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Babel vs Closure Compiler: What are the differences?


Babel and Closure Compiler are both popular tools used in web development. However, there are key differences between them that make each of them suitable for different scenarios.

  1. Babel: Babel is a JavaScript compiler that allows developers to write code in the latest version of JavaScript and converts it into backward-compatible versions for older browsers. It focuses on code transformation and is primarily used for language features and syntax enhancements.

  2. Closure Compiler: Closure Compiler, on the other hand, is a JavaScript optimizer, transpiler, and minifier. It not only compiles the code into an older version, but also performs advanced code optimizations to make the resulting code smaller, faster, and more efficient. It focuses on code optimization and is primarily used for performance enhancements.

  3. Output Size: Babel's primary goal is to enable the use of modern JavaScript features, so the resulting output is often larger as it includes the necessary polyfills and transformations. Closure Compiler, on the other hand, performs aggressive code optimizations, resulting in a smaller output size.

  4. Runtime Performance: Babel does not optimize code for better runtime performance, as its main focus is on language features and syntax. Closure Compiler, however, applies various advanced optimizations, such as dead code elimination and code inlining, to improve runtime performance.

  5. Type Checking: Babel does not perform any type checking itself. It relies on type annotations provided by external tools like TypeScript or Flow. Closure Compiler, on the other hand, has its own built-in type checking system that helps catch type errors and provides benefits like better optimizations based on type information.

  6. Modularity: Babel operates on a per-file basis and can be used as a standalone tool in a modular fashion. Developers can choose specific plugins or presets to customize the transformation process. Closure Compiler, on the other hand, typically works on an entire codebase and requires a more comprehensive configuration. It performs global optimizations that may require understanding the entire codebase.

In Summary, Babel focuses on language features and syntax transformations, while Closure Compiler emphasizes code optimization, resulting in smaller output size and improved runtime performance.

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Pros of Babel
Pros of Closure Compiler
  • 165
    Modern Javascript works with all browsers
  • 77
    Open source
  • 60
    Integration with lots of tools
  • 56
    Easy setup
  • 26
    Very active on github
  • 2
  • 2
  • 2
    Source maps
  • 1
  • 1
    The best performing output
  • 1
    Small output size
  • 1
    Dead code elimination
  • 1
    ES6 support
  • 1
    Bundle support for CommonJS, ES6, .
  • 0

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What is Babel?

Babel will turn your ES6+ code into ES5 friendly code, so you can start using it right now without waiting for browser support.

What is Closure Compiler?

The Closure Compiler is a tool for making JavaScript download and run faster. It is a true compiler for JavaScript. Instead of compiling from a source language to machine code, it compiles from JavaScript to better JavaScript. It parses your JavaScript, analyzes it, removes dead code and rewrites and minimizes what's left. It also checks syntax, variable references, and types, and warns about common JavaScript pitfalls.

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What companies use Babel?
What companies use Closure Compiler?
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What are some alternatives to Babel and Closure Compiler?
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TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript development. It's a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.
It adds syntactic sugar inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell in an effort to enhance JavaScript's brevity and readability. Specific additional features include list comprehension and de-structuring assignment.
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It is a module bundler for JavaScript which compiles small pieces of code into something larger and more complex, such as a library or application. It uses the new standardized format for code modules included in the ES6 revision of JavaScript, instead of previous idiosyncratic solutions such as CommonJS and AMD.
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