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A boilerplate Gulp setup for modern web frontends, including support for Babel, Browserify, BrowserSync, Stylus, Autoprefix CSS and more!

Version: 1.2.0

Last Updated: 18-Jan-2016


  • Babel - use next-gen ES2015+ javascript today, auto transpiles!
  • Autoprefixer - automatically add CSS vendor prefixes
  • BrowserSync - live reloading and development file server
  • Browserify - bundle/concat Javascript with require() dependency management
  • Error Notifications - Mac OSX
  • jQuery - as a CDN loaded external dependency for Browserify
  • Concats all CSS & Javascript - into a single production file for each
  • Stylus - CSS preprocessing
  • Watchify - for fast cached Browserify recompiles


  • Node.js - Download and run the installer for your platform


  1. Download and unzip archive into project directory
  2. Edit package.json with the name & description of your own project
  3. npm install
  4. npm start
  5. Edit public/index.html, styles/main.styl, and scripts/main.js to create something wonderful!


  1. npm start - Watch scripts, styles, and public for file changes, recompiling where necessary, and serving on http://localhost:3000
  2. npm run build - Compile and minify scripts/ and styles/ into public/build/ ready for production
  3. npm run clean - Delete the contents of the public/build directory


In production you'll want to change the references in your HTML to the minified versions of both main.css and bundle.js to main.min.css and bundle.min.js. The un-minified versions contain source-maps so your browser's developer tools can show you where a certain piece of compiled code actually came from, these sourcemaps however take up a lot extra bytes and should never be served in production. The minified versions also reduce the stylesheet and javascripts assets in a number of other ways - stripping whitespace, removing comments, uglifying js - all saving you valuable bandwidth and your users time. So, always use the minified version in production!


###1. Why Stylus? Why not Sass? It's much more popular!

Because Stylus can do (nearly) everything Sass can but it saves adding yet another requirement/dependency (Ruby) to the build process. Also Stylus is significantly faster, which once your project grows and Sass is taking a couple of seconds to compile your styles every time you save really starts to make a difference. If you really want/need Sass support it isn't hard to add, there are a million tutorials on getting Sass setup with Gulp, just follow one and add a new sass task to gulpfile.js et voila!

###2. Why is node_modules over 58Mb?!

Don't ask me, apparently the npm dependency chain for all the little text utilities that make up a modern web frontend build process take up over 58Mb! Yes, it shocked me too.

###3. I already have a server, I want BrowserSync to use that!

Simply change gulpfile.js config for config.BrowserSync.use to proxy. Also make sure the details in config.browserSync.proxy.proxy match your local server. All done.

Notes, Tips & Tricks

###1. Review the .gitignore file

The node_modules directory is ignored from git by default since it's created on the fly by running the command: npm install. Also, it's huge (See FAQ #2) and unnecessarily bloats your git repo. However, depending on your own project's needs you might want to include of the contents of these directories under version control.

###2. Read the Browserify Handbook

Seriously, read it, otherwise trying to use Browserify without doing so is going to lead to much confusion.

###3. Read the Babel "Learn ES2015" Guide

Discover all the wonderful next-generation Javascript syntax you can start using right now!


A lot of the early foundation of this Gulp setup was based on the excellent work done by Dan Tello (greypants) and his gulp-starter project. Please check it out, it features a number of cool things not included in Longsip that might be useful for your project. Longsip arose out of a need for a default frontend build system that differed from the toolset that gulp-starter focuses on, in no way do I suggest that Longsip is better, simply a mutated cousin who wandered off in a slightly different direction :) Many, many thanks to Dan (and the other gulp-starter contributors) for all their hard work and sharing their efforts.


Gulp build setup for modern web projects, including support for Babel, Browserify, BrowserSync, Stylus, Autoprefix CSS and more!







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