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Rainbow is a collection of gulp tasks for front-end development.

It leverages on bower, jade, less, coffee-script and semantic-ui for build our production assets.

Of course you MUST have installed Git and NodeJS (through NVM) before.

Installation of dependencies


  1. Install Xcode from the AppStore

  2. Install brew

    ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. Install git

    brew install git
  4. Install NVM Via homebrew:

    brew install nvm

    or via curl:

    curl -o- | bash
  5. Install node through nvm (rainbow works with node v0.10.x and v0.12.x)

    nvm install v0.12
    nvm alias default v0.12
  6. Install gulp

    npm install -g gulp


Make sure you're installing git and nvm only.

Then proceed with the 4-5 steps.


Since it's a gulp plugin you must have a gulpfile.js with this:

  // see options below 


Rainbow exposes the server subtask for external reuse.

gulp.task('server', rainbow.server('public_dir'));


gulp (object|required) — the gulp instance to hook-up

// or pass your `gulp` instance 
gulp: require('gulp')

prefix (string|optional) — if present, it will be used to prefix all the sub-tasks, then returns the gulp-sequence callback for external registration.

gulp.task('my-custom-task', rainbow({ prefix: 'custom' }));

Otherwise the rainbow task will be registered.

params (object|optional) — used to expand values within the files object.

  params: {
    foo: 'bar',
  files: {
    dest: 'build/${foo}/public' // will produce build/bar/public 

Also the current ${base} is accessible through and cannot be overridden.

filter (string|array|optional) — used to filter-out all subtasks sources.

filter: ["!**/private/**"]

bundle (boolean|object|optional) — determines if less and coffee-script should bundle its assets using indexes, i.e. scripts/foo/ would produce generated/js/foo.js and styles/bar/index.less as generated/css/bar.css, etc.

// default values (if enabled) 
bundle: {
  compact: true

If compact is false foo/ would generate foo/index.out directly.

This feature is disabled by default.

locals (object|optional) — used in jade templates, i.e. formating, mocks, etc.

// good! 
locals: {
  chance: require('chance').Chance()
// view.jade

server (boolean|optional) — if false, the server task will be disabled

proxy (string|optional) — used instead of server to setup a proxy

// custom proxy 
proxy: 'localhost:8080'

build (boolean|optional) — if true, will disable the server and watch tasks

// using argvs 
build: process.argv.indexOf('--build') > -1

files (object|optional) — used for setup all the source directories

// rainbow defaults 
  vendor: 'vendor',
  filter: [],
  bower: '',
  env: 'env.yml',
  dest: 'generated',
  icons: { src: 'icons' },
  views: { src: 'views', dest: '', ext: '.html' },
  fonts: { src: 'fonts', dest: 'fonts' },
  styles: { src: 'styles', dest: 'css' },
  images: { src: 'images', dest: 'img' },
  sprites: { src: 'sprites', dest: 'img' },
  scripts: { src: 'scripts', dest: 'js' }

The file-extension for views can be overridden through the ext property.

Values for src must be relative to the current base directory

Also, some tasks can use before and after hooks:

// common gulp plugins 
var rename = require('gulp-rename');
// after-hook for generated views 
views: {
  after: function(stream) {
    return stream.pipe(rename(function(file) {
      file.extname = '.jsp';

icons (object|optional) — options passed to the icons task. Available options:

  • fontName: (string, defaults to icons) the name used to load the icon's font-family in CSS.

  • startUnicode: (hex, defaults to 0xF000) the starting charcode for all generated glyphs.

  • normalize: (boolean, defaults to true) whether the glyphs' sizes should be normalized to have the same height (don't disable this unless you know what you're doing).

  • className: (string, defaults to icon) the LESS/CSS classname that will be used along each icon's classname.

    e.g. if you set it to foo-icon, then a burger icon would be (in jade)

  • templates: (object, see defaults below) the configuration for all generated templates. Each template's config can have the following properties:

    Warning, setting this option in rainbow will override all of the default templates

    • template: (required) the path to a swig template, receiving the following variables:
      • fontPath, fontName, className directly from the options below.
      • comments: A small disclaimer to let developers know that the output file should not be edited.
      • icons: An array of icon glyphs, each one being an object with a name and code (the glyph's hex code).
    • outputName: (required) the name of the rendered template
    • defaultOutputDir: (optional) the path to place the rendered template, unless overriden by the template's config.
    • defaultFontPath: (optional) the path to the font files, relative to the outputName (or to the server's root), unless overriden by the template's config.

    The default templates configuration is as follows:

    templates: iconOptions.templates || {
        less: {
          template: 'lib/stubs/icons/template.less', //in rainbow's dir 
          outputName: 'icons.less'
        htmlCatalog: {
          template: 'lib/stubs/icons/templateCatalog.html', //in rainbow's dir 
          outputName: 'iconCatalog.html',
          fontPath: 'generated/fonts' //(or dest + fonts.dest) 

data (object|optional) — default data-samples for the views, it will be merged with if present.

skip (array|optional) — list of tasks to skip regardless of their directories exists or not.

base (boolean|optional) — if false will disable the base feature

You can use --no-base on the CLI for achieving the same

cwd (string|optional) — current working directory

// any sub-directory within `src/` 
cwd: 'web/bases'


Available tasks: clean, install, vendor, fonts, images, icons, sprites, styles, scripts, views and server

Some tasks are automatically setup if their src directory exists, i.e. scripts task will be registered only if the src/default/scripts directory is present.

All tasks are prefixed by default, i.e. gulp rainbow:clean

Type gulp rainbow to execute all the predefined tasks in sequence.

Folder structure

Rainbow requires a pre-defined directory structure to work, i.e:

$ tree src
# src/
#  default/         <- required for custom bases
#   ├── env.yml
#   ├── fonts
#   ├── icons
#   ├── images
#   ├── scripts
#   ├── sprites
#   ├── styles
#   └── views

Note that entry point will be always src/ but you can use the cwd option the point out another sub-directory within

Additionally you can use the --base option to setup another sub-directory, i.e:

$ gulp rainbow --base custom
# will use the sub-directory `src/custom` instead
# if you set the `cwd` as `foo/bar` it will use `src/foo/bar/custom`

This means you can work on several projects using the same installation.

File sources

env.yml — settings used to configure our semantic-ui dependencies among other things (see the integrations below)

sprites/ — all **/*.png files will be copied to the generated/img/ directory

icons/ — all **/*.svg files icons will be converted to a single font, available as icon.{svg,ttf,woff} in the fonts output directory, along with a handy iconCatalog.html. Also, a LESS stylesheet will be created in styles/_generated/icons.less.

images/ — all **/*.{jpg,jpeg,png,svg} files will be copied to the generated/img/ directory

scripts/ — any **/index.{coffee,litcoffee} file will be bundled with webpack to the generated/js/ directory using its dirname for the bundle name, i.e. foo/ will be generated/js/foo.js.

styles/ — all **/*.less files will be compiled to the generated/css/ directory

views/ — all **/*.jade files will be compiled to the generated/ directory

fonts/ — all **/*.{ttf,otf,eot,woff,woff2,svg} files will be compiled to the generated/fonts/ directory

Any file or directory starting with an underscore will be skipped, i.e. _mixins.jade, styles/_mixins/hidden.less, etc.



You can use any dependency from bower directly in your sources.

For *.less files we've made the bower_components/ directory available for @import, i.e:

@import './semantic-ui/src/semantic.less';

In your *.jade files you can inline any dependency using <link> or <script> tags respectively.

link(rel='stylesheet', href='vendor/semantic-ui/dist/semantic.css')

All bower dependencies are available under the vendor/ after you ran the vendor task

If you're using sub-directories please consider using a <base> tag for avoiding ../ paths


We haven't found yet a reliable solution for crafting our custom themes, elements and such without cloning the entire repository.

Also we wanted to use only the elements that are really needed, nothing else.

For solving this issues we hack the semantic-ui sources on every gulp session just overriding the semantic.less and theme.config files using the following settings:


Just comment out the elements or sections you really need include.

Further customizations can be achieved by using *.{variables,overrides} files inside a directory called _site within your current working directory:

# src/base/_site/collections/menu.variables
@secondaryMargin: 0;

All of these definitions are extracted from themes, _site is a theme.

Using this approach you can redefine almost everything found in semantic-ui.

Add-ons for Semantic-UI

In order to reuse custom components we've defined a simple convention for that:

Each module within bower_components/ directory prefixed as rainbow-ui- will be merged with the semantic-ui sources.

These modules must have the following directory structure:

$ tree src
# src/
#   ├── _site
#   ├── definitions
#   ├── themes

Of course it must have a bower.json manifest, which should expose their sources in the main property:

  "name": "rainbow-ui-osom_component",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "main": [

This structure is the same as semantic-ui source, so you can override almost everything inside

The last thing is doing bower install rainbow-ui-osom_component --save and that's it.

Restart your gulp (rainbow) tasks and enjoy!

CLI utility

For sake of simplicity you can install rainbow globally:

$ npm install -g gulp-rainbow

Now you can share the same rainbow installation across multiple projects.

Try creating a new empty project for that:

$ mkdir rainbow-test
$ cd rainbow-test
$ rainbow init

If you're using a previous rainbow installation with the CLI please remove the node_modules directory before.

Make sure you're specifying the --cwd foo/bar as defined in the gulpfile.js (if present)


   "gulp": "^3.8.11",
   "gulp-rainbow": "^0.0.*"

Now type npm install --no-optional to get only your dependencies.

On CI environments you must use npm install as usual.


We're working on gulp-rainbow almost every day.

Please send an issue or feel free to PR.