Move manifest.json to the Output Directory's Parent in Vite 5

February 7, 2024

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Imagine you're using Vite with Flask or some other minimal web framework. You need to generate a manifest file so your app can look up the filenames of the production assets. Now imagine that for whatever reason, you don't want the manifest file to be URL-accessible. Maybe you have a new super-secret feature you're working on, and having the asset listed in Vite's manifest.json would spoil the surprise.

In an attempt to keep the manifest file a secret, you use the following code in vite.config.js to try to place the manifest file in the parent of outDir so that it is no longer URL-accessible:

// WARNING: THIS CODE WON'T WORK!import { defineConfig } from "vite";export default defineConfig({  build: {    outDir: "dist",    manifest: "../manifest.json",  },});

Unfortunately when you run npm run build, you get the following error:

[vite:manifest] The "fileName" or "name" properties of emitted chunks and assets must be strings that are neither absolute nor relative paths, received "../manifest.json".

Vite won't let you use relative paths (e.g. ./filename and ../filename) to specify where a file should be built. This is a limitation of Rollup.js, and the maintainer says there are no future plans to support this behavior.

Fortunately, there are ways to hack around this limitation. This post will show two different methods to move the manifest file to the parent of outDir.

The easy way: Add a mv command to the build script

One option is specifying the manifest filename in vite.config.js, then adding a mv command to the end of the build script within package.json.

Here's an example of what vite.config.js might look like:

// vite.config.jsimport { defineConfig } from "vite";export default defineConfig({  build: {    outDir: "dist",    manifest: "manifest.json",  },});

Next, add the mv command to the build command in package.json's scripts object.

// package.json // (don't copy and paste this comment){  "name": "vite-move-manifest",  "version": "0.0.0",  "scripts": {    "dev": "vite",    "build": "vite build && mv dist\/manifest.json manifest.json",  },  "devDependencies": {    "vite": "^5.0.8"  }}

Now when you run npm run build, the file will be moved from {your_project}/dist/manifest.json to {your_project}/manifest.json.

This method will even work if you run the build command from another directory, using a command like npm run --prefix project_directory build.


If you set manifest: true in vite.config.js instead of passing it a filename, it will generate the manifest file at dist/.vite/manifest.json. Be sure to check that you're looking for the manifest file in the right place.

The hard way: writing a Vite plugin

If the previous solution feels too simple, you can write a plugin that accomplishes the same thing, albeit using a lot more code.

Here's what the vite.config.js file would look like:

// vite.config.jsimport path from "node:path";import fs from "node:fs/promises";import { defineConfig } from "vite";/** * * @param {string} desiredManifestPath * @returns {import('vite').Plugin} */function MoveManifestPlugin(desiredManifestPath) {  let outDir, manifest;  const defaultManifestPath = ".vite/manifest.json";  return {    name: "move-manifest",    configResolved(resolvedConfig) {      outDir =;      const resolvedManifest =;      if (resolvedManifest) {        manifest =          typeof resolvedManifest === "string"            ? resolvedManifest            : defaultManifestPath;      } else {        manifest = false;      }    },    async writeBundle(_options, _bundle) {      if (manifest === false) return;      await fs.rename(        path.resolve(__dirname, outDir, manifest),        desiredManifestPath      );    },  };}export default defineConfig({  build: {    outDir: "dist",    manifest: "manifest.json",  },  plugins: [MoveManifestPlugin("./manifest.json")],});

Let's break down what this code is doing:

  1. It defines a MoveManifestPlugin function that returns a Vite plugin object. It accepts the desiredManifestPath as an argument.
  2. When Vite boots up, it grabs the outDir and manifest from the resolved config and stores them as variables for later. The resolved config includes Vite's defaults and plugins added to the config. If the manifest from the resolved config is set to true, it stores the default manifest path.
  3. After all assets have been generated, it moves the manifest file by renaming it, overwriting the file at the desired path if it already exists. The writeBundle output hook is only called after all files have been generated during a build, so this method will not be called when using the development server.
  4. It adds our plugin to the Vite config's plugin array, passing in the desired manifest path as an argument. This registers our plugin with Vite so it is used during the build.

Like the previous method, this will still work correctly if you run the build command from another directory using npm run --prefix project_directory build.

Creating a plugin is much more complicated than modifying the build command in package.json, so why would you opt to do this? The main advantage is that the plugin will continue to work if the output directory or manifest filenames change. Using a plugin also keeps all of the build information in vite.config.js.

Whichever method you use, it will successfully work around Rollup's limitations and move the manifest file outside of the output directory.

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