Use import aliases in Rollup module bundler

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Heads up: this article is over a year old. Some information might be out of date, as I don't always update older articles.


Sometimes, when working with JavaScript and module bundlers, it’s useful to create aliases in order to import or require some modules more easily. In Webpack for example you can use the resolve.alias directive inside the configuration file.

module.exports = {
  resolve: {
    alias: {
      'applicationRoot': path.resolve(__dirname, 'src/')

A common use case for aliases is to abstract the application root, so instead of using relative paths when importing like so:

import MyModule from '../../../nested/module';

you can use the alias:

import Utility from 'applicationRoot/nested/module';

Notice an established convention is to use the @ sign in path to refer to the application root. See this SO answer


Rollup.js is a nice alternative to Webpack. It has similar API, but it is more lightweight and it feels simpler at a first glance. The debate if you should use one or the other is still going on as today, but the convention says that you should use Webpack for apps and Rollup for libraries. Rollup also added code splitting recently, which was the major lacking feature compared to Webpack.

Rollup does not provide the ability to alias modules on its own, but you need to add the rollup-plugin-alias plugin.

// rollup.config.js

import alias from 'rollup-plugin-alias';

export default {
  input: './src/index.js',
  plugins: [alias({
    applicationRoot: __dirname + '/src'

Using this simple configuration you can abstract applicationRoot to be the root of your application and require modules from there.

Bonus: Jest

If you are using Jest as your testing framework you also need to instruct it how to interpret applicationRoot otherwise it would just fail when running the test suite. Luckily for us the Jest configuration offers the moduleNameMapper option which maps from regular expressions to module names. We can define our mapping between applicationRoot and the application source root by using the <rootDir> string token.

module.exports = {
  // A map from regular expressions to module names that allow to stub out resources with a single module
  moduleNameMapper: {
    "^applicationRoot/(.*)$": "<rootDir>/src/$1",

Happy bundling!

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