React with Gulp and Webpack, a solution that works.

March 31, 2017 - 5 minute read -
gulp webpack javascript es6 react
Webpack is dominating the build system scene these days, but I'm not ready to give up on Gulp quite yet.

Webpack is becoming the obvious solution for bundling assets in the world of code modularity. But I still find myself not wanting to leave Gulp behind for all my non-javascript related tasks (sass, image minification, etc). I just know Gulp and build system solutions seem to be a dime a dozen these days. Plus, Webpack’s documentation isn’t the most user friendly. Ultimately, I realized that I only want what Webpack does best: bundle my javascript in all its forms. Gulp is capable of this but it’s fairly complicated to setup and Webpack does it out of the box.

So, after a long and winding road, I think I’ve found a decent solution with webpack-stream. The following code will show you how I configure Webpack to compile React .jsx files using Gulp.

Before we get started, this is the assumed directory structure of our project:


Step 1: Install dependencies

Here’s what we’re going to use:


  • react
  • react-dom


  • webpack-stream

ES6 transpiling

  • babel-core
  • babel-loader
  • babel-plugin-transform-runtime
  • babel-polyfill
  • babel-preset-es2015
  • babel-preset-react
  • babel-preset-stage-0
  • babel-runtime


  • gulp
  • gulp-livereload
  • gulp-notify
  • gulp-sourcemaps

server stuff

  • http
  • st

Run these commands to install the packages:

npm install --save react react-dom
npm install --save-dev babel-core babel-loader babel-plugin-transform-runtime babel-polyfill babel-preset-es2015 babel-preset-react babel-preset-stage-0 babel-runtime gulp gulp-livereload gulp-notify gulp-sourcemaps http json-loader react-hot-loader st webpack-stream

Step 2: Configure Webpack

Copy/paste the code below into the webpack.config.js file in the root of your project:

var	path = require('path'), 
  webpack = require("webpack"),
  PATHS = {
    app: path.join(__dirname, 'src'),
    build: path.join(__dirname, 'build')

module.exports = {
  devtool: 'eval-source-map',
  entry: ['babel-polyfill','./src/js/index.jsx'],
  output: {
  filename: 'build.min.js'
  module: {
  loaders: [
    loader: 'babel-loader',
    include: [
      path.resolve(__dirname, "src/js"),
    test: /\.(js|jsx|es6)$/,
    exclude: /(node_modules|bower_components)/,
    query: {
      plugins: ['transform-runtime'],
      presets: ['es2015', 'react'],
  resolve: {
  extensions: ['', '.js', '.jsx']
  plugins: [
  new webpack.DefinePlugin({
    'process.env': {
    NODE_ENV: JSON.stringify('"production"')
  new webpack.optimize.UglifyJsPlugin(),
  new webpack.optimize.OccurenceOrderPlugin(),
  new webpack.optimize.DedupePlugin()

Step 3: Configure Gulp

Copy/paste the code below into gulpfile.js in the root of your project:

// Packages

var gulp          = require('gulp'),	
    sourcemaps    = require('gulp-sourcemaps'),
    notify        = require('gulp-notify'),
    webpackConfig = require("./webpack.config.js"),
    stream        = require('webpack-stream'),
    livereload    = require('gulp-livereload'),
    http          = require('http'),
    st            = require('st');

// Paths

var path = {
      scripts: {
        src: ['src/**/*.jsx', 'src/**/*.js'],
        dest: 'build/js'

// Task Options

var options = {
      livereload: { 
        basePath: 'build' 
      server: {
        st: { 
          path: __dirname + '/', 
          index: 'index.html', 
          cache: false 
        port: 8080

gulp.task( 'webpack', function() {
  return gulp.src( path.scripts.src )
    .pipe( sourcemaps.init() )
    .pipe( stream( webpackConfig ) )
    .pipe( sourcemaps.write() )
    .pipe( gulp.dest( path.scripts.dest ) )
    .pipe( livereload() )
    .pipe( notify( { message: 'webpack task complete' } ) );

gulp.task( 'watch', ['server'], function() {
  livereload.listen( options.livereload ); path.scripts.src, ['webpack'] );
  // list any other watch tasks you want for sass, images, etc.

gulp.task( 'server', function( done ) {
    st( )
  ).listen( options.server.port, done );

// Setup the default task
gulp.task( 'default', ['webpack', 'watch'] );

And that’s it! Now just run gulp and your javascript will bundle into /build/js/, a local server will fire up at localhost:8080, and your files will be watched for changes.

From here, you’re free to add any other gulp tasks you like for things like sass, image compression, whatever.

Maybe this is just a transitional phase until the day I fully adpot Webpack but, until then Gulp is still king for me.