Define global variable with webpack

Define global variable with webpack

Is it possible to define a global variable with webpack to result something like this:
var myvar = {};

All of the examples I saw were using external file require(“imports?$=jquery!./file.js”)

Solutions/Answers:

Solution 1:

There are several way to approach globals:

1) Put your variables in a module.

Webpack evaluates modules only once, so your instance remains global and carries changes through from module to module. So if you create something like a globals.js and export an object of all your globals then you can import './globals' and read/write to these globals. You can import into one module, make changes to the object from a function and import into another module and read those changes in a function. Also remember the order things happen. Webpack will first take all the imports and load them up in order starting in your entry.js. Then it will execute entry.js. So where you read/write to globals is important. Is it from the root scope of a module or in a function called later?

Note: If you want the instance to be new each time, then use an ES6 class. Traditionally in JS you would capitalize classes (as opposed to the lowercase for objects) like
import FooBar from './foo-bar' // <-- Usage: myFooBar = new FooBar()

2) Webpack’s ProvidePlugin

Here’s how you can do it using Webpack’s ProvidePlugin (which makes a module available as a variable in every module and only those modules where you actually use it). This is useful when you don’t want to keep typing import Bar from 'foo' again and again. Or you can bring in a package like jQuery or lodash as global here (although you might take a look at Webpack’s Externals).

Step 1) Create any module. For example, a global set of utilities would be handy:

utils.js

export function sayHello () {
  console.log('hello')
}

Step 2) Alias the module and add to ProvidePlugin:

webpack.config.js

var webpack = require("webpack");
var path = require("path");

// ...

module.exports = {

  // ...

  resolve: {
    extensions: ['', '.js'],
    alias: {
      'utils': path.resolve(__dirname, './utils')  // <-- When you build or restart dev-server, you'll get an error if the path to your utils.js file is incorrect.
    }
  },

  plugins: [

    // ...

    new webpack.ProvidePlugin({
      'utils': 'utils'
    })
  ]  

}

Now just call utils.sayHello() in any js file and it should work. Make sure you restart your dev-server if you are using that with Webpack.

Note: Don’t forget to tell your linter about the global, so it won’t complain. For example, see my answer for ESLint here.

3) Use Webpack’s DefinePlugin

If you just want to use const with string values for your globals, then you can add this plugin to your list of Webpack plugins:

new webpack.DefinePlugin({
  PRODUCTION: JSON.stringify(true),
  VERSION: JSON.stringify("5fa3b9"),
  BROWSER_SUPPORTS_HTML5: true,
  TWO: "1+1",
  "typeof window": JSON.stringify("object")
})

Use it like:

console.log("Running App version " + VERSION);
if(!BROWSER_SUPPORTS_HTML5) require("html5shiv");

4) Use the global window object (or Node’s global)

window.foo = 'bar'  // For SPA's, browser environment.
global.foo = 'bar'  // Webpack will automatically convert this to window if your project is targeted for web (default), read more here: https://webpack.js.org/configuration/node/

You’ll see this commonly used for polyfills, for example: window.Promise = Bluebird

5) Use a package like dotenv

(For server side projects) The dotenv package will take a local configuration file (which you could add to your .gitignore if there are any keys/credentials) and adds your configuration variables to Node’s process.env object.

// As early as possible in your application, require and configure dotenv.    
require('dotenv').config()

Create a .env file in the root directory of your project. Add environment-specific variables on new lines in the form of NAME=VALUE. For example:

DB_HOST=localhost
DB_USER=root
DB_PASS=s1mpl3

That’s it.

process.env now has the keys and values you defined in your .env file.

var db = require('db')
db.connect({
  host: process.env.DB_HOST,
  username: process.env.DB_USER,
  password: process.env.DB_PASS
})

Notes:

Regarding Webpack’s Externals, use it if you want to exclude some modules from being included in your built bundle. Webpack will make the module globally available but won’t put it in your bundle. This is handy for big libraries like jQuery (because tree shaking external packages doesn’t work in Webpack) where you have these loaded on your page already in separate script tags (perhaps from a CDN).

Solution 2:

I was about to ask the very same question. After searching a bit further and decyphering part of webpack’s documentation I think that what you want is the output.library and output.libraryTarget in the webpack.config.js file.

For example:

js/index.js:

var foo = 3;
var bar = true;

webpack.config.js

module.exports = {
   ...
   entry: './js/index.js',
   output: {
      path: './www/js/',
      filename: 'index.js',
      library: 'myLibrary',
      libraryTarget: 'var'
   ...
}

Now if you link the generated www/js/index.js file in a html script tag you can access to myLibrary.foo from anywhere in your other scripts.

Solution 3:

Use DefinePlugin.

The DefinePlugin allows you to create global constants which can be
configured at compile time.

new webpack.DefinePlugin(definitions)

Example:

plugins: [
  new webpack.DefinePlugin({
    PRODUCTION: JSON.stringify(true)
  })
  //...
]

Usage:

console.log(`Environment is in production: ${PRODUCTION}`);

Solution 4:

You can use define window.myvar = {}.
When you want to use it, you can use like window.myvar = 1

Solution 5:

I solved this issue by setting the global variables as a static properties on the classes to which they are most relevant. In ES5 it looks like this:

var Foo = function(){...};
Foo.globalVar = {};