Gulp vs Grunt vs Webpack: Comparison of Build Tools / Task Runners
On the other hand, Webpack is a bundler and it comes in handy when you need to pack multiple assets (images, fonts, etc.) together into a dependency graph. So how can Gulp vs Grunt vs Webpack be compared? Gulp and Webpack are commonly used together, but currently, there is a rising tendency to use the latter instead of gulp build tool, in particular among the Reactjs community. This is done for several reasons: this powerful tool can fulfil nearly all tasks that you’d perform through a task runner; it comes with minification options and bundle source maps; it can serve as middleware via the custom server, namely webpack-dev-server, which supports both hot and live reloading.
But let’s get a better look.
What is Grunt?
- Huge ecosystem of plugins to perform various tasks at the same time (over 6010 items in Grunt plugin registry)
- Can become complicated as the configuration grows
- Lack of flexibility with uncommon tasks
- Tend to outdating
What is Gulp?
- Greater clarity of current processes and more control over the flow
- Large ecosystem of Gulp plugins, while each of them can accomplish a particular task (over 2770 various plugins for different purposes)
- Faster performance due to the stream usage and in-memory operations
- Requires less amount of code, comparing to Grunt
- Initially streams and promises are hard to understand
Gulp.js vs Grunt.js: Code vs Configuration
This is one of the major differences in Gulp vs Grunt comparison; however, the dilemma may be less about configuration and coding, but about how comfortable your team is with node streams. Gulp is more about coding and usage of single-purpose plugins, while Grunt relies on configuration and multi-purpose plugins.
If you are familiar with Node, then with gulpfile you will feel more comfortable. Due to the fact that it follows the CommonJS spec, it may seem easier to read, though users often state that Grunt is easier to write. The choice mainly depends on your team’s skill sets and working experience.
What is Webpack?
Initially, Webpack is a module bundler, though it is quite often used instead of Gulp or Grunt task runners. This advanced tool provides developers with control over how it splits the modules, allowing them to adjust builds to particular situations and workaround solutions that don’t function properly out of the box.
Talking about Webpack vs Gulp vs Grunt performance, the two latter look into a defined path for files that match your configuration, while the Webpack analyzes the whole project. It looks through all the dependencies, processes them with loaders and produces a bundled JS file.
- The idea of dependency graph in Webpack ensures easier splitting of code, control over assets processing, and elimination of dead assets
- Multiple options and features right out of the box
- Webpack-dev-server supports hot and live reloading
- Initially it is difficult to configure
Webpack vs Gulp vs Grunt Comparison
|Module bundler||Task runner||Task runner|
|Initial release||Mar 2012||Jul 2013||Jan 2012|
|GitHub links||webpack / webpack||gulpjs / gulp||gruntjs / grunt|
|Used by||9GAG, Pinterest, Soundcloud, Flipboard, Airbnb, Udemy, 99 Designs, Assembly, etc.||Netflix, FashionUnited, Myntra, MakerBot, AdRoll, Ekimetrics, Trigger, CrowdFlower, etc.||Twitter, Adobe, jQuery, Mozilla, Bootstrap, Cloudant, Bitovi, Opera, LiveChat, Walmart, etc.|
Popularity of Webpack, Gulp and Grunt worldwide
Webpack vs Grunt vs Gulp 2017: what & when to use?
There is no the only right or wrong answer when it comes to the selection of build tools for your next projects. Your choice will mainly depend on the size of your project, your skill set and whether you are more interested in coding (Gulp task runner) or configuring (Grunt build tool & Webpack). Moreover, personal preferences have a great bearing on your choice as well, like performance speed, project deadlines, types of plugins available, and so on.