Browserify, browserify-shim and gulp

As I’ve mentioned earlier I’m on a Browserify kick and thus exploring the available transform modules for it. One of them is browserify-shim, which let’s you make CommonJS incompatible files “browserifyable”.

Let’s say we have a library that’s exposes itself as window.Module. The easiest way to use it with Browserify and browserify-shim is to add this to our package.json file:

  "browserify-shim": {
    "module": "global:Module"
  "browserify": {
    "transform": ["browserify-shim"]

This will make browserify-shim replace var module = require('module') with var module = (typeof window !== "undefined" ? window.Module : typeof global !== "undefined" ? global.Module : null) in all the places that you’ve required it1.

Integrating Browserify and browserify-shim with gulp is pretty straightforward. Given that we’ve added the above configuration to our package.json file, all we need to add in our gulpfile.js file is this:

var gulp   = require('gulp');
var source = require('vinyl-source-stream');

var browserify = require('browserify');

gulp.task('browserify', function() {
  return browserify('./index.js')

We have to use vinyl-source-stream to make the stream from Browserify compatible with vinyl, the virtual file system that gulp uses.

Now let’s say that we want to minify our code. The easiest way to do this would be to add another transform module, uglifyify:

  "browserify": {
    "transform": [

We could also integrate it directly in our gulpfile.js file, but that requires more modules and a bit more code.

The above setup is probably the fastest way of getting up and running, which I find preferable when just I want to experiment with a couple of libraries.

  1. browserify-shim’s README explains well why this is beneficial compared to using var module = window.Module or something like it directly in your code. 

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