node package manager


Helper commands for development of npm packages.

Alinex Development Utils

Build Status Dependency Status

This package contains some helper commands for development of the alinex node packages. This is a superset of npm and other command line tools.

It may help a lot while developing to automatize the consequently done tasks.

  • easy to use build tool
  • supporting complete process
  • specialized for the alinex modules
  • extensible

It is one of the modules of the Alinex Universe following the code standards defined there.


While developing an automated build tool always help saving time and make things magic and smooth.

My first intention was to use the standardized tools so I looked at Bower and Cake. To have more possibilities above the tasks I decided to create a Cakefile. This was a good way but over time it got bloated.

Because the general tasks are easy but have to be modularized I decided to separate them into build tasks which stay in the package and overall management tasks which were moved out into this helper tool.


It may be installed globally as an universal helper or integrated into a package as development dependency.

Install the package globally using npm:

> npm install alinex-make --production
> alinex-make --help

After global installation you may directly call alinex-make from anywhere.

Or you may integrate it into your own package

> npm install alinex-make --save-devs
> ./node_modules/.bin/alinex-make --help

By integrating it you won't need all the development tools within your package.



The tool will be called with

> alinex-make [general options] -c <command> [command options] [dirs]

but if not installed globally you may run

> node_modules/.bin/alinex-make [general options] -c <command> ...

With the option --help a screen explaining all commands and options will be displayed. The major commands will be described here.

Multiple directory names can be given. They specify on which project to work on. It should point to the base package directory of a module. If not specified the command will run from the current directory.

General options

-vor --verbose will display a lot of information of what is going on. This information will sometimes look discarded because of the parallel processing of some tasks.

-C or --no-colors can be used to disable the colored output.

Command create

Create a new package from scratch. This will create:

  • the directory
  • make some initial files
  • init git repository
  • setup github repository
  • add and commit everything

The create task needs the --password setting to access github through the api. And you may specify the --package setting for the npm name of the package. The also mandatory path will be used as the github repository name, too.

Some example calls will look like:

> alinex-make -c create ./node-error --package alinex-error
> alinex-make -c create ./private-module --private

This process is interactive and will ask you some more details. After that you may directly start to add your code.

Command push

This will push the changes to the origin repository. With the --message option it will also add and commit all other changes before doing so.

> alinex-make -c push                  # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c push ./node-error     # or from anywhere else

or to also commit the last changes

> alinex-make -c push ./node-error --message "commit message"

Command pull

Like push this will fetch the newest changes from git origin.

> alinex-make -c pull                  # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c pull ./node-error     # or from anywhere else

Pull from origin
 * branch            master     -> FETCH_HEAD

Command compile

This task is used to compile the sources into for runtime optimized library.

> alinex-make -c compile               # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c compile ./node-error  # or from anywhere else

Remove old lib directory
Compile coffee script

Or give an directory and use uglify to compress the just now experimental extension. It works for live server but will break source maps for node-error and makes your coverage report unreadable.

> alinex-make -c compile ../node-error --uglify

Mostly this task will be added as prepublish script to the package.json like:

"scripts": {
  "prepublish": "node_modules/.bin/alinex-make compile -u"

Also this will make man files from mardown documents in src/man if they are referenced in the package.json.

Command install

This task is a handy addition to include the npm install and npm update commands:

> alinex-make -c install               # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c install ./node-error  # or from anywhere else

Or give an directory and use update to also update all packages to the newest possible one.

> alinex-make -c install ../node-error --update

Command test

As a first test a coffeelint check will be run. Only if this won't have any errors the automatic tests will be run.

If the istanbul module is installed a code coverage report will be build.

> alinex-make -c test                  # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c test ./node-error     # or from anywhere else

Linting coffee code
Run mocha tests

  Simple mocha test
    ✓ should add two numbers

  1 passing (9ms)

Or to contineously watch it:

> alinex-make -c test ./node-error --watch

You may also create an html coverage report:

> alinex-make -c test --coverage

And at last you can add the --browser flag to open the coverage report automatically in the browser. Also --coveralls may be added to send the results to coveralls.

This task can also be added to the package.json to be called using npm test:

"scripts": {
  "test": "node_modules/.bin/alinex-make test"

Command: doc

Generate the documentation this will create the documentation in the doc folder. It includes the API documentation with code. Each module will get his own documentation space with an auto generated index page.

This tool will extract the documentation from the markup and code files in any language and generate HTML pages with the documentation beside the code.

> alinex-make -c doc                   # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c doc ./node-error      # or from anywhere else

Create html documentation

It is also possible to update the documentation stored on any website. To configure this for GitHub pages, you have to do nothing, for all others you need to specify an doc-publish script in package.json. This may be an rsync copy job like rsync -av --delete doc root@myserver:/var/www. Start the document creation with publication using:

> alinex-make -c doc ./node-error --publish

With the --watch option it is possible to keep the documentation updated.

> bin/make doc ../node-error --watch

But this process will never end, you have to stop it manually to end it.

And at last you may also add the --browser flag to open the documentation in the browser after created.

The style of the documentation can be specified if a specific css is present in the alinex make package. It have to be under the path src/data and be called by the <basename>.css while basename is the package name before the first hyphen.

Command changes

This will list all changes (checkins) which are done since the last publication. Use this to check if you should make a new publication or if it can wait.

> alinex-make -c changes

Changes since last publication:
- Small bugfix in creating docs for non alinex packages.
- Fixed internal links in documentation.
- Changed created script calls to support newer make.
- Updated to use newest make version in created files.
- Fixed create task which was completely buggy since last rewrite.

Command publish

With the push command you can publish your newest changes to github and npm as a new version. The version can be set by signaling if it should be a --major, --minor or bugfix version if no switch given.

To publish the next bugfix version only call:

> alinex-make -c publish               # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c publish ./node-error  # or from anywhere else

For the next minor version (second number) call:

> alinex-make -c publish ../node-error --minor

And for a new major version:

> alinex-make -c publish ../node-error --major

Command: clean

Remove all automatically generated files. This will bring you to the initial state of the system. To create a usable system you have to build it again.

To clean everything which you won't need for a production environment use --dist or --auto to remove all automatically generated files in the development environment.

To cleanup all safe files:

> alinex-make -c clean                 # from within the package directory
> alinex-make -c clean ./node-error    # or from anywhere else

Or on the development system remove all created files:

> alinex-make -c clean ../node-error --auto

And at last for production remove development files:

> alinex-make -c clean ../node-error --dist


Document Template

You may specify a different document layout by creating a file named like the main part of your package (name till the first hyphen). Use the file /var/src/docstyle/default.css as a default and store your own in /var/local/docstyle/<basename>.css.

Also the javascript may be changed for each package basename in <basename>.js like done for the css.


Copyright 2013-2014 Alexander Schilling

Licensed under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (the "License"); you may not use this file except in compliance with the License. You may obtain a copy of the License at

Unless required by applicable law or agreed to in writing, software distributed under the License is distributed on an "AS IS" BASIS, WITHOUT WARRANTIES OR CONDITIONS OF ANY KIND, either express or implied. See the License for the specific language governing permissions and limitations under the License.