@dgk It alway wise to be careful when starting on an new adventure 🙂
The Quasar.start, as far as I understand it, is a way to make sure that some of the mobile platforms are properly initialized (when needed), no magic just a way to give Quasar a change to init som stuff early. If you just make sure this is in you startup function, there is really not much to it.
Quasar is just components, BUT the layout filosofi here is to use the same layout on different platforms, and therefor quasar is able to help you most if it controls things like startup and layout (q-layout).
Regarding webpack … it is true that the cli version makes a rather large Webpack2 setup, but this is NOT at all necessary, I have a single file version using webpack 1.x (and i also use typescript) and this works just fine. What you need as a minimum, is stylus, babel and a few defines (PROD, DEV and __THEME).
The quasar build utility is just a wrapper, nothing magic just trying to be nice 🙂
So I understand you concern I have just been over all this myself 🙂