How to Set Up Storybook to Play Nice With Lit-html-based Element

I’d like to share a few tips which might help you set up @storybook/polymer with a JS-only elements. The core issue was importing a base mixin class from Polymer 3, which causes the default babel configuration to transpile into an unusable bundle.

Background

In my code I have a base class which uses Polymer’s PropertiesChanged mixin to offload handling attributes and properties:

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import { PropertiesChanged } from '@polymer/polymer/lib/mixins/properties-changed';

export default class LitAnyBase extends PropertiesChanged(HTMLElement) {

  /* rest of my code */

}

There is not build step and the code works great when bundled using webpack in an actual web application.

The issue with storybook

Unfortunately this does not work of out the box with Storybook for Web Components (maybe it will be renamed after all). By design the storybook generates a shell index.html which loads web components polyfill and custom-elements-es5-adapter.js. The latter requires that all ES6 be transpiled into ES5. Otherwise any of the code would not work in older browsers which do not support classes.

The thing is though that it’s an all or nothing approach. Without the adapter all code must be ES6, as per custom elements v1 spec. With the adapter on other hand it is not possible to mix the two approaches. So what happens when Storybook generates its bundle? My code gets transpiled as expected:

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var LitAnyBase = function (_PropertiesChanged) {
  _inherits(LitAnyBase, _PropertiesChanged);

  function LitAnyBase() {
    _classCallCheck(this, LitAnyBase);

      var _this = _possibleConstructorReturn(this, (LitAnyBase.__proto__ || Object.getPrototypeOf(LitAnyBase)).call(this));

      return _this;
  }

  /* the ugly ES5 continues here */
}

_PropertiesChanged however would still be as ES6 class (because it comes from node_modules?) even though they both end up in the very same bundle. The effect is a sight many web component developers probably witnessed:

TypeError: Class constructor PropertiesChanged cannot be invoked without ‘new’

Solution

It had taken me a few hours of futile experiments with various webpack and babel configs until my colleague Kamil helped me out. Turns out all it took was a minimal babel setup.

Initial setup

First things first, here are the steps I used to set up Storybook in my repository, similar to the Slow start guide

  1. yarn add -D @storybook/polymer
  2. Create the NPM script
  3. Create my config and a first story

When started, nothing will show and the error mentioned above will be reported in the console.

Steps to fix

Turns out the fix is not so difficult but also not obvious for a weekend JS dev :joy:. One, it’s necessary to install babel presets:

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yarn add -D babel-preset-react babel-preset-env babel-preset-es2015 babel-preset-stage-0

Next create .babelrc as follows. It is interesting that es2015 in not required to be called out explicitly but it has to be installed as a dependency nonetheless.

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{
  "presets": ["react", "env", "stage-0"]
}

Then also yarn add -D babel-plugin-transform-decorators-legacy.

Finally the simplest webpack config must be added next to storybooks config file.

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module.exports = {
  module: {
    rules: [
      {
        test: /\.js$/,
        use: 'babel-loader'
      }
    ]
  }
};

It will cause all of node_modules to be loaded by babel which can take significantly more to build, but hey, at least now my storybook works! :sparkles:

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