Build/Layout optimization tooling and Peregrine framework adapters for the Magento PWA


Build and development tools for Magento Progressive Web Apps

Quick Setup


  • NodeJS 8.x (LTS)
  • A local Magento 2 store accessible via filesystem (A network share works, if your backing store is in a virtual machine or a remote system)

I. Create a Theme

Magento Progressive Web Apps are built on top of Magento Themes. Start your PWA by going through the familiar process of creating a new theme.

Existing themes use a centrally managed asset build system in dev/tools/grunt, with a package.json.sample at application root as a starting point. **PWA Studio themes have their own package.json instead, at the theme root folder. This file configures NPM to manage JavaScript dependencies, configuration, and build tools; it's composer.json for JavaScript.

II. Create Package Configuration and Structure

  1. If you have NodeJS LTS installed, you should have access to npm at the command line. In your theme directory, run:

    npm init

    NPM will walk you through the creation of a package.json file. You can leave these fields blank if you wish.

  2. When this command completes, you should have a package.json file in the current directory. You can now install dependencies. First, install Peregrine as a production dependency:

    npm install --save @magento/peregrine react react-dom react-redux react-router-dom redux

You should now see those dependencies and their versions listed in the dependencies section of package.json.

III: Create a Simple Peregrine App

Create an app that follows the Peregrine pattern (more notes forthcoming).

  1. Create a directory in your theme root called src.

  2. Inside src, create a directory called components, and a file in src/components called app.js. Put this code in src/components/app.js:

    import React from 'react';
    export default class App extends React.Component {
        render() {
            return (
                    Hello, Studio!
  3. Inside src, create a file called index.js. Put the following code in src/index.js:

    import Peregrine from '@magento/peregrine';
    import App from './components/app';
    const app = new Peregrine();
    const container = document.getElementById('root');
    app.component = App;
    if ('serviceWorker' in navigator) {
        window.addEventListener('load', () => {
    export default app;
  4. Inside src, create a directory called RootComponents. Leave src/RootComponents empty for now.

You have created a Peregrine app skeleton!

IV. Configure Local Development Setup

Configure your theme to run on your local Magento 2 instance *(or a remote Magento 2 instance, if your development setup uses one). Some of this configuration is unique to your individual environment and should not be included in the theme source code or build specifications. For these config values, use environment variables.

Environment variables are a cross-platform standard and you can set them at the command line. There are also many tools for managing them more automatically. For your theme and its NodeJS-powered build tooling, use the library dotenv, which reads an ini-formatted file to set the environment.

  1. Install the dotenv tool as a developer dependency:

    npm install --save-dev dotenv
  2. Create a file in your theme directory called .env. Put the following lines in it:

    # change the above to your local Magento store's host (with port)
    # change the above to the absolute path to the root directory of your local
    # Magento store
    # change the above to your vendor and theme name
    # the locale must be `en_US` for now

V. Install and Configure Developer Tools

  1. Install Buildpack and its standard peer dependencies.

    npm install --save-dev @magento/pwa-buildpack \
    babel-core babel-loader babel-helper-module-imports \
    babel-plugin-syntax-jsx babel-plugin-transform-class-properties \
    babel-plugin-transform-object-rest-spread babel-plugin-transform-react-jsx \
    webpack webpack-cli webpack-dev-server
  2. Create a file in your theme directory called .babelrc. Babel, the code transpilation tool, will use this file as configuration when Webpack runs babel-loader.

    Put the following in .babelrc:

        "plugins": [

    This is a minimal Babel configuration for fast builds, supporting the features you will need for development.

  3. Create a file in your theme directory called webpack.config.js. Webpack will run this file as a Node script, expecting it to export an object that tells Webpack how to build your theme.

    In the first line of your webpack.config.js file, add this:


    This will import the contents of your .env file as environment variables. In Node, environment variables can be accessed on the global object process.env.

    If you like, you can prove this is working by adding another line that says console.log(process.env.MAGENTO_BACKEND_DOMAIN). Save the file and then run node webpack.config.js.

  4. Add the following lines to webpack.config.js:

    const webpack = require('webpack');
    const {
        Webpack: {
    } = require('@magento/pwa-buildpack');

    This imports the Webpack and Buildpack libraries.

  5. Define the filesystem paths to your theme resources. Use the node path module, which formats and normalizes file paths, and the special Node variable __dirname, which always contains the directory of the currently executing script file.

    const path = require('path');
    const themePaths = {
        src: path.resolve(__dirname, 'src'),
        assets: path.resolve(__dirname, 'web'),
        output: path.resolve(__dirname, 'web/js'),

    These are the canonical locations of source code, static assets, and build output in a Peregrine app.

  6. Export your Webpack config as an async function. Add the following lines to webpack.config.js:

    module.exports = async function(env) {

    This function will execute when Webpack runs and requests configuration.

  7. Define the core object you will export as config. You'll modify it later. Insert this definition of config into the async function you declared above.

    module.exports = async function(env) {
        const config = {
            mode: env.mode, // passed on the command line via the '--env' flag
            context: __dirname, // Node global for the running script's directory
            entry: {
                client: path.resolve(themePaths.src, 'index.js')
            output: {
                path: themePaths.output,
                publicPath: process.env.MAGENTO_BACKEND_PUBLIC_PATH,
                filename: '[name].js',
                chunkFilename: '[name].js'
            module: {
                rules: [
                        include: [themePaths.src],
                        test: /\.js$/,
                        use: [
                                loader: 'babel-loader',
                                options: { cacheDirectory: true }
                         test: /\.css$/,
                         use: [
                                 loader: 'css-loader',
                                 options: {
                                     importLoaders: 1
             resolve: await MagentoResolver.configure({
                 paths: {
                     root: __dirname
             plugins: [
                 new MagentoRootComponentsPlugin(),
                 new webpack.NoEmitOnErrorsPlugin(),
                 new webpack.EnvironmentPlugin({
                     NODE_ENV: env.mode,
                     SERVICE_WORKER_FILE_NAME: 'sw.js'

    Note the use of a MagentoResolver, a webpack.EnvironmentPlugin to pass environment variables, the presence of a MagentoRootComponent plugin, and the way that environment variables are plugging into Webpack configuration.

    Now, make special modifications to that object when in development mode.

  8. Create a PWADevServer config and attach it to the configuration.

    if (env.mode === "development") {
        config.devServer = await PWADevServer.configure({
            publicPath: process.env.MAGENTO_BACKEND_PUBLIC_PATH,
            backendDomain: process.env.MAGENTO_BACKEND_DOMAIN,
            serviceWorkerFileName: process.env.SERVICE_WORKER_FILE_NAME,
            paths: themePaths,
            id: 'magento-my-theme'
        // A DevServer generates its own unique output path at startup. It needs
        // to assign the main outputPath to this value as well.
        config.output.publicPath = config.devServer.publicPath;
  9. Create a ServiceWorkerPlugin and attach it to the configuration.

             new ServiceWorkerPlugin({
                 paths: themePaths,
                 enableServiceWorkerDebugging: false,
                 serviceWorkerFileName: process.env.SERVICE_WORKER_FILE_NAME
  10. Finally, add a webpack.HotModuleReplacementPlugin to enable fast workflow.

             new webpack.HotModuleReplacementPlugin()
  11. Close the if (env.mode === "development" bluc. Add a note to configure the production side at a later time.

        } else if (env.mode === "production") {
            throw Error("Production configuration not implemented yet.");
  12. Lastly, return the configuration object from your configurator function in order to pass it back to Webpack.

      return config;

    You now have a simple and orderly webpack.config.js using Buildpack!

  13. Now, edit your package.json file. You should see your dependencies and devDependencies. You should also see a scripts section that looks something like this:

      "scripts": {
        "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"

    Add a line to the scripts section:

      "scripts": {
    +   "start": "webpack-dev-server --progress --color --env.mode development",
        "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"

    This enables you to start a development server just by running npm start. The --env.mode development argument affects the argument Webpack sends to the configuration function exported from webpack.config.js. The function will receive an object with its mode property set to "development".

VI. Run Development Cycle

In any project managed by NPM, the standard command to run the project is npm start. A Magento PWA theme is no different! Start the development cycle with npm start in your theme directory.

npm start

⚠️ The first time you run npm start, or if you haven't run npm start in a long time, PWA Studio may ask for your password. It needs your password for only a brief time, in order to set local host and SSL trust settings. It will not retain any broad permissions on your system.


Magento PWAs are based on a general-purpose PWA development framework, Peregrine. These tools connect a Peregrine app to a Magento backend and a Webpack-based build environment. The mission of pwa-buildpack is to be the zero-configuration, easy-setup development and deployment tools for Magento-supported Progressive Web Apps.

Developing Magento Storefronts

Historically, a developer working on a Magento theme had to set up their own:

  • Local Magento 2 store, hosted or virtualized
  • System hosts file to resolve local site
  • Theme skeleton and configuration files
  • Frontend build process tools
  • Required filesystem links and structure

In contrast, modern frontend development outside Magento often happens in a service-oriented architecture, where the "frontend" and "backend" are separate, encapsulated, and set up independently alongside one another. Developers expect to begin working quickly on the frontend prototype, without spending much time or energy setting up their own services layer.


  • magento-layout-loader -- Gives Magento modules/extensions the ability to inject or remove content blocks in a layout without modifying theme source files
  • MagentoRootComponentsPlugin -- Divides static assets into bundled "chunks" based on components registered with the Magento PWA RootComponent interface
  • PWADevServer -- Autoconfigures local system and theme configuration for local PWA-optimized theme development
  • ServiceWorkerPlugin -- Creates a ServiceWorker with different settings based on dev scenarios
  • MagentoResolver -- Configures Webpack to resolve modules and assets in Magento PWA themes.


Plenty of generous people in the Magento community have created setup scripts, Vagrant and Docker configurations, and other tools for setting up a Magento 2 dev environment automatically. pwa-buildpack is a peer, not a replacement, for those tools. This project is an element of Magento PWA Studio, and it will always track the best practices of frontend development and PWA development particularly. There is room for other tools serving other use cases.