Tim Novis

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Custom Aliases in React Native with Babel

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Is there anything more infuriating than diving into a JavaScript project to find this?

import Component from '../../../some/deeply/ambiguous/location';

Imagine if we could just import Component from 'myAlias/component'; from anywhere in the codebase!

It’s super easy to set up - and there are a few ways to achieve it too.

1. With .babelrc

If your project doesn’t use Webpack - for example if you’re working with React Native, you can use your .babelrc file and a babel plugin to get aliasing set up.

Firstly, you’ll want to install babel-plugin-module-resolver with yarn or npm.

Once you’ve done that, open up your project’s .babelrc file, and under the plugins key, add this:

[
  'module-resolver',
  {
    root: ['./src'],
    alias: {
      myAlias: './src',
    },
  },
];

The root key here specifies a custom project root. For example, with a custom root of src, if you wanted to import something from src/components/x, you can simply import x from 'components/x';.

The alias key is self explanatory and you can add as many of these as you like. With an alias of myAlias, you can then import x from 'myAlias/components/x'; from anywhere within your project. Nice!

Read more about this plugin and view the documentation here

2. With Webpack

If your project uses Webpack, it’s super simple to jump into the config and set up aliasing.

Under the resolve key in your configuration, you can add a new key called alias like so:

alias: {
  'myAlias': path.resolve('src'),
}

You can read more about this at Webpack’s documentation site here

3. The package.json hack

I’ve used this workaround before, but didn’t like all of the loose files floating around in my project. All you need to do is create a package.json file in the root of each folder you’d like to alias, containing this:

{
  "name": "myAlias"
}

Now you can import x from 'myAlias/components/x' from anywhere in your codebase.