Upgrade to Babel 7 for Tool Authors (WIP)

Posted Mar 1, 2017 by Sven SAULEAU, Henry Zhu

EDIT: please refer to the new upgrade page

Refer users to this document for those that create tools that depend on Babel (such as Babel plugins).

Also check out the User Upgrade Guide for other relevant changes.

All Babel packages

NodeJS support


Support for Node.js 0.10 and 0.12 has been dropped as both of this versions are out of maintenance.

Export changes


Dropped use of add-module-exports plugin on Babel packages. This had to be used earlier to prevent a breaking change with our exports. If you import a Babel package in a library you may need to use .default when using require rather than import.


The publicly exposed but undocumented Pipeline class has been removed. Best to use the transformation methods exposed from babel-core directly babel/babel#5376.

The babel.util.* helper methods have been removed, and util.EXTENSIONS has been moved to babel.DEFAULT_EXTENSIONS babel/babel#5487.

Calls to babel.transform or any other transform function may return null if the file matched an ignore pattern or failed to match an only pattern babel/babel#5487.

The opts.basename option exposed on state.file.opts has been removed. If you need it, best to build it from opts.filename yourself babel/babel#5467.


Removed the * plugin option #301 low

This was first added in v6.14.1 (Nov 17, 2016) so it’s unlikely anyone was using this.

This catch-all option was removed; instead you should specifically decide which plugins you want to activate.

We thought it would be a good idea for tools so they wouldn’t have to constantly update their config but it also means we can’t easily make a breaking change.


babylon.parse(code, {
  plugins: [ "*" ]

You can get the old behavior using:

babylon.parse(code, {
  plugins: [

See Babylon’s plugin options.

Removed classConstructorCall plugin #291 low


getFunctionParent will no longer return Program, please use getProgramParent instead #5923. low

It doesn’t make sense that a function named getFunctionParent also returns the Program, so that was removed.

To get the equivalent behavior, you’ll need to make a change like

- path.scope.getFunctionParent()
+ path.scope.getFunctionParent() || path.scope.getProgramParent()

Path replacement/removal APIs now return an array of new paths low

For instance, using Path#insertBefore, or Path#replaceWith will now always return an array of the newly inserted/replaced paths.

const node = t.nullLiteral();
const [replaced] = path.replaceWith(node);
replace.node === node; // => true

This is especially useful when inserting serveral nodes into some higher-up scope, since you can immediately call the Path APIs on the node’s new Path.

const parent = path.findParent(() => /* some selection criteria */);
const helperPaths = path.unshiftContainer("body", helpers);
// helperPaths can now be referenced, manipulated, etc.

AST changes

JSX* and TS* node builders (from @babel/types package) renamed

The case has been changed: jsx and ts are now in lowercase.

- t.jSXIdentifier()
+ t.jsxIdentifier()

.expression field removed from ArrowFunctionExpression

The expression field was removed to eliminate two different sources of truth and needing plugins to manually keep them in sync. You can now simply check whether the function body is a BlockStatement or not:

  return {
    visitor: {
      ArrowFunctionExpression({ node }) {
-       if (node.expression) {
+       if (node.body.type !== "BlockStatement") {
          // () => foo;

Tokens removed

In previous versions tokens were always attached to the AST on the top-level. In the latests version of babylon we removed this behavior and made it disabled by default to improve the performance of the parser. All usages in babel itself have been remove and babel-generator is not using the tokens anymore for pretty printing.

If your babel-plugin uses tokens at the moment, evaluate if it is still necessary and try to remove the usage if possible. If your plugin really depends on getting tokens you can reactivate it but please only consider this if there is no other way as this will hurt users performance.

To activate you need to set the tokens option of babylon to true. You can do this directly from your plugin.

export default function() {
  return {
    manipulateOptions(opts, parserOpts) {
      parserOpts.tokens = true;


The following nodes have been renamed:

Name 6.xName 7.xExamplePR
ExistentialTypeParamExistsTypeAnnotationtype A = B<*>;#322
NumericLiteralTypeAnnotationNumberLiteralTypeAnnotationtype T = 0;#332

Besides the AST-Nodes also all the functions in babel-type have been renamed.

 import * as t from "babel-types";

 return {
-  ExistentialTypeParam(path) {
-    const parent = path.findParent((path) => path.isExistentialTypeParam());
-    t.isExistentialTypeParam(parent);
+  ExistsTypeAnnotation(path) {
+    const parent = path.findParent((path) => path.isExistsTypeAnnotation());
+    t.isExistsTypeAnnotation(parent);

-    return t.existentialTypeParam();
+    return t.existsTypeAnnotation();
-  NumericLiteralTypeAnnotation(path) {
-    const parent = path.findParent((path) => path.isNumericLiteralTypeAnnotation());
-    t.isNumericLiteralTypeAnnotation(parent);
+  NumberLiteralTypeAnnotation(path) {
+    const parent = path.findParent((path) => path.isNumberLiteralTypeAnnotation());
+    t.isNumberLiteralTypeAnnotation(parent);

-    return t.numericLiteralTypeAnnotation();
+    return t.numberLiteralTypeAnnotation();


On the following AST-Nodes the value of the field variance has been changed from a simple string value to be its own AST-Node called Variance. #333

The field is only available when enabling the flow plugin in babylon.

  • ObjectProperty
  • ObjectMethod
  • AssignmentProperty
  • ClassMethod
  • ClassProperty
  • Property

The type of the new Variance node looks like this:

type VarianceNode = {
  type: "Variance",
  kind: "plus"|"minus",
 return {
   Property({ node }) {
-    if (node.variance === "plus") {
+    if (node.variance.kind === "plus") {
-    } else if (node.variance === "minus") {
+    } else if (node.variance.kind === "minus") {

Location changes

The location info of ObjectTypeIndexer has been changed to not include semicolons. This was done to align with the flow-parser and have the same location information. #228


var a: { [a: number]: string; };
   "type": "ObjectTypeIndexer",
   "start": 9,
-  "end": 29,
+  "end": 28,
   "loc": {
     "start": {
       "line": 1,
       "column": 9,
     "end": {
       "line": 1,
-      "column": 29
+      "column": 28



The AST-Node ForAwaitStatement has been removed and is replace with the field await in the ForOfStatement node #349

 interface ForOfStatement <: ForInStatement {
   type: "ForOfStatement";
+  await: boolean;
 return {
-  ForAwaitStatement(path) {
-    ...
+  ForOfStatement(path) {
+    if (path.node.await) {
+      ...
+    }

RestProperty & SpreadProperty

The two AST-Nodes RestProperty and SpreadProperty have been removed in favor of reusing RestElement and SpreadElement #384

 return {
   SpreadElement(path) {
-    ...
-  },
-  SpreadProperty(path) {
-    ...
+    if (path.parentPath.isObjectExpression()) {
+      ...
+    } else if (path.parentPath.isArrayExpression()) {
+      ...
+    }
   RestElement(path) {
-    ...
-  },
-  RestProperty(path) {
-    ...
+    if (path.parentPath.isObjectPattern()) {
+      ...
+    } else if (path.parentPath.isArrayPattern()) {
+      ...
+    }

See our upgrade PR for Babel and the Babylon AST spec for more information.