Dynamically import polyfills with Laravel Mix

Dwight WatsonAugust 13, 2018

For the new Roomies.com we've decided to try and adopt the native date input. At the moment this would support 90.17% of our users in the United States out of the box. We can then provide a fallback for people who use Internet Explorer 11 or Safari.

We decided to use new native inputs where possible because it would help provide an experience users are becoming more familiar with, as well as being more accessibility-friendly. In addition it is faster because we don't need to download more code to support it.

Supporting dynamic import

Out of the box Laravel Mix does not support dynamic imports but that is easy to change. First run yarn add babel-plugin-syntax-dynamic-import --dev to add the babel plugin. Next, add the plugin to your .babelrc file.

{
    "plugins": ["syntax-dynamic-import"]
}

You can now use import in your code to dynamically import other modules - they'll only be downloaded when required. It is great for loading in additional components that the majority of users might not ever use.

const app = new Vue({
  components: {
    TimeAgo: () => import('./TimeAgo.vue')
  }
}).$mount('#app');

You may notice that Laravel Mix (and Webpack, under the hood) will automatically give this dynamic module a name like 0.js. The name is not important but if you want something more obvious you can use a magic comment to achieve that.

import(/* webpackChunkName: 'js/timeago' */ './TimeAgo.vue');

Now the file will have the given name and be placed in your public/js directory along with your other assets.

Testing if the polyfill is required

In our example we decided to use Pikaday to provide the date picker functionality when the browser does not natively support it. If we dynamically imported the package like above it would be split into another file but still loaded on browsers that do not need it.

First we need a way to determine if the browser supports the element we are working with or not. This simple function will tell us this.

const supportsInput = (type) => {
  const input = document.createElement('input');
  input.type = type;
  return input.type === type;
};

Only import when required

We can use this function as a guard close to only load the Pikaday module if it is required. Then we can use it as we would normally.

async mounted() {
  if (supportsInput('date')) {
    return;
  }

  const Pikaday = await import('pikaday');

  new Pikaday({
    field: this.$el
  });
}

Dynamically load other assets

Pikaday also requires some CSS in order to make it look like a date picker. Like everything else this is really simple to import with Webpacker.

import 'pikaday/css/pikaday.css';

However much like the Pikaday script we only want to load this when it's required. One way to achieve this is to create our own module for Pikaday and load that in together. We could add a file at resources/js/modules/pikaday.js like this - a single file to load the CSS and re-export the Pikaday module.

import 'pikaday/css/pikaday.css';

export { default as Pikaday } from 'pikaday';

Now this self-contained Pikaday can be dynamically imported as a whole only when required. A slight tweak to the import to pop off the Pikaday key will do the trick.

async mounted() {
  if (supportsInput('date')) {
    return;
  }

  const { Pikaday } = await import('pikaday');

  new Pikaday({
    field: this.$el
  });
}

Staying lean

By dynamically importing additional dependencies only when required we keep our primary assets smaller. We provide our users using newer browsers with a faster, more native experience while still supporting those who aren't as lucky.

#laravel#vue#tailwind