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<script src='re-define.js' />

Let's re-define something ... without any configuration ... just do the magic for me, yet another build tool.

Easy way to pack your application source files into one file(s) in order to build a bundle(s) you can use in <scipt> tag. re-define checks recursively require calls and could be used either to AMD or CommonJS files, since all AMD modules are converted into CJS.

Check examples to get better picture. Simple guide how to work with.

Some differences, nice things in re-define

  • works well with bower and npm
  • incremental builds (enable --development flag)
  • connects javascript chunks in better organized code via namspaces
  • has a fallback to external require function, works with requirejs, browserify
  • exposing internal parts, makes flat folder structure for module name, all names are aligned to theirs cwd/base paths, so you can easly require internal part of lib as you get used to it with npm
  • when dependency is missing then is treated as external without shouting, helpful when you'd like to keep some rarely changing parts in separation

What is inside

  • require function allows to reference different namespaces
  • all modules are wrapped in cjs wrapper function(exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname)
  • ability to split bundles using glob, to extract common parts based on folder
  • when piping passing vinyl files (integration with gulp)
  • automatically loads configuration from file re-define.json
  • handling glob pattern as an input
  • for external deps (outside the base folder or those which live in node_modules/bower_components) it checks descriptor files, such as bower.json or package.json, if there is no descriptor it is trying to match file with requested dep name, check re-define-include-external to get more details
  • re-define make names for module appropriatelty to folder structure and expose it within given namespace which could be referenced further from any other different module, this is: assuming your module is placed in folder my_awesome_component all internal modules are presented as my_awesome_component/**. (check tests to get more info)


  • to provide better support for amd
  • to share code and expose more than one module within namespace and import it from others
  • to to handle amd and CJS togheter


  • generating sourcemaps
  • separate namespace for bundles when slicing


  • resolve only static require statements (thinking)

Getting Started

Install the module: npm install -g re-define


command line

re-define [file/files or glob pattern] -[options]


'-b, --base [dir]'            , 'Base dir'
'-o, --output [dir or file]'  , 'Output, when defined saving to appropriate files'
'-t, --transforms [libs]'     , 'Attach transform streams'
'-e, --exclude-deps [deps]'   , 'Ignore deps - ".css"'
'-m, --map-deps [deps]'       , 'Remap dependency name (require call)'
'--namespace [a.b.c.d]'       , 'Namespace for bundle'
'--imports [namespaces]'      , 'Import namespaces'
'-g, --globals [json]'        , 'Map require external calls to global - {jquery:this.jquery}'
'-n, --names [json]'          , 'Register names for AMD/Global, i.e {amd:"sth",global:"sth.sth"}'
'-r, --returns [file/module]' , 'Return module, could be specified as file or resolved module'
'-w, --wrapper [type]'        , 'Wrapper type umd'
'-p, --project-name [name]'   , 'Project name, it becomes prefix for your internal modules name'
'--development'               , 'Development mode'
'--external [json]'           , 'Include module from external location {lib:path}')
'--discoverable [dirs]'       , 'External modules lib, such bower_components'
'--descriptors [files]'       , 'Checking main file in external dep descriptor'
'--skip [module]'             , 'Skip external module'

as stream

  //with single entry point 
    .fromFile( entryPoint
             , { 'project-name': 'components'
               , wrapper: 'browserify' }
             , [ includeExternal({})
               , reactify({}) ]
  //many entry points 
  var bundle = redefine.bundle(redefine.config(), transforms)
  bundle.write({ path: e })


module.exports = 
  { names         : { amd: 'amd/name', global: '' }
  , project       : '' //project name, adding a prefix to internal module name 
  , returns       : ''
  , globals      : {} //external {lib:global} 
  //working directory 
  , cwd           : '.'
  //define cutting points for modules { glob_pattern: file, ... } 
  , slice         : {"**/**": "bundle.js"}
  //could be a folder (in case of many files) or just file, when not defined print output to console 
  , output        : ''
  //base folder, all modules will be aligned to this one, like cwd: a, file: a/b/c, base: a/b, file -> c 
  , base          : ''
  //wrapper file  
  , wrapper       : 'default'
  //attach all bundled modules to namespace, is allowed 
  , namespace: '' 
  //skip dependencies from externals (won't be included in wrapper as external dep for all module definition, assume that dep will be taken from namespace, works with glob 'dep_name/**') 
  , exclude: []
  //exclude specific AMD dependencies 
  , excludeAMDModules : ['\.css$', 'require', 'modules', 'exports']
  //regexp to detect an AMD plugins, first we need to remove the plugin prefix to get a path 
  , plugins      : ['^(text\/?)*!']
  , discoverable : ['bower_components', 'node_modules']
  //import namespaces, if you need to take some deps from exported namespace 
  , imports: []
  //remap require calls, helpful when some libs have different reference to the same module 
  , map: {}
  //js extensions, needed for filename.with.dots.js 
  , jsExt: ['.js']
  //check existence of main/dir file when referencing a dir, like require('folder') = folder/index.js 
  , dirExpanders: ['index.js']
  //when project is missing, inserting current folder as a prefix for modules 
  , autoInsertFolder: true
  //format for escodegen 
  , format: {
      indent: { style: '  ', base: 2 },
      space: ' ',
      compact: false,
      safeConcatenation: false
  , showWarnings: false
  , tempFolder: './.tmp'
  , autoCacheClean: false
  , development: true
  • globals

internally we require('jquery'), however jquery is only accessible via global, so to remap jquery to global.$ we need to set a mapping, like

globals: {'jquery': '$'}

this property matters only with following templates: iife, umd, browserify, global

  • wrappers

It is important to understand that some templates may not be compatibile with each other out of the box, sometimes you need to specify custom configuration.

browserify - use when your project based upon browserify (returns require as a result and can be referenced further)

default - expose all modules, to be able to import it further and get a feeling like when require in node ('component/internal-part')

global - works with default as isolated module with one entry point, use globals property in config to remap require statement to global, like code: require('jquery') -> config: globals: {jquery: $}

umd - expose one module compatibile with amd/cjs/global, use exclude when you are referencing something from external namespace and it should not be included in requirejs call

iife - auto invoke returned/last module, without sharing any info from internal scope

There is plenty of use cases and how code could be reused, be creative!

  • src

it only accepts entry points, referencing whole set like **/** is a bit pointless, since there is perfomance impact as well as you can include something which is not needed at all.

  • autoCacheClean && development

when development mode is enabled re-define creates a .tmp folder where stores resolved files to speed up compilation time, however when autoCacheClean flag is enabled, then is removing old entries, for the time being it is not well optimized and there is a noticable performance impact

  • map

remap require calls, helpful when some libs have different reference to the same module. i.e. require('d3/d3') when {'d3/d3':'d3'} becomes require('d3').

  • imports

import namespaces, i.e. org.components, you can use also window as namespace when there is no need to remap anything, like require('d3'), window.d3. To get more configuration option, it could be used with exclude just to skip those dependencies which should be referenced from namespace instead of global or amd module.

How it works


//create namespace for components
re-define lookup.js --namespace org.component
//import it to make it accessible for your code 
re-define index.js --imports --namespace

To get more, check this example or this one, more advanced a bit example

Custom transforms

module.exports = function(yourConfig) {
  var stream = function streamName(globalConfig) {
    return through2.obj(function(file, enc, next) {})
  stream.order = `after`
  return stream
//if you give a name to your function then you can attach config within the global one, this is { streamName: myConfig } 

when order for stream stream.order = after then file.contents = AST

Available transforms

Compilation time

Some results could be found here.


To run re-define in debug mode, just run DEBUG=re-define:* re-define

File watcher

There is no embeded watcher for files. In development mode re-define creates cache with resolved files so after second run checks against existency within temp and resolves again those which are fresh. Watching with nodemon --ignore bundle.js --exec 're-define index.js --development --output bundle.js'