Migration

For the most part, Parcel 2 works quite similarly to Parcel 1, but there are a few things you’ll need to change when upgrading.

Getting started

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Let's walk through a couple basic steps to upgrade from Parcel 1 to Parcel 2.

Package name

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The first thing to note when upgrading from Parcel 1 to Parcel 2 is that the npm package name has changed from parcel-bundler to parcel. You'll need to update the dependencies in your package.json accordingly.

package.json:
{
"dependencies": {
"parcel-bundler": "^1.12.5"
}
}
package.json:
{
"dependencies": {
"parcel": "^2.0.0"
}
}

You can also do this by using your package manager, e.g. npm or yarn.

yarn remove parcel-bundler
yarn add parcel --dev

Cache location

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The default location of the Parcel cache has also changed from .cache to .parcel-cache. You'll need to modify your .gitignore or similar to account for this:

.gitignore:
.cache
.gitignore:
.parcel-cache

Code Changes

#

<script type="module">

#

In Parcel 1, JavaScript files referenced from a <script> tag in an HTML file were treated as modules, supporting both ES module and CommonJS syntax for importing and exporting values. However, this did not match how browsers actually work, where "classic scripts" do not support imports and exports and top-level variables are treated as globals.

Parcel 2 matches browser behavior: classic <script> tags do not support imports or exports. Use a <script type="module"> element to reference a module. This will also automatically generate a nomodule version as well for older browsers, depending on your browserslist. See Differential bundling for details.

index.html:
<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
<script src="app.js"></script>
</head>
</html>
index.html:
<!doctype html>
<html>
<head>
<script type="module" src="app.js"></script>
</head>
</html>

Note: Adding the type="module" attribute also affects the loading behavior of scripts. Classic scripts are "render blocking", meaning the rest of the HTML document is not parsed until script execution is complete. Module scripts are not render blocking, and execution is deferred until the HTML is fully parsed. Parcel inserts the defer attribute automatially to match this behavior in older browsers and in development mode. This means features like document.write do not work in module scripts. If you are relying on these features, either migrate to modern APIs or continue using a classic script for that part of your app. See the docs on MDN to learn more about the differences between modules and classic scripts.

See Classic scripts for more details about classic scripts vs module scripts.

Importing non-code assets from JavaScript

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In Parcel 1, importing any non-JavaScript file such as an image or video resulted in a URL. In Parcel 2, this still works for known file types such as images, but other file types without default support will require code changes.

The preferred approach for referencing URLs in JavaScript is to use the URL constructor. However, you may also choose to prefix the dependency specifier in an import statement with url:.

index.js:
import downloadUrl from "./download.zip";

document.body.innerHTML = `<a href="${downloadUrl}">Download</a>`;
const downloadUrl = new URL('download.zip', import.meta.url);

document.body.innerHTML = `<a href="${downloadUrl}">Download</a>`;

Alternatively, you can use a custom .parcelrc to opt into the old behavior. Use the @parcel/transformer-raw plugin with a glob for the extensions you need.

yarn add @parcel/config-default @parcel/transformer-raw --dev
.parcelrc:
{
"extends": "@parcel/config-default",
"transformers": {
"*.{zip,tgz}": ["@parcel/transformer-raw"]
}
}

Transpilation

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Parcel 1 automatically transpiled your JavaScript to support a default set of browsers. Parcel 2 no longer does any transpilation by default. This means if you use modern JavaScript syntax in your source code, that's what Parcel will output. To enable transpilation, set the browserslist field in your package.json to define your supported browser targets.

package.json:
{
"name": "my-project",
"browserslist": "> 0.5%, last 2 versions, not dead",
"scripts": {
"start": "parcel index.html",
"build": "parcel build index.html"
},
"devDependencies": {
"parcel": "latest"
}
}

Babel

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Like Parcel 1, Parcel 2 automatically detects .babelrc and other Babel config files. However, if you're only using @babel/preset-env, @babel/preset-typescript, and @babel/preset-react, Babel may no longer be necessary. Parcel supports all of these features automatically without a Babel config, and Parcel's default transpiler is much faster than Babel.

If you only use the above presets, you can delete your Babel config entirely. This will use Parcel's default transpiler instead, which should improve your build performance significantly. Make sure to configure browserslist in your package.json to match the targets previously used by @babel/preset-env.

If you do have custom presets or plugins in your Babel config, you can keep those but remove the presets listed above. This should also improve performance (albeit a bit less). See Babel in the JavaScript docs for more details.

In this example, .babelrc contains only @babel/preset-env and @babel/preset-react, so it can be deleted, and replaced with a browserslist key in package.json.

.babelrc:
{
"presets": [
["@babel/preset-env", {
"targets": "> 0.25%, not dead"
}],
"@babel/preset-react"
]
}
package.json:
{
"browserslist": "> 0.25%, not dead"
}

Typescript

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Parcel 1 transpiled TypeScript using tsc (the official TypeScript compiler). Parcel 2 now uses SWC instead, which improves transpilation performance significantly.

However, the default transpiler has limited support for tsconfig.json. If you use custom compiler options beyond the JSX-related options and experimentalDecorators, you can replace Parcel's default TypeScript transformer with TSC using @parcel/transformer-typescript-tsc. To do this, install the default config and the TSC plugin and create a .parcelrc file in the root of your project.

yarn add @parcel/config-default @parcel/transformer-typescript-tsc --dev
.parcelrc:
{
"extends": "@parcel/config-default",
"transformers": {
"*.{ts,tsx}": ["@parcel/transformer-typescript-tsc"]
}
}

See the TypeScript docs for more information on using TypeScript with Parcel.

Flow

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Just like Parcel 1, Parcel 2 supports Flow automatically when flow-bin is installed. This is currently implemented using @babel/preset-flow. If you have a Babel config with only that preset, it can be removed as described above.

Unlike Parcel 1, your Babel config overrides the default in Parcel 2 rather than being merged into it. If you have custom Babel plugins other than Flow, you'll need to add @babel/preset-flow as well.

Importing GraphQL

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When import GraphQL files (.gql), imports are still resolved/inlined (using graphql-import-macro), but you now get the processed GraphQL query as a string instead of an Apollo AST.

DataComponent.js:
import fetchDataQuery from "./fetchData.gql"; // fetchDataQuery is the parsed AST

const DataComponent = () => {
const { data } = useQuery(fetchDataQuery, {
fetchPolicy: "cache-and-network",
});

// ...
};
DataComponent.js:
import gql from "graphql-tag";
import fetchDataQuery from "./fetchData.gql"; // fetchDataQuery is a string

// Convert to the Apollo Specific Query AST
const parsedFetchDataQuery = gql(fetchDataQuery);

const DataComponent = () => {
const { data } = useQuery(parsedFetchDataQuery, {
fetchPolicy: "cache-and-network",
});

// ...
};

With Parcel 2's new plugin architecture, creating a plugin that parses the string into an AST at build time (as Parcel 1 did) is very easy. See the Transformer docs for details.

package.json#main

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Many package.json files (e.g. the one generated by npm init) contain a main field, which is ignored by most tools (for non-library projects). However, when a main field is seen, Parcel infers that your project is a library and uses it as the output path. For most web apps, this line should be removed.

package.json:
{
"main": "index.js",
"scripts": {
"start": "parcel index.html",
"build": "parcel build index.html"
}
}
package.json:
{
"scripts": {
"start": "parcel index.html",
"build": "parcel build index.html"
}
}

If you do need to keep the main field, and want Parcel to ignore it, you can add "targets": { "main": false } to your package.json. See Library targets for details.

CLI

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--target

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In Parcel 1, the --target CLI option controlled which environment your code was compiled for. In Parcel 2, this is configured in package.json instead. For example, setting the engines field to include a node or electron key will change the target accordingly.

parcel build index.js --target node
package.json:
{
"engines": {
"node": "10"
}
}

You can also build for multiple targets simultaneously in Parcel 2. See Targets for details.

--experimental-scope-hoisting

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Parcel 2 has scope hoisting enabled by default. To disable it, add --no-scope-hoist.

parcel build index.js --experimental-scope-hoisting
parcel build index.js
parcel build index.js
parcel build index.js --no-scope-hoist

--bundle-node-modules

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To bundle packages from node_modules when targetting Node.js, you now should specify that in the target configuration:

parcel build index.js --target node --bundle-node-modules
package.json:
{
"targets": {
"default": {
"includeNodeModules": true
}
},
"engines": {
"node": "10"
}
}

This option is more versatile than the CLI parameter. For example, you can also selectively include packages. see includeNodeModules in the Targets docs for details.

--out-dir

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The --out-dir CLI option was renamed to --dist-dir to match the distDir option in package.json. See Targets for details.

parcel build index.html --out-dir www
parcel build index.html --dist-dir www

--out-file

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The --out-file CLI option was removed, and the path should instead be specified in package.json. See Multiple targets and Library targets for details.

parcel build index.js --out-file lib.js
package.json:
{
"name": "my-library",
"version": "1.0.0",
"main": "lib.js"
}

--log-level

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The log levels now have names instead of numbers (none, error, warn, info, verbose).

parcel build index.js --log-level 1
parcel build index.js --log-level error

--global

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This option has been removed without a replacement (for now).

parcel build index.js --global mylib

--no-minify

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This option has been renamed to --no-optimize.

parcel build index.js --no-minify
parcel build index.js --no-optimize

API

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Using Parcel 2 programmatically is possible through the @parcel/core package, rather than parcel-bundler. The API has changed significantly. See Parcel API for details.

Hooking into Bundle Events

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Parcel 1 let you hook in and listen to events like buildEnd or buildError using the API. The API has changed but you can still listen for events like so:

index.js:
import Bundler from "parcel-bundler"

const bundler = new Bundler({ /* ... */ })
bundler.bundle()

bundler.on("buildEnd", () => { /* ... */ })
bundler.on("buildError", (error) => { /* ... */ })
import Parcel from "@parcel/core"

const bundler = new Parcel({ /* ... */ })

bundler.watch((err, buildEvent) => {
if (buildEvent.type === "buildSuccess") { /* ... */ }
if (buildEvent.type === "buildFailure") { /* ... */ }
})

Plugins

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The plugin system has been completely changed in Parcel 2. Parcel 1 plugins are not compatible with Parcel 2. See Plugin System for details about the Parcel 2 plugin APIs.

Using plugins

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In Parcel 1, installing plugins into your project and listing them in package.json dependencies enabled them automatically. In Parcel 2, plugins are configured in .parcelrc. See Parcel configuration for details.