Netlify's build clean-up

Photo by EJ Strat on Unsplash

Netlify's build clean-up

Builds on Netlify not working as expected? Check if your build depends on dotfiles

On a fine day in boiling Northern India (thanks El Niño), I was building a vocs project at work and deploying it to Netlify as a static build (what could go wrong, no?)

As soon as it deployed, things looked fine at first look, but it was not working as expected, on inspecting it a little, I found that some assets were not loading properly and the search wasn't working too, but interestingly the same thing works perfectly if I build it manually and deploy the dist folder using "Netlify Drop" (underrated feature btw!).

I was in the middle of the workday not wanting to spend more than 10 mins on this build. So, I did what I did best, brute force, I started comparing build files of automated builds and manual upload builds.
Within a matter of seconds, I realized uh oh, the first folder, doesn't exist when I build with CI automation. What was it? 🥁 .vocs directory. And guess what? the directory was responsible for keeping the search index and a few assets. (BINGO!)

I went down this rabbit hole of "Who allowed Netlify to remove files from my build?".
Ah! It turns out they accepted that they remove all the dotfiles/folders from the publish directory, except .well-known And, it's not very well-known why we need it.

Since there were no direct ways to get what I wanted, I did some hacks as suggested on forums and on intuition about what I could do in the least time.

  • ⚒️ Build Command changed from yarn build to yarn build && mv docs/dist/.vocs docs/dist/dotvocs && mv _redirects docs/dist/_redirects (basically renamed the dot folder)

  • ⏩ And also added _redirects file to forward all my requests coming to .vocs folder to dotvocs (my new directory)

      /.vocs/*  /dotvocs/:splat 200!

And BAM!! we have it all working smoothly.

Hope this helps someone! 🖖🏻