I check out Vite

Why Vite?

Is a section of the official website of the Vite project. Trying to read it without understanding ESM was what led me on the previous rabbit hole, where I checked out modules

Since then, I am a bit clearer on JavaScript modules in the browser. And also no longer in the mood to read so much documentation. Time to dive in blind and figure it out.

Initialising a Vite Project

I jumped to the Getting Started section in Vite’s homepage and found the commands to create a Vite project

npm create vite@latest


yarn create vite

I was using a container based on the docker.io/kevinnls/node-unprivileged image I wrote (coughs—that very badly needs updates and automation) with a docker-compose spec to mount the project directory to the correct destination within the container.

So I set these files up before running yarn create vite .… and the vite-create package strongly insisted on removing everything in ..

I thought to myself that I could just restore the files using git since I had already checked them in. Then I chose a vanill + TypeScript config for the prject.

Ha. Ha. create-vite deleted the .git folder too. This is not a good start.

$ git clone <url>
$ cd <repo>
$ docker compose run --rm dev sh

node@container $ cd <mount point>
node@container $ yarn create vite
node@container $ # chose vanilla + ts
node@container $ mv vite-app/* vite-app/.* .
node@container $ rmdir vite-app
node@container $ exit

$ docker compose up -d

Well that was complex. But it did not fix everything

The container exited immediately

And to debug, I ran it again, duh. And when that did not fix it, I checked the logs.

The container’s command was yarn run dev and it could not find a binary for vite. Oh. I did not install any of the packages.

$ docker run --rm dev sh

node@container $ cd <mount point>
node@container $ yarn
node@container $ exit

$ docker compose up -d

I had already changed the publish ports to match the server in the container.

But I still could not access the server from the host.

Exposing the Vite container’s dev server

Turns out the Vite dev server exposes only to localhost (as do most others) and my command needed the --host flag

Modify the compose spec further. New command now yarn run dev --host.

The file tree

I went over the files that were created by create-vite.

  • package.json

    A scripts object was added with the dev, build, preview commands and the corresponding vite commands.

  • index.html

    Basic HTML that every JS framework generates. An empty div to be manipulated later by scripts. And a script that is imported as a module. I have not really noticed this before. Do all frameworks use module now?

  • tsconfig.json

    TypeScript configuration options that I don’t really know anything about. The only thing that stood out to me was the include key whose value was ["src"] where the main.ts file is saved.

  • src/main.ts

    It was just one very big string that got inserted into the container div. And it calls a setup function definied in another module

  • src/counter.ts

    Exports the setup function I mentioned earlier that adds a click listener on a button that’s a counter

Looks like counters are the demo of every framework

  • src/vite-env.d.ts

    No iead what this is. But I don’t know enough TS for this to make sense. Yet.

  • a bunch of static files

    Styles, SVGs. But why are we importing styles into the modules? I don’t know. We don’t import it in the index.html file I realised later (as in, just now). I suppose that’s part of the vite magic? Applying CSS through module imports? Or did I just not realise it was possible?

And it serves TypeScript files…?

I saw the imported script file in index.html was still src/main.ts. Interesting… At the moment, the browser is not a runtime that can execute TypeScript (and I don’t think it ever will be).

Heading over to view-source://localhost:8080/src/main.ts and I read pure JavaScript. So it’s serving a file with .ts but it’s a JS file. But browsers wouldn’t know what to do with the .ts extension– oh wait. Browsers don’t care about extensions. Only media types.

$ curl localhost:8080/src/main.ts -I
Content-Type: application/javascript

And it’s the server that sets the media type. MIME type. That’s the word. I have been writing this for too long. Procrastination. And I cannot speak nerd anymore.

So what does Vite do?

It serves the project source. That’s it. Well, that’s all I know.