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What is Babel?

Babel will turn your ES6+ code into ES5 friendly code, so you can start using it right now without waiting for browser support.
Babel is a tool in the JavaScript Compilers category of a tech stack.
Babel is an open source tool with 37.2K GitHub stars and 4.4K GitHub forks. Here’s a link to Babel's open source repository on GitHub

Who uses Babel?

Companies
1456 companies reportedly use Babel in their tech stacks, including Instagram, Robinhood, and Discord.

Developers
6656 developers on StackShare have stated that they use Babel.

Babel Integrations

gulp, Grunt, RequireJS, Gatsby, and Browserify are some of the popular tools that integrate with Babel. Here's a list of all 12 tools that integrate with Babel.
Public Decisions about Babel

Here are some stack decisions, common use cases and reviews by companies and developers who chose Babel in their tech stack.

Nick Parsons
Nick Parsons
Director of Developer Marketing at Stream · | 35 upvotes · 1M views

Winds 2.0 is an open source Podcast/RSS reader developed by Stream with a core goal to enable a wide range of developers to contribute.

We chose JavaScript because nearly every developer knows or can, at the very least, read JavaScript. With ES6 and Node.js v10.x.x, it’s become a very capable language. Async/Await is powerful and easy to use (Async/Await vs Promises). Babel allows us to experiment with next-generation JavaScript (features that are not in the official JavaScript spec yet). Yarn allows us to consistently install packages quickly (and is filled with tons of new tricks)

We’re using JavaScript for everything – both front and backend. Most of our team is experienced with Go and Python, so Node was not an obvious choice for this app.

Sure... there will be haters who refuse to acknowledge that there is anything remotely positive about JavaScript (there are even rants on Hacker News about Node.js); however, without writing completely in JavaScript, we would not have seen the results we did.

#FrameworksFullStack #Languages

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Jonathan Pugh
Jonathan Pugh
Software Engineer / Project Manager / Technical Architect · | 25 upvotes · 1.2M views

I needed to choose a full stack of tools for cross platform mobile application design & development. After much research and trying different tools, these are what I came up with that work for me today:

For the client coding I chose Framework7 because of its performance, easy learning curve, and very well designed, beautiful UI widgets. I think it's perfect for solo development or small teams. I didn't like React Native. It felt heavy to me and rigid. Framework7 allows the use of #CSS3, which I think is the best technology to come out of the #WWW movement. No other tech has been able to allow designers and developers to develop such flexible, high performance, customisable user interface elements that are highly responsive and hardware accelerated before. Now #CSS3 includes variables and flexboxes it is truly a powerful language and there is no longer a need for preprocessors such as #SCSS / #Sass / #less. React Native contains a very limited interpretation of #CSS3 which I found very frustrating after using #CSS3 for some years already and knowing its powerful features. The other very nice feature of Framework7 is that you can even build for the browser if you want your app to be available for desktop web browsers. The latest release also includes the ability to build for #Electron so you can have MacOS, Windows and Linux desktop apps. This is not possible with React Native yet.

Framework7 runs on top of Apache Cordova. Cordova and webviews have been slated as being slow in the past. Having a game developer background I found the tweeks to make it run as smooth as silk. One of those tweeks is to use WKWebView. Another important one was using srcset on images.

I use #Template7 for the for the templating system which is a no-nonsense mobile-centric #HandleBars style extensible templating system. It's easy to write custom helpers for, is fast and has a small footprint. I'm not forced into a new paradigm or learning some new syntax. It operates with standard JavaScript, HTML5 and CSS 3. It's written by the developer of Framework7 and so dovetails with it as expected.

I configured TypeScript to work with the latest version of Framework7. I consider TypeScript to be one of the best creations to come out of Microsoft in some time. They must have an amazing team working on it. It's very powerful and flexible. It helps you catch a lot of bugs and also provides code completion in supporting IDEs. So for my IDE I use Visual Studio Code which is a blazingly fast and silky smooth editor that integrates seamlessly with TypeScript for the ultimate type checking setup (both products are produced by Microsoft).

I use Webpack and Babel to compile the JavaScript. TypeScript can compile to JavaScript directly but Babel offers a few more options and polyfills so you can use the latest (and even prerelease) JavaScript features today and compile to be backwards compatible with virtually any browser. My favorite recent addition is "optional chaining" which greatly simplifies and increases readability of a number of sections of my code dealing with getting and setting data in nested objects.

I use some Ruby scripts to process images with ImageMagick and pngquant to optimise for size and even auto insert responsive image code into the HTML5. Ruby is the ultimate cross platform scripting language. Even as your scripts become large, Ruby allows you to refactor your code easily and make it Object Oriented if necessary. I find it the quickest and easiest way to maintain certain aspects of my build process.

For the user interface design and prototyping I use Figma. Figma has an almost identical user interface to #Sketch but has the added advantage of being cross platform (MacOS and Windows). Its real-time collaboration features are outstanding and I use them a often as I work mostly on remote projects. Clients can collaborate in real-time and see changes I make as I make them. The clickable prototyping features in Figma are also very well designed and mean I can send clickable prototypes to clients to try user interface updates as they are made and get immediate feedback. I'm currently also evaluating the latest version of #AdobeXD as an alternative to Figma as it has the very cool auto-animate feature. It doesn't have real-time collaboration yet, but I heard it is proposed for 2019.

For the UI icons I use Font Awesome Pro. They have the largest selection and best looking icons you can find on the internet with several variations in styles so you can find most of the icons you want for standard projects.

For the backend I was using the #GraphCool Framework. As I later found out, #GraphQL still has some way to go in order to provide the full power of a mature graph query language so later in my project I ripped out #GraphCool and replaced it with CouchDB and Pouchdb. Primarily so I could provide good offline app support. CouchDB with Pouchdb is very flexible and efficient combination and overcomes some of the restrictions I found in #GraphQL and hence #GraphCool also. The most impressive and important feature of CouchDB is its replication. You can configure it in various ways for backups, fault tolerance, caching or conditional merging of databases. CouchDB and Pouchdb even supports storing, retrieving and serving binary or image data or other mime types. This removes a level of complexity usually present in database implementations where binary or image data is usually referenced through an #HTML5 link. With CouchDB and Pouchdb apps can operate offline and sync later, very efficiently, when the network connection is good.

I use PhoneGap when testing the app. It auto-reloads your app when its code is changed and you can also install it on Android phones to preview your app instantly. iOS is a bit more tricky cause of Apple's policies so it's not available on the App Store, but you can build it and install it yourself to your device.

So that's my latest mobile stack. What tools do you use? Have you tried these ones?

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Vishal Narkhede
Vishal Narkhede
Javascript Developer at getStream.io · | 19 upvotes · 313.6K views

Recently, the team at Stream published a React Native SDK for our new Chat by Stream product. React Native brings the power of JavaScript to the world of mobile development, making it easy to develop apps for multiple platforms. We decided to publish two different endpoints for the SDK – Expo and React Native (non-expo), to avoid the hurdle and setup of using the Expo library in React Native only projects on the consumer side.

The capability of style customization is one a large deal breaker for frontend SDKs. To solve this, we decided to use styled-components in our SDK, which makes it easy to add support for themes on top of our existing components. This practice reduces the maintenance effort for stylings of custom components and keeps the overall codebase clean.

For module bundling, we decided to go with Rollup.js instead of Webpack due to its simplicity and performance in the area of library/module providers. We are using Babel for transpiling code, enabling our team to use JavaScript's next-generation features. Additionally, we are using the React Styleguidist component documentation, which makes documenting the React Native code a breeze.

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Ali Soueidan
Ali Soueidan
Creative Web Developer at Ali Soueidan · | 18 upvotes · 637.3K views

Application and Data: Since my personal website ( https://alisoueidan.com ) is a SPA I've chosen to use Vue.js, as a framework to create it. After a short skeptical phase I immediately felt in love with the single file component concept! I also used vuex for state management, which makes working with several components, which are communicating with each other even more fun and convenient to use. Of course, using Vue requires using JavaScript as well, since it is the basis of it.

For markup and style, I used Pug and Sass, since they’re the perfect match to me. I love the clean and strict syntax of both of them and even more that their structure is almost similar. Also, both of them come with an expanded functionality such as mixins, loops and so on related to their “siblings” (HTML and CSS). Both of them require nesting and prevent untidy code, which can be a huge advantage when working in teams. I used JSON to store data (since the data quantity on my website is moderate) – JSON works also good in combo with Pug, using for loops, based on the JSON Objects for example.

To send my contact form I used PHP, since sending emails using PHP is still relatively convenient, simple and easy done.

DevOps: Of course, I used Git to do my version management (which I even do in smaller projects like my website just have an additional backup of my code). On top of that I used GitHub since it now supports private repository for free accounts (which I am using for my own). I use Babel to use ES6 functionality such as arrow functions and so on, and still don’t losing cross browser compatibility.

Side note: I used npm for package management. 🎉

*Business Tools: * I use Asana to organize my project. This is a big advantage to me, even if I work alone, since “private” projects can get interrupted for some time. By using Asana I still know (even after month of not touching a project) what I’ve done, on which task I was at last working on and what still is to do. Working in Teams (for enterprise I’d take on Jira instead) of course Asana is a Tool which I really love to use as well. All the graphics on my website are SVG which I have created with Adobe Illustrator and adjusted within the SVG code or by using JavaScript or CSS (SASS).

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Simon Reymann
Simon Reymann
Senior Fullstack Developer at QUANTUSflow Software GmbH · | 18 upvotes · 245.4K views

Our whole Vue.js frontend stack (incl. SSR) consists of the following tools:

  • Nuxt.js consisting of Vue CLI, Vue Router, vuex, Webpack and Sass (Bundler for HTML5, CSS 3), Babel (Transpiler for JavaScript),
  • Vue Styleguidist as our style guide and pool of developed Vue.js components
  • Vuetify as Material Component Framework (for fast app development)
  • TypeScript as programming language
  • Apollo / GraphQL (incl. GraphiQL) for data access layer (https://apollo.vuejs.org/)
  • ESLint, TSLint and Prettier for coding style and code analyzes
  • Jest as testing framework
  • Google Fonts and Font Awesome for typography and icon toolkit
  • NativeScript-Vue for mobile development

The main reason we have chosen Vue.js over React and AngularJS is related to the following artifacts:

  • Empowered HTML. Vue.js has many similar approaches with Angular. This helps to optimize HTML blocks handling with the use of different components.
  • Detailed documentation. Vue.js has very good documentation which can fasten learning curve for developers.
  • Adaptability. It provides a rapid switching period from other frameworks. It has similarities with Angular and React in terms of design and architecture.
  • Awesome integration. Vue.js can be used for both building single-page applications and more difficult web interfaces of apps. Smaller interactive parts can be easily integrated into the existing infrastructure with no negative effect on the entire system.
  • Large scaling. Vue.js can help to develop pretty large reusable templates.
  • Tiny size. Vue.js weights around 20KB keeping its speed and flexibility. It allows reaching much better performance in comparison to other frameworks.
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Johnny Bell
Johnny Bell
Software Engineer at Weedmaps · | 17 upvotes · 977.1K views

So when starting a new project you generally have your go to tools to get your site up and running locally, and some scripts to build out a production version of your site. Create React App is great for that, however for my projects I feel as though there is to much bloat in Create React App and if I use it, then I'm tied to React, which I love but if I want to switch it up to Vue or something I want that flexibility.

So to start everything up and running I clone my personal Webpack boilerplate - This is still in Webpack 3, and does need some updating but gets the job done for now. So given the name of the repo you may have guessed that yes I am using Webpack as my bundler I use Webpack because it is so powerful, and even though it has a steep learning curve once you get it, its amazing.

The next thing I do is make sure my machine has Node.js configured and the right version installed then run Yarn. I decided to use Yarn because when I was building out this project npm had some shortcomings such as no .lock file. I could probably move from Yarn to npm but I don't really see any point really.

I use Babel to transpile all of my #ES6 to #ES5 so the browser can read it, I love Babel and to be honest haven't looked up any other transpilers because Babel is amazing.

Finally when developing I have Prettier setup to make sure all my code is clean and uniform across all my JS files, and ESLint to make sure I catch any errors or code that could be optimized.

I'm really happy with this stack for my local env setup, and I'll probably stick with it for a while.

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Babel's Features

  • Array comprehensions
  • Arrow functions
  • Async functions
  • Async generator functions
  • Classes
  • Class properties
  • Computed property names
  • Constants
  • Decorators
  • Default parameters
  • Destructuring
  • Exponentiation operator
  • For-of
  • Generators
  • Generator comprehensions
  • Let scoping
  • Modules
  • Module export extensions
  • Object rest/spread
  • Property method assignment
  • Property name shorthand
  • Rest parameters
  • React
  • Spread
  • Tail call optimisation
  • Template literals
  • Type annotations
  • Unicode regex
  • JSX
  • React
  • Flow
  • Node.js
  • Meteor
  • Rails
  • Broccoli
  • Browserify
  • Require.js
  • Brunch
  • Duo
  • Gobble
  • Grunt
  • Gulp
  • Make
  • Webpack
  • Connect
  • Jade
  • Jest
  • Karma
  • Mocha
  • Nodemon

Babel Alternatives & Comparisons

What are some alternatives to Babel?
Webpack
A bundler for javascript and friends. Packs many modules into a few bundled assets. Code Splitting allows to load parts for the application on demand. Through "loaders" modules can be CommonJs, AMD, ES6 modules, CSS, Images, JSON, Coffeescript, LESS, ... and your custom stuff.
TypeScript
TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript development. It's a typed superset of JavaScript that compiles to plain JavaScript.
CoffeeScript
It adds syntactic sugar inspired by Ruby, Python and Haskell in an effort to enhance JavaScript's brevity and readability. Specific additional features include list comprehension and de-structuring assignment.
ESLint
A pluggable and configurable linter tool for identifying and reporting on patterns in JavaScript. Maintain your code quality with ease.
rollup
It is a module bundler for JavaScript which compiles small pieces of code into something larger and more complex, such as a library or application. It uses the new standardized format for code modules included in the ES6 revision of JavaScript, instead of previous idiosyncratic solutions such as CommonJS and AMD.
See all alternatives

Babel's Followers
5402 developers follow Babel to keep up with related blogs and decisions.
Glen Hassell
tillyboy
Robin van der Noord
Taufik Hidayat
Tsion Adefres
jack lennon
Aaron Vargas
Pankaj Singh
Fadhel Fatani
Himanshu Yadav