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Minify only in Production

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A lot of times, I'll only minify my CSS when I'm deploying. Then locally, keep the whitespace for debugging. This matters a lot less now that we have sourcemaps, but I still want a way to control the minification.

Here's the goal: when I run gulp, I want it to not minify. But if I run gulp --production, I do want it to minify. Got it?

Installing gulp-util

To parse out that flag, the gulp-util is the perfect tool. For some reason, it's missing from the Gulp plugins page, so just Google for it.

First, get it installed! Of course, that's:

npm install gulp-util --save-dev

Next, grab the require line and paste it in top. I'm going to change the variable to just be util:

30 lines | gulpfile.js
var gulp = require('gulp');
// ... lines 2 - 5
var util = require('gulp-util');
// ... lines 7 - 30

Reading the --production Flag

We can use util to figure out if the --production flag is passed. Run console.log(util.env.production):

30 lines | gulpfile.js
// ... lines 1 - 5
var util = require('gulp-util');
// ... lines 7 - 12
// ... lines 14 - 30

Let's experiment and see what that does! Go back and just run gulp:


Ok, it dumps out undefined. Now run it with --production:

gulp --production

Hey, it's true! Ok, one step closer.

Let's add a new config value called production and set that to !!util.env.production:

29 lines | gulpfile.js
// ... lines 1 - 7
var config = {
assetsDir: 'app/Resources/assets',
sassPattern: 'sass/**/*.scss',
production: !!util.env.production
// ... lines 13 - 29

Those two exclamations turn undefined into a proper false. It's a clever way to clean things up!

Conditional Statements in pipe()

Now all we need to do is add an if statement around the minifyCSS() line, right? Right? Um, actually it's not so easy.

The issue is with how the gulp stream works: you can't just stop in the middle of these pipes and keep going after an if statement. It just doesn't work like you'd think.

Instead, let's add some if logic right inside the pipe() that says if config.production, let's minifyCSS(), else, run this through a filter called util.noop. Woops, I should actually type util:

29 lines | gulpfile.js
// ... lines 1 - 14
// ... lines 16 - 18
.pipe(config.production ? minifyCSS() : util.noop())
// ... lines 20 - 21
// ... lines 23 - 29

This filter does absolutely nothing. Woo! Isn't that brilliant? So if we're not in production, the pipe() still happens, but no changes are made.

Moment of truth. First, just run gulp:


In this case, main.css is not minified. Go back, hit ctrl+c, and add the --production:

gulp --production

Goodbye whitespace! And in case you want to do anything else different in production, you've got a handy config value.