Maria D. Campbell

The New Babel 7 Config

December 3rd, 2018

Update December 3, 2018: There were some issues along the way due to breaking changes in Babel 7 which affected JestReact, and ESLintUnless you are using create-react-app, your workflow might have to be adjusted depending on what support you want to provide in any given application. I have brought all resources together in the repository for the second edition of my custom React Workflow on Github. Please visit issues to learn more.

For the last day or so, I have been working on making Jest play nice with the new Babel 7. It was quite the journey, but I finally got there. So far!

  • First I created an application with my updated custom React workflow that only supported favicons, and no images. That worked fine.

  • Now I am working on another application that is supposed to support both favicons and images (jpgs). I immediately encountered issues with Jest (unexpected token import) and had to reconfigure it. Then it worked fine temporarily.

  • It ended up that I had to change my Babel 7 configuration file from .babelrc to babel.config.js. Babel 7 no longer automatically loads .babelrc. New to Babel in 7, is the concept of a "root" directory. For project-wide configuration, Babel will automatically search for a "babel.config.js" in this root directory:

Because project-wide config files are separated from the physical location of the config file, they can be ideal for configuration that must apply broadly, even allowing plugins and presets to easily apply to files in node_modules or in symlinked packages, which were traditionally quite painful to configure in Babel 6.x. – Babel Docs

  • I created a new babel.config.js in the root of my project:
module.exports = {
    presets: [
    plugins: [


When I made the changes, I also created a script to clear the Jest cache:

"clear": "jest --clearCache"

After clearing the Jest cache, I ran my npm run test script and my tests passed.

One more very important thing that relates to syntax error(s) related to the proposed static class properties in React. Yesterday I added the following in my .eslintrc.json to make it go away:

"parser": "babel-eslint",

When I introduced image imports to my project causing my Jest tests to fail, it also affected the proposed static class properties I was using in one of my components. Nothing seemed to make it go away until I added this line to my .eslintrc.json. I found this fix in the ESLint docs and subsequently in the Babel-Eslint Github repository.

Related Resources:

Tagged in: jest babel-7 web-development-workflows react webpack test-driven-development
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