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Version: v4.4

Distribution Output Target

The dist type is to generate the component(s) as a reusable library that can be self-lazy loading, such as Ionic. The dist output will bundle all components into your application and only load the ones it needs at runtime. When creating a distribution, the project's package.json will also have to be updated.

outputTargets: [
type: 'dist'

How is this different from "dist-custom-elements" output target?

To start, Stencil was designed to lazy-load itself only when the component was actually used on a page. There are many benefits to this approach, such as simply adding a script tag to any page and the entire library is available for use, yet only the components actually used are downloaded. For example, @ionic/core comes with over 100 components, but a one webpage may only need ion-toggle. Instead of requesting the entire component library, or generating a custom bundle for just ion-toggle, the dist output target is able to generate a tiny entry build ready to load any of its components on-demand.

The dist-custom-elements on the other hand is a direct build of the custom element that extends HTMLElement, without any lazy-loading. The custom elements bundle does not apply polyfills, nor automatically define each custom elements. This may be preferred for projects that will handle bundling, lazy-loading and defining the custom elements themselves.

Luckily, both builds can be generated at the same time, and shipped in the same distribution. It would be up to the consumer of your component library to decide which build to use.



The collectionDir config specifies the output directory within the distribution directory where the transpiled output of Stencil components will be written.

This option defaults to collection when omitted from a Stencil configuration file.


The dir config specifies the public distribution directory. This directory is commonly the dist directory found within npm packages. This directory is built and rebuilt directly from the source files. Additionally, since this is a build target, all files will be deleted and rebuilt after each build, so it's best to always copy source files into this directory. It's recommended that this directory not be committed to a repository.

This option defaults to dist when omitted from a Stencil configuration file.


By default, before each build the dir directory will be emptied of all files. To prevent this directory from being emptied, change this value to false.

This flag defaults to true when omitted from a Stencil configuration file.


default: false

If true, this output target will be used to validate package.json fields for your project's distribution. See the overview of primary package output target validation for more information.


default: true

This option will allow path aliases defined in a project's tsconfig.json to be transformed into relative paths in the code output under the collectionDir subdirectory for this output target. This does not affect imports for external packages.

An example of path transformation could look something like:

// Source code
import * as utils from '@utils';

// Output code
import * as utils from '../path/to/utils';

If using the dist-collection output target directly, the same result can be achieved using the transformAliasedImportPaths flag on the target's config.


default: /dist/loader

Provide a custom path for the ESM loader directory, containing files you can import in an initiation script within your application to register all your components for lazy loading. Read more about the loader directory in the section below.

If you don't use a custom exports map, users would have to import the loader script via:

import { defineCustomElements } from 'stencil-library/dist/loader'

By setting esmLoaderPath to e.g. ../loader you can shorten or rename the import path to:

import { defineCustomElements } from 'stencil-library/loader'


Next you can publish your library to Node Package Manager (NPM). For more information about setting up the package.json file, and publishing, see: Publishing A Component Library.


The dist output target generates a loader directory that exports setNonce, applyPolyfills and defineCustomElements helper functions when imported within an ESM context. This allows you to register all components of your library to be used in your project in an application setup script, e.g.:

import { applyPolyfills, defineCustomElements, setNonce } from 'stencil-library/loader';

// Will set the `nonce` attribute for all scripts/style tags
// i.e. will run styleTag.setAttribute('nonce', 'r4nd0m')
// Obviously, you should use the nonce generated by your server

applyPolyfills().then(() => {

This is an alternative approach to e.g. loading the components directly through a script tag as mentioned below. Read more about setNonce and when to set it in our guide on Content Security Policy Nonces.

Distribution Options

Each output target's form of bundling and distribution has its own pros and cons. Luckily you can just worry about writing good source code for your component. Stencil will handle generating the various bundles and consumers of your library can decide how to apply your components to their external projects. Below are a few of the options.

Script tag

  • Use a script tag linked to a CDN copy of your published NPM module, for example: <script type="module" src='[email protected]/dist/myname.js'></script>.
  • The initial script itself is extremely tiny and does not represent the entire library. It's only a small registry.
  • You can use any or all components within your library anywhere within that webpage.
  • It doesn't matter if the actual component was written within the HTML or created with vanilla JavaScript, jQuery, React, etc.
  • Only the components used on that page will be requested and lazy-loaded.

Importing the dist library using a bundler

  • Run npm install my-name --save
  • Add an import within the root component: import my-component;
  • Stencil will automatically setup the lazy-loading capabilities for the Stencil library.
  • Then you can use the element anywhere in your template, JSX, HTML etc.

Importing the dist library into another Stencil app

  • Run npm install my-name --save
  • Add an import within the root component: import my-component;
  • Stencil will automatically setup the lazy-loading capabilities for the Stencil library.
  • Then you can use the element anywhere in your template, JSX, HTML etc.