Bower

Please note: When I have written commands for terminal/command line, I have preceded them with a $. This is not to be typed but signifies a terminal command

I have recently discovered the power of Bower - a front end package manager. Rather than having to go and find the hosted jquery link, or download the files for fancybox and copy them into my application (website), I can download them off bower.

To get bower installed, you need node. If you haven't got node - where have you been? Install bower globally:

$ npm install bower -g

You might need to run that with sudo

Once you've got that installed you need to cd to your directory and run:

$ bower init

And answer the questions it asks. Alternatively, you can make a bower.json yourself - the only field you need 'name', in which case, it will look like this:

{
  "name": "mikestreety"
}

Once you have a bower.json, you can start installing modules. Try installing jquery with

$ bower install jquery --save

The --save saves the dependency to your bower.json meaning other developers can know what your application depends on.

Once completed, it has installed jquery in a bower_components folder. From here you can include this in your site directly (not recommended) or use a task runner such as gulp or grunt to compile it with all your other javascript files to be included.

If you wanted to use a different version of jquery (in this example 1.6), it can be changed by running:

$ bower install jquery#1.6

After the # you can specify a version, branch or commit SHA (which can be found on github).

If you need to update the library at any time, a

$ bower update

will do the job nicely for you!

.gitignore #

As with the node_modules folder, make sure you add bower_components to your .gitignore file. Libraries should never be committed to the applications git repository. If you then pull down the code, you (or another developer) can run

$ bower install

to get the app dependencies.

Mike Street

Written by Mike Street

Mike is a front-end developer from Brighton, UK. He spends his time writing, cycling and coding. You can find Mike on Twitter.