Beginner’s luck #4: the Vite edition

Now I have an Eleventy/Vite starter, and here’s some of the code that makes it go.


A quickie for you (if you don’t count the code blocks, that is) . . .

Given the interest the community showed in my previous post, “Eleventy + Vite = elite,” I thought I’d go ahead and issue yet another starter set: an Eleventy/Vite combo. To make it, I simply cloned the existing eleventy_solo_starter_njk repository and converted it for use with Vite as described herein. That means it gives you Eleventy with Nunjucks templating, Vite, and Tailwind CSS (plus JIT) to boot.

The new starter’s repo is eleventy_vite_starter. There’s also an online demo which, if you’re familiar with any of my other starters, may not float your boat — but the thing is, I was able to convert its predecessor to this config in well under an hour. That augurs well for your efforts, I would hope.

Update, 2021-08-22: Today, I switched my site repo back to my own bespoke setup, away from the Eleventy/Vite configuration described herein. The latter proved to be problematic during local development, particularly when I needed to test changes on devices on my local network. The mixing of the Eleventy and Vite processes just didn’t go well with that. However, I retain my great admiration for Vite, and will hope for a better Eleventy/Vite solution down the line. Perhaps it’ll come from one particular plugin that requires the yet-to-come Eleventy 1.x. As always, I’ll retain this post and the previous one for archival purposes; and, for those who might yet be interested, I’ll also keep alive the starter repo described in this post.

The conversion process

As noted in “Eleventy + Vite = elite,” I simply borrowed code from Fotis Papado­georgo­poulos’s repo, eleventy-with-vite, with additional guidance from Simon East’s Medium article, “Clean SASS and JS with Eleventy in 2021 (Using Vite).”

Specifically, here’s what I did to turn the eleventy_solo_starter_njk clone into eleventy_vite_starter. If you prefer just to add Vite to your own Eleventy repo, you can do the same, so consider these as steps to follow.

Add dependencies

npm i -D @vitejs/plugin-legacy browser-sync vite

The eleventy-with-vite repo uses the serve package for certain functionality, but I prefer Browsersync.

Add files

At the top level, I added vite.config.js (some of the commenting is from Mr. Papado­georgo­poulos’s repo):

// based on eleventy-with-vite (
// by Fotis Papadogeorgopoulos (

import { defineConfig } from "vite";
import legacy from "@vitejs/plugin-legacy";

export default defineConfig({
	plugins: [legacy()],
	build: {
		outDir: "_site",
		assetsDir: "assets-vite", // default = "assets"
		// Sourcemaps are nice, but not critical for this to work
		sourcemap: true,
		manifest: true,
		rollupOptions: {
			input: "/src/client/main.js",

In the Eleventy site-wide data directory — in my repo’s case, _data at the top level — I added a build.js file with the following content:

module.exports = {
	env: process.env.NODE_ENV,

Then I added src/client/main.js with:

import "vite/dynamic-import-polyfill"
import "../assets/css/index.css"
// if you add any JS scripts or other files Vite can bundle, import them here

This is the entry file to which vite.config.js directed Vite in the rollupOptions object. Anything you want handled in Vite gets referenced here. In this bare-bones starter, it was enough to have only the polyfill importation from eleventy-with-vite and then the site’s CSS file — the latter of which stayed exactly as was, and still got processed by Tailwind CSS just the same. Vite didn’t impede that in the least.

Edit existing files

Then came the tricky part: making critical edits to files the repo already had.

Eleventy config file

First came the Eleventy config file, .eleventy.js. At its top, before the module.exports = function(eleventyConfig) { part, I added:

const fs = require("fs/promises")

. . . which, of course, would have required replacing an existing const fs statement had there been one (noting for those of you who may, again, want only to convert a repo of your own).

Still at the top, I added:

const INPUT_DIR = "src"
const OUTPUT_DIR = "_site"
const PATH_PREFIX = "/"

Then, at the end of .eleventy.js, I replaced the final return {templateFormats} section with the following, which includes shortcodes required for the repo’s Nunjucks templates to call Vite properly:

	// Read Vite's manifest.json, and add script tags for the entry files
	// You could decide to do more things here, such as adding preload/prefetch tags
	// for dynamic segments
	// NOTE: There is some hard-coding going on here, with regard to the assetDir
	// and location of manifest.json
	// you could probably read vite.config.js and get that information directly
	// @see
	eleventyConfig.addNunjucksAsyncShortcode("viteScriptTag", viteScriptTag);

	async function viteScriptTag(entryFilename) {
		const entryChunk = await getChunkInformationFor(entryFilename);
		return `<script type="module" src="${PATH_PREFIX}${entryChunk.file}"></script>`;

	/* Generate link[rel=modulepreload] tags for a script's imports */
	/* TODO(fpapado): Consider link[rel=prefetch] for dynamic imports, or some other signifier */
	async function viteLinkModulePreloadTags(entryFilename) {
		const entryChunk = await getChunkInformationFor(entryFilename);
		if (!entryChunk.imports || entryChunk.imports.length === 0) {
				`The script for ${entryFilename} has no imports. Nothing to preload.`
			return "";
		/* There can be multiple import files per entry, so assume many by default */
		/* Each entry in .imports is a filename referring to a chunk in the manifest; we must resolve it to get the output path on disk.
		const allPreloadTags = await Promise.all( (importEntryFilename) => {
				const chunk = await getChunkInformationFor(importEntryFilename);
				return `<link rel="modulepreload" href="${PATH_PREFIX}${chunk.file}"></link>`;

		return allPreloadTags.join("\n");

	async function viteLinkStylesheetTags(entryFilename) {
		const entryChunk = await getChunkInformationFor(entryFilename);
		if (!entryChunk.css || entryChunk.css.length === 0) {
			console.warn(`No css found for ${entryFilename} entry. Is that correct?`);
			return "";
		/* There can be multiple CSS files per entry, so assume many by default */
		return entryChunk.css
				(cssFile) =>
					`<link rel="stylesheet" href="${PATH_PREFIX}${cssFile}"></link>`

	async function viteLegacyScriptTag(entryFilename) {
		const entryChunk = await getChunkInformationFor(entryFilename);
		return `<script nomodule src="${PATH_PREFIX}${entryChunk.file}"></script>`;

	async function getChunkInformationFor(entryFilename) {
		// We want an entryFilename, because in practice you might have multiple entrypoints
		// This is similar to how you specify an entry in development more
		if (!entryFilename) {
			throw new Error(
				"You must specify an entryFilename, so that vite-script can find the correct file."

		// TODO: Consider caching this call, to avoid going to the filesystem every time
		const manifest = await fs.readFile(
			path.resolve(process.cwd(), "_site", "manifest.json")
		const parsed = JSON.parse(manifest);

		let entryChunk = parsed[entryFilename];

		if (!entryChunk) {
			const possibleEntries = Object.values(parsed)
				.filter((chunk) => chunk.isEntry === true)
				.map((chunk) => `"${chunk.src}"`)
				.join(`, `);
			throw new Error(
				`No entry for ${entryFilename} found in _site/manifest.json. Valid entries in manifest: ${possibleEntries}`

		return entryChunk;

	return {
		templateFormats: [
		pathPrefix: PATH_PREFIX,
		htmlTemplateEngine: "njk",
		markdownTemplateEngine: "njk",
		passthroughFileCopy: true,
		dataTemplateEngine: "njk",
		passthroughFileCopy: true,
		dir: {
			input: INPUT_DIR,
			output: OUTPUT_DIR,
			// NOTE: These two paths are relative to dir.input
			// @see
			includes: "_includes",
			data: "../_data",


I tossed out the existing scripts object in package.json in favor of the following:

	"scripts": {
		"clean": "rimraf _site",
		"start": "TAILWIND_MODE=watch NODE_ENV=development npm-run-all clean --parallel dev:*",
		"dev:eleventy": "ELEVENTY_ENV=development npx @11ty/eleventy --incremental --quiet --serve",
		"dev:vite": "vite",
		"build": "NODE_ENV=production npm-run-all clean prod:vite prod:eleventy",
		"prod:eleventy": "ELEVENTY_ENV=production npx @11ty/eleventy --output=./_site",
		"prod:vite": "NODE_ENV=production vite build",
		"testbuild:bsync": "browser-sync start --server ./_site -w --no-open --no-notify --no-ghost-mode --port 5000 --ui-port 5001",
		"testbuild": "NODE_ENV=production npm run build && npm run testbuild:bsync"

Note: I’ll explain later what these do.


Finally, I changed my templates to fit the new setup.

First up was the site-wide base.njk, the entirety of which now became:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<html lang="en">
	{% include 'layouts/partials/head.njk' %}
		{% include 'layouts/partials/header.njk' %}
		{{ content | safe }}
		{% include 'layouts/partials/footer.njk' %}
			We must split development  and production scripts
			In development, vite runs a server to resolve and reload scripts
			In production, the scripts are statically replaced at build-time

			The build.env variable is assigned in src/_data/build.js
		{% if build.env == "production" %}
			{# We must read the production scripts from the Vite manifest. We defer that logic to a custom shortcode #}
			{% viteScriptTag "src/client/main.js" %}
			{% viteLegacyScriptTag "vite/legacy-polyfills" %}
			{% viteLegacyScriptTag "src/client/main-legacy.js" %}
		{% else %}
			<script type="module" src="http://localhost:3000/@vite/client"></script>
			<script type="module" src="http://localhost:3000/src/client/main.js"></script>
		{% endif %}

Then, I finished by changing the closing, CSS-related part of the site-wide head.njk template (which, as the name implies, provides each page’s head section) to the following:

		{% if build.env == "production" %}
			{# Add any CSS from the main script #}
			{% viteLinkStylesheetTags "src/client/main.js" %}
			{% viteLinkModulePreloadTags "src/client/main.js" %}
		{% endif %}


In development mode, the CSS appears here in head as internal CSS. In production mode, this is a reference to a separate CSS file that Vite has hashed and renamed appropriately for cache-busting (see “Eleventy + Vite = elite” for more on that.)

And that was it.

What the scripts do

As promised, here’s an explanation of each entry in the scripts object in package.json, with some of them unchanged from before the conversion.

  • clean — Deletes the contents of the _site output directory so you can be sure you’re not using old content during a testbuild run (about which, more shortly).
  • start — Sets the environment for development mode and uses the npm-run-all package to run clean and then, concurrently, the next two scripts.1
  • dev:eleventy — Runs Eleventy to process templates and use its live server.
  • dev:vite — Runs Vite in dev mode to handle “watched” assets.
  • build — This is the aptly named command to run when you put the repo online. It sets the environment for production mode and uses npm-run-all to run clean followed by the next two scripts (non-concurrently this time).
  • prod:eleventy — Runs Eleventy to generate the site’s HTML.
  • prod:vite — Runs Vite to cache-bust and bundle assets.
  • testbuild:bsync — Runs Browsersync on port 5000, just as eleventy-with-vite ran serve on it, for the testbuild functionality (next script).
  • testbuild — This is so you can be sure the site is building as it should and see the results before you push the changes to your host. It runs the build script to generate the site contents and then runs Browsersync so you can view them locally at http://localhost:5000. (However, it’s not an active, “watched” build as in dev mode; i.e., if you need to make changes in content or files, you’ll want to stop and run start again for dev-mode editing.)

Not a guide, but . . .

This post isn’t what I mentioned in the previous piece when I said:

I may have a follow-up post that delves into this more fully with actual code samples

. . . but I hope it will suffice for now. If you’re curious about trying an Eleventy/Vite combo with a repo that’s already got some sample content and Tailwind CSS (with JIT) working, now’s your chance.

  1. Speaking of “concurrently,” the more observant may have noticed that this repo uses npm-run-all, rather than the concurrently package included in eleventy-with-vite. This is no slap at concurrently; it’s just that I’ve gotten accustomed to npm-run-all and chose to use it, instead. ↩︎

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