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Shivam Pawar
Shivam Pawar

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Configure PurgeCSS with Parcel


When building modern web applications, optimizing performance is paramount. One crucial aspect is minimizing the size of our CSS files to enhance loading times. Parcel, a blazing-fast web application bundler, offers an inbuilt feature to remove unused CSS. However, in certain scenarios, this feature might not suffice. In this guide, we'll delve into configuring PurgeCSS with Parcel to achieve even greater CSS optimization.

Why Avoid Parcel's Inbuilt Unused CSS Remover:

While Parcel's inbuilt unused CSS remover is convenient, it operates effectively when styles are imported as modules. In scenarios where styles are dynamically generated or loaded, such as with dynamic class names or third-party libraries, Parcel's remover might fall short.

Configuring PurgeCSS with Parcel:

To harness the power of PurgeCSS alongside Parcel, we need to integrate it into our build process. Let's walk through the steps using a React.js application as an example.

Step 1: Install PurgeCSS and Parcel Plugin:

Ensure you have Parcel and PurgeCSS installed in your project:

npm install parcel-bundler @fullhuman/postcss-purgecss
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Step 2: Configure Parcel to Use PurgeCSS:

Create a postcss.config.js file in the root directory of your project if you haven't already. Configure it to use PurgeCSS:

// postcss.config.js
module.exports = {
  plugins: [
      content: ['./src/**/*.html', './src/**/*.jsx'], // Adjust according to your project structure
      defaultExtractor: content => content.match(/[\w-/:]+(?<!:)/g) || []
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Step 3: Build Your Application:

Run Parcel to bundle your application for production:

parcel build index.html
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Parcel will now leverage PurgeCSS to remove any unused CSS styles, resulting in a more optimized build.

My Personal Story:

In one of my projects, I encountered a significant challenge with bloated CSS files. Despite Parcel's built-in remover, the CSS file remained excessively large. Upon integrating PurgeCSS, the file size reduced dramatically, shaving off kilobytes and enhancing the application's loading speed noticeably.

In conclusion, while Parcel offers an inbuilt solution for removing unused CSS, integrating PurgeCSS enhances optimization, especially in scenarios where dynamic styles are prevalent.

Please do share your feedback and experiences with PostCSS in your web App. I’d love to see what you come up with!

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