Node.js, Ant, Grunt and other build tools

I started using node.js to write build scripts since last year and even wrote a post about it before. The main reason why I decided to write my build scripts in plain JS is because I want them to be flexible and easy to edit. (Use the language you and your team are familiar with).

On this post I will try to cover some issues and the main reason why I’m not using a tool like grunt, buildr.npm, smoosh and gear on my projects. I’ll focus on Grunt since it is the most popular node.js build tool out there but the issues are present on other build tools as well (written in JS or not).

A couple days ago I sent a few tweets about it:

TL;DR; Build scripts should be real scripts and not configuration files.

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Node.js as a build script

There are a lot of build tools that covers specific use cases and/or try to cover as many scenarios as possible, amongst the most famous ones are make, rake, Ant and maven. I’m going to talk about why I’ve been favoring plain Node.js scripts as my “build tool” and how to do some simple things. This work flow may not be the best one for you and your team, understand the reasoning behind it and pick the tools based on your needs and preferences.

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