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In addition to a collection of plugins, StealJS is comprised of two main components:

  • steal: an extensible, universal module loader.
  • steal-tools: utilities for building, transforming, and exporting module formats.

This is the steal repository. For the tools, see

Module Loading with steal

steal is unique because it can load JavaScript modules defined in ES6, AMD, and CommonJS formats (unlike most other module loaders, which only support one of these formats at a time).

In JavaScript, the word "modules" refers to small units of independent, reusable code. They are the foundation of many JavaScript design patterns, and can look like this in ES6:

export function hello() {
export function goodbye() {

Or like this in AMD:

define([], function() {
  return {
    hello: function() {
    goodbye: function() {

Or like this CommonJS:

function hello() {
function goodbye() {
module.exports = {
  hello: hello,
  goodbye: goodbye

All of these formats are supported by steal, so you can mix and match modules in your project:

// ES6
import { hello, goodbye } from  "greetings";

// AMD
define(["greetings"],function(greetings){ ... });

// CommonJS
var hello = require('greetings').hello;
var goodbye = require('greetings').goodbye;

Additionally, plugins make it possible to load ANY module type you might come up with, such as Less or CSS. Anyone can write a plugin for steal to extend it's core module-loading functionality.

Extending steal with Plugins

The StealJS organization maintains popular plugins that extend and enhance the module-loading capabilities of steal (and, subsequently, steal-tools) such as:

For example, the Less plugin allows Less files to be loaded similarly to JavaScript modules:

// ES6
import "style.less";

// AMD
define(["style.less"],function(){ ... });

// CommonJS

// steal

Looking to create a plugin for another format? See Writing Plugins.

For more information on StealJS, visit


For information on contributing and developing, see the Contributing Guide on