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Comparison

webpack is not the only module bundler out there. If you are choosing between using webpack or any of the bundlers below, here is a feature-by-feature comparison on how webpack fares against the current competition.

Feature
webpack/webpack
jrburke/requirejs
substack/node-browserify
jspm/jspm-cli
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
Feature
Additional chunks are loaded on demand
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
yes
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
no
Feature
AMD define
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
yes
substack/node-browserify
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
AMD require
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
yes
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
AMD require loads on demand
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
with manual configuration
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
no
Feature
CommonJS exports
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
only wrapping in define
substack/node-browserify
yes
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
CommonJS require
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
only wrapping in define
substack/node-browserify
yes
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
CommonJS require.resolve
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
no
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
no
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
Feature
Concat in require require("./fi" + "le")
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
no♦
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
no
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
Feature
Debugging support
webpack/webpack
SourceUrl, SourceMaps
jrburke/requirejs
not required
substack/node-browserify
SourceMaps
jspm/jspm-cli
SourceUrl, SourceMaps
rollup/rollup
SourceUrl, SourceMaps
brunch/brunch
SourceMaps
Feature
Dependencies
webpack/webpack
19MB / 127 packages
jrburke/requirejs
11MB / 118 packages
substack/node-browserify
1.2MB / 1 package
jspm/jspm-cli
26MB / 131 packages
rollup/rollup
?MB / 3 packages
brunch/brunch
Feature
ES2015 import/export
webpack/webpack
yes (webpack 2)
jrburke/requirejs
no
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
yes
brunch/brunch
Feature
Expressions in require (guided) require("./templates/" + template)
webpack/webpack
yes (all files matching included)
jrburke/requirejs
no♦
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
no
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
no
Feature
Expressions in require (free) require(moduleName)
webpack/webpack
with manual configuration
jrburke/requirejs
no♦
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
no
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
Feature
Generate a single bundle
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
yes♦
substack/node-browserify
yes
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
yes
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
Indirect require var r = require; r("./file")
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
no♦
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
no
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
Feature
Load each file separate
webpack/webpack
no
jrburke/requirejs
yes
substack/node-browserify
no
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
no
Feature
Mangle path names
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
no
substack/node-browserify
partial
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
not required (path names are not included in the bundle)
brunch/brunch
no
Feature
Minimizing
webpack/webpack
uglify
jrburke/requirejs
uglify, closure compiler
substack/node-browserify
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
Feature
Multi pages build with common bundle
webpack/webpack
with manual configuration
jrburke/requirejs
yes
substack/node-browserify
with manual configuration
jspm/jspm-cli
with bundle arithmetic
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
no
Feature
Multiple bundles
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
with manual configuration
substack/node-browserify
with manual configuration
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
Node.js built-in libs require("path")
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
no
substack/node-browserify
yes
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
Feature
Other Node.js stuff
webpack/webpack
process, __dir/filename, global
jrburke/requirejs
-
substack/node-browserify
process, __dir/filename, global
jspm/jspm-cli
process, __dir/filename, global for cjs
rollup/rollup
global (commonjs-plugin)
brunch/brunch
Feature
Plugins
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
yes
substack/node-browserify
yes
jspm/jspm-cli
yes
rollup/rollup
yes
brunch/brunch
yes
Feature
Preprocessing
webpack/webpack
loaders, transforms
jrburke/requirejs
loaders
substack/node-browserify
transforms
jspm/jspm-cli
plugin translate
rollup/rollup
plugin transforms
brunch/brunch
compilers, optimizers
Feature
Replacement for browser
webpack/webpack
web_modules, .web.js, package.json field, alias config option
jrburke/requirejs
alias option
substack/node-browserify
package.json field, alias option
jspm/jspm-cli
package.json, alias option
rollup/rollup
no
brunch/brunch
Feature
Requirable files
webpack/webpack
file system
jrburke/requirejs
web
substack/node-browserify
file system
jspm/jspm-cli
through plugins
rollup/rollup
file system or through plugins
brunch/brunch
file system
Feature
Runtime overhead
webpack/webpack
243B + 20B per module + 4B per dependency
jrburke/requirejs
14.7kB + 0B per module + (3B + X) per dependency
substack/node-browserify
415B + 25B per module + (6B + 2X) per dependency
jspm/jspm-cli
5.5kB for self-executing bundles, 38kB for full loader and polyfill, 0 plain modules, 293B CJS, 139B ES2015 System.register before gzip
rollup/rollup
none for ES2015 modules (other formats may have)
brunch/brunch
Feature
Watch mode
webpack/webpack
yes
jrburke/requirejs
not required
substack/node-browserify
jspm/jspm-cli
not needed in dev
rollup/rollup
brunch/brunch
yes

♦ in production mode (opposite in development mode)

X is the length of the path string

Bundling vs. Loading

It's important to note some key differences between loading and bundling modules. A tool like SystemJS, which can be found under the hood of JSPM, is used to load and transpile modules at runtime in the browser. This differs significantly from webpack, where modules are transpiled (through "loaders") and bundled before hitting the browser.

Each method has it's advantages and disadvantages. Loading and transpiling modules at runtime can add a lot of overhead for larger sites and applications comprised of many modules. For this reason, SystemJS makes more sense for smaller projects where fewer modules are required. However, this may change a bit as HTTP/2 will improve the speed at which files can be transferred from server to client. Note that HTTP/2 doesn't change anything about transpiling modules, which will always take longer when done client-side.


Further Reading


Contributors