There are numerous solutions out there on google, but none seemed to work. This post greatly helped me understand differences among confusing concepts such as publicPath, live reload, hot module replacement(HMR), watchContentBase, etc. However even this informative post didn’t solve my simple react + webpack setup. I think the informative post is worth looking into but small modifications to its explanations must be made.

## Problematic Setup

Here’s my initial setup, where I’m running a very simple react example.

.
├── package.json
├── node_modules
├── package-lock.json
├── src
│   ├── index.html
│   ├── index.js
│   └── vis.js
└── webpack.config.js

The main entry is src/index.js which imports src/vis.js.

Here’s my original webpack.config.js

var path = require('path');
var HtmlWebpackPlugin =  require('html-webpack-plugin');

module.exports = {
entry : './src/index.js',
output : {
path : path.resolve(__dirname , 'dist'),
filename: 'index_bundle.js'

},
module : {
rules : [
{test : /\.(js)x?$/, use:['babel-loader']}, {test : /\.css$/, use:['style-loader', 'css-loader']}

]
},
mode:'development',
plugins : [
new HtmlWebpackPlugin ({
template : 'src/index.html',

})
],

devServer: {
open: true,
// tried my configs here...

}

}

Where I’ve tried various different configs in devServer section such as…

// inside devServer section
{
open: true,
publicPath: "/dist/"
}
{
open: true,
watchContentBase: true
}

btw the above config gives an error:

> my-app@0.1.0 dev-start /home/prj/webprjs/my-app
> webpack-dev-server

events.js:167
throw er; // Unhandled 'error' event
^

Error: ENOSPC: no space left on device, watch '/home/chadrick/prj/web/timeline_test/my-app'
at FSWatcher.start (internal/fs/watchers.js:164:26)
at Object.watch (fs.js:1232:11)
at FSReqWrap.oncomplete (fs.js:155:5)
Emitted 'error' event at:
[... lines matching original stack trace ...]
at FSReqWrap.oncomplete (fs.js:155:5)
npm ERR! code ELIFECYCLE
npm ERR! errno 1
npm ERR! my-app@0.1.0 dev-start: webpack-dev-server
npm ERR! Exit status 1
npm ERR!
npm ERR! Failed at the my-app@0.1.0 dev-start script.
npm ERR! This is probably not a problem with npm. There is likely additional logging output abo

which is solved by the final configuration that I used.

## Solution

the final solution config was:

{

open: true,

watchOptions:{
poll: true,
ignored: "/node_modules/"
}

}

so the entire webpack.config.js file would be

var path = require('path');
var HtmlWebpackPlugin =  require('html-webpack-plugin');

module.exports = {
entry : './src/index.js',
output : {
path : path.resolve(__dirname , 'dist'),
filename: 'index_bundle.js'

},
module : {
rules : [
{test : /\.(js)x?$/, use:['babel-loader']}, {test : /\.css$/, use:['style-loader', 'css-loader']}

]
},
mode:'development',
plugins : [
new HtmlWebpackPlugin ({
template : 'src/index.html',

})
],

devServer: {

open: true,

watchOptions:{
poll: true,
ignored: "/node_modules/"
}

}

}

and the run script inside package.json was:

"scripts": {
//...
"dev-start": "webpack-dev-server"
},

Here are some explanations with the configuration

• hot option is by default on, so I didn’t add --hot cli option or added it to the webpack.config.js file under devServer section.
• watchContentBase is also true by default so I didn’t explicitly specify this option.
• adding watchOptions with poll=true, and the ignored keyvalue was essential to making it work. adding ignored: "/node_modules/" was key for getting rid of the error message I mentioned earlier. I guess the error was caused because something was getting in the way of tracking the entire node_modules dir which is not necessary. We only want to track down the source files.
• open options is not on by default so you should specify it in webpack.config.js file like I did or you could add --open command option in the scripts command.

With this setup, I can see that my webpack dev server recompiles and reload the web browser whenever I make changed in src/index.js or src/vis.js.

## Differences with the informative post

I have learned a lot from the informative post, but there are some points that I disagree or have done it differently.

• The post said publicPath sets the subdomain address where in-memory files managed by webpack dev server can be accessed. However the official doc mentions nothing about only in-memory files being served thorugh this path, but rather it says this is the explicitly set subdomain path where requests will be able to access the bundled files specified in output section. In my solution, I did not touch publicPath option since I have no reason to meddle with subdomain path where the necessary files will be served. The default is serving bundled index_bundle.js file through http://localhost:3000/index_bundle.js and that’s the way I intend to keep it. If I changed the publicPath to something like “dist”, then where actual file or in-memory status, the index_bundle.js file will be served through http://localhost:3000/dist/index_bundle.js and this would complicate things since this changes need to be applied when creating html file where <script> tag pointing to index_bundle.js file address. The creation of html file should(*its my guess*) be done by HtmlWebpackPlugin according to my webpack.config.js file, and I have no idea how to make HtmlWebpackPlugin to take these changes into account.
• The subdomain issue is noted in the medium post. And to resolve it, it suggests that the user should manually change the <script> tag’s src path to e.g. “/dist/index_bundle.js” instead of the default “index_bundle.js”. Apart from the downside of this approach mentioned above, this aroused another complexion. As I said, I’m working on a simple react setup and my html template does not have any <script> tags pointing to index_bundle.js file. The outcome of webpack compiling would have it of course, but the source version of html template does not have it. Here’s my html template in /src:
<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">

<meta charset="UTF-8">
<meta name="viewport" content="width=device-width, initial-scale=1.0">
<meta http-equiv="X-UA-Compatible" content="ie=edge">
<title>My React App</title>

<body>
<div id="root"></div>
</body>

</html>

As you can see, even if I wanted to follow the instructions of the medium post, I could not. Again, if I really wanted to do something as close to the medium post, I think I should have meddled with the HtmlWebpackPlugin settings, which I’m not sure what to do with. So, if you are also doing a react setup, then I suggest my solution is more appropriate than the medium post.

• The post only set watchContentBase without setting appropriate watchOptions. Naturally, when I was following the medium post to the letter, I had to face the error messages which was really frustrating.
Categories: web