Do you need Browserify for isomorphic JavaScript applications?

Several developers have complained about “JavaScript framework fatigue” because so many frameworks and tools are available. It’s a topic the JS community has been buzzing about. Tools that initially seemed intimidating to beginners that had just begun learning to code, are now familiar. But more and more tools have been developed to keep developers busy.

After trying out a number of frameworks, many developers have concluded that Browserify is the best for isomorphic JavaScript applications. Let’s discuss what Browserify is, how it works, and why you need Browserify for isomorphic JavaScript applications. 

What is Browserify?

Browserify is a prominent build tool that allows Node.js modules to be used in the browser without needing additional software. By compiling all of your JavaScript dependencies into a single file that can be accessed within a <script> tag in the browser, Browserify provides a standard approach for structuring your code.

If you don’t have access to a tool like Browserify, you’ll need to include each JavaScript dependency in your code manually. For this purpose, developers frequently use <script> tags to import functionality from external libraries (such as jQuery, Angular, UnderScore, and Backbone). 

While this is the conventional method of utilizing JavaScript dependencies, it quickly becomes problematic as increasing dependencies are added. More specifically, it’s hard to regulate the loading order of scripts, and the order in which you reference scripts can lead to complications. With Browserify, all your dependencies are included in a single file, requiring just a single reference.

How Browserify works?

For Browserify to function, you have to select an entry point file and search for all required () calls. Browserify uses the results of this search to build a stream of concatenated JavaScript files, which are then written to a single bundle.js file. This output file may be referred to in the browser using a standard <script> tag at any time.

Why would you need Browserify for isomorphic JavaScript applications?

Writing code for an isomorphic application is only one part of the whole challenge. A tool like Browserify is a critical part of the workflow in order to get the isomorphic application up and running.

This tool can compile templates, client-side dependencies, the application of transforms, minification, and so on. Browserify makes it easier to gather all of the application’s code, views, and templates into a single bundle; however, this can reduce the effort to download hundreds of kilobytes of data for larger programs. 

In addition, Browserify significantly reduces the number of requests that must be made to load a page, which results in substantially reduced page loading times. It can minify and compress your code, making it more manageable and effective. This is of utmost significance for applications written in isomorphic JavaScript, as these applications frequently contain significant quantities of code that must be distributed between the server and the client. 

Final word on Browserify for isomorphic JavaScript applications

Browserify is undoubtedly one of the top tools for building isomorphic JavaScript applications. Being able to compile everything into one file is a huge advantage, as is the reduced number of requests. But time will tell if Browserify maintains its top position or gets replaced by the next new tool.

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