TypeScript in the browser

If you are using TypeScript to create a web application here are my recommendations:

General Machine Setup

Project Setup

  • Create a project dir:
mkdir your-project
cd your-project
  • Create tsconfig.json. We discuss modules here. Also good to have it setup for tsx compilation out of the box:
    "compilerOptions": {
        "target": "es5",
        "module": "commonjs",
        "sourceMap": true,
        "jsx": "react"
    "exclude": [
    "compileOnSave": false
  • Create an npm project:
npm init -y
npm install typescript@next webpack ts-loader typings --save-dev
  • Init typings (creates a typings.json file for you):
"./node_modules/.bin/typings" init
  • Create a webpack.config.js to bundle your modules into a single bundle.js file that contains all your resources:
module.exports = {
    entry: './src/app.tsx',
    output: {
        path: './dist',  
        filename: 'bundle.js'
    resolve: {
        // Add `.ts` and `.tsx` as a resolvable extension.
        extensions: ['.webpack.js', '.web.js', '.ts', '.tsx', '.js']
    module: {
        loaders: [
            // all files with a `.ts` or `.tsx` extension will be handled by `ts-loader`
            { test: /\.tsx?$/, loader: 'ts-loader' }
  • Setup an npm script to run a build. Also have it run typings install on npm install. In your package.json add a script section:
"scripts": {
    "prepublish": "typings install",
    "watch": "webpack --watch"

Now just run the following (in the directory that contains webpack.config.js):

npm run watch

Now if you make edits to your ts or tsx file webpack will generate bundle.js for you. Serve this up using your web server 🌹.


If you are going to use React (which I highly recommend you give a look), here are a few more steps:

npm install react react-dom --save-dev
"./node_modules/.bin/typings" install dt~react --global --save
"./node_modules/.bin/typings" install dt~react-dom --global --save

A demo index.html:

        <meta charset="UTF-8" />
        <title>Hello React!</title>
        <div id="root"></div>

        <!-- Main -->
        <script src="./dist/bundle.js"></script>

A demo ./src/app.tsx:

import * as React from "react";
import * as ReactDOM from "react-dom";

const Hello = (props: { compiler: string, framework: string }) => {
    return (

    <Hello compiler="TypeScript" framework="React" />,

You can clone this demo project here: https://github.com/basarat/react-typescript

Live reload

Add webpack dev server. Super easy:

  • Install : npm install webpack-dev-server
  • Add to your package.json: "start": "webpack-dev-server --hot --inline --no-info --content-base ./dist"

Now when you run npm start it will start the webpack dev server with live reload.

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