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We have successfully deployed the basic Rails 6 sample application to AWS. All that remains now is to configure both Vue and Webpack for production use. In local development we can serve our packs through bin/webpack-dev-server but in production we need everything pre-compiled so that Nginx can serve the content in the packs directory.

In this post we will go over configuring webpack so that we can import Vue globally in each pack as required. We will configure Vue and some basic Vue plugins and also make it available in all packs as needed. Lastly we will go over how webpack differs from the traditional Rails Asset Pipeline.

Webpack Configuration

In the root directory of our application we have the webpack configuration files by stage. You can find these under config/webpack/*.js. The main file we need to update is environment.js. This file imports webpack, vue, and any other top level library we need.

When we created our initial Rails structure, we told rails that we will be using webpack and vue via the --webpack=vue flag in the cli. By default this will create the following content in environment.js

To properly configure Vue for production, lets make sure that Webpack is configured to load the right payload for it. Create a new file named vue_config.js within the config/webpack directory and copy the contents below into it.

After that, update the environment.js file from earlier to load our custom vue config and override the default development payload for vue. This will configure it to load correctly in production.


With webpack configured, we can sanity check that our packages are up to date and included. If any are missing or if you need additional packages, add them to your package.json file in the root directory of our application.

Vue Configuration

The final bit is to load in Vue into our application pack found in app/javascript/packs/application.js. We will import both Vue and BootstrapVue. If you do not want to use BootstrapVue, feel free to import just Vue. Since Rails uses Turbolinks, there is also a vue adapter for it. We will be importing all 3. Only Vue is absolutely required.

Migrating away from Asset Pipeline

Using webpack lets us migrate out of the Asset Pipeline for javascript files. This is a bit of a shift in thinking if you have been using Rails for a while. The key difference is that you can write your javascript files within app/javascript/ instead of app/assets. The way to model this approach is that you build your directory structure within app/javascript/* and use require statements to cross load all your local dependencies. Everything here will be compiled and minified by webpack during application build.

Intead of using javascript_include_tag, use the javascript_pack_tag to load files inside of the app/javascript/packs folder. Each pack can be considered a mini application bundle. You can generate as many as you need or bundle it all into 1 pack.


At this point everything has been setup for both local development and pushing to production. Webpack will load the correct version of Vue and Vue has been configured to pull in both Turbolinks and BootstrapVue. With this, we can start building out our application and creating as many packs as we need. Webpack will handle the compilation, minification, and tree-shaking for us!

To learn more about Webpack take a look at the concepts page at the official docs. This was sorely missing in the Rails Guides and helped me understand how webpack works when learning how to use webpack with rails.

Rails 6 Series