Setup a package.json file:

npm init -Y // follow instructions

Install parcel:

yarn add -D parcel

Add React and React-DOM

yarn add react react-dom

For Typescript, add the related types:

yarn add @types/react @types/react-dom --dev

Add the parcel web extension plugin:

yarn add -D @parcel/config-webextension

Follow the instructions to set up the plugin (opens new window)

# Why Parcel?

If you are building a browser extension for say, chrome or firefox, using parcel is very quick to set up.

The problem with using React is you need a build tool to transform your jsx to a more browser-friendly React.createElement. For this you need a build tool.

For the usual React app this is not so bad.

The problem arises when you are building a browser extension. For this you have a manifest which might have many files that need to be outputted as browser friendly JS. You are not just creating a bundle.js file, but instead many files based on what you have inside your manifest.json.

This is where the parcel web extension plugin (opens new window) comes in. The plugin reads all the files that are in your manifest.json file and outputs your html, css and javascript that is in a browser-friendly format.

# But what about Typescript and my CSS files?

Parcel has a bit of magic that you might not gather from reading the docs (which are very good, by the way!)

Parcel reads all of your html files in the manifest. When Parcel sees ts or tsx or css or even scss files you have linked (either by using link or script tags) in your HTML files, Parcel will automagically (for the most part) understand that it should convert this to the corresponding js or css file.

<!-- will magically work! -->
<script type="module" src="./main.tsx"></script>
<!-- will also magically work-->
<!-- but just remember to install the related plugins -->
<link rel="stylesheet" href="../index.(scss|less|css)" />
Last Updated: 1/25/2022, 11:20:25 PM