Bazel rules for swc

SWC ( is a fast JS compiler, written in Rust. It performs the same work as Babel among other things, but is 20x faster.

SWC is a natural fit with Bazel. Bazel does best when it orchestrates the work of many short-lived compiler processes. NodeJS is not a good runtime for such tools, because it is an interpreter, and is only fast after the code has been running for a while and is Just-In-Time optimized. SWC is fast from the beginning since it is compiled to optimized machine code. This makes it a better choice for most developer workflows than tools like tsc or babel.

At the same, Bazel is a good fit for SWC too. It has still-developing features like a bundler, but you might want to use something else as a bundler, like esbuild. Bazel's agnostic unix-pipeline-style composition of tools allows you to mix-and-match the best parts of the JS ecosystem, regardless what language they run on. With Bazel, you won't need to figure out SWC's plugin infrastructure. You can have SWC do what it's good at, and not even have it involved with the rest.

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These rules provide a hermetic toolchain that runs @swc/cli, so it doesn't matter what is already installed on a developer's machine, they're guaranteed to get the same result. It caches all the tools using Bazel's downloader. This means that even when Bazel determines that a repository is invalidated and re-runs the setup (due to running bazel sync --configure for example, or after a bazel clean --expunge) nothing is fetched from the network. Also the downloader can be configured to use corporate policy like fetching exclusively through Artifactory.

We use a Bazel toolchain to expose the SWC compiler to the Bazel actions that run it. This allows a user to register their own toolchain, for example to build SWC Rust code from source. By default, we download pre-built binaries from This means we do not run npm install or yarn.


Runfiles need to be enabled in Bazel for the rules to work. On Windows, this is not enabled by default.

Add this to the .bazelrc in your project:

build --enable_runfiles

From the release you wish to use: copy the WORKSPACE snippet into your WORKSPACE file.


From a BUILD file

The simplest usage is with the swc rule, used to transpile TypeScript code to JavaScript in a tight developer loop. Each .ts or .tsx file is compiled to bazel-bin/path/to/file.js and available to downstream tools such as bundlers, which are in their own Bazel rules.

See the example in /examples/simple.

In a macro

Often the repetition of hand-writing BUILD files needs to be overcome with a Bazel macro. This composes a few rules together into a common pattern which is shared in your repo.

See the example in /examples/macro

In a custom rule

The most advanced usage is to write your own rule that uses the swc toolchain.

This is a good choice if you need to integrate with other Bazel rules via Providers

You'll basically follow the example of /swc/private/swc.bzl in this repo, by using the Starlark API.

  • Use @aspect_rules_swc//swc:cli as the binary tool to execute
  • To get the swc nodejs bindings for Rust, env should include "SWC_BINARY_PATH": ctx.toolchains["@aspect_rules_swc//swc:toolchain_type"].swcinfo.binding
  • To pass the relevant files to the action, inputs should include ctx.toolchains["@aspect_rules_swc//swc:toolchain_type"].swcinfo.tool_files

You can load helper functions from the private API like our implementation does, but note that this may have breaking changes between major releases.

Alternatively you can write a rule from scratch, using the toolchains and swc cli binary provided in aspect_rules_swc.