Pankaj
Parashar developer

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Frontend build tool wishlist

For quite a long time now, I have been toying around an idea of a perfect build tool to deploy front-end projects. This article is all about my wishlist from such a tool.

December 21, 2013  ×  4 mins read

Assuming, you have completed the development work on the frontend of your next web project and are ready to deploy it in production. A typical project involves concatenating and minifying the assets, checking the code for errors, compressing the images and testing it across different combination and breed of browsers, devices and operating system. So, here goes my wishlist,

The typical build process of a project follows,

Compilation 
> Linting 
> Concatenation 
> Compression 
> Miscellaneous

Hence, I have divided the build task into the following categories,

Compilation

If you use some kind of a pre-processor in your workflow to write your HTML, CSS or JavaScript, the compilation of code into its raw form naturally becomes the first step of any build task.

Linting

Linting refers to validating your code against errors, suspicous code and checking if the code corresponds to a certain style guidelines.

Concatenation

Concatenation combines several files of the same type into a single file so that you can reduce the number of HTTP requests to the server.

Compression

Compression helps reduce the overall size of the resource being transferred across the network. Following are some of the ways we can achieve compression,

Hashing

Using hash-ed filenames in addition to the Expiry headers, can help bust the cache without worrying about old assets wreaking havoc on your site.

Miscellaneous

Some of the tasks that do not belong to any of the aforementioned categories are below,

Grulp Project

I understand that no build tool would ever be able to meet the outrageous demands of the list above. However, I started with a project on Github to compile a list of ready-to-use grunt/gulp plugins that accomplishes most of the tasks.

Did you enjoy reading this artice? I'd love to hear your thoughts. Feel free to send me a tweet or open an issue on Github to add your comments.

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