Bundle JavaScript and CSS files with full file paths

Published 19 Aug 2010

I have looked at the great PHP-based CSS and JavaScript bundling approach that is presented at rakaz.nl. The suggested approach in that blog post works great, but has a small drawback.

The downloaded combine.php must be adjusted and all combined files must exist in the same folder.

This is not a big problem, I know, but since I already have a structure in which CSS and JavaScript files may exist in a sub folder, I want to be able to provide the bundle URL with full paths to the files I want to bundle.

Since the original solution was so slick, this was quite easy to achieve. I will not upload my solution, since I want you to grab the original code from rakaz.nl so that it receives the visitors it deserves 🙂

Let’s get started:

  • In your project root, create a folder called bundle (or whatever you want)
  • In the bundle folder, create an .htaccess file and add the following code:

    RewriteEngine On RewriteBase / RewriteRule ^css/(..css) /combine.php?type=css&files=$1 RewriteRule ^javascript/(..js) /combine.php?type=javascript&files=$1

  • In the bundle folder, create a combine.php file and add this content to it

Now you’re practically at where the original approach told you to adjust the PHP code a bit. Instead, do this:

In combine.php, replace

$path = realpath($base . '/' . $element);


$path = "../" . $element

The code has to be replaced at two places in the PHP file, but all in all that’s it! The only thing you have to consider now, is to use application root relative paths when calling the bundle URL.

For instance, I have my main js folder in the application root folder content/js. Let’s say that I have the files a.js and b.js. The bundle URL would then be:


To bundle CSS files, the corresponding code would look like:


The newly added code will add a ../ to each link, before attempting to parse the file, which will still work great since the combine.php file is placed one level down from the application root, to which the links have to be relative, remember?

The great thing now is that I can bundle any JavaScript and CSS files (they still have to be bundled separately) regardless of their physical location, as long as they exist anywhere within the application root folder.

Another nice thing is that the .htaccess file is placed inside the bundle folder. This means that you can just copy the bundle folder, if you would like to use it in another project.

Hope this helps!