All About Bower: Handling Those Packages

Bower - A package manager to make your life easier

What is Bower?

Bower is a package manager for JavaScript libraries that can be used for defining, retrieving and versioning your dependencies. It will fetch and install packages from everywhere. It will work by searching, downloading and saving anything you are looking for. Information about all these activities is stored in bower.json file. Bower will provide hooks for facilitating the use of packages in your tools.

Development

Bower was developed at Twitter by @maccman and @fat. It was initially released as part of an open source effort and over the years many users have contributed to its development. The current Bower is the result of the efforts of many users. This is a prime example of why you should contribute to open source projects if you can. Look how many people benefit from Bower!

Why Use Bower?

Bower offers many benefits found in other managers. The main benefits are as following:

  • You can simplify declarative dependency management. You will be able to declare all your dependencies within the file, bower.json, which will help other things to easily determine them.
  • There is no need for committing dependences for version control.
  • It is not required to locate different builds.
  • Semantic version is utilized for defining versions for a specific dependency. This makes it easier to upgrade to new versions.
  • It makes it easier to use various builds of a dependency.

Bower is used along with other tools for integrating with all types of workflows and setups. It can gather anonymous usage information, which enables its community to improve the manager. They can also make display of insights into CLI usage publicly.

Data Tracking

Bower uses Google Analytics for tracking data and implements it through Insight. All members can get access to this data. You can opt in initially to be able to track everything. It is also possible to disable analytics. The advantage with Bower is that you can get the exact information that is tracked for.

It may not support GitHub-like namespacing, but you can namespace relevant packages with a hyphen. It is recommended not to shorten package names. You should list your package and declare your name after having public reputation with code. Bower’s Core Team can help in the resolution of any intellectual property disputes.

It is important to know that Bower runs on Git. In Bower, a packaged element could comprise of any kind of asset and may use any kind of transport. There are many more reasons for using Bower. There is no need for manually downloading dependencies and you could install packages optionally.

How to install Bower

If you want a detailed tutorial on how to install Bower or how to use Bower, there are quick guides for both available on their site. They also offer more indepth information, such as how to configure Bower, so you can utilize everything you need, and disable the things you don’t. For example, you could turn off analytics, if you don’t want it. You can also specify the URL to use when registering packages. You can really fine tune the whole process with Bower.

Conclusion

Bower is an excellent package manager for finding and downloading all of the parts and pieces you need for the development process. You can total control over the entire setup, which allows you to jump right into getting started on a project, without having to hunt everything down. When you have an idea, or you’re excited about a project, you just want to get to it, and Bower let’s you do that quicker.