This reference doc outlines the key changes between liferay-npm-bundler version 1.x and 2.x.
Automatically Formatting Modules for AMD
In version series 1.x of the bundler it was the developer’s responsibility to
wrap project modules in an AMD
define() call. However, since 2.x the bundler
does it for you, so the only requisite is that the project’s code is
transpiled/written for CommonJS modules model (the standard model for module
handling in Node.js, that uses
require() calls to load modules).
Isolating Project Dependencies
Package names are prefixed with the bundle name since version 2.0.0 of the bundler, but were left intact in previous versions. This strategy is used to isolate packages from different bundles. You can still deploy bundler 1.x packages (without prefix), and they will still work as they did for previous versions of the bundler.
Improved Peer Dependency Support
In bundler 1.x, there was only one shared peer dependency package available
between portlets. With isolated dependencies per portlet, it’s easy to honor
peer dependencies perfectly. Peer dependencies can be resolved exactly as stated
in projects because their names are prefixed with the project’s name. This is
possible because of the new liferay-npm-bundler-plugin-inject-peer-dependencies
plugin. It scans all JS modules for
require calls. If the bundler finds a
required package in the
main.js file, but it is not declared in the
package.json, it resolves it to the proper version that is found in the
node_modules folder. The plugin then injects a new dependency in the output
package.json for the required package.
Note that injected dependency version constraints are the specific version number required, without caret or any other semantic version operator. This is to honor the exact peer dependency found in the project. Injecting more relaxed semantic version expressions could lead to unstable results.
Manually De-duplicating Through Importing
Namespacing means that each portlet gets its own dependencies. Only using the bundler this way obtains the same functionality as standard bundlers like webpack or Browserify, so you wouldn’t need a specific tool like liferay-npm-bundler. Since Liferay DXP is a portlet based architecture, sharing dependencies among different portlets would be very beneficial.
In bundler 1.x that deduplication was made automatically, but there was no control over it. However, with version 2.x, you may now import packages from an external OSGi bundle, instead of using your own. This lets you put shared dependencies in one project, and reference them from the rest. Though This new way of de-duplication is not automatic, it leads to full control (during build time) of how each package is resolved.