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Understanding the Webpack Module Bundler


Webpack is definitely one of the most useful new tools in the JavaScript world.

Part of the key to understanding webpack is to understand how loaders work.

The absolute key is that you can quickly read this line and understand it.


So what does this line mean?

Next, let’s take a look at this example from webpack config for using the github/fetch, as described in this article: Using webpack with shims and polyfills

plugins: [
  new webpack.ProvidePlugin({
    'fetch': 'imports?this=>global!exports?global.fetch!whatwg-fetch'

I asked @sokra on gitter:

Can you please tell me if my diagram of how to include fetch via webpack is correct? What I could not find document is how the ProvidePlugin examples seem to take an example of a dependency, like jquery and map it to ‘$’, but I’m not seeing how we go from ‘this’ into fetch. I’m guessing that the format of imports?this=>global is how you convert some object named global into what the ProvidePlugin wants.

Here’s his response on gitter:

imports?this=>global wraps the module into (function() { /* module */ }.call(global))


  1. Provide Plugin
  2. Nice explanation of how to use the provide plugin with jQuery
  3. fetch.js source file