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Speed Up Web Development Using Browsersync

How To Use Browsersync To Speed Up Web Development

Save time by using Browsersync's live reloading feature! No more hitting the refresh button anytime you make a small change. Changing any code, from html to css, automatically reloads the webpage when you hit save.

Step 1: Install

First, open up the terminal and navigate to your workspace.

You'll need Node.js installed, check which version you have with the following command.

    
node -v
     

If this command isn't recognized, head over to https://nodejs.org/en/ and install.

Next, install Browsersync:

    
npm install browser-sync
     

To install globally, you can use the following command:

    
npm install -g browser-sync
     

Step 2: Using Browsersync

First, let's make an html and css file to test! I've made the following files in my root folder.

Setting up Browersync to speed up web development

Updating css and font size while setting up Browersync

From the terminal, run the following command:

    
browser-sync start --server --files "*.html, *.css"
     

This instructs Browsersync to watch all HTML and CSS files in the current folder. You should see something similar appear in your console:

Screenshot of the Browsersync setup

Now let's make some changes! Jump into styles.css and change the font-size to 12px.

Notice that the page will now automatically reload with your changes as soon as you save your file!

To watch all files for changes, and even files in subfolders, I use the following command:

    
browser-sync start --server --files "**/*"
     

Step 3: Browsersync And Gulp

Since we're removing mundane tasks, we might as well use gulp to run Browsersync so we don't need to remember this long command.

First, install Gulp:

    
npm install -g gulp 
     

Next, create a gulpfile.js file in your base directory. Place the following code into it.

    
var gulp        = require('gulp');
var browserSync = require('browser-sync').create();
var reload      = browserSync.reload;

gulp.task('default', function() {
    browserSync.init({
        server: {
            baseDir: "./"
        }
    });


    gulp.watch("**/*").on("change", reload);
    
});
     

Finally, type gulp into your terminal and watch the magic happen.

Browsersync's UI In Additional Features

Remember this picture?

Screenshot of the Browsersync setup

We can check out the Browsersync UI by heading to the UI URL, which in our case is http://localhost:3003. Enter yours into a new window and you should get the following page.

Screenshot of the Browsersync user interface

Check out Sync Options and Remote Debug for more helpful options to speed up your web development!

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