Webpack and external libraries

According to the Webpack documentation, you can use the externals property on the config object “to specify dependencies for your library that are not resolved by webpack, but become dependencies of the output. This means they are imported from the enviroment while runtime [sic].”

The example on that page illustrates it really well, using jQuery. In a nutshell, you can require jQuery in the normal CommonJS style:

var jQuery = require('jquery');

Then, in your config object, use the externals property to map the jQuery module to the global jQuery variable:

    externals: {
        // require("jquery") is external and available
        //  on the global var jQuery
        "jquery": "jQuery"

The resulting module created by Webpack will simply export the existing global variable (I’m leaving out a lot of stuff here for brevity):

    1: function(...) {
        module.exports = jQuery;

I tried this out, and it works just as described.

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