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Webpack vs Nodemon: What are the differences?

Webpack and Nodemon are essential tools in the web development ecosystem. Webpack is a module bundler that optimizes and bundles various assets for web applications, while Nodemon is a utility that automatically restarts a Node.js application when changes are detected, aiding in development. Here are the key differences between Webpack and Nodemon:

  1. Purpose and Usage: Webpack is primarily used for bundling and optimizing various assets like JavaScript, CSS, and images, making them ready for deployment. It enables the creation of a dependency graph, code splitting, and generating optimized output bundles. Nodemon, on the other hand, is used during development to monitor changes in Node.js application files and automatically restart the server, ensuring a smoother development workflow.

  2. Workflow Integration: Webpack is integrated into the build process of a web application and is executed when preparing the application for production. It's a one-time process that generates optimized assets. Nodemon, however, is designed for development environments. It runs alongside your Node.js application, monitoring for changes and restarting the server to reflect code modifications without manual restarts.

  3. Development vs Production: Webpack is mainly used in the production build process to create optimized bundles that are efficient for serving to users. It optimizes assets, reduces file sizes, and handles code splitting. Nodemon is used exclusively during development to enhance the developer's experience by automatically restarting the server when code changes occur.

  4. Configuration: Webpack configuration involves specifying entry points, loaders, plugins, and output settings to control how assets are bundled and optimized. Nodemon configuration focuses on specifying which files should be watched and which file extensions should trigger server restarts.

  5. Use Cases: Webpack is crucial for projects that require efficient asset bundling, including modern web applications with complex dependencies. Nodemon is valuable when working on Node.js applications, ensuring that the development server remains up-to-date with code changes without manual intervention.

  6. Dependency: Webpack doesn't have a direct dependency on Node.js; it's mainly used to bundle front-end assets. Nodemon, on the other hand, is specifically designed for Node.js applications and is installed as a development dependency.

In summary, Webpack optimizes and bundles assets for production, while Nodemon enhances the development experience by automatically restarting the server when code changes occur, improving efficiency during the development phase.

Decisions about nodemon and Webpack
Aleksandr Filatov
Contract Software Engineer - Microsoft · | 4 upvotes · 286.8K views
Why migrated?

I could define the next points why we have to migrate:

  • Decrease build time of our application. (It was the main cause).
  • Also jspm install takes much more time than npm install.
  • Many config files for SystemJS and JSPM. For Webpack you can use just one main config file, and you can use some separate config files for specific builds using inheritance and merge them.
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We mostly use rollup to publish package onto NPM. For most all other use cases, we use the Meteor build tool (probably 99% of the time) for publishing packages. If you're using Node on FHIR you probably won't need to know rollup, unless you are somehow working on helping us publish front end user interface components using FHIR. That being said, we have been migrating away from Atmosphere package manager towards NPM. As we continue to migrate away, we may publish other NPM packages using rollup.

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Pros of nodemon
Pros of Webpack
  • 1
    Easy to use
  • 1
    It's lightweight
  • 309
    Most powerful bundler
  • 182
    Built-in dev server with livereload
  • 142
    Can handle all types of assets
  • 87
    Easy configuration
  • 22
  • 4
    Overengineered, Underdeveloped
  • 2
    Makes it easy to bundle static assets
  • 2
  • 1
  • 1
    Better support in Browser Dev-Tools

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Cons of nodemon
Cons of Webpack
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    • 15
      Hard to configure
    • 5
      No clear direction
    • 2
      Spaghetti-Code out of the box
    • 2
      SystemJS integration is quite lackluster
    • 2
      Loader architecture is quite a mess (unreliable/buggy)
    • 2
      Fire and Forget mentality of Core-Developers

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    What is nodemon?

    It is an open source utility that will monitor for any changes in your source and automatically restart your server. It has a default support for node & coffeescript, but easy to run any executable (such as python, make, etc).

    What is Webpack?

    A bundler for javascript and friends. Packs many modules into a few bundled assets. Code Splitting allows to load parts for the application on demand. Through "loaders" modules can be CommonJs, AMD, ES6 modules, CSS, Images, JSON, Coffeescript, LESS, ... and your custom stuff.

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    What tools integrate with nodemon?
    What tools integrate with Webpack?

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    What are some alternatives to nodemon and Webpack?
    It is a simple CLI tool for ensuring that a given script runs continuously. It is used to keep the server alive even when the server crash/stops. When the server is stopped because of some error, exception, automatically restarts it.
    Build system automating tasks: minification and copying of all JavaScript files, static images. More capable of watching files to automatically rerun the task when a file changes.
    The less work you have to do when performing repetitive tasks like minification, compilation, unit testing, linting, etc, the easier your job becomes. After you've configured it, a task runner can do most of that mundane work for you—and your team—with basically zero effort.
    LiveReload monitors changes in the file system. As soon as you save a file, it is preprocessed as needed, and the browser is refreshed.
    Production process manager for Node.js apps with a built-in load balancer
    See all alternatives