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A custom transformer that can be used with ttypescript to transform ts imports to browser style imports




Jump to Install, Use cases, Motivation, or Documentation of options


This typescript transformer helps you to emit a browser compatible ESModule output. In general, it does two things:

  1. Add a ".js" after the local import
  2. Transform the node style dependencies (e.g. import React from "react") to
    1. A global variable access (const React = globalThis.React)
    2. A CDN (import _ from "[email protected]")
    3. Another CDN (import _ from "[email protected]?module")
    4. Snowpack style import (import _ from "/web_modules/lodash-es.js")
    5. [🧪Experimental] Read import rule from Import Map


import './polyfill'
import * as React from 'react'


const React = _import(globalThis["React"], [], "react", "globalThis.React", false);
import "./polyfill.js";
import { _import as _import } from "[email protected]/es/ttsclib.min.js";


  1. Install typescript and ttypescript, and this transformer into your project if you don't already have them.

    npm install --save-dev typescript
    npm install --save-dev ttypescript
    npm install --save-dev @magic-works/ttypescript-browser-like-import-transformer
  2. You should use ESModule like target (es2015, esnext, etc) in your compiler options

    // tsconfig.json
        "compilerOptions": {
            "module": "es2015",
            "plugins": [
                    "transform": "@magic-works/ttypescript-browser-like-import-transformer",
                    "after": true
                    // Configs go here.
  3. Write some typescript with normal imports

    import React from 'react'
  4. Compile using ttsc

    ttsc --project tsconfig.json

Use cases

Use with classic UMD dependencies

The default config of this transformer is "UMD" mode. All bare imports will be translated to a "UMD import". (e.g. import React from "react" becomes const React = globalThis.React). Then add a regular script tag to load React UMD.

Use with Webpack

Here is a template repo to help you use this transformer with Webpack. In this repo, all node style import is imported in a single file and packed by Webpack. The rest of the source code never gets handled by Webpack but emitted by ttypescript (an enhanced typescript cli that allows you to specify transformer programmatically).

Use with Snowpack

See the TTypeScript Support in the Importing Packages by Name section.

/* tsconfig.json */
    "compilerOptions": {
        "module": "es2015",
        "plugins": [
                "transform": "@magic-works/ttypescript-browser-like-import-transformer",
                "after": true,
                "rules": "snowpack"

Use with CDN

Skypack CDN and unpkg are two CDNs that friendly to ES Module dependencies. This transformer also supports CDN import. (e.g. Before import _ from 'lodash-es' After import _ from '')

/* tsconfig.json */
    "compilerOptions": {
        "module": "es2015",
        "plugins": [
                "transform": "@magic-works/ttypescript-browser-like-import-transformer",
                "after": true,
                "rules": "skypack" // or "unpkg"


Nowadays most of the codes in our codebase are ESModules. You can emit browser executable JS files by tsc directly but you have to add the annoying .js extension to the end. (Related: PR: New --emitExtension and --noImplicitExtensionName compiler options)

On the other hand, it is hard to run ES Module codes with Node style dependencies, there're some solutions to this including Snowpack but Snowpack also has its limits.


See Options

Use programmatically

If you are using Node.js, import @magic-works/ttypescript-browser-like-import-transformer/cjs/node.js, it will export a ts.TransformerFactory<SourceFile>.

If you are in another environment or you want to modify the behavior of the transformer, use ./es/core.js and provide related I/O operations to create a ts.TransformerFactory<SourceFile>.

Once you get the ts.TransformerFactory<SourceFile>, you can use it like

const result = ts.transpileModule(source, {
    transformers: {
        after: [
                {}, // Should be a Program but not used today.
                    after: true,
                    // config here