In WebStorm, transpiler configurations are called File Watchers. For each supported transpiler, WebStorm provides a predefined File Watcher template. Predefined File Watcher templates are available at the WebStorm level. To run a transpiler against your project files, you need to create a project-specific File Watcher based on the relevant template, at least, specify the path to the transpiler to use on your machine.
On this page:
- Installing the TypeScript transpiler
- Installing the TypeScript transpiler globally
- Installing the TypeScript transpiler in a project
- Creating a File Watcher
- Transpiling the code
Download and install the Node.js framework. The framework is required for two reasons:
- The TypeScript transpiler is started through Node.js.
- The Node Package Manager (npm), which is a part of the framework, is also the easiest way to download the transpiler.
For details on using Node.js in WebStorm, see the section Node.js
Make sure the following paths are added to the PATH variable:
- The path to the parent folder of the Node.js executable file.
- The path to the Node Package Manager folder (npm).
- Make sure the Node.js plugin is enabled. The plugin is bundled with WebStorm and activated by default. If it is not, enable the plugin.
Installing the TypeScript transpiler
The easiest way to install a TypeScript transpiler is to use the Node Package Manager (npm), which is a part of Node.js. Depending on the desired location of the TypeScript transpiler executable file, choose one of the following methods:
- Install the transpiler globally at the WebStorm level so it can be used in any WebStorm project.
- Install the transpiler in a specific project and thus restrict its use to this project.
In either installation mode, make sure that the parent folder of the TypeScript transpiler is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the transpiler from any folder.
Global installation makes the transpiler available at the WebStorm level so it can be used in any WebStorm project. To install the transpiler globally, run the installation from the command line in the global mode.
- Switch to the directory where the Node Package Manager (npm) is stored or define a path variable for it so it is available from any folder.
Type the following command at the command line prompt:
npm install -g typescript
The -g key makes the Node Package Manager (npm) run in the global mode. Because the transpiler is installed through the Node Package Manager (npm), the TypeScript transpiler is installed in the npm folder. Make sure this parent folder is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the transpiler from any folder.
Installing the transpiler in a specific project restricts its use to this project. To run project installation, do one of the following:
In the command line mode, switch to the project root folder and type the following command at the command line prompt:
npm install typescript
Run the Node Package Manager (npm) from WebStorm using the Node.js page of the Settings
- On the Node.js page that opens, the Packages area shows all the Node.js-dependent packages that are currently installed on your computer, both at the global and at the project level. Click Install. In the Available Packages dialog box that opens, select the typescript package and click Install Package.
Project level installation is helpful and reliable in template-based projects of the type Node Boilerplate or Node.js Express, which already have the node_modules folder. The latter is important because the Node Package Manager installs the TypeScript transpiler in a node_modules folder. If your project already contains such folder, the TypeScript transpiler is installed there.
Projects of other types or empty projects may not have a node_modules folder. In this case npm goes upwards in the folder tree and installs the TypeScript transpiler in the first detected node_modules folder. Keep in mind that this detected node_modules folder may be outside your current project root.
Finally, if no node_modules folder is detected in the folder tree either, the folder is created right under the current project root and the TypeScript transpiler is installed there.
In either case, make sure that the parent folder of the TypeScript transpiler is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the transpiler from any folder.
WebStorm provides a common procedure and user interface for creating File Watchers of all types. The only difference is in the predefined templates you choose in each case.
- To start creating a File Watcher, open the Project Settings and click File Watchers. The File Watchers page that opens, shows the list of File Watchers that are already configured in the project.
- Click the Add button or press Alt+InsertAlt+InsertAlt+InsertAlt+InsertAlt+InsertAlt+InsertAlt+Insert or Ctrl+NAlt+InsertCommand N or Control EnterControl N or Control EnterCommand N or Control Enter and choose the TypeScript predefined template from the pop-up list.
- In the Program text box, specify the path to the executable file (e.g. tsc.cmd). Type the path manually or click the Browse button and choose the file location in the dialog box that opens.
- Proceed as described on page Using File Watchers.
Transpiling the code
When you open a TypeScript file, WebStorm checks whether an applicable file watcher is available in the current project. If such file watcher is configured but disabled, WebStorm displays a pop-up window that informs you about the configured file watcher and suggests to enable it.
If an applicable file watcher is configured and enabled in the current project, WebStorm starts it automatically upon the event specified in the New Watcher dialog.
- If the Immediate file synchronization check box is selected, the File Watcher is invoked as soon as any changes are made to the source code.
- If the Immediate file synchronization check box is cleared, the File Watcher is started upon save ( , Ctrl+SCtrl+SCtrl+SCtrl+SCtrl+X, Ctrl+SCtrl+SCtrl+S or Ctrl+Shift+SCtrl+SCommand SCommand SCommand S) or when you move focus from WebStorm (upon frame deactivation).
The transpiler stores the generated output in a separate file. The file has the name of the source TypeScript file and the extension js or js.map depending on the transpiler type. The location of the generated files is defined in the Output paths to refresh text box of the New Watcher dialog. Based on this setting, WebStorm detects transpiler output. However, in the Project Tree, they are shown under the source .ts file which is now displayed as a node.