Project Exporting

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StealJS can export your project into commonly used formats and platforms which can be used to create distributables that can be used in almost any situation:

This guide uses the [steal-tools.grunt.export] task to call export which loads the module source and transpiles it to AMD, CommonJS and global compatible distributables. This guide uses the bit-tabs component built with CanJS, but the same techniques can be used to create and export projects that use any other framework or library.

Project Structure

The Steal export process reads the contents of the project's source directory to generate the distributables. Our bit-tabs example component uses the src/ directory.

Create src/ and create the main entry-point in src/bit-tabs.js. The dist/ and the subdirectories will be created by export process

    /amd      - AMD build
    /cjs      - CJS/Browserify builds
    /global   - Global / <script> build
  /src        - Source files
  /test       - Test source files


The project's package.json is used to configure how Browserify or Steal loads your project. The following walks through the important parts:


The steal property specifies StealJS overwrites. Set the main property as follows to tell Steal to use src/bit-tabs.js as the starting point of the application. The "npmIgnore" property tells StealJS to ignore processing the package.json files of certain dependencies.

In the steal property, create a "main" property that points to the main entry-point. And, set "npmIgnore" to ignore dependencies that aren't needed by the browser.

  "steal": {
    "main": "src/bit-tabs",
    "npmIgnore": ["devDependencies"]


CJS/Browserify and StealJS will read the main property when requiring your package. Set the main property to the CommonJS output of the export process.

  "main": "dist/cjs/lib/bit-tabs",


Use npm to install your project's dependencies. If your project includes css or LESS files, include cssify. Browserify will use it to bundle css files.

  "dependencies": {
    "can": "2.2.0-alpha.10",
    "cssify": "^0.6.0"

Add steal, steal-tools, grunt, and grunt-cli to your project's devDependencies:

Add your project's dependencies to package.json.

  "devDependencies": {
    "grunt": "~0.4.1",
    "grunt-cli": "^0.1.13",
    "steal": "0.6.0-pre.0",
    "steal-tools": "0.6.0-pre.2"

"browser" and "browserify"

Because our project will export CSS, we need to tell Browserify to run "cssify" on css files with a transform. To make this work with new and old versions of Browserify you must specify both the "browser" and "browserify" properties.

Specify Browserify transforms.

  "browser": {
    "transform": ["cssify"]
  "browserify": {
    "transform": ["cssify"]


Prior to publishing to npm, we need to build the distributables. We will create a grunt build job that builds our project. For now, we will create a npm script command that points to a grunt build task which we will create in the next step:

Create "prepublish" script command which points to grunt build.

  "scripts": {
    "test": "grunt test --stack",
    "prepublish": "./node_modules/.bin/grunt build"


Finally, we use Grunt for task automation. If Grunt isn't your thing, you can use steal-tool's export method.

Create a Gruntfile.js that looks like the following code block.

module.exports = function (grunt) {


        "steal-export": {
            dist: {
                steal: {
                    config: "package.json!npm"
                outputs: {
                    "+cjs": {},
                    "+amd": {},
                    "+global-js": {},
                    "+global-css": {}

The [steal-tools.grunt.export] grunt task above loads modules and transpiles them to CommonJS, AMD, and a global distributables. The [steal-tools.grunt.export] task requires a StealConfig. In this example, steal.config points to the package.json file which will hold the export configuration.


To generate your project, run:

> npm run pre-publish

If you have grunt-cli installed you can alternatively call grunt directly.

> grunt build

This should create the dist/amd, dist/cjs and dist/global directories with the files needed to use your project AMD, CommonJS and <script> tags respectively.

For now, you should inspect these files and make sure they work. Eventually, we may release helpers that make it easy to test your distributables.

To npm


> npm publish

To Bower

The first time you publish, you must regisiter your project and create a bower.json.

Register your project's name:

> bower register bit-tabs git://

Create a bower.json. The easiest thing to do is copy your package.json and remove any node specific values.

  "name": "bit-tabs",
  "version": "0.0.1",
  "description": "",
  "main": "dist/cjs/lib/bit-tabs",
  "dependencies": {
      "can": "2.2.0-alpha.10",
      "cssify": "^0.6.0"
  "steal": {
      "main": "src/bit-tabs",
      "npmIgnore": ["testee","cssify"]

Once bower is setup, publishing to bower just means pushing a semver tag to github that matches your project's version.

> git tag v0.0.1
> git push origin tag v0.0.1

Importing the Export

Developers need to know how to use your project. The following demonstrates what you need to tell them depending on how they are using your project.

npm and StealJS

Simply import, require, or use define to load your project.

import "bit-tabs";
define(["bit-tabs"], function(){});

npm and CJS

Simply require your project.



They must configure your project as a package:

        packages: [{
                name: 'bit-tabs',
                location: 'path/to/bit-tabs/dist/amd',
                main: 'dist/amd/src/bit-tabs'

And then they can use it as a dependency:

define(["bit-tabs"], function(){


Global / Standalone

They should add script tags for the dependencies and your project and a link tag for your project's css:

    <head lang="en">
        <link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="dist/global/bit-tabs.css">

        <script src="./node_modules/jquery/dist/jquery.js"></script>
        <script src="./node_modules/can/dist/can.jquery.js"></script>
        <script src="./node_modules/can/dist/can.stache.js"></script>
        <script src="dist/global/bit-tabs.js"></script>
                var frag = can.view("app-template", {});

    <script type="text/stache" id="app-template">
      <can-import from="bit-tabs"/>
        <can-panel title="CanJS">
          CanJS provides the MV*
        <can-panel title="StealJS">
          StealJS provides the infrastructure.

    <div id="my-app"></div>
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