node package manager


rwb: the React workbench

rwb has two goals.

  • Reduce "build tool bullshit" to 0
  • Enable sharing of components in npm

Reducing build tool bullshit

  • No codegen: all configs are built inside of rwb. There's a single entry in package.json that tells rwb where your Routes are. When rwb is updated, you'll get the latest webpack config for free.
  • Designed for composable components: there isn't anything specific to single-page-apps in here. Full single-page-apps are just larger components. This can be used for tiny components or huge apps.
  • Best-in-class developer experience: the developer experience is (dare I say) as good as it gets, with source maps, babel and hot reloading working out-of-the-box.

Enable sharing of components in npm

This is a lofty goal.

  • It's hard to share components in npm because there's no standard way to include assets like images, fonts, and CSS.
  • If you build a component with rwb you can assume that loaders are configured for CSS and images.
  • If you want to use a rwb-authored component in your existing app, run rwb validate ./path/to/webpack.config.js to validate that your webpack config has all the loaders that rwb assumes are there.

The great developer experience of rwb is a trojan horse designed to increase adoption of this "standard".

How to develop

npm install -g git+
mkdir myapp
cd myapp
npm init
rwb init
rwb serve

You can change the port by setting the RWB_PORT environment variable: RWB_PORT=3001 rwb serve

Build a static site

rwb static

This will create dist/index.html, dist/bundle.js and dist/styles.css. These files are optimized and suitable for production, though if you have a large, complicated single-page app you'll want to roll your own multi-bundle setup (rwb will solve this soon).

Going to production

When you go to production you'll have your own webpack config. rwb validate will ensure that your config will work with components created with rwb.

rwb validate ./path/to/webpack.config.js

Open issues

  • Did we pick the right loaders?
  • Is this going to fragment the npm community? (yes, but that's the price of progress, and we should try to minimize this as much as possible)
  • rwb static should do an opinionated production build.


  • It's not modular and the code sucks. Yep, this was hacked out over the course of a few days on Caltrain, but the design is sane