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Explain it like I'm 5: new build tools

Travis Fantina
Love all things Ruby and Rubyish. Working mostly with Elixir and JS.
・1 min read

I have a list of several new tools I keep hearing about but I have no idea how they fit into the ecosystem, what they do or what they are trying to replace:

Snowpack
Rollup
Vite

If you work with one of these I'd love if you could explain it to me like I'm 5.

For context: I work with Yarn as a package manager and I've occasionally worked on projects where assets were compiled with Gulp (build tool?). Most projects I work with are using Webpack (build tool?) in some way or another but I almost never configure it in anyway.

Discussion (2)

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elmassimo profile image
Máximo Mussini

Hi there! Let's start by categorizing them.

Rollup is a bundler. It's comparable to both Parcel and Webpack.
Its goal is to process assets and create a production version of your project, including features such as tree-shaking and chunk-splitting.

Snowpack and Vite.js are both a new generation of frontend tooling, that aims to improve your development experience by not bundling in development.

When building for production, both tools will use a bundler such as Webpack or Rollup to create a final build.


The advantage of no-bundler tools is that the startup time and hot-module-refresh time stays fast even as a project continues to grow.

For example, I use Vite.js during development to serve assets in a Rails app and to build assets for production (which uses Rollup behind the scenes).

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tfantina profile image
Travis Fantina Author

Thanks that was exactly what I was looking for!

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