Assets

An asset in Yii is a file that may be referenced in a Web page. It can be a CSS file, a JavaScript file, an image or video file, etc. Assets are located in Web-accessible directories and are directly served by Web servers.

It is often preferable to manage assets programmatically. For example, when you use the yii\jui\DatePicker widget in a page, it will automatically include the required CSS and JavaScript files, instead of asking you to manually find these files and include them. And when you upgrade the widget to a new version, it will automatically use the new version of the asset files. In this tutorial, we will describe the powerful asset management capability provided in Yii.

Asset Bundles

Yii manages assets in the unit of asset bundle. An asset bundle is simply a collection of assets located in a directory. When you register an asset bundle in a view, it will include the CSS and JavaScript files in the bundle in the rendered Web page.

Defining Asset Bundles

Asset bundles are specified as PHP classes extending from yii\web\AssetBundle. The name of a bundle is simply its corresponding fully qualified PHP class name (without the leading backslash). An asset bundle class should be autoloadable. It usually specifies where the assets are located, what CSS and JavaScript files the bundle contains, and how the bundle depends on other bundles.

The following code defines the main asset bundle used by the basic project template:

<?php

namespace app\assets;

use yii\web\AssetBundle;

class AppAsset extends AssetBundle
{
    public $basePath = '@webroot';
    public $baseUrl = '@web';
    public $css = [
        'css/site.css',
    ];
    public $js = [
    ];
    public $depends = [
        'yii\web\YiiAsset',
        'yii\bootstrap\BootstrapAsset',
    ];
}

The above AppAsset class specifies that the asset files are located under the @webroot directory which corresponds to the URL @web; the bundle contains a single CSS file css/site.css and no JavaScript file; the bundle depends on two other bundles: yii\web\YiiAsset and yii\bootstrap\BootstrapAsset. More detailed explanation about the properties of yii\web\AssetBundle can be found in the following:

  • sourcePath: specifies the root directory that contains the asset files in this bundle. This property should be set if the root directory is not Web accessible. Otherwise, you should set the basePath property and baseUrl, instead. Path aliases can be used here.
  • basePath: specifies a Web-accessible directory that contains the asset files in this bundle. When you specify the sourcePath property, the asset manager will publish the assets in this bundle to a Web-accessible directory and overwrite this property accordingly. You should set this property if your asset files are already in a Web-accessible directory and do not need asset publishing. Path aliases can be used here.
  • baseUrl: specifies the URL corresponding to the directory basePath. Like basePath, if you specify the sourcePath property, the asset manager will publish the assets and overwrite this property accordingly. Path aliases can be used here.
  • js: an array listing the JavaScript files contained in this bundle. Note that only forward slash "/" should be used as directory separators. Each JavaScript file can be specified in one of the following two formats:
    • a relative path representing a local JavaScript file (e.g. js/main.js). The actual path of the file can be determined by prepending yii\web\AssetManager::$basePath to the relative path, and the actual URL of the file can be determined by prepending yii\web\AssetManager::$baseUrl to the relative path.
    • an absolute URL representing an external JavaScript file. For example, http://ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js or //ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js.
  • css: an array listing the CSS files contained in this bundle. The format of this array is the same as that of js.
  • depends: an array listing the names of the asset bundles that this bundle depends on (to be explained shortly).
  • jsOptions: specifies the options that will be passed to the yii\web\View::registerJsFile() method when it is called to register every JavaScript file in this bundle.
  • cssOptions: specifies the options that will be passed to the yii\web\View::registerCssFile() method when it is called to register every CSS file in this bundle.
  • publishOptions: specifies the options that will be passed to the yii\web\AssetManager::publish() method when it is called to publish source asset files to a Web directory. This is only used if you specify the sourcePath property.

Asset Locations

Assets, based on their location, can be classified as:

  • source assets: the asset files are located together with PHP source code which cannot be directly accessed via Web. In order to use source assets in a page, they should be copied to a Web directory and turned into the so-called published assets. This process is called asset publishing which will be described in detail shortly.
  • published assets: the asset files are located in a Web directory and can thus be directly accessed via Web.
  • external assets: the asset files are located on a Web server that is different from the one hosting your Web application.

When defining an asset bundle class, if you specify the sourcePath property, it means any assets listed using relative paths will be considered as source assets. If you do not specify this property, it means those assets are published assets (you should therefore specify basePath and baseUrl to let Yii know where they are located).

It is recommended that you place assets belonging to an application in a Web directory to avoid the unnecessary asset publishing process. This is why AppAsset in the prior example specifies basePath instead of sourcePath.

For extensions, because their assets are located together with their source code in directories that are not Web accessible, you have to specify the sourcePath property when defining asset bundle classes for them.

Note: Do not use @webroot/assets as the source path. This directory is used by default by the asset manager to save the asset files published from their source location. Any content in this directory is considered temporarily and may be subject to removal.

Asset Dependencies

When you include multiple CSS or JavaScript files in a Web page, they have to follow a certain order to avoid overriding issues. For example, if you are using a jQuery UI widget in a Web page, you have to make sure the jQuery JavaScript file is included before the jQuery UI JavaScript file. We call such ordering the dependencies among assets.

Asset dependencies are mainly specified through the yii\web\AssetBundle::$depends property. In the AppAsset example, the asset bundle depends on two other asset bundles: yii\web\YiiAsset and yii\bootstrap\BootstrapAsset, which means the CSS and JavaScript files in AppAsset will be included after those files in the two dependent bundles.

Asset dependencies are transitive. This means if bundle A depends on B which depends on C, A will depend on C, too.

Asset Options

You can specify the cssOptions and jsOptions properties to customize the way that CSS and JavaScript files are included in a page. The values of these properties will be passed to the yii\web\View::registerCssFile() and yii\web\View::registerJsFile() methods, respectively, when they are called by the view to include CSS and JavaScript files.

Note: The options you set in a bundle class apply to every CSS/JavaScript file in the bundle. If you want to use different options for different files, you should create separate asset bundles, and use one set of options in each bundle.

For example, to conditionally include a CSS file for browsers that are IE9 or below, you can use the following option:

public $cssOptions = ['condition' => 'lte IE9'];

This will cause a CSS file in the bundle to be included using the following HTML tags:

<!--[if lte IE9]>
<link rel="stylesheet" href="path/to/foo.css">
<![endif]-->

To wrap the generated CSS link tags within <noscript>, you can configure cssOptions as follows,

public $cssOptions = ['noscript' => true];

To include a JavaScript file in the head section of a page (by default, JavaScript files are included at the end of the body section), use the following option:

public $jsOptions = ['position' => \yii\web\View::POS_HEAD];

By default, when an asset bundle is being published, all contents in the directory specified by yii\web\AssetBundle::$sourcePath will be published. You can customize this behavior by configuring the publishOptions property. For example, to publish only one or a few subdirectories of yii\web\AssetBundle::$sourcePath, you can do the following in the asset bundle class:

<?php
namespace app\assets;

use yii\web\AssetBundle;

class FontAwesomeAsset extends AssetBundle 
{
    public $sourcePath = '@bower/font-awesome'; 
    public $css = [ 
        'css/font-awesome.min.css', 
    ];
    public $publishOptions = [
        'only' => [
            'fonts/',
            'css/',
        ]
    ];
}  

The above example defines an asset bundle for the "fontawesome" package. By specifying the only publishing option, only the fonts and css subdirectories will be published.

Bower and NPM Assets

Most JavaScript/CSS packages are managed by Bower and/or NPM. If your application or extension is using such a package, it is recommended that you follow these steps to manage the assets in the library:

  1. Modify the composer.json file of your application or extension and list the package in the require entry. You should use bower-asset/PackageName (for Bower packages) or npm-asset/PackageName (for NPM packages) to refer to the library.
  2. Create an asset bundle class and list the JavaScript/CSS files that you plan to use in your application or extension. You should specify the sourcePath property as @bower/PackageName or @npm/PackageName. This is because Composer will install the Bower or NPM package in the directory corresponding to this alias.

Note: Some packages may put all their distributed files in a subdirectory. If this is the case, you should specify the subdirectory as the value of sourcePath. For example, yii\web\JqueryAsset uses @bower/jquery/dist instead of @bower/jquery.

Using Asset Bundles

To use an asset bundle, register it with a view by calling the yii\web\AssetBundle::register() method. For example, in a view template you can register an asset bundle like the following:

use app\assets\AppAsset;
AppAsset::register($this);  // $this represents the view object

Info: The yii\web\AssetBundle::register() method returns an asset bundle object containing the information about the published assets, such as basePath or baseUrl.

If you are registering an asset bundle in other places, you should provide the needed view object. For example, to register an asset bundle in a widget class, you can get the view object by $this->view.

When an asset bundle is registered with a view, behind the scenes Yii will register all its dependent asset bundles. And if an asset bundle is located in a directory inaccessible through the Web, it will be published to a Web directory. Later, when the view renders a page, it will generate <link> and <script> tags for the CSS and JavaScript files listed in the registered bundles. The order of these tags is determined by the dependencies among the registered bundles and the order of the assets listed in the yii\web\AssetBundle::$css and yii\web\AssetBundle::$js properties.

Dynamic Asset Bundles

Being a regular PHP class asset bundle can bear some extra logic related to it and may adjust its internal parameters dynamically. For example: you may use som sophisticated JavaScript library, which provides some internationalization packed in separated source files: each per each supported language. Thus you will need to add particular '.js' file to your page in order to make library translation work. This can be achieved overriding yii\web\AssetBundle::init() method:

namespace app\assets;

use yii\web\AssetBundle;
use Yii;

class SophisticatedAssetBundle extends AssetBundle
{
    public $sourcePath = '/path/to/sophisticated/src';
    public $js = [
        'sophisticated.js' // file, which is always used
    ];

    public function init()
    {
        parent::init();
        $this->js[] = 'i18n/' . Yii::$app->language . '.js'; // dynamic file added
    }
}

Particular asset bundle can also be adjusted via its instance returned by yii\web\AssetBundle::register(). For example:

use app\assets\SophisticatedAssetBundle;
use Yii;

$bundle = SophisticatedAssetBundle::register(Yii::$app->view);
$bundle->js[] = 'i18n/' . Yii::$app->language . '.js'; // dynamic file added

Note: although dynamic adjustment of the asset bundles is supported, it is a bad practice, which may lead to unexpected side effects, and should be avoided if possible.

Customizing Asset Bundles

Yii manages asset bundles through an application component named assetManager which is implemented by yii\web\AssetManager. By configuring the yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles property, it is possible to customize the behavior of an asset bundle. For example, the default yii\web\JqueryAsset asset bundle uses the jquery.js file from the installed jquery Bower package. To improve the availability and performance, you may want to use a version hosted by Google. This can be achieved by configuring assetManager in the application configuration like the following:

return [
    // ...
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'bundles' => [
                'yii\web\JqueryAsset' => [
                    'sourcePath' => null,   // do not publish the bundle
                    'js' => [
                        '//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js',
                    ]
                ],
            ],
        ],
    ],
];

You can configure multiple asset bundles similarly through yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles. The array keys should be the class names (without the leading backslash) of the asset bundles, and the array values should be the corresponding configuration arrays.

Tip: You can conditionally choose which assets to use in an asset bundle. The following example shows how to use jquery.js in the development environment and jquery.min.js otherwise:

'yii\web\JqueryAsset' => [
    'js' => [
        YII_ENV_DEV ? 'jquery.js' : 'jquery.min.js'
    ]
],

You can disable one or multiple asset bundles by associating false with the names of the asset bundles that you want to disable. When you register a disabled asset bundle with a view, none of its dependent bundles will be registered, and the view also will not include any of the assets in the bundle in the page it renders. For example, to disable yii\web\JqueryAsset, you can use the following configuration:

return [
    // ...
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'bundles' => [
                'yii\web\JqueryAsset' => false,
            ],
        ],
    ],
];

You can also disable all asset bundles by setting yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles as false.

Keep in mind that customization made via yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles is applied at the creation of the asset bundle, e.g. at object constructor stage. Thus any adjustments made to the bundle object after that will override the mapping setup at yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles level. In particular: adjustments made inside yii\web\AssetBundle::init() method or over the registered bundle object will take precedence over AssetManager configuration. Here are the examples, where mapping set via yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles makes no effect:

// Program source code:

namespace app\assets;

use yii\web\AssetBundle;
use Yii;

class LanguageAssetBundle extends AssetBundle
{
    // ...

    public function init()
    {
        parent::init();
        $this->baseUrl = '@web/i18n/' . Yii::$app->language; // can NOT be handled by `AssetManager`!
    }
}
// ...

$bundle = \app\assets\LargeFileAssetBundle::register(Yii::$app->view);
$bundle->baseUrl = YII_DEBUG ? '@web/large-files': '@web/large-files/minified'; // can NOT be handled by `AssetManager`!


// Application config :

return [
    // ...
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'bundles' => [
                'app\assets\LanguageAssetBundle' => [
                    'baseUrl' => 'http://some.cdn.com/files/i18n/en' // makes NO effect!
                ],
                'app\assets\LargeFileAssetBundle' => [
                    'baseUrl' => 'http://some.cdn.com/files/large-files' // makes NO effect!
                ],
            ],
        ],
    ],
];

Asset Mapping

Sometimes you may want to "fix" incorrect/incompatible asset file paths used in multiple asset bundles. For example, bundle A uses jquery.min.js version 1.11.1, and bundle B uses jquery.js version 2.1.1. While you can fix the problem by customizing each bundle, an easier way is to use the asset map feature to map incorrect assets to the desired ones. To do so, configure the yii\web\AssetManager::$assetMap property like the following:

return [
    // ...
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'assetMap' => [
                'jquery.js' => '//ajax.googleapis.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.1.1/jquery.min.js',
            ],
        ],
    ],
];

The keys of assetMap are the asset names that you want to fix, and the values are the desired asset paths. When you register an asset bundle with a view, each relative asset file in its css and js arrays will be examined against this map. If any of the keys are found to be the last part of an asset file (which is prefixed with yii\web\AssetBundle::$sourcePath if available), the corresponding value will replace the asset and be registered with the view. For example, the asset file my/path/to/jquery.js matches the key jquery.js.

Note: Only assets specified using relative paths are subject to asset mapping. The target asset paths should be either absolute URLs or paths relative to yii\web\AssetManager::$basePath.

Asset Publishing

As aforementioned, if an asset bundle is located in a directory that is not Web accessible, its assets will be copied to a Web directory when the bundle is being registered with a view. This process is called asset publishing, and is done automatically by the asset manager.

By default, assets are published to the directory @webroot/assets which corresponds to the URL @web/assets. You may customize this location by configuring the basePath and baseUrl properties.

Instead of publishing assets by file copying, you may consider using symbolic links, if your OS and Web server allow. This feature can be enabled by setting linkAssets to be true.

return [
    // ...
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'linkAssets' => true,
        ],
    ],
];

With the above configuration, the asset manager will create a symbolic link to the source path of an asset bundle when it is being published. This is faster than file copying and can also ensure that the published assets are always up-to-date.

Cache Busting

For Web application running in production mode, it is a common practice to enable HTTP caching for assets and other static resources. A drawback of this practice is that whenever you modify an asset and deploy it to production, a user client may still use the old version due to the HTTP caching. To overcome this drawback, you may use the cache busting feature, which was introduced in version 2.0.3, by configuring yii\web\AssetManager like the following:

return [
    // ...
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'appendTimestamp' => true,
        ],
    ],
];

By doing so, the URL of every published asset will be appended with its last modification timestamp. For example, the URL to yii.js may look like /assets/5515a87c/yii.js?v=1423448645", where the parameter v represents the last modification timestamp of the yii.js file. Now if you modify an asset, its URL will be changed, too, which causes the client to fetch the latest version of the asset.

Commonly Used Asset Bundles

The core Yii code has defined many asset bundles. Among them, the following bundles are commonly used and may be referenced in your application or extension code.

  • yii\web\YiiAsset: It mainly includes the yii.js file which implements a mechanism of organizing JavaScript code in modules. It also provides special support for data-method and data-confirm attributes and other useful features. More information about yii.js can be found in the Client Scripts Section.
  • yii\web\JqueryAsset: It includes the jquery.js file from the jQuery Bower package.
  • yii\bootstrap\BootstrapAsset: It includes the CSS file from the Twitter Bootstrap framework.
  • yii\bootstrap\BootstrapPluginAsset: It includes the JavaScript file from the Twitter Bootstrap framework for supporting Bootstrap JavaScript plugins.
  • yii\jui\JuiAsset: It includes the CSS and JavaScript files from the jQuery UI library.

If your code depends on jQuery, jQuery UI or Bootstrap, you should use these predefined asset bundles rather than creating your own versions. If the default setting of these bundles do not satisfy your needs, you may customize them as described in the Customizing Asset Bundle subsection.

Asset Conversion

Instead of directly writing CSS and/or JavaScript code, developers often write them in some extended syntax and use special tools to convert it into CSS/JavaScript. For example, for CSS code you may use LESS or SCSS; and for JavaScript you may use TypeScript.

You can list the asset files in extended syntax in the css and js properties of an asset bundle. For example,

class AppAsset extends AssetBundle
{
    public $basePath = '@webroot';
    public $baseUrl = '@web';
    public $css = [
        'css/site.less',
    ];
    public $js = [
        'js/site.ts',
    ];
    public $depends = [
        'yii\web\YiiAsset',
        'yii\bootstrap\BootstrapAsset',
    ];
}

When you register such an asset bundle with a view, the asset manager will automatically run the pre-processor tools to convert assets in recognized extended syntax into CSS/JavaScript. When the view finally renders a page, it will include the CSS/JavaScript files in the page, instead of the original assets in extended syntax.

Yii uses the file name extensions to identify which extended syntax an asset is in. By default it recognizes the following syntax and file name extensions:

Yii relies on the installed pre-processor tools to convert assets. For example, to use LESS you should install the lessc pre-processor command.

You can customize the pre-processor commands and the supported extended syntax by configuring yii\web\AssetManager::$converter like the following:

return [
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'converter' => [
                'class' => 'yii\web\AssetConverter',
                'commands' => [
                    'less' => ['css', 'lessc {from} {to} --no-color'],
                    'ts' => ['js', 'tsc --out {to} {from}'],
                ],
            ],
        ],
    ],
];

In the above, we specify the supported extended syntax via the yii\web\AssetConverter::$commands property. The array keys are the file extension names (without leading dot), and the array values are the resulting asset file extension names and the commands for performing the asset conversion. The tokens {from} and {to} in the commands will be replaced with the source asset file paths and the target asset file paths.

Info: There are other ways of working with assets in extended syntax, besides the one described above. For example, you can use build tools such as grunt to monitor and automatically convert assets in extended syntax. In this case, you should list the resulting CSS/JavaScript files in asset bundles rather than the original files.

Combining and Compressing Assets

A Web page can include many CSS and/or JavaScript files. To reduce the number of HTTP requests and the overall download size of these files, a common practice is to combine and compress multiple CSS/JavaScript files into one or very few files, and then include these compressed files instead of the original ones in the Web pages.

Info: Combining and compressing assets are usually needed when an application is in production mode. In development mode, using the original CSS/JavaScript files is often more convenient for debugging purposes.

In the following, we introduce an approach to combine and compress asset files without the need to modify your existing application code.

  1. Find all the asset bundles in your application that you plan to combine and compress.
  2. Divide these bundles into one or a few groups. Note that each bundle can only belong to a single group.
  3. Combine/compress the CSS files in each group into a single file. Do this similarly for the JavaScript files.
  4. Define a new asset bundle for each group:
    • Set the css and js properties to be the combined CSS and JavaScript files, respectively.
    • Customize the asset bundles in each group by setting their css and js properties to be empty, and setting their depends property to be the new asset bundle created for the group.

Using this approach, when you register an asset bundle in a view, it causes the automatic registration of the new asset bundle for the group that the original bundle belongs to. And as a result, the combined/compressed asset files are included in the page, instead of the original ones.

An Example

Let's use an example to further explain the above approach.

Assume your application has two pages, X and Y. Page X uses asset bundles A, B and C, while Page Y uses asset bundles B, C and D.

You have two ways to divide these asset bundles. One is to use a single group to include all asset bundles, the other is to put A in Group X, D in Group Y, and (B, C) in Group S. Which one is better? It depends. The first way has the advantage that both pages share the same combined CSS and JavaScript files, which makes HTTP caching more effective. On the other hand, because the single group contains all bundles, the size of the combined CSS and JavaScript files will be bigger and thus increase the initial file transmission time. For simplicity in this example, we will use the first way, i.e., use a single group to contain all bundles.

Info: Dividing asset bundles into groups is not trivial task. It usually requires analysis about the real world traffic data of various assets on different pages. At the beginning, you may start with a single group for simplicity.

Use existing tools (e.g. Closure Compiler, YUI Compressor) to combine and compress CSS and JavaScript files in all the bundles. Note that the files should be combined in the order that satisfies the dependencies among the bundles. For example, if Bundle A depends on B which depends on both C and D, then you should list the asset files starting from C and D, followed by B and finally A.

After combining and compressing, we get one CSS file and one JavaScript file. Assume they are named as all-xyz.css and all-xyz.js, where xyz stands for a timestamp or a hash that is used to make the file name unique to avoid HTTP caching problems.

We are at the last step now. Configure the asset manager as follows in the application configuration:

return [
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'bundles' => [
                'all' => [
                    'class' => 'yii\web\AssetBundle',
                    'basePath' => '@webroot/assets',
                    'baseUrl' => '@web/assets',
                    'css' => ['all-xyz.css'],
                    'js' => ['all-xyz.js'],
                ],
                'A' => ['css' => [], 'js' => [], 'depends' => ['all']],
                'B' => ['css' => [], 'js' => [], 'depends' => ['all']],
                'C' => ['css' => [], 'js' => [], 'depends' => ['all']],
                'D' => ['css' => [], 'js' => [], 'depends' => ['all']],
            ],
        ],
    ],
];

As explained in the Customizing Asset Bundles subsection, the above configuration changes the default behavior of each bundle. In particular, Bundle A, B, C and D no longer have any asset files. They now all depend on the all bundle which contains the combined all-xyz.css and all-xyz.js files. Consequently, for Page X, instead of including the original source files from Bundle A, B and C, only these two combined files will be included; the same thing happens to Page Y.

There is one final trick to make the above approach work more smoothly. Instead of directly modifying the application configuration file, you may put the bundle customization array in a separate file and conditionally include this file in the application configuration. For example,

return [
    'components' => [
        'assetManager' => [
            'bundles' => require(__DIR__ . '/' . (YII_ENV_PROD ? 'assets-prod.php' : 'assets-dev.php')),  
        ],
    ],
];

That is, the asset bundle configuration array is saved in assets-prod.php for production mode, and assets-dev.php for non-production mode.

Note: this asset combining mechanism is based on the ability of yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles to override the properties of the registered asset bundles. However, as it already has been said above, this ability does not cover asset bundle adjustments, which are performed at yii\web\AssetBundle::init() method or after bundle is registered. You should avoid usage of such dynamic bundles during the asset combining.

Using the asset Command

Yii provides a console command named asset to automate the approach that we just described.

To use this command, you should first create a configuration file to describe what asset bundles should be combined and how they should be grouped. You can use the asset/template sub-command to generate a template first and then modify it to fit for your needs.

yii asset/template assets.php

The command generates a file named assets.php in the current directory. The content of this file looks like the following:

<?php
/**
 * Configuration file for the "yii asset" console command.
 * Note that in the console environment, some path aliases like '@webroot' and '@web' may not exist.
 * Please define these missing path aliases.
 */
return [
    // Adjust command/callback for JavaScript files compressing:
    'jsCompressor' => 'java -jar compiler.jar --js {from} --js_output_file {to}',
    // Adjust command/callback for CSS files compressing:
    'cssCompressor' => 'java -jar yuicompressor.jar --type css {from} -o {to}',
    // Whether to delete asset source after compression:
    'deleteSource' => false,
    // The list of asset bundles to compress:
    'bundles' => [
        // 'yii\web\YiiAsset',
        // 'yii\web\JqueryAsset',
    ],
    // Asset bundle for compression output:
    'targets' => [
        'all' => [
            'class' => 'yii\web\AssetBundle',
            'basePath' => '@webroot/assets',
            'baseUrl' => '@web/assets',
            'js' => 'js/all-{hash}.js',
            'css' => 'css/all-{hash}.css',
        ],
    ],
    // Asset manager configuration:
    'assetManager' => [
    ],
];

You should modify this file and specify which bundles you plan to combine in the bundles option. In the targets option you should specify how the bundles should be divided into groups. You can specify one or multiple groups, as aforementioned.

Note: Because the alias @webroot and @web are not available in the console application, you should explicitly define them in the configuration.

JavaScript files are combined, compressed and written to js/all-{hash}.js where {hash} is replaced with the hash of the resulting file.

The jsCompressor and cssCompressor options specify the console commands or PHP callbacks for performing JavaScript and CSS combining/compressing. By default, Yii uses Closure Compiler for combining JavaScript files and YUI Compressor for combining CSS files. You should install those tools manually or adjust these options to use your favorite tools.

With the configuration file, you can run the asset command to combine and compress the asset files and then generate a new asset bundle configuration file assets-prod.php:

yii asset assets.php config/assets-prod.php

The generated configuration file can be included in the application configuration, like described in the last subsection.

Note: in case you customize asset bundles for your application via yii\web\AssetManager::$bundles or yii\web\AssetManager::$assetMap and want this customization to be applied for the compression source files, you should include these options to the assetManager section inside asset command configuration file.

Note: while specifying the compression source, you should avoid the use of asset bundles whose parameters may be adjusted dynamically (e.g. at init() method or after registration), since they may work incorrectly after compression.

Info: Using the asset command is not the only option to automate the asset combining and compressing process. You can use the excellent task runner tool grunt to achieve the same goal.

Grouping Asset Bundles

In the last subsection, we have explained how to combine all asset bundles into a single one in order to minimize the HTTP requests for asset files referenced in an application. This is not always desirable in practice. For example, imagine your application has a "front end" as well as a "back end", each of which uses a different set of JavaScript and CSS files. In this case, combining all asset bundles from both ends into a single one does not make sense, because the asset bundles for the "front end" are not used by the "back end" and it would be a waste of network bandwidth to send the "back end" assets when a "front end" page is requested.

To solve the above problem, you can divide asset bundles into groups and combine asset bundles for each group. The following configuration shows how you can group asset bundles:

return [
    ...
    // Specify output bundles with groups:
    'targets' => [
        'allShared' => [
            'js' => 'js/all-shared-{hash}.js',
            'css' => 'css/all-shared-{hash}.css',
            'depends' => [
                // Include all assets shared between 'backend' and 'frontend'
                'yii\web\YiiAsset',
                'app\assets\SharedAsset',
            ],
        ],
        'allBackEnd' => [
            'js' => 'js/all-{hash}.js',
            'css' => 'css/all-{hash}.css',
            'depends' => [
                // Include only 'backend' assets:
                'app\assets\AdminAsset'
            ],
        ],
        'allFrontEnd' => [
            'js' => 'js/all-{hash}.js',
            'css' => 'css/all-{hash}.css',
            'depends' => [], // Include all remaining assets
        ],
    ],
    ...
];

As you can see, the asset bundles are divided into three groups: allShared, allBackEnd and allFrontEnd. They each depends on an appropriate set of asset bundles. For example, allBackEnd depends on app\assets\AdminAsset. When running asset command with this configuration, it will combine asset bundles according to the above specification.

Info: You may leave the depends configuration empty for one of the target bundle. By doing so, that particular asset bundle will depend on all of the remaining asset bundles that other target bundles do not depend on.