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Fast browserify builds with watchify

As a browserify project begins to expand, the time to bundle it slowly gets longer and longer. While it might start at 1 second, it's possible to be waiting 30 seconds for your project to build on particularly large projects.

That's why substack wrote watchify, a persistent browserify bundler that watches files for changes and only rebuilds what it needs to. This way, that first build might still take 30 seconds, but subsequent builds can still run in under 100ms – which is a huge improvement.

Watchify doesn't have a gulp plugin, and it doesn't need one: you can use vinyl-source-stream to pipe the bundle stream into your gulp pipeline.

'use strict';

var watchify = require('watchify');
var browserify = require('browserify');
var gulp = require('gulp');
var source = require('vinyl-source-stream');
var buffer = require('vinyl-buffer');
var gutil = require('gulp-util');
var sourcemaps = require('gulp-sourcemaps');
var assign = require('lodash.assign');

// add custom browserify options here
var customOpts = {
  entries: ['./src/index.js'],
  debug: true
var opts = assign({}, watchify.args, customOpts);
var b = watchify(browserify(opts)); 

// add transformations here
// i.e. b.transform(coffeeify);

gulp.task('js', bundle); // so you can run `gulp js` to build the file
b.on('update', bundle); // on any dep update, runs the bundler
b.on('log', gutil.log); // output build logs to terminal

function bundle() {
  return b.bundle()
    // log errors if they happen
    .on('error', gutil.log.bind(gutil, 'Browserify Error'))
    // optional, remove if you don't need to buffer file contents
    // optional, remove if you dont want sourcemaps
    .pipe(sourcemaps.init({loadMaps: true})) // loads map from browserify file
       // Add transformation tasks to the pipeline here.
    .pipe(sourcemaps.write('./')) // writes .map file