Importing iframe with Webpack and Vue.js

I've spent hours on a webpack + Vue.js + iframe issue yesterday. As I don't want all those hours to be completly wasted, I'm going to document my issue and the final solution.

The problem

I'm working on a Vue.js application, using Webpack for building all the assets. One of the pages need to include an iframe, loading a stand-alone keen-explorer.html file.

My problem was that the keen-explorer.html was not included in the final build and resulted in a 404.

Context: Why do I need to do that?

I need to instanciate a Keen.io explorer dashboard from inside my app. The keen-explorer JavaScript module cannot be imported from a script, as far as I can tell. It needs to be loaded inside the global window object, along with its dependencies (Bootstrap and jQuery).

I tried different ways to include it in my final Webpack build, but the iframe was the best solution I could find as it will isolate all the external dependencies from the rest of my app. Anyway, back to the problem at hand.

Naive approach and first 404

I'm using vue-loader to parse the content of my .vue files. Here is my template (using pug):

iframe(src="html/keen-explorer.html")

If I run webpack, if finishes without any error, but when loading the application, I have a 404 as html/keen-explorer.html cannot be found. Webpack did not include it in the final build and considered the src as any other attribute with no particular meaning.

Making vue-loader require iframe sources

Turns out that vue-loader does not automatically import the iframe[src] values by default. You have to update your webpack config to define what it should parse:

module: {
  rules: [
    {
      test: /\.vue$/,
      loader: 'vue-loader',
      options: {
        transformToRequire: {
          iframe: 'src',
        },
      },
    },
  ],
}

Now, if I rerun webpack, I have an error because webpack can't find html/keen-explorer.html. We're making progress, at least it tries to import it.

Fixing the filepath issues

vue-loader seems to treat all assets in the template as relative to the final output, while here I'm trying to reference a file present in my src/html directory.

First thing to do was to define a resolve alias in webpack to tell it where to look for files that starts with html/ using the following config:

resolve: {
  alias: {
    html: path.resolve(__dirname, 'src', 'html'),
  },
},

Then, you should not forget to prepend your src value with a ~ in the template, to tell vue-loader that this should be resolved as an import.

iframe(src="~html/keen-explorer.html")

Rerunning webpack results in no more filepath errors. The file is found and included in the final build.

Problem is... the filepath has been replaced by the content of the file, not its path in the final build. That means that my iframe is now trying to load <doctype>[...], which does not work at all.

Replacing the file with its built filepath

We're approaching the end and the solution is near. The last thing missing at that point is a way to replace the imported file by its built filepath in the final output.

Thankfully, that's what the file-loader loader is for:

module: {
  rules: [
    {
      test: /\.html$/,
      use: [
        {
          loader: 'file-loader',
          options: {
            name: '[hash].[ext]',
          },
        }
      ],
    },
  ],
},

Doing so I can have an iframe with a src set to the relative filepath to the built html file.

Conclusion

It took me about 25mn to write this article, but more than 6h to hunt and debug this issue from start to finish (not counting all the wrong leads trying to embed the iframe in base64).

To recap, if you want to load a standalone iframe from your Vue.js application suing webpack you need to:

  1. Configure vue-loader so if follows iframe[src] attributes
  2. Prepend ~ to your src values
  3. Configure the resolve alias so filepath can be resolved by webpack
  4. Add a file-loader to process .html pages

Tags : #vuejs #webpack #iframe

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