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Juan Cabrera
Posted by
Tue Dec 02 2014 17:14:37 GMT+0000 (UTC)

Using ES6 modules in the browser with gulp

There is a lot of information about gulp, not so much for ES6 and just a very few articles about how to implement ES6 modules (for the browser) properly.

On my last project I was using gulp + ES6 and I had to spend some time figuring out how to get ES6 modules working properly. This is how I finally did it without using Browserify or any AMD loader.

My first attempt was to use gulp-es6-transpiler (that basically is a wrapper for es6-transpiler) but it doesn’t support modules, then I took a look to gulp-es6-module-jstransform but it only transpiles to CommonJS, meaning that we’ll need to use Browserify, then I tried Traceur (from Google) and it has two options for browser modules, one is ‘AMD’ (meaning that we’ll need to use RequireJS or similar) and ‘inline’ that, basically, generates one file with all the transpiled modules on it (which is the closest option to “native” ES6 modules). The thing is that the ‘inline’ option works perfect if you are using the command line, but if you use the Traceur’s node API (like gulp-traceur) it’ll throw an error. [UPDATE] I’ve put this issue on their Github and finally got fixed, but then we realized that the transpile from the node API wasn’t generating the same output as the command line, so we finally decided to build a small gulp plugin wrapper for the command line Traceur (Thanks Edward!)

Here is the plugin and this is how you can use it:


Make sure you have installed Traceur globally:

npm install traceur --global

Install gulp-traceur-cmdline to your project:

npm install gulp-traceur-cmdline --save-dev


var gulpTraceurCmdline = require('gulp-traceur-cmdline');

gulp.task('gulpTraceurCmdline',function() {
    .pipe(gulpTraceurCmdline('/usr/local/bin/traceur', {
      modules : 'inline',
      out     : './dist/styleguide/js/main.js',
      debug   : false


Github: https://github.com/juancabrera/gulp-traceur-cmdline

NPM: https://www.npmjs.org/package/gulp-traceur-cmdline

Without gulp

You can also run Traceur directly to get your ES6 modules without using this gulp wrapper, here is a basic example:

traceur --modules inline --out mainTranspiled.js main.js

This post was originally posted on my blog.

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