What exactly is Hot Module Replacement in Webpack?
I’ve read a few pages about Hot Module Replacement in Webpack.
There’s even a sample app that uses it.
I’ve read all of this and still don’t get the idea.
What can I do with it?
Is it supposed to only be used in development and not in production?
Is it like LiveReload, but you have to manage it yourself?
Is WebpackDevServer integrated with it in some way?
Suppose I want to update my CSS (one stylesheet) and JS modules when I save them to disk, without reloading the page and without using plugins such as LiveReload. Is this something Hot Module Replacement can help me with? What kind of work do I need to do, and what does HMR already provide?
First I want to note that Hot Module Replacement (HMR) is still an experimental feature.
HMR is a way of exchanging modules in a running application (and adding/removing modules). You basically can update changed modules without a full page reload.
- Using Plugins: http://webpack.github.io/docs/using-plugins.html
- Code Splitting: http://webpack.github.io/docs/code-splitting.html
- webpack-dev-server: http://webpack.github.io/docs/webpack-dev-server.html
It’s not so much for HMR, but here are the links:
- Example: http://webpack.github.io/docs/hot-module-replacement-with-webpack.html
- API: http://webpack.github.io/docs/hot-module-replacement.html
I’ll add these answers to the documentation.
How does it work?
From the app view
The app code asks the HMR runtime to check for updates. The HMR runtime downloads the updates (async) and tells the app code that an update is available. The app code asks the HMR runtime to apply updates. The HMR runtime applies the updates (sync). The app code may or may not require user interaction in this process (you decide).
From the compiler (webpack) view
In addition to the normal assets, the compiler needs to emit the “Update” to allow updating from a previous version to this version. The “Update” contains two parts:
- the update manifest (json)
- one or multiple update chunks (js)
The manifest contains the new compilation hash and a list of all update chunks (2).
The update chunks contain code for all updated modules in this chunk (or a flag if a module was removed).
The compiler additionally makes sure that module and chunk ids are consistent between these builds. It uses a “records” json file to store them between builds (or it stores them in memory).
From the module view
HMR is a opt-in feature, so it only affects modules that contains HMR code. The documentation describes the API that is available in modules. In general, the module developer writes handlers that are called when a dependency of this module is updated. They can also write a handler that is called when this module is updated.
In most cases, it’s not mandatory to write HMR code in every module. If a module has no HMR handlers, the update bubbles up. This means a single handler can handle updates for a complete module tree. If a single module in this tree is updated, the complete module tree is reloaded (only reloaded, not transferred).
From the HMR runtime view (technical)
Additional code is emitted for the module system runtime to track module
On the management side, the runtime supports two methods:
check does a HTTP request to the update manifest. When this request fails, there is no update available. Elsewise the list of updated chunks is compared to the list of currently-loaded chunks. For each loaded chunk, the corresponding update chunk is downloaded. All module updates are stored in the runtime as updates. The runtime switches into the
ready state, meaning an update has been downloaded and is ready to be applied.
For each new chunk request in the ready state, the update chunk is also downloaded.
apply method flags all updated modules as invalid. For each invalid module, there needs to be a update handler in the module or update handlers in every parent. Else the invalid bubbles up and marks all parents as invalid too. This process continues until no more “bubble up” occurs. If it bubbles up to an entry point, the process fails.
Now all invalid modules are disposed (dispose handler) and unloaded. Then the current hash is updated and all “accept” handlers are called. The runtime switches back to the
idle state and everything continues as normal.
What can I do with it?
You can use it in development as a LiveReload replacement. Actually the webpack-dev-server supports a hot mode which tries to update with HMR before trying to reload the whole page. You only need to add the
webpack/hot/dev-server entry point and call the dev-server with
You can also use it in production as update mechanisms. Here you need to write your own management code that integrates HMR with your app.
Some loaders already generate modules that are hot-updateable. e.g. The
style-loader can exchange the stylesheet. You don’t need to do anything special.
Suppose I want to update my CSS (one stylesheet) and JS modules when I save them to disk, without reloading the page and without using plugins such as LiveReload. Is this something Hot Module Replacement can help me with?
What kind of work do I need to do, and what does HMR already provide?
Here is a little example: http://webpack.github.io/docs/hot-module-replacement-with-webpack.html
A module can only be updated if you “accept” it. So you need to
module.hot.accept the module in the parents or the parents of the parents… e.g. A Router is a good place, or a subview.
If you only want to use it with the webpack-dev-server, just add
webpack/hot/dev-server as entry point. Else you need some HMR management code that calls
Opinion: What makes it so cool?
- It’s LiveReload but for every module kind.
- You can use it in production.
- The updates respect your Code Splitting and only download updates for the used parts of your app.
- You can use it for a part of your application and it doesn’t affect other modules
- If HMR is disabled, all HMR code is removed by the compiler (wrap it in
- It’s experimental and not tested so well.
- Expect some bugs.
- Theoretically usable in production, but it may be too early to use it for something serious.
- The module IDs need to be tracked between compilations so you need to store them (
- The optimizer cannot optimize module IDs any more after the first compilation. A bit of an impact on bundle size.
- HMR runtime code increases the bundle size.
- For production usage, additional testing is required to test the HMR handlers. This could be pretty difficult.
The accepted answer expalains everything correct anyway the following description helps to understand what is HMR quickly.
It aids the development by reducing number of page refresh by replacing the modules with changes at runtime.
While searching about HMR i found an article that explains the concept on internet you can get it from here and adding a GIF image that explains the concept without much explanation.
Webpack helps to acheive HMR. You can find docs here
It helps to achieve following
Retain application state which is lost during a full reload.
Save valuable development time by only updating what’s changed.
Tweak styling faster — almost comparable to changing styles in the browser’s debugger.
Here is the webpack guide to achieve HMR