Thanks for the question. So to clarify I don't think we have tied Babel to any particular build tool. Technically since Babel is split into various modules, you can create an integration with Babel with babel-core for various tools like testing (mocha, ava, jasmine, jest), or a bundler (webpack, browserify, etc).
It's probably since Webpack is the most popular bundler that we tend to use Babel and Webpack together a lot (and that's totally true). babel-loader is the thing most people are using for front-end development and it's used in a lot of other tools like create-react-app, etc. And yeah it's important for us to figure out how to integrate better, and I talk to Sean a lot about these kinds of things 🙂.
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