Skip to content
Grunt task for node-browserify
Pull request Compare This branch is 204 commits behind jmreidy:master.
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.

build status


Grunt task for node-browserify. Current version: NPM version

Getting Started

This plugin requires Grunt ~0.4.0 and Node >=0.10.x.

Install this grunt plugin with:

npm install grunt-browserify --save-dev

Then add this line to your project's grunt.js Gruntfile:


In the Wild

Most simply, Browserify is a tool for taking your CommonJS-style Javascript code and packaging it for use in the browser. Grunt-Browserify provides the glue to better integrate Browserify into your development workflow.

For JavaScripters unfamiliar with CJS-style code and the Node ecosystem, moving to Browserify can be a bit confusing. Writing your client-side code as CJS modules allows for smaller, easier to understand files that perform one task well. These modules, because of their simplicity, will be significantly easier to use across projects. CJS modules also help to expose the dependency graph inherent in your code, allowing you to write cleaner, more-maintainable modules. As Alex MacCaw writes:

CommonJS modules are one of the best solutions to JavaScript dependency management.

CommonJS modules solve JavaScript scope issues by making sure each module is executed in its own namespace. Modules have to explicitly export variables they want to expose to other modules, and explicitly import other modules; in other words, there's no global namespace.

(A note to AMD fans that the benefits above are not unique to the CJS style of writing JavaScript modules, but the ease-of-interoperality with Node.JS code is a plus of CJS.)

As you begin to write your client-side code in small, reusable modules, you start to have a lot more files to manage. At the same time, you need to integrate these files with other client-side libraries, some of which do not play particularly nicely with a CJS module system. The simplicity provided by CJS modules can be lost as build complexity is increased and Browserify compilation time gets out of control.

Grunt-Browserify is here to make your life easier. There's a number of examples provided in the examples directory of different real-world uses of Grunt-Browserify. Those examples, plus the example of the project's own Gruntfile, should provide clarity into how to get started. This project's author and contributors are happy to answer any specific questions on Twitter.

In addition to the examples mentioned above, there are some specific pieces of advice that may prove helpful:

  • Be careful with entry modules. Entry modules are any files passed directly to Browserify's require method. Anything specified in Grunt-Browserify's src will be interpreted as an entry file. Keep in mind that Browserify walks a dependency tree, so theoretically a single "main" entry file could be enough for all of your client side code. The reason for caution is that entry files are interpretted at load time, unlike traditionally required modules, which are interpretted like any CJS module - when they are required. Anything in an entry file is run as soon as the Browserified bundle is loaded on a web page. See the inline comments in the simple example directory for further details.

  • Break vendored libs into their own Browserify build. Libs like jQuery, Angular, D3, etc. are large files that can greatly slow down Browserify compilation time. They also aren't changing with the same frequency as your own client source code. By breaking these vendored files into their own Grunt-Browserify task, then making them externally available via an alias, you can make build times signficantly shorter. See the complex example folder for a use case. You can concatenate each Browserified bundled to a single JS file, which should handle any concerns with browser latency.

  • Transforms are your friend. You can perform some pretty complex magic with Browserify-transforms. Check out deamdify and coffeeify for some useful examples.

  • The more modular the code, the more likely you are to share modules across client and server. Grunt-Browserify can help you manage the complexity around keeping your client-side code in different folder paths. (For example, client/script and shared.) Take a look at the aliasMappings capability, which also has a corresponding setup in the examples folder.


Run this task with the grunt browserify command. As with other Grunt plugins, the src and dest properties are most important: src will use the Grunt glob pattern to specify files for inclusion in the browserified package, and dest will specify the outfile for the compiled module.



Type: [String]

Specifies files to be ignored in the browserify bundle.


Type: [String]

Array of file paths that Browserify should not attempt to parse for require() statements, which should improve compilation time for large library files that do not need to be parsed. (The Browserify docs provide the example of jQuery, although I think it would probably be more useful to shim such libraries than to compile them with noParse).


Type: [String]

Array of file extensions to consider EXTENSION as modules.

extension: [ '.coffee', '.js' ]

The require function will now look for any files with either of those 2 extensions and treat them as modules if found.


Type: [String:String] or comma-separated String

Browserify can alias files or modules to a certain name. For example, require(‘./foo’) can be aliased to be used as require(‘foo’). Aliases should be specified as fileName:alias. A couple notes:

  • fileNames are parsed into their full paths with path.resolve.

  • Any aliases are automatically externalized by Browserify. That means an alias in one bundle is requireable from another.

  • If you leave the second half of an alias blank, it will just externalize the target. For example: alias: ['events:'] will alias the events module as 'events' inside and outside of the bundle.


Type: [Object || Array]

Like the alias option described above, but accepts mapping patterns as described in Building the files object dynamically to enable aliasing of entire directories and sets of files. Note that the expand option is set to true for you, so you can omit that from your configuration.


Type: [String]

Specifies files to be loaded from a previously loaded, “common” bundle.


Type: [String || Function]

Specifies a pipeline of functions (or modules) through which the browserified bundle will be run. The browserify docs themselves explain transform well, but below is an example of transform used with grunt-browserify to automatically compile coffeescript files for use in a bundle:

browserify: {
  dist: {
    files: {
      'build/module.js': ['client/scripts/**/*.js', 'client/scripts/**/*.coffee'],
    options: {
      transform: ['coffeeify']


Type: Boolean

Enable source map support.


Type: Object

Provide a config object to be used with browserify-shim v2.0. Note that shimmed modules are essentially aliased as well (with the alias being the Object key of the shim).


Type: Function (b)

An optional callback function, that will be called before bundle completion. b is the browerify instance that will output the bundle.


Type: Function (err, src, next)

An optional callback function, which will be called after bundle completion and before writing of the bundle. The err and src arguments are provided directly from browserify. The next callback should be called with (err, modifiedSrc); the modifiedSrc is what will be written to the output file.

Other Options

Any other options you provide will be passed through to browserify. This is useful for setting things like standalone or ignoreGlobals.


To get things running, add the following entry to grunt.initConfig():

browserify: {
  dist: {
    files: {
      'build/module.js': ['client/scripts/**/*.js']

More complicated use cases can be found within this projects own Gruntfile.


In lieu of a formal styleguide, take care to maintain the existing coding style. Add unit tests for any new or changed functionality. Lint and test your code using grunt.

Release History


  • Initial release


  • Properly support compact and full grunt task syntax


  • Add support for Browserify 2


  • Add externalize option, to expose modules to external bundles
  • Add browserify-shim support
  • Completely rewrote and significantly improved tests
  • Various fixes


  • Update externalize to expose npm modules to external bundles


  • Really should've been released at v0.2, but better late than never!


  • Move away from browserify-stream to callback approach


  • Add new aliasMappings functionality


  • Adding directory support for external parameter


  • Bumping to latest Browserify (2.18.x)


  • Added support for noParse option
  • Change browserify() call to pass files as opts.entries


  • Fix regression where shimmed modules not being parsed


  • Externalize has been deprecated in favor of alias (#69)
  • Allow external to use module names, in addition to file paths (#68). Waiting on Browserify changes for this to actually work.
  • Much improved docs (#67)
  • Allow non-files to be ignored (#50), via @joshuarubin


  • Bumping dependency versions


  • Change alias destination behavior to only treat the destination as a filepath if it exists


  • Allow aliasing with arbitrary ids. For example, you could alias ./vendor/client/jquery/jquery.js to /vendor/jquery for consumption by other bundles. See the updated complex and externals examples


  • Flatten options arrays, to prevent any weird behavior (via @joeybaker)


  • Documentation fix (via @alanshaw)
  • Allow aliasing inner modules (via @bananushka)
  • Fix multitask shim bug (via @byronmwong)


  • Move browserify to a peer dependency, to allow custom versions (via @nrn)
  • Add support for browserify extension flag (from browserify v2.31)


  • Fix bug in sharing shimmed files across bundles (#89)


  • Add postBundle callback support (via @Bockit)


  • Fix peerDependency version requirements


  • Fix #106


  • Move to browserify 2.35 for upstream dedupe fix


  • Add preBundleCB option (via @alexstrat)


  • Bump to Browserify v3


  • Adding support for Browserify 3.2 paths (via @trevordixon)

Frequent Contributors


Copyright (c) 2013 Justin Reidy Licensed under the MIT license.

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.