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Build tools

Learn how to use Bootstrap’s included npm scripts to build our documentation, compile source code, run tests, and more.

Tooling setup

Bootstrap uses npm scripts for its build system. Our package.json includes convenient methods for working with the framework, including compiling code, running tests, and more.

To use our build system and run our documentation locally, you’ll need a copy of Bootstrap’s source files and Node. Follow these steps and you should be ready to rock:

  1. Download and install Node.js, which we use to manage our dependencies.
  2. Either download Bootstrap’s sources or fork Bootstrap’s repository.
  3. Navigate to the root /bootstrap directory and run npm install to install our local dependencies listed in package.json.

When completed, you’ll be able to run the various commands provided from the command line.

Using npm scripts

Our package.json includes numerous tasks for developing the project. Run npm run to see all the npm scripts in your terminal. Primary tasks include:

Task Description
npm start Compiles CSS and JavaScript, builds the documentation, and starts a local server.
npm run dist Creates the dist/ directory with compiled files. Requires Sass, Autoprefixer, and terser.
npm test Runs tests locally after running npm run dist
npm run docs-serve Builds and runs the documentation locally.

Autoprefixer

Bootstrap uses Autoprefixer (included in our build process) to automatically add vendor prefixes to some CSS properties at build time. Doing so saves us time and code by allowing us to write key parts of our CSS a single time while eliminating the need for vendor mixins like those found in v3.

We maintain the list of browsers supported through Autoprefixer in a separate file within our GitHub repository. See .browserslistrc for details.

RTLCSS

Bootstrap uses RTLCSS to process compiled CSS and convert them to RTL – basically replacing horizontal direction aware properties (eg. padding-left) with their opposite. It allows us only write our CSS a single time and make minor tweaks using RTLCSS control and value directives.

Local documentation

Running our documentation locally requires the use of Hugo, which gets installed via the hugo-bin npm package. Hugo is a blazingly fast and quite extensible static site generator that provides us: basic includes, Markdown-based files, templates, and more. Here’s how to get it started:

  1. Run through the tooling setup above to install all dependencies.
  2. From the root /bootstrap directory, run npm run docs-serve in the command line.
  3. Open http://localhost:9001/ in your browser, and voilà.

Learn more about using Hugo by reading its documentation.

Troubleshooting

Should you encounter problems with installing dependencies, uninstall all previous dependency versions (global and local). Then, rerun npm install.