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Kamesh Sethupathi
Kamesh Sethupathi

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WebPack Loader vs Plugin

WebPack : Loader VS Plugin

  • Though there are couple of bundler available for javascript, Webpack steals the heart of most javascript developers.
  • The reason is obviously due to its vast ecosystem of loaders and plugins, which extend its core bundling functionality.
  • Even senior developers get confused between the purpose of loader and plugin. This article is for you if you dont want to be one of them.

How WebPack bundles code

  • WebPack at it's core is just a module bundler.
  • When one file depends on another, webpack treats this as a dependency.
  • It starts the bundling process from the given entry files, scans for certain text within the content like import and evaluates them.
  • Finds the dependencies from the previous evaluation and add them to the dependency graph.
  • Does the same for the dependencies.
  • At last it generates one or more output bundles - often, only one.

WebPack Loaders

  • Loaders work at the individual file level during or before the bundle is generated.
  • Out of the box, webpack only understands JavaScript and JSON files.
  • Loaders allow webpack to process other types of files and convert them into valid modules that can be consumed by your application and added to the dependency graph.

WebPack Plugins

  • Plugins work at bundle or chunk level and usually work at the end of the bundle generation process. Plugins can also modify how the bundles themselves are created.
  • Plugins can deeply integrate into webpack because they can register hooks within webpacks build system and access (and modify) the compiler, and how it works, as well as the compilation.
  • Plugins have more powerful control than loaders.
  • Plugins can be leveraged to perform a wider range of tasks like bundle optimization, asset management and injection of environment variables.

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