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Gallinago is designed to assist with the running and testing of NodeJS CLIs and binaries in a simple and controlled way. It is best used in combination with fixtures and pre-scaffolded directories such that you can reproduce the various configuration and folder structures your CLI may need to support for its users and then validate the output. Perfect for testing!



Often times while creating CLIs, it can be helpful to test the final output given the various configurations of the CLI. Running a CLI using config files and user files will all likely (and hopefully) result in idempotent output that can be validated over and over. With a testing framework like mocha, you could use Gallinago to verify that output to validate things like:

  • Were the right files created?
  • Was the output what I expected?
  • Were too many files created?
  • Does it work for configuration A?
  • Does it work for configuration B?
  • etc


Use npm or your favorite package manager to install Gallinago as a (dev) dependency.

$ npm install gallinago --dev


To use Gallinago, you will just need two things

  1. An absolute path to your CLI
  2. An absolute path to the directory you want Gallinago to run your CLI in
import path from 'path';
import { Runner } = from 'gallinago';
import { fileURLToPath, URL } from 'url';

const runner = new Runner();

const cliPath = fileURLToPath(new URL('./path/to/your/cli.js', import.meta.url)); // required
const buildDir = fileURLToPath(new URL('./build', import.meta.url)); // required

// this will also create the directory as well

// runs your CLI
// use the second param to pass any args

// teardown buildDir

You can optionally await these methods as well, depending on your needs.

See our tests to see Gallinago in action!



The Runner constructor returns a new instance of Runner.

import { Runner } from 'gallinago';

const runner = new Runner();  // pass true to the constructor to enable stdout


Runner takes two boolean flags (true|false)

  • Standard Out - pass true to have the Runner log to stdout
  • Forward Parent Args - pass true and any node flags passed to the parent process will be made available to the child process

Runner.setup (required)

Runner.setup initializes a directory for your CLI to be run in. Returns a Promise.


Optionally, you can provide "setup" files if you want to copy additional files into the target directory, say from node_modules or a fixtures folder. You can provide these files as an array of objects.

  • source: path of the file to copy
  • destination: path of where to copy the file to
runner.setup(__dirname, [{
  source: path.join(process.cwd(), 'node_modules/@webcomponents/webcomponentsjs/webcomponents-bundle.js'),
  destination: path.join(__dirname, 'build', 'webcomponents-bundle.js')


Runner.runCommand runs the script provided to Gallinago against the directory provided in Runner.setup. Use the second param to pass any args to your CLI. Returns a Promise.



runCommand additionally takes an options object as the third param. With it you can further customize the runner:

  { async: true }
  • async - By default runCommand runs synchronously using Node's spawnSync, which will block until the command completes With async: true, this will now use spawn, which is a better for use cases like starting a web server where you don't want to block the event loop.


Runner.teardown deletes any setupFiles provided in Runner.setup. Returns a Promise.


You can pass additional files or directories to teardown to have gallinago delete those too.

  path.join(__dirname, 'build'),
  path.join(__dirname, 'fixtures'),


In certain circumstances, the command (process) you are running may do a couple things:

This isn't an issue per se, but if the (child) process doesn't stop, it will prevent the current (parent) process from completing. The most common case for something like this to happen is when starting a (web) server. Servers don't usually stop unless told to, usually by killing their process manually using something like PM2, or if in a shell, using CTR+C on the keyboard.

To support this in Gallinago, you can use Runner.stopCommand to kill any and all processes associated with your runCommand.


Note: When used with something like mocha, you'll need to use a setTimeout to work around the hung process and still advance the parent Mocha process. See our spec for this test case for a complete example.



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