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Frontend Bundling (CSS/JS/etc.)

Bridgetown comes with a default configuration of Webpack to handle building and exporting frontend assets such as JavaScript/TypeScript/etc., CSS/Sass/etc., and related files that are imported through Webpack (fonts, icons, etc.)

The default configuration is defined in config/webpack.defaults.js. You can add or override config options in webpack.config.js.

The default configuration can be updated to the latest version provided by Bridgetown using the webpack CLI tool:

bundle exec bridgetown webpack update

All options provided by the webpack CLI tool can be viewed by running:

bundle exec bridgetown webpack

Files to be processed by Webpack are placed in the top-level frontend folder within your site root. This folder is entirely separate from the Bridgetown source folder where your content, templates, plugins, etc. live. However, using relative paths you can reference files from Webpack that live in the source folder (so you could keep CSS partials alongside Liquid templates, for example).

Bridgetown uses Yarn to install and manage frontend NPM-based packages and dependencies. Gem-based plugins can instruct Bridgetown to add a related NPM package whenever Bridgetown first loads the gem.

Table of Contents


The starting place for JavaScript code lives at ./frontend/javascript/index.js. Here you can write your custom functionality, use import statements to pull in other modules or external packages, and so forth. This is also where you’d import all relevant CSS. (By default it imports ./frontend/styles/index.scss.)

Because Bridgetown utilizes standard Webpack functionality, you can trick out your JavaScript setup with additional language enhancements like TypeScript or add well-known frameworks like LitElement, Stimulus, Alpine, React, Vue, and many others. For example, to add slick page transitions to your website using Swup, you would simply run:

yarn add swup

And then update ./frontend/javascript/index.js with:

import Swup from "swup"

const swup = new Swup()

And the update your HTML layout according to the Swup install guide.


By default Bridgetown uses Sass, a pre-processor for CSS; but you can pass --use-postcss to bridgetown new to setup PostCSS which is popular with the Webpack community.


The starting place for CSS code lives at frontend/styles/index.scss.

Importing common CSS frameworks such as Bootstrap, Foundation, Bulma and so forth is often as easy as running:

$ yarn add name-of-css-framework

And then adding:

@import "~css-framework/css-framework";

to index.scss. For example, to add Bulma which is a modern CSS-only (no JavaScript) framework built around Flexbox, you’d simply run:

$ yarn add bulma

and then add:

@import "~bulma/bulma";

to index.scss.


You can run bridgetown new mysite --use-postcss to configure your site with PostCSS right out-of-the-box.

The default PostCSS config is largely empty so you can set it up as per your preference. The only two plugins included by default are postcss-flexbugs-fixes and postcss-preset-env.

If you’d like to use Sass with PostCSS, you’ll need to install a plugin for it:

$ yarn add @csstools/postcss-sass

And then include it at the top of the plugins object in postcss.config.js:

module.exports = {  
  plugins: {
    '@csstools/postcss-sass': {},
    'postcss-flexbugs-fixes': {},
    'postcss-preset-env': {
      autoprefixer: {
        flexbox: 'no-2009'
      stage: 2

The popular TailwindCSS framework can be added to your project by following their setup guide for PostCSS.

Linking to the Output Bundles

Bridgetown’s default Webpack configuration is set up to place all compiled output into the _bridgetown folder in your output folder. Bridgetown knows when it regenerates a website not to touch anything in _bridgetown as that comes solely from Webpack. It is recommended you do not use the site source folder to add anything to _bridgetown as that will not get cleaned and updated by Bridgetown’s generation process across multiple builds.

To reference the compiled JS and CSS files from Webpack in your site template, simply add the webpack_path Liquid tag or Ruby helper to your HTML <head>. For example:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="{% webpack_path css %}" />
<script src="{% webpack_path js %}" defer></script>

This will automatically produce HTML tags that look something like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="/_bridgetown/static/css/all.6902d0bf80a552c79eaa.css"/>
<script src="/_bridgetown/static/js/all.a1286aad43064359dbc8.js" defer></script>

Additional Bundled Assets (Fonts, Images)

By default starting with Bridgetown 0.20, both fonts and images can be bundled through Webpack’s loaders. This means that, in CSS/JS files, you can reference fonts/images saved somewhere in the frontend folder (or even from a package in node_modules) and those will get transformed and copied over to output/_bridgetown within an appropriate subfolder and with a hashed filename (aka photo.jpg would become photo-31d6cfe0d16ae931b73c59d7e0c089c0.jpg).

There’s a catch with regard to how this works, because you’ll also want to be able to save files directly within src that are accessible via standard relative URLs (so src/images/photo.jpg is available at /images/photo.jpg within the static output, no Webpack processing required).

So here’s what you’ll want to do:

  • For any files saved inside of src, use server-relative paths. For example: background: url(/images/photo.jpg) in a frontend CSS file would simply point to what is saved at src/images/photo.jpg.
  • For any files saved inside of frontend, use filesystem-relative paths. For example: background: url("../images/photo.jpg") in frontend/styles/index.css will look for frontend/images/photo.jpg. If the file can’t be found, Webpack will throw an error.
  • For a Node package file, use Webpack’s special ~ character, aka ~package-name/path/to/image.jpg.

When bundling, Webpack will place image files (jpg, png, gif, svg) in output/_bridgetown/static/path/to/image.ext and font files (woff, woff2, eot, ttf) in output/_bridgetown/static/fonts. You can edit webpack.config.js if you wish to change this default behavior.

You can also use the webpack_path Liquid tag/Ruby helper to reference assets as well.

<img src="{% webpack_path images/folder/somefile.png %}" />

Multiple Entry Points

If you need to manage more than one Webpack bundle, you can add additional entry points to the webpack.config.js file (in Bridgetown 0.20 and above). For example:

  config.entry.somethingElse = "./frontend/otherscript/something_else.js"

Then simply reference the entry point filename via webpack_path wherever you’d like to load it in your HTML:

<script src="{% webpack_path something_else.js %}"></script>

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