Setting up TypeScript, Phaser, Webpack, … Argh!

Here’s what the HTML for your game might look like:MinifyingOnce we’ve smooshed everything, we’ll want to minify bundle.


That means to make it smaller, by removing spaces, using shorter variable names, and applying other tricks.

For example, suppose we had this JavaScript:var dogSize = "big";if (dogSize === "big") { console.

log("A big dog!");}This is equivalent:var d="big";if(d==="big"){console.

log("A big dog!")}It does the same thing, but would be a smaller download.

There’s a difference between a distributable you use for production (that is, send to users), and one you use for development (for testing and debugging).

The production distributable should be minified, to reduce users’ download time.

However, in development, minification is less of an issue.

It would be nice if our build process could run in either production mode (minifying), or development mode (no minifying).

Build process goals summaryWe want to put all of our TypeScript files in one end.

Get one ES5 file (bundle.

js) out of the other end.

Minified for production.

Where are we?Goals for project organization — DoneGoals for the build process — DoneGoals for the development environment — Up nextGoals for the development environmentLet’s use VS Code.

It’s a good thing.

One of its best features is IntelliSense.

VS Code has TypeScript IntelliSense built-in.

Start typing, and VS Code will show you TypeScript keywords that fit:TypeScript IntelliSenseIf VS Code knows about Phaser’s classes, constants, and such, it can help us write Phaser code:Intellisense for PhaserVS Code can do IntelliSense on our own code as well.

For example, it can learn about our Dog class:Intellisense for our own codeLet’s use linting, too.

A linter is a program that checks code against a set of rules.

The linter should run inside VSCode, so we can see its output as we work.

For example:Linter reporting issuesThere’s a default linter rule set, but you can tweak it.

So, we want VS Code to have IntelliSense for all the things, and linting.

One more VSCode bit: let’s make it easy to run our game from VS Code.

Maybe right-click index.

html, and run it on a local server.

Run index.

html on a local serverWe can do that.

Source mapsWe’re writing TypeScript, organized into many different files.

When we’re debugging in a browser, we’d like to debug as if the browser was running our TypeScript.

But, of course, the browser is running bundle.

js, the compiled-and-smooshed-and-maybe-minified result of the build process.

That makes debugging difficult, to say the least.

Fortunately, there are source map files.

They have names like bundle.



They tell browser debugging tools how the original source files map to the compiled code.

You can work with what looks like the original files, setting breakpoints, look at variables, and so on.

Source maps should be part of our development environment.

Meeting the GoalsNow we know the three types of goals:Project organization: many files that refer to each other.

Build process: many TypeScript files in — one JavaScript distributable out.

Development environment: IntelliSense for everything.


Run index.

html on a local server.

Source maps for debugging.

Meeting project organization goalsLet’s put all the files for the project into one folder.

Its subfolders might be:src: our TypeScript source code will go here.

The game’s entry point will be src/app.


lib: Phaser 3 and other libraries will go here.

dist: the distribution ES5 file, bundle.

js, will go here.

assets: sprites, sound files, etc.

, will go here.


html will go into the project root.

That will meet the first goal:Project organization — DoneBuilding the distributable — Up nextDevelopment environmentOnward!Meeting build process goalsRemember the goals of the build process:Put all of our TS files in one end.

Get one minified ES5 file (bundle.

js) out of the other end (for production).

Get one ES5 file (bundle.

js) out of the other end (for development).

We’ll use Webpack to do the work.

Webpack takes a bunch of files, and packs them together.

It can also control TSC, the TypeScript compiler, so we don’t have to run it separately.

That is, Webpack tells TSC to translate our TypeScript files into ES5 (and optionally make the source map files), before it packages them.

The way we’re using it, Webpack is both a task runner (to control TSC for us), and a packer (to make the distributable).

TypeScript files in — distributable out.

We’ll get to how to install Webpack later, after we’ve figured out all the pieces we need.

Let’s focus on building a good mental model for now.

Apart from packing and minifying, we’ll also use Webpack to meet a goal for the development environment: making source maps.

We control Webpack with a file called webpack.



Notice that this is a JS file, not a JSON file.

Different tools are controlled by different types of files.

Here’s a sample for this project:The first thing Webpack has to do is compile our TS files to JS.

It doesn’t know how to do that by itself.

We tell Webpack to use the ts-loader plugin, which knows how to invoke TSC (the TypeScript compiler, remember) to compile TypeScript files.

The test key gives a regular expression identifying the files to compile.

In this case, every file with .

ts at the end.

The output and filename keys tell Webpack where to put the packaged code.

The devtool key says we want a source map.

So far, we have a config file for Webpack.

However, remember that Webpack uses TSC.

TSC needs its own config file, tsconfig.


This works for me:The target key means the compilation target is ES5.

How to do the module import/export in ES5?.Using CommonJS.

Generate source maps.

Allow pure JS files.

The next four are TypeScript options.

The lib array includes some extra libraries, and helps Phaser IntelliSense work (more later).

With these two config files in place, we should be able to run Webpack, and end up with a distributable.

Once everything is installed.

We’ve done the first two things now:Project organization — DoneBuilding bundle.

js, the code distributable — DoneDevelopment environment — Up nextOnward!.Ad victorium!Meeting development environment goalsFor development, we want to:Get IntelliSense to work for TypeScript, Phaser, and our code.


Easily run index.

html on a local server.

Make source maps available to the browser, for debugging.

The last one we’ve already done, by configuring TSC and Webpack.

VS Code has IntelliSense for TypeScript built in.

No worries!.It will also analyse our code for us, and add it to IntelliSense.

More later.

Now for IntelliSense for Phaser.

Most popular JS libraries have typing files, that IntelliSense can use to give its hints.

Typing files have the extension .



The site DefinitelyTyped has a large collection.

They’re easy to install from there.

At the time of writing, Phaser 3 has a typings file, but it has not been contributed to DefinitelyTyped.

We’ll install it manually, later.

For linting, there’s TSLint, yet another dev tool.

We need to install it, and hook it up to VS Code.

No worries.

There’s a VS Code extension for that.

And an extension for opening a file in a local server, too.

That’s it!.We now know what we want to achieve:Project organization.

A nicely organized folder tree, with TypeScript code broken across files, linked by export and import.

Building process.

A smooshed ES5 package, minified for production.

Development environment.

VSCode with mondo IntelliSense, linting, source maps, and open-in-a-server.

Installing Everything (Finally!)Time to hit the keyboard.

Implementing project organizationImplementing the build processImplementing the development environmentImplementing project organizationLet’s put all the files for the project into one folder, called doggame.

Here are some ways to do it.

WindowsStart a command line shell.

Win+R, type cmd, and press Enter.

Mine looks like this, after I set some colors to make it easier on my eyes.

I put my projects on the D: drive, so I type d:<Enter>.

Switching the default driveIf you don’t have a D: drive, maybe type cd to switch to the root of the C: drive.

Create a folder for the project, and change into it:Project folder createdNext, make the folders for different parts of the project.

Folders for different thingsLinuxPretty much the same thing.

cd ~mkdir doggamecd doggamemkdir srcmkdir libmkdir distmkdir assetsRemember that the folders are:src: our TypeScript source code.

lib: Phaser 3 and other libraries go here.

dist: the distribution ES5 file, bundle.

js, goes here.

assets: sprites, sound files, etc.


html will go into the project root, that is, in D:doggame , C:doggame, ~/doggame, or whatever.

BTW, as far as I know right now, Windows and Linux are equally suited to Phaser 3 development.

While you’re here, download Phaser, and put it in the lib folder.

What I did is go to the Phaser download page, right-click on min.

js, and save:Downloading PhaserIt’s also a good idea to grab the Phaser source code, from the zip file on the Phaser download page, or from GitHub.

I’ve found myself referring to the source code sometimes, to figure something out.

Cool!.What’s next?Install project organization stuff — DoneInstall build process stuff — Up nextInstall development environment stuffInstalling build process toolsWe have a bunch of different dev tools to install.

It’s easier if we use another tool to keep track of everything: NPM.

Install NPMNPM is a dependency manager.

It can install other software (like Webpack and TSC).

NPM can track versions, and update software for you, without you having to download anything yourself.

NPM is part of the Node.

js ecosystem.


js is a program that runs JavaScript in an OS, like any other language.

For example, if you put PHP code in dog.

php, you could tell your PHP interpreter to run it, like this:php dog.

phpIf you put JS code in dog.

js, you could tell Node to run it, like this:node dog.

jsWith Node, JS is just another language you can work with, like C#, PHP, or Python.

Of course, JS has a trick that the others don’t have: JS also runs in browsers.

The people who wrote tools to manage JS, like Webpack, know JS, of course.

So they wrote their tools in JS.

How to run JS?.Node!.That’s why Node appears so often in JS developer land.

Even if you never write a Node app yourself, the tools you use need Node to run.

NPM is distributed with Node.

Actually, NPM stands for “Node Package Manager.

” Install node, and you get NPM.


js installation procedures vary across OS.

For Windows, download and run an installation file, usually with a .

msi extension.

For Linux, something like:sudo apt-get install nodeYour command may vary, depending on your distro.

The Node installer will modify the system path, to make it easier to run NPM on the command line.

Now that NPM is installed, let’s set it up.

We could just start using it, but it goes a little better with a configuration file.

NPM will create one for you.

Type:npm initNPM will ask you some questions.

You can type answers, or keep hitting Enter to take the defaults.

You’ll get the file package.


What is package.

json for?.It’s where NPM tracks what it has downloaded.

You can edit package.

json, if you want.

I usually do.

The default package.

json file has this:"main": "index.

js",That’s not the entry point I want, so I just delete the line.

Install TSCTell NPM to install TSC (the TypeScript compiler) by typing this:npm install –save-dev typescriptCheck out your project folder, and you can see what NPM did.

First, it created a folder called node_modules.

That’s where NPM puts stuff-it downloads for you.

Inside that, you’ll see a folder called typescript.

TSC itself is in typescript/lib/tsc.


Yes, the TSC compiler is written in JS.

It needs Node to run.

That’s why it’s packaged as a Node module.

NPM also modified its configuration file, package.


Remember that package.

json is where NPM tracks what it has downloaded.

It just grabbed TypeScript, so there should be an entry for that.

Sure enough, open package.

json , and you’ll see something like:"devDependencies": { "typescript": "^3.


5"}It’s a dev dependency, because you typed –save-dev when you installed TSC.

Create a TSC config filePut this in tsconfig.

json:Install WebpackYou’ll install two things here.

First, ts-loader.

Remember that we want Webpack to control TSC.

ts-loader is a Webpack plugin that lets that happen.

Type:npm install –save-dev ts-loaderWhen that’s done:npm install –save-dev webpackThis one takes a while.

NPM downloads a shipload of stuff.

Check in the node_modules folder.

Create a Webpack config fileMake the file webpack.



Try this:Let’s try it so farBefore we get to VS Code, let’s try what we have so far.

Let’s make an app with some code you saw earlier.

Make index.

html in your project root, with this in it:Now make src/dog.

ts, with this:One more file, the app entry point, src/app.

ts:import { Dog } from ".

/dog";let oscar: Dog = new Dog();console.


bark());Now for the big test.

Run Webpack in the root of your project, where index.

html is.

If necessary, use the cd command to make that the current folder.

For example, if the current folder is src, type cd .

 :Up the parent folder.

means “parent.

”Run this:webpack –mode development(The first time I ran this, it failed, because I used the file name app.

js, instead of app.


The second time, it failed because I had named the TS config file tsconf.

json, instead of tsconfig.


So… things can go wrong.

)Webpack should run TSC, telling it to compile all of the TS files into JS files.

You should get source maps as well.

Then Webpack should smoosh the JS files together, into bundle.


Because you asked for a dev build, bundle.

js should not be minified.

You should see something like:Webpack created bundle.

js, combining code translated from app.

ts, and dog.


Opening up bundle.

js, I see:It’s a smooshed file, but not minified.

The code you see is where TSC sets up CommonJS to do export/import.

Open index.

html in a browser, and see:As expected!Now try:webpack –mode productionCheck out bundle.

js now:!function(e){var t={};function r(n){Minified!.Hooray!Now, how about the source map?.Did that work?.Looking in the dist folder, I see the file bundle.



That looks promising.

But will it work with the browser?Here’s what I see in Chrome’s dev tools:Dev tools in ChomeHey!. More details

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