aspa

An opinionated, lightweight and simple to use web asset packager.

npm install aspa
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ASPA

NPM version

ASPA is a simple opinionated web application asset packager for Node.js.

End of Life Notice - January 2014

If you like using this package, please consider switching to ASPAX for cleaner YML syntax, a smart plugin system to handle various source file types, and automatic watching of included files (i.e. Stylus @imports). Have a look at aspax.github.io for more information.

ASPA will remain in the npm repository, but it will no longer be maintained/updated.


Make sure to check ASPA-Express ( github | npm ) for using packaged assets with Express.

ASPA

Why?

There are certainly a number of other similar tools available in the Node.js ecosystem. However, in my opinion:

  • some of them are a bit too complex and complicated (and thus 'overkill' for small projects);
  • some will perform the necessary asset file processing on application start-up, which isn't always the best approach when you're deploying in the cloud;
  • related to the point above, if you're using Stylus or you're only writing the client-side app in CoffeeScript/IcedCoffeeScript, you should still be able to keep a lean deployment size and you shouldn't have to make your server-side app dependant on those packages;
  • not all of them feature concatenation, optimization, compression and fingerprinting for scripts, stylesheets and other deployable assets (such as web fonts);
  • not all of them are processing the CSS files to correctly rewrite the URLs pointing to other fingerprinted assets.

While certainly not aiming to be a silver bullet, ASPA tries to address the above issues by providing a little a command-line utility which you can run during development or before deployment. The configuration is centralized in a single YML map file (aspa.yml) residing in the root of your folder.

Features

  • Map-file based (asset map uses a subset of YAML syntax);
  • Accepts .css, .styl and .less input for stylesheets;
  • Accepts .js, .coffee, .iced (IcedCoffeeScript), .co (Coco) and .ls (LiveScript) input for scripts;
  • Concatenates multiple script/style source files per output file;
  • Fingerprints and gzips assets in production mode.

Installation

npm install aspa

Usage

I. Keep your asset files in a separate folder outside your main web application directory.

Warning: Don't put anything directly in the public web folder, as it will be overwritten during the build process!

Sample folder structure:

/work/server                    -> web application root folder
/work/server/public             -> publicly-visible folder

/work/client                    -> root of the asset folder
/work/client/lib                -> various libraries, such as...
/work/client/lib/select2        -> ...select2
/work/client/templates          -> client-side jade templates
/work/client/scripts            -> script files
/work/client/styles             -> styleheet files

II. Create aspa.yml map file in the root of the asset folder (/work/client in the example above), describing the structure of your deployment.

Sample aspa.yml file (syntax should be quite self-explanatory):

js/main.js:
  from:
    lib/underscore.js               : ~
    lib/backbone.js                 : ~
    lib/select2.js                  : ~
    lib/iced-runtime.js             : ~
    lib/jade-runtime.js             : ~
    scripts/jst-namespace.coffee    : { bare: true }
    templates/item.jade             : ~
    templates/collection.jade       : ~
    scripts/main.coffee             : ~

css/main.css:
  from:
    lib/fontello/css/fontello.css   : ~
    styles/main.styl                : { nib: true }
    styles/item.styl                : { skip: true }

fonts/fontello.eot                  : { from: lib/fontello/font }
fonts/fontello.svg                  : { from: lib/fontello/font, compress: true }
fonts/fontello.ttf                  : { from: lib/fontello/font, compress: true }
fonts/fontello.woff                 : { from: lib/fontello/font }
images/sprite.png                   : ~
images/sprite@2x.png                : ~
favicon.ico                         : { raw: true }

A few observations:

  • bare: true means compile that file without the top-level function safety wrapper, see more about this here;
  • .jade templates are transformed to JavaScript templating functions in JST namespace (i.e. templates/item.jade compiles to JST['templates/item'] function);
  • nib: true refers to this;
  • skip: true means don't include that file in the compiled output, just watch it for changes (in the example above, item.styl is dynamically imported into main.styl, so you don't want to include it again but you want to trigger a rebuild when its content changes;
  • if you use .jade templates, don't forget to include this runtime before;
  • if you use .iced (IcedCoffeeScript) scripts, don't forget to include this runtime before; the runtime can also be generated with iced -I window -F -p -e '' > iced-runtime.js;
  • fonts/fontello.eot: { from: lib/fontello/font } means copy /client/lib/fontello/font/fontello.eot to /server/public/fonts/fontello.eot;
  • .js and .css files are gzipped automatically in production mode, but other "compressible" assets must be explicitely marked with a compress: true option;
  • raw: true means don't fingerprint this file in production.

III. Run the aspa utility in the assets root folder to build and deploy.

During development:

aspa -r ../server Build for development, deploying to ../server/public (/public is the default).

aspa -r ../server -p pub Build for development, deploying to ../server/pub.

aspa -r ../server cleanup Clean-up ../server/public and ../server/aspa.json.

aspa -r ../server watch Watch the asset folder and rebuild automatically when a source file changes. Use this during development.

For production:

aspa -r ../server -m production Build for production, deploying to ../server/public.

Note: Building for production also:

  • creates an output map named ../server/aspa.json;
  • fingerprints generated asset packages (by prefixing them with a UNIX-timestamp string), except the ones marked with raw: true in aspa.yml;
  • compresses .js, .css and any other assets marked with compress: true in aspa.yml.

    Running aspa -r ../server in the above context will generate the following output:

    /work/server/public/js/main.js /work/server/public/css/main.js /work/server/public/fonts/fontello.eot /work/server/public/fonts/fontello.svg /work/server/public/fonts/fontello.ttf /work/server/public/fonts/fontello.woff /work/server/public/images/sprite.png /work/server/public/images/sprite@2x.png /work/server/public/favicon.ico

    ...while running aspa -r ../server -m production could produce this:

    /work/server/public/js/1361917868718.main.js.gz /work/server/public/css/1361917868718.main.js.gz /work/server/public/fonts/1361917868718.fontello.eot /work/server/public/fonts/1361917868718.fontello.svg.gz /work/server/public/fonts/1361917868718.fontello.ttf.gz /work/server/public/fonts/1361917868718.fontello.woff /work/server/public/images/1361917868718.sprite.png /work/server/public/images/1361917868718.sprite@2x.png /work/server/public/favicon.ico /work/server/aspa.json

Notes

ASPA was written almost entirely in IcedCoffeeScript, a superset of CoffeeScript adding await and defer keywords to simply and powerfully streamline asynchronous control flow.

Contributing

If you find a bug or have an idea about a new feature, please don't be shy, just issue a pull request.

Endorsing the author

If you find this module useful, please endorse me on Coderwall using the link below! Thanks :-)

endorse

License

(The MIT License)

Copyright (c) 2013 Ionut-Cristian Florescu <ionut.florescu@gmail.com>

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS', WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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