External helpers


Babel has a few helper functions that’ll be placed at the top of the generated code if needed so it’s not inlined multiple times throughout that file. This may become an issue if you have multiple files, especially when you’re sending them to the browser. gzip alleviates most of this concern but it’s still not ideal.

You can tell Babel to not place any declarations at the top of your files and instead just point them to a reference contained within the external helpers.

Getting the external helpers

To build the helpers, you will need to use babel-cli. You can install babel-cli with:

npm install babel-cli --save-dev

This will add babel-external-helpers to your .bin.

You can output the file using

./node_modules/.bin/babel-external-helpers [options] > helpers.js

You need to import/inject this file before executing your own code (instructions below).


Option Default Description
-t, --output-type [type] global Set output format: global, umd or var
-l, --whitelist Whitelist of helpers to ONLY include

Output formats


global output format sets helpers as global variable by adding babelHelpers to global or self.


umd output format wraps helpers in UMD compatible with browsers, CommonJS and AMD.


var outputs variable babelHelpers (var babelHelpers = {}) and helpers are assigned to it. This output format is suitable for additional processing.

Injecting the external helpers



This injects the external helpers into global.


<script type="application/javascript" src="your-path-to/babel/external-helpers.js"></script>

In a browser environment you can use a <script> tag to inject the babelHelpers into the window object.

npm install --save-dev babel-plugin-external-helpers



  "plugins": ["external-helpers"]


babel --plugins external-helpers script.js

Via Node API

require("babel-core").transform("code", {
  plugins: ["external-helpers"]

© 2018 Sebastian McKenzie
Licensed under the MIT License.