How to Not Minify Source with webpack

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The webpack JavaScript utility has taken over the modern JavaScript landscape, so much so that it's hard to be a JavaScript developer and not use it. JavaScript build utilities are the point where they do best practices implicitly, like minify code, caching, and more.

I was recently debugging a bundled webpack app and it quickly became clear that the only way forward was debugging the actual source, not the minified code. Duh.y

To prevent webpack from minifying the source, add the following to your webpack config:

{
    // .... other webpack, like output, etc.
    optimization: {
        minimize: false
    },
}

This simple flag makes debugging easier, if only enabled for a moment. I love how webpack allows you to take advantage of its feature set while being able to disable really quickly!

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Discussion

  1. You may also want to use devtool: 'source-map' to enable high-resolution source maps for your bundles. It will make debugging with browser devtools infinitely easier. (They recognize the source maps and will even allow breakpoint debugging while viewing the original source files!)

  2. Leon

    I’ve inherited a project and am trying to figure out how to edit the config file to stop WebPack from bundling CSS completely.

    I think the way is to create two separate files, one for dev and one for production building. Then attach them to package.json > scripts and launch individually for their intended purpose.

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