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Reduce compilation time for Jade files by understanding inheritance.

The problem

When a Jade template is modified, there is no way of knowing how that change has affected the rest of a project. Other files that have extended or included the modified file also need to be compiled.

As a result, common practice is to compile all template files to ensure that everything is up to date. This does not bode well for rapid development since files are unnecessarily being compiled and this can take a long time on a large project or if the use of inheritance and mixins is pervasive.

The solution

Use jade-inheritance to determine which files in a project extend and include modified files, and only compile those that are affected.

An example

var JadeInheritance = require('jade-inheritance');
var inheritance = new JadeInheritance('foo.jade');

Inheritance tree



  "foo.jade": {
    "extendedBy": {
      "bar.jade": {
        "includedBy": {
          "baz.jade": {}
    "extendedBy": {
      "qux.jade": {}

Dependant files




Integration with grunt-contrib-jade

// Gruntfile.js 
  watch: {
    jade: {
      files: [
      tasks: [
      nospawn: true
  jade: {
    compile: {
      options: {
        basedir: 'app',
        pretty: true
      files: [{
        expand: true,
        src: 'app/**/*.jade',
        dest: 'assets/',
        ext: '.html'
var JadeInheritance = require('jade-inheritance');
var changedFiles = [];
var onChange = grunt.util._.debounce(function() {
  var options = grunt.config('jade.compile.options');
  var dependantFiles = [];
  changedFiles.forEach(function(filename) {
    var directory = options.basedir;
    var inheritance = new JadeInheritance(filename, directory, options);
    dependantFiles = dependantFiles.concat(inheritance.files);
  var config = grunt.config('jade.compile.files')[0];
  config.src = dependantFiles;
  grunt.config('jade.compile.files', [config]);
  changedFiles = [];
}, 200)
grunt.event.on('watch', function(action, filepath) {


$ npm install -g jade-inheritance

Command line usage

$ jade-inheritance --help



$ npm run-script build

Possible concerns

Currently, jade-inheritance depends on its own version of Jade to parse templates. Since jade-inheritance does not offer compilation, this must be done using other tools which may use a different version of Jade.