Simplifying Bundling and Minification in ASP.NET Core

The decisions around what to use for packaging client side libraries is still a length discussion. Mostly, if not always, will start and stop with "It Depends...".

However, getting started with something and being able to build upon that is a good starting point rather than what some call "Paralysis through analysis".

Bundler & Minifier

When this component was originally available, only Visual Studio 2015 / 2017 users could take advantage through the use of an extension (VSIX) or you could use dotnet bundle by adding a dotnet tools CLI package to your project.

Now, in the recent update, the NuGet package fully integrates with MSBuild and you can take advantage of using the bundling and minify capabilities as a part of the dotnet build or dotnet clean command.

Quick look at the structure

The dotnet new MVC templates ship with a bundleconfig.json file which is a configuration file used to define how your JavaScript and other client side assets should be packaged up for deployment.

The default file looks like this.

    "outputFileName": "wwwroot/css/site.min.css",
    "inputFiles": [
    "outputFileName": "wwwroot/js/site.min.js",
    "inputFiles": [
    "minify": {
      "enabled": true,
      "renameLocals": true
    "sourceMap": false

Each "bundle" in the array defines the outputFileName, inputFiles and other options. Depending on the output file type, there are different configuration options available as well; CSS, JavaScript, or HTML.

Create a new mvc project

Use the command line, bash or integrated terminal in VS Code.

dotnet new mvc -o mybundleapp

Add the NuGet package to your project using the dotnet add package command.

dotnet add package BuildBundlerMinifier  

Run dotnet restore to install any outstanding dependencies. Note: dotnet add package automatically runs restore for the specified package.

Now when we run dotnet build, the Output window displays the information concerning the bundling and minification according to what is configured in bundleconfig.json.

$ dotnet build
Microsoft (R) Build Engine version 15.1.545.13942  
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

  Bundler: Begin processing bundleconfig.json
        Minified wwwroot/css/site.min.css
  Bundler: Done processing bundleconfig.json
  mybundleapp -> /mybundleapp/bin/Debug/netcoreapp1.0/mybundleapp.dll

Build succeeded.  
    0 Warning(s)
    0 Error(s)

Time Elapsed 00:00:03.89  

If you run dotnet clean, the NuGet package also cleans the *.min.css and/or *.min.js files.

$ dotnet clean
Microsoft (R) Build Engine version 15.1.545.13942  
Copyright (C) Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

  Bundler: Cleaning output from bundleconfig.json
  Bundler: Done cleaning output file from bundleconfig.json

If you have an application that requires a greater set of complexity for packaging scripts, Gulp is a great option. However, to get started with minimal friction - use this and convert to Gulp later...or whatever you want to use.

See for more information on Bundling and Minification using this component, Gulp, and Grunt.

Thanks to Mads Kristensen for always making great stuff for ASP.NET and Visual Studio.

Tweet Post Share Update Email RSS

Hi, I'm Shayne Boyer, I write this site, work on ASP.NET Core content and Open Source, speak at national and community events while helping teams architect web and cloud applications.

aspnetcore bundling minify