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Turbopack vs Webpack: Choosing the Right Bundler

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Rakesh Purohit

ReactJS Developer Advocate
August 14, 2023

Rakesh Purohit

August 14, 2023

As we navigate the ever-evolving landscape of front-end development, new tools are constantly emerging, promising to revolutionize our workflow and enhance our productivity.

Today, we're going to focus on one such tool that has been making waves in the developer community: Turbopack.

Turbopack vs webpack

While checking Turbopack vs Webpack, they have different capabilities and approaches when it comes to managing static assets like images, fonts, and media files.

webpack, being the most common JavaScript bundler, has a robust system for handling static assets. It provides loaders that allow you to import and process various types of assets in your JavaScript or TypeScript code.

For example, you can use the file-loader or url-loader to handle image files, the file-loader or raw-loader for font files, and the file-loader or url-loader for media files. webpack can also optimize and optimize these assets by applying transformations, such as compression or resizing, through the use of plugins.

On the other hand, Turbopack takes a different approach to managing assets, incremental bundler optimized. It leverages the power of the TurboDev server, which is a highly optimized development server. The TurboDev server is designed to handle static assets efficiently and provides automatic caching and hot module replacement for faster development iterations.

With Turbopack, you can simply import your assets directly in your code, and the TurboDev server will handle the rest, ensuring that the assets are served quickly and efficiently during development.

In terms of differences, one notable distinction is that Turbopack does not require explicit configuration or loaders for handling assets. It simplifies the development process by automatically handling the import and serving of assets without the need for additional configuration. This can save developers time and effort compared to configuring and managing loaders in webpack.

Additionally, Turbopack's TurboDev server is optimized for speed and performance, which can result in faster dev server startup time and code updates compared to webpack dev server. This can greatly enhance the development experience, allowing developers to see their changes reflected quickly.

In summary, while webpack offers a comprehensive system for managing assets with its loaders and plugins, Turbopack simplifies the process by automatically handling assets through its TurboDev server. Turbopack's focus on speed and efficiency can provide a faster development experience compared to webpack.

Introducing Turbopack for Use Cases and Real-World Examples

Turbopack and webpack are both popular tools for bundling and managing JavaScript modules in web development. While Turbopack is a relatively new player in the field, it offers some unique features and advantages over webpack.

Turbopack excels in scenarios where fast development and build times are crucial. It leverages advanced caching techniques and smart task skipping to significantly speed up the build process, especially in monorepo setups. This makes it a great choice for large-scale projects with multiple interconnected packages or workspaces.

On the other hand, webpack has been around for a longer time and has a larger community and ecosystem. It offers extensive customization options and a wide range of plugins and loaders, making it highly flexible and adaptable to different project requirements.

webpack is particularly well-suited for complex projects that require fine-grained control over the bundling process and extensive configuration.

In terms of weaknesses, Turbopack is still relatively new and may not have as many plugins and loaders available compared to webpack. This could limit its flexibility in certain scenarios where specific customization is required.

Additionally, Turbopack's focus on speed and performance may come at the cost of some advanced features and configurability that webpack provides.

Migrating from webpack

Yes, Turbopack now supports basic webpack loader support and configuration, making it easier to migrate an existing webpack project. Here are some guidance and best practices for migrating:

Familiarize yourself with Turbopack's core concepts and features by referring to the Turbopack documentation.

Start by installing Turbopack in your project using the provided installation instructions.

Review the Turbopack documentation on migrating from webpack, which provides step-by-step instructions and examples.

Update your project's configuration file to use Turbopack's configuration options instead of webpack-specific options.

Replace any webpack loaders with their equivalent Turbopack loaders. Turbopack now supports many popular webpack loaders, so you should be able to find suitable replacements.

If your project relies on webpack plugins, check if there are equivalents available for Turbopack. If not, you may need to find alternative solutions or adjust your project's requirements.

Test your migrated project thoroughly to ensure that it functions as expected with Turbopack.

If you encounter any issues or have specific questions during the migration process, refer to the Turbopack troubleshooting documentation or seek assistance from the Turbopack community on Discord.

Remember to consult the Turbopack documentation for detailed information and updates on the migration process.

Handling CSS

While considering Turbopack vs Webpack, they have different approaches to handling CSS modules, styling, and optimizations.

Turbopack handles CSS modules out of the box by considering any file with a .module.css extension as a CSS module. These CSS modules can be imported into JavaScript or TypeScript files.

Turbopack also supports postcss-nested syntax, which allows nesting CSS declarations inside each other. Additionally, Turbopack supports the CSS @import syntax to import other CSS files, allowing you to combine multiple CSS files together.

On the other hand, webpack also supports CSS modules, but it requires additional configuration to enable this feature. webpack uses loaders, such as css-loader and style-loader, to handle CSS modules. These loaders allow you to import CSS modules into JavaScript files and apply scoped styles.

webpack also supports postcss-loader, which can be used to handle postcss-nested syntax. Similarly, webpack supports the CSS @import syntax for importing other CSS files.

In terms of optimizations, Turbopack uses SWC and swc_css, a Rust crate, for CSS bundling. However, the specific optimizations provided by Turbopack are not mentioned in the given context. On the other hand, webpack offers various optimization techniques, such as code splitting, minification, and tree shaking, to optimize the CSS and JavaScript bundles.

Asset Management

Turbopack and webpack both have capabilities for managing static assets like images, fonts, and media files. Turbopack offers familiar tools for handling these asset types, allowing you to import them directly in your code.

webpack, on the other hand, supports importing images and returning their URLs as strings. However, in Next.js, importing an image returns an object with metadata about the image. It's important to note that Turbopack does not yet support extracting metadata from imported images, so they will resolve to strings for now.

Additionally, both Turbopack and webpack support the use of the /public directory, where you can place assets that you want to be available on the root URL of your website.

Build Optimization

Turbopack and webpack employ different optimization techniques to reduce bundle size and improve application performance.

Turbopack focuses on lazy loading and incremental architecture to optimize performance. Thanks to incremental bundler optimized. It only performs work when it is requested, which means that on incoming requests, it only does the work that the user asks for. This eliminates unnecessary bundling of on-demand loaded code before it is needed.

By being lazy and performing work only when necessary, Turbopack reduces the initial compile time and improves the development server startup time. This approach helps to improve the overall speed of the application.

On the other hand, webpack offers a wide range of optimization techniques through its collection of plugins. These allow developers to customize webpack's behaviour and create custom toolchains to support various bundler features.

By composing plugins, developers can optimize the bundle size and improve application performance. However, the specific optimization techniques employed by webpack may vary depending on the use and the configuration set by the developer.

Developer Experience

The developer experience offered by Turbopack and webpack can be compared in terms of ease of setup, configuration, and customization options. Turbopack provides a quickstart guide and offers core concepts and features to help developers get started easily. no need for html webpack plugin.

It supports JavaScript and TypeScript, frameworks, CSS, dev server, assets, imports, and environment variables. Turbopack also allows customization by transforming different files and changing module resolution using a subset of Webpack's loader API and configuration aliasing.

On the other hand, webpack is a widely used module bundler that offers extensive configuration options and a rich ecosystem of plugins and loaders. It provides more flexibility in terms of customization and configuration, allowing developers to fine-tune their build process according to their specific needs.

However, this flexibility can also make the setup and configuration process more complex and time-consuming compared to Turbopack.

Framework Compatibility

Turbopack and webpack both integrate with different JavaScript frameworks such as React, Vue, and Angular. Turbopack introduced a compatibility layer to support Webpack's loaders and resolve aliases, allowing it to work seamlessly with these frameworks.

However, it's important to note that the specific details of how Turbopack and webpack integrate with each framework may vary. For more information on how to configure Turbopack with these frameworks, you can refer to the Turbopack documentation.

Performance Comparison

Turbopack's incremental architecture allows it to outperform webpack in terms of build times and runtime performance. One specific area where Turbopack excels is in the development server startup time. With webpack, if you import a lot of modules on a certain page and open that page in your browser, the initial compilation can take a few seconds. Turbopack gives the fastest possible development experience.

Similarly, if you change routes in your development environment, you have to wait for a similar compile again for the new page.

Turbopack addresses this issue by being as lazy as possible, only performing work when it is requested. In a dev server, this means that it only does the work that the user asks for on incoming requests. This eliminates unnecessary bundling of on-demand loaded code before it is needed by the user.

In terms of runtime performance, Turbopack's incremental architecture also provides advantages. By only doing work when requested, it avoids unnecessary computations and optimizations, resulting in faster runtime performance compared to webpack. wepack is better to create

Ecosystem and Community

Turbopack has its own ecosystem and community support. It offers plugins and loaders that are specifically designed for Turbopack. However, since Turbopack does not offer 1:1 API compatibility for plugins, most webpack plugins won't work out of the box with Turbopack.

Turbopack is working on porting several of the most popular to be compatible with their system. As for webpack, it has a well-established ecosystem and community support. It offers a wide range of plugin and loaders that can be tightly integrated with webpack's internals. These plugin and loaders allow users to customize their toolchain and maximize productivity.


This rust-based successor to webpack is better for the coming times. In some time, these words will be outdated: webpack configuration, mini css extract plugin, install webpack, configure babel, const htmlwebpackplugin, webpack plugin, babelrc file, webpack config.

The new incremental architecture as incremental bundler optimized are better for react server components, server side rendering, third-party dependencies, to improve performance, production use and production build. It will speed up live reloading because full code is rust based. I love its incremental computation.

Large applications in web projects will get benefits. yarn dev or next dev is enough in nextjs. React components will work as it is.

Frequently asked questions

Frequently asked questions

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