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    Build Tools

    This package makes it easy to develop web applications that use the latest ES6 syntax. It can also work for smaller projects like libraries and NPM packages. It does this by exposing a small set of easy-to-use CLI commands to quickly compile files, test, deploy, and even create releases for your entire project.


    • Compiles all JS files using Browserify
    • Transpiles all files with latest ES6 code via Babel
    • Supports SASS files (.scss)
    • Includes a built-in node server that allows for optional middleware
    • Full Git and NPM integration; Packages projects by creating git version tags, pushing to master branch, and versioning your project as a NPM package
    • Built-in Mocha and QUnit test runners
    • Deploys to a server (SFTP)


    1. Dependencies
    2. CLI Commands



    This package requires Node >=7.0.

    You can install Node.js via the package provided on their site. Installing node will also install the Node Package Manager (NPM) to download and install node modules.

    The bt-config.js file

    You can provide the commands configuration options for you specific needs. Although you can pass many configuration options directly through the command-line, it may not be as intuitive and the command (with a lot of arguments) can get rather long, making them harder to maintain over time. As an alternative, you can create and use a bt-config.js configuration file for your project's configurations when running commands. This allows you to be explicit about your projects needs and give you more overall flexibility.

    To use a configuration file, just create a new file and name it bt-config.js and put it at the root level of your github project. Then module.export any configurations required by the commands below, then you can just run associated commands with no arguments and it will use the values from the bt-config.js file.

    CLI Commands

    Installing Build Tools as a global module will give you command-line access to all tasks available.

    You can install globally by typing the following in your terminal:

    npm install build-tools  -g

    bt server

    To start a local server on port 8200 that serves the "blah" directory in your project using your own custom middleware myServer.js file, just run the following command (all arguments are optional):

    bt server --port=8200 --staticDir=./blah middleware=./myServer.js

    Providing no arguments will serve the root directory of your project on localhost via port 7000, and use express's standard middleware by default.

    You can also start a server based on configuration that you specify in your bt-config.js file.

    module.exports = {
        production: {
            server: {
               hostname: 'localhost',
               staticDir: './blah',
               middleware: './myServer.js',
               port: 8200

    Then you can just run bt server production.

    bt build

    The build command builds all of your files into a distribution folder for deployment. It will do things like compile all of your application's javascript files into single files using browserify (ES6 files are supported), sassify all of your scss files, minify files, and even add banners to your files if desired.

    First you need to specify the files you want the build command to use in your bt-config.js file. For instance, if you wanted to build both a main.js file and a scss file into a folder called dist, then minify the js file, your bt-config.js file would look a little like this:

    module.exports = {
        production: {
            build: {
                files: {
                    'dist/app.js': ['src/main.js'],
                    'dist/styles.css': ['src/styles/main.scss']
                minifyFiles: {
                    'dist/app.js': ['dist/app.js']
                requires: {
                    "my-code": "./app/my-script" // makes 'my-code' as a global package name in your bundle 
                bannerFiles: ['dist/*'],
                "browserifyOptions": {},
                watch: false

    Build Options

    Option Type Description
    files Object An object containing a mapping of output files (keys) to their source files (values)
    minifyFiles Object An object containing a mapping of output files (keys) to the files that should be minified (values)
    requires Array Object
    bannerFiles Array Files that a banner will be added to (after build has completed)
    browserifyOptions Object Browserify options.
    watch Boolean Whether to watch the built files for changes and rebuilt afterwards. Defaults to false.

    Then you can run the build command in your terminal:

    bt build

    Running builds for local development

    By default, the build command assumes a "production" build, will run production tests (if specified in your bt-config.js file) and does not watch your files as you edit them. If you want your files to be "watched" and built on the fly as you edit them, pass the local option when running the terminal command like this:

    bt build local

    And of course you can pass the same build arguments as mentioned above:

    bt build local --port=6500 --staticDir=./build

    Arguments allowed are:

    Argument Type Description
    port Number The port number to start the server on (if local is passed)
    staticDir String The path (relative to he project root) containing the files that should be served when the server starts
    watch Boolean Whether to watch the files and rebuild if necessary. Defaults to true.

    NODE_ENV variable

    Because the bt build command compiles before being available in the browser, this command will inject your current environment variable into the process.env.NODE_ENV variable in your javascript. So you can do things like the following, even in your client-side files!

    if (process.env.NODE_ENV === 'production') {
        // do things for production environment 
    } else {
        // do things for non-production environment 

    Remember that this variable will be either the env variable you pass into your bt build call or the REAL NODE_ENV variable in your environment.

    bt test

    The test command will run all tests in any given environment. The following test files are supported:

    Make sure you have the tests configuration setup in your bt-config.js file like below:

    module.exports = {
        production: {
            "tests": {
                "qunit": {
                  "files": ["tests/**/*"],
                "mocha": {
                  "files": ["path/to/mocha/tests/*"],
                "browserifyOptions": {}


    Option Type Description
    qunit Object Options to use for qunit test compiling
    qunit.files Array An array of file paths (or glob patterns) to be compiled and tested using QUnit
    mocha Object Options to use for mocha tests
    mocha.files Array An array of file paths (or glob patterns) to be compiled and tested using Mocha
    browserifyOptions Object Browserify options.

    Once that's done, just run the following in your terminal:

    bt test

    The command will run all test files you have specified in your production configuration, headlessly.

    If you want to run tests for another environment (and you have that environment set up in your configuration file), you can do:

    bt test --env=development

    You also have the option of running tests in the browser by doing:

    bt test qunit server

    Which will run your tests in the browser located at http://localhost:7755.

    bt release

    The release command offers a quick way to create, package, and publish a version of your project to both Github and NPM.

    NOTE: Before using the release command, you must be logged into NPM if you'd like your package to automatically be published.

    bt release [SEMVER]

    Replacing [SEMVER] with (major, minor or patch) (patch is the default if nothing is supplied).

    The bt release command does the following:

    1. Runs all production tests (if specified). Any failed test(s), will cancel out the release operation.
    2. Builds the project by running a production build (if specified). A build failure will cancel out the release operation.
    3. Updates package.json (and any associated lock files) to the new version
    4. Creates a local git commit for the release (you will be prompted for the release notes that will be added)
    5. Creates a new git tag of your new version
    6. Pushes the new git tag to your git repository
    7. Merges the contents of the branch into your production branch (if you're not already on it)
    8. Pushes your production branch remotely to Github
    9. Pushes your local branch contents to remote
    10. Release is published to Github, if your github credentials are setup in your bt-config file.
    11. Publishes package version to npm.
    12. Notifications are automatically sent out to all who are watchers of the git repo notifying them of the new version (you must set this option in your Github settings).

    bt release arguments can be passed with command:

    bt release --draft=true
    Argument Type Description
    draft Boolean true to upload release to Github as "unpublished", false otherwise (defaults to false)
    prerelease Boolean true to mark release as "pre" (defaults to false)

    It is recommended to only run this command when you're on a production-ready branch, since that is where all relevant commits have already been committed, and is less likely to have convoluted commits that you might not want in your new version.

    Github Integration

    In order to have your release published on github, you must generate a github token and add it under the github property of your bt-config file:

    module.exports = {
        "github": {
           "token": "s65495jkgljkgskjfdigf", // the generated github token 
           "user": "githubUserName", // the github username that contains the access token 
           "repo": "my-repo", // the github repo name (optional, assumes local repository) 

    You can also pass github arguments to the cli command:

    bt release --user=githubUserName --repo=my-repo --token=s65495jkgljkgskjfdigf

    bt deploy

    The bt deploy command allows you to upload files to a server of your choosing.

    You can pass options as arguments to your cli command:

    bt deploy --hostname=555.555.555.55 --port=22 --path=dist --username=user --password=secret

    or you can specify the options in your bt-config.js file

    module.exports = {
        deploy: {
           hostname: '555.555.555.55',
           username: 'user',
           password: 'secret',
           path: 'dist',
           protocol: 'sftp',
           port: 22,
           exclude: [

    Then you can just run bt deploy.

    If you need to have a deploy configuration for multiple environments, you can just nest your configuration under the id of the environment. The example below assigns the deploy configuration to the production environment.

    module.exports = {
        deploy: {
            production: {
               hostname: '555.555.555.55',
               username: 'user',
               password: 'secret',
               path: 'dist',
               protocol: 'sftp',
               port: 22,

    Then just run bt deploy production.


    When running any of the commands that package your project (i.e. bt build, bt release, etc), this lib takes care of determining what file types are a part of your build and spawns off different compilation tasks outlined below.

    SASS files

    When detecting a file with a .scss extension, it is compiled into the new css file that you specify in your bt-config file. It will also do some small but helpful tasks like add any necessary vendor prefixes to your css and minify it for performance. It does also make a file which you can use when debugging or viewing the source.


    Run tests

    npm install
    npm test


    npm i build-tools

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