapack version 6.4.0+ can compile .vue files:

    <h1>Hello from {{ compiler }} and {{ framework }}!</h1>
    <script lang="ts">
    import Vue from 'vue';
    import Component from 'vue-class-component';
        props: ['framework', 'compiler']
    export default class Hello extends Vue {
        framework: string;
        compiler: string;
    • The HTML <template> will be compiled Ahead-of-Time (AoT) for greater app startup performance!

    • When using Visual Studio Code with Vetur extension, you will get fabulous intellisense! 🌟

    • Basic <style> (or <style scoped> or <style module>) should work, but should not be used.

      • This feature is not supported at least until webpack ships built-in CSS modules.

      • Limitations: You cannot use Sass. The CSS will not be auto-prefixed and minified.

      • Reduced project maintainability: Your CSS will be scattered across obscure files in the JS project. Non-scoped styles will pollute the global CSS namespace.

    • A global TypeScript definition file for *.vue module is required for importing the .vue file using ES Modules syntax from TypeScript.

      • This file will be created for you when using the vue new project template!

    Sass @import

    instapack also has a custom-made Node-like but standard-compliant Sass module system using @import syntax:

    • Include files relative to the source, which include _partial.scss files. (Standard Sass behavior)

    • Include files relative to the source in a named folder, but as index.scss or index.css

    • Include files, resolved from node_modules. Also reads package.json to locate the file in style field!

    Unlike Sass which ignores @import of files explicitly named with .css extension (which often caused confusion), instapack will pick up those files!

    Release Cadence

    Starting version 4.0.0, instapack follows Semantic Versioning.

    Bi-weekly releases (usually on 14th and 28th date of each month) will be performed for updating package dependencies. Bug reports will be dealt promptly. These actions will increment the patch version.

    New non-breaking features will increment the minor version. Breaking changes will increment the major version. View breaking changes here.

    Occasionally, beta builds will be published (instapack@beta) for showcasing the bleeding edge version of the tool.

    Alternatively, you may build directly from the source code repository:

    git clone
    cd instapack
    ipack --version


    Can I use [insert_framework_name_here] ?

    Yes, absolutely! If it worked when using standard JS, it WILL work with instapack!!

    Add the packages required for your project using npm / Yarn and then start hacking. We'll take care of the outputs.

    Also, pull requests are welcomed if you have a great starting templates and books for those projects. We'd love to expand our collections!

    How to debug using Visual Studio Code?

    Install the VS Code extension: Debugger for Chrome, open the project using VS Code (package.json should be located on your workspace folder root).

    Create a folder .vscode and a file launch.json inside it:

        "configurations": [
                "name": "Chrome",
                "type": "chrome",
                "request": "launch",
                "url": "http://localhost:43371/",
                "webRoot": "${workspaceFolder}",
                "smartStep": true

    Replace the url parameter with the correct URL of your app, then press F5 on your keyboard!

    How to develop a Cordova app using vue-mobile template?

    cordova create MyProject
    cd MyProject
    ipack new vue-mobile
    cordova platform add android ios browser
    ipack -dw               # then change www/index.html <script> and <link> tags.
    cordova run browser     # re-run commmand every time build outputs change

    CAUTION: cordova platform add and cordova plugin add (or remove) will destroy your node_modules. Re-run yarn / npm install after invoking those commands!

    Alternatively, you can use phonegap serve for development due to Browsersync playing nice with instapack watch. You will need to remove / comment / edit the <meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy"> tag though.

    Later on...

    cordova build android
    cordova build ios

    I thought files should not be bundled because of HTTP/2?


    Also, in IIS, HTTP/2 is only supported when using Windows Server 2016. Many of our customers are still using Windows Server 2012 R2 to date.

    Can I change the index.ts / index.scss entry point?


    Can I change the js / css folder name?


    Can I build multiple entry points?


    However, you can eject the client folder out of the back-end project folder, rename the jsOut file, and then redirect the output folder path back into the assets folder of the back-end project. This is the preferred way of doing things because:

    • You may have multiple front-end projects for a single back-end project.

    • Every front-end project can have vastly different tsconfig.json and package.json setup.

    • Prevents front-end projects from screwing around with each other's code.

    My package restore / IDE is slow. Help!

    Windows Defender or other anti-virus software appear to slow down package restore and IDEs when opening projects.

    For this very reason, it is highly recommended to:

    • Add anti-virus exclusion to Yarn installation folder: C:\Program Files (x86)\Yarn. To double check, type: where.exe yarn

    • Add anti-virus exclusion to Yarn cache folder: C:\Users\Ryan\AppData\Local\Yarn. To double check, type: yarn cache dir

    • Add anti-virus exclusion to NodeJS installation folder: C:\Program Files\nodejs. To double check, type: where.exe node

    • Add anti-virus exclusion to %APPDATA%\npm and %APPDATA%\npm-cache folders.

    • Add anti-virus exclusion to Git installation folder: C:\Program Files\Git. To double check, type: where.exe git

    • Use very short root folder name for projects, such as D:\VS, to avoid potential problems with Windows system paths over 260 characters long. Then exclude the folder from the anti-virus.

    Your PowerShell is cute. How to?

    Set-ExecutionPolicy RemoteSigned -scope CurrentUser
    iex (new-object net.webclient).downloadstring('')
    scoop install concfg
    concfg import firefly

    For more information, visit and




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