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CommonJS module compiler for node.js and browsers


A CommonJS module resolver, loader and compiler for node.js and browsers.


  • Runs in node.js and browsers.
  • Supports (most) node builtins and globals.
  • SpiderMonkey AST based Plugin system.
  • Stylish logs.

General Usage

Install QuickStart globally (for the cli)

npm install quickstart -g

Add index.html, package.json for your application

cd my-awesome-app


<!DOCTYPE html>
    <script src="./quickstart.js"></script> 


  "name": "my-awesome-app"

Install needed npm packages, QuickStart and plugins locally

npm install underscore --save
npm install quickstart some-quickstart-transform --save-dev

Build a development QuickStart file.

quickstart --transforms some-quickstart-transform --self > quickstart.js

QuickStart will build a standalone QuickStart compiler (for browsers) that includes plugins. If you want to install or remove QuickStart plugins, or change options, repeat this step.

After that, simply link quickstart.js in the <head> of a document. It will compile and load your application at runtime in the browser.


quickstart --transforms some-quickstart-transform > awesome.js

This will create a compiled application for deployment.

Now simply replace quickstart.js with awesome.js

<script src="./awesome.js"></script>

Entry Point

QuickStart always starts compiling your application from the entry point. This value might be read from these locations in this order:

  1. Manually specified main option (command line or node.js).
  2. Resolved automatically with the built-in node-style module resolver.

Plugin system

QuickStart has two types of plugins: transforms and parsers.

  • Parser plugins transform a specific type of source code to a SpiderMonkey AST object.
  • Transform plugins transform a SpiderMonkey AST object to a SpiderMonkey AST object.

node.js interface

var quickstart = require('quickstart');
// the quickstart function returns a promise. 
quickstart({/* options */}).then(function(compiled) {
  var ast = compiled.ast;
  var source = compiled.source;
  var sourceMap = compiled.sourceMap;
  // print the generated JavaScript, or print / work with the abstract syntax tree, work with sourceMaps, etc. 


Note: options might be augmented with the parameter --config jsonFile.json. It defaults to quickstart.json, and will be ignored if not found.

Command line options look the same, except hyphenated.

  runtime: 'quickstart/runtime/browser', // override the default runtime, defaults to quickstart/runtime/browser 
  transforms: [], // which transforms to use, defaults to none 
  parsers: {}, // which parsers to use for each file extension, defaults to none, except embedded ones such as .js and .json. 
  compress: false, // optimize and mangle the ast and JavaScript output 
  output: true, // generates the (compressed if {compress: true}) JavaScript output, defaults to true 
  sourceMap: false, // generates the (compressed if {compress: true}) source map, defaults to false 
  self: false, // compiles the QuickStart compiler instead of the current app, defaults to false 
  main: false, // override the application's main, defaults to the QuickStart resolver 
  warnings: true // display warning messages, defaults to true 

command line interface

quickstart --help


--runtime runtimeModule # override the default runtime
--transforms transformModule # which transforms to use
--parsers ext=parserModule # which parsers to use
--compress # optimize and mangle the ast and JavaScript output
--output # generates the (compressed if `--compress` is set) JavaScript output, defaults to true
--source-map # generates the (compressed if `--compress` is set) source map, defaults to false
--self # compiles the QuickStart compiler instead of the current app, defaults to false
--main ./path/to/entry-point # override the application's entry point, defaults to the QuickStart resolver
--warnings # display warnings messages, defaults to true
--ast ./path/to/source.ast # writes the ast to a file or *STDOUT*, defaults to false

When --output is set to a string, it will send the JavaScript output to that file instead of STDOUT.

quickstart --output output.js

When --source-map is set to a string, it will send the source map output to that file instead of STDOUT.

quickstart --source-map > output.js

When --source-map is set without a value, and --output is set, it will append an inline base64 encoded source map to the output.

quickstart --source-map > output.js
quickstart --source-map --output output.js

When --source-map is set and --output is unset (--no-output) it will write the source map to STDOUT (no value) or the file (value).

quickstart --no-output --source-map >
quickstart --no-output --source-map

When --ast is set without a value the ast is printed to STDOUT.

quickstart --ast > output.ast

This is useful, for instance, to pipe the AST to UglifyJS or any other program that accepts a SpiderMonkey AST:

quickstart --ast --source-map | uglifyjs --spidermonkey > out.js

Note: the --source-map option must be set if you need location information in the AST (to have UglifyJS generate a source map, for instance).