How can I publish an NPM module with both commonjs and es6 versions?

I have a module I want to publish to npm. I have found some "solutions" that are 4+ years old, examples using babel 5.x, and other problems that made the examples not work as shown.

Ideally I want to write my code using es6 and build/transpile with babel such that it can be imported with require() in scripts or import in modules.

Right now, here's my (sample) module that shows what I've tried.

// index.js
export default function speak () {
  console.log("Hello, World!");
// .babelrc
  "presets": [
      ["@babel/env", {"modules": "commonjs"}]
  "plugins": [
// package.json
  "name": "foo",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "build": "babel index.js -d dist"
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "devDependencies": {
    "@babel/cli": "^7.10.5",
    "@babel/core": "^7.10.5",
    "@babel/plugin-transform-modules-commonjs": "^7.10.4",
    "@babel/preset-env": "^7.10.4",
    "babel-plugin-add-module-exports": "^1.0.2"

And, finally, a demo script (demo.js)

// demo.js
const speak = require('./dist/index.js');

When I do npm run build and then node demo.js, it works as expected:

Hello, World!

I would also like to be able to have a module (add "type":"module" to package.json) and then use a demo.js file this way:

import speak from './dist/index.js';

However, I get this an error that a default export isn't available:

import speak from './dist/index.js';
SyntaxError: The requested module './dist/index.js' does not provide an export named 'default'

I don't really care what the answer is, I'd just like to know what the best practices are. Should I just export as ES6? Should I just require commonjs? Is there a way of transpiling with two available targets?


  • node v14.5.0
  • npm v6.14.6
  • @babel/core v7.10.5


  • You can use a bundler like webpack or rollup in combination with babel. They provide options to compile to multiple targets. Normally any library code is compiled to below targets:

    1. ESM or MJS (Ecmascript modules)
    2. UMD (Universal Modules)

    You can also compile to CJS (CommonJS module) or IIFE (Immediately invoked function expression).

    UMD and ESM are pretty much standard these days (esp. UMD because it is combination of IIFE, CJS and AMD).

    You can explore official documentation for Webpack or Rollup. However, I have created a tool which you can use to achieve the output you are looking for.

    You can check it out, play around with it, hack it. I think it can be good starting point. You can checkout this article to get started: