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browser field spec for package.json
@defunctzombie
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defunctzombie commented May 7, 2022

The original idea behind the browser field is different from the exports field. With the browser field the purpose was not to wholesale ship a different set of files for node vs browser but instead provide a mechanism to replace a few files when packaging for browser. The thinking being that you would generally share 90% of the code and only replace a few compatibility or platform files. Ideally these wouldn't even be user-facing but could be.

@basedwon
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basedwon commented May 7, 2022

I'm building libraries that work in the browser and in Node. I get the original purpose of the browser field, but now that the browser is getting more advanced, the use cases are getting more advanced. WP5 is using the exports field with pattern replacement. I'm not sure about Browserify, but I'd like to make libs that work with both. It's not a huge deal, I can just define every file, but that definitely seems like an inefficient way to do it in the grand scheme

@ljharb
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ljharb commented May 7, 2022

The efficient thing to do is to have most of your files be universal, and have a very small number that vary by platform - ideally confined to separate packages.

@basedwon
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basedwon commented May 7, 2022

My files are isomorphic, meaning they work on both browser and in Node, I'd call that "universal". The issue is that Webpack (4) doesn't care, and so I have to compensate by listing every file in the browser field. I have one file that is used on Node only and the exports field handles that just fine.

The efficient thing would be to allow for the browser field to behave like the exports field. But less efficient for me to use my time trying to get that changed than just to deal with it. But as my libs grow, so too must the exports field. Tracking each import in the config is redundant and therefore inefficient. Hopefully Browserify/Webpack will address this. But I won't be holding my breath.

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