Closure Library


Getting Started with Closure Library

This getting started guide is designed to teach you some fundamental Closure development concepts in the context of creating your first Closure application. This guide also provides the steps common to a Closure development workflow.


Download Closure library

In your working directory (referred to later as path/to/myapp/), the following commands initialize an npm package workspace and installs Closure Library as a dependency:

npm init -y
npm install google-closure-library

Closure Library sources are downloaded to node_modules/google-closure-library.

Download google-closure-deps

google-closure-deps is a set of Node.js CLIs to create deps.js files for your application. deps.js is a file that maps out the dependency tree in your project, and is used for uncompiled code.

To install it:

npm install --save-dev google-closure-deps

The --save-dev is optional, and indicates that this is a development (not runtime) dependency.

You will use this later to generate a deps.js file for your application.

Create Closure JavaScript

Create a hello.js JavaScript file in path/to/myapp/ with the following contents:

 * @fileoverview Closure getting started tutorial code example.

const {TagName, createDom} = goog.require('goog.dom');

 * Appends an `h1` tag to the body with the message "Hello world!".
function sayHi() {
  const newHeader = createDom(TagName.H1, {'style': 'background-color:#EEE'},
    'Hello world!');


The hello.js JavaScript calls two Closure Library functions: goog.dom.createDom() and goog.dom.appendChild(). These functions are defined in Closure Library’s closure/goog/dom/dom.js file. The next steps explains how the correct files are loaded to provide access these functions.

Create deps.js

Use the closure-make-deps tool found in the previously-mentioned google-closure-deps package to generate deps.js:

$(npm bin)/closure-make-deps \
  -f hello.js \
  -f node_modules/google-closure-library/closure/goog/deps.js \
  --closure-path node_modules/google-closure-library/closure/goog \
  > deps.js

Here’s breakdown of the command:

To learn about the flags accepted by this tool, run:

$(npm bin)/closure-make-deps --help

Create an HTML file

Create a hello.html file in path/to/myapp/ with the following contents:

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<script src="node_modules/google-closure-library/closure/goog/base.js"></script>
<script src="deps.js"></script>
<div>Content to be rendered below</div>

The first thing this HTML file does is load base.js, which defines the function goog.require and other core functionality. The file then loads deps.js later, which gives Closure’s source loader (called the “debug loader”) information about where dependency files are located. This allows hello.js to be evaluated once goog.require('hello') is called.

The Closure Library loads required files by dynamically adding a script tag to the document for each needed Closure Library file.

Test your app with a web server

Use a simple HTTP server, such as Python’s http.server module to test your application.

For example, start a simple server in your project directory with:

# Node.js
npx http-server
# Python 2
python -m SimpleHTTPServer 8080
# Python 3
python -m http.server 8080

And visit http://localhost:8080/path/to/myapp/hello.html.

Compile your app

Use Closure Compiler to compile your application when your app is ready for production. Closure Compiler (also known as JSCompiler) creates a single-file bundle of your application. This file includes all the dependencies your application needs, but shortens identifier names where possible to minimize the size of the code and the time it takes to transmit over the network. In addition, Closure Compiler performs type checking, removes dead code, and applies optimizations.

To compile your application:

  1. Download and install the latest release of Closure Compiler from npm:

     npm install --save-dev google-closure-compiler

The --save-dev is optional, and indicates that this is a develop-time (not runtime) dependency.

  1. Execute the compiler on your JavaScript file:

     $(npm bin)/google-closure-compiler \
       --js hello.js \
       --js node_modules/google-closure-library/**/*.js \
       --dependency_mode=PRUNE \
       --entry_point=goog:hello \
       --js_output_file hello_compiled.js

    Note: You can compile multiple JavaScript files at once using the Closure Compiler. For example:

     $(npm bin)/google-closure-compiler --js_output_file=out.js in1.js in2.js in3.js ...
  2. Reference the compiled file in your HTML file without using base.js to load the dependencies individually (hello_compiled.js includes hello.js as well as all of its requirements, in compiled form):

<!DOCTYPE html>
<meta charset="UTF-8">
<div>Content to be rendered below</div>
<script src="/hello_compiled.js"></script>

Refer to Getting Started with Closure Compiler for more information on the Closure Compiler.