0.8.0 • Public • Published


Kick start a project by generating code according to template. Defined a template project and reuse it again and again to kick start new projects. All kinds of projects are supported no matter what programming languages they use.

It's a much simpler alternative to Yeoman.


yarn global add kickstart-cli


ks -k kickstart-project -o output-directory

A new project will be created at output-directory, using kickstart-project as template.

-o output-directory is optional. By default it is ., a.k.a. the current directory.


  • Support projects in all programming languages.
  • Support any project to be used as template, even they are not created for scaffolding purpose.
  • Support templating, thanks to nunjucks.


Lots of projects look similar. For example, when I start a new JavaScript projects, I always created the following files:, package.json, .gitignore, .editorconfig, .babelrc...etc.

I wanted a command line utility to create those files for me. I checked the popular Yeoman project but failed to comprehend its authoring workflow. I decided to create a new tool which is both flexible and straightforward.

Q & A

  • Is kickstart for JavaScript projects only?
    • Nope, it is for all kinds of projects no matter what programming languages they use.
  • Does kickstart support template projects with nested directory structure?
    • Yes. Template project can have deeply nested directory strucutre.
  • What's the main differences between Yeoman and kickstart?
    • A template project for Yeoman (they call it a generator project) must be a Node.js module. Kickstart doesn't have this requirement.
      • Yeoman could generate projects for all kinds of languages but the template/generator project must be Node based. So developers who don't write JavaScript might have difficulty authoring a template/generator project.
    • Kickstart is much simpler than Yeoman. On the other hand, it doesn't have as many features as Yeoman. Kickstart is pretty new and it is still under development.
  • Why is kickstart better than cp -r source-project target-directory ?
    • kickstart won't copy .git/
    • kickstart won't copy files/directories specified in .gitignore
    • kickstart supports configuration and templating.

How it works

First of all, ask yourself: do I or my users create similar projects again and again? If the answer is no, you probably don't need kickstart and you can stop reading on.

If the answer is yes, create a template project for those similar projects to abstract the things that they have in common. For strings that each project might have a different value, define them as {{ variable }}.

For example, I can define a template for JavaScript projects with the following directory structure:

    - package.json
    - .gitignore
    - kickstart.yml

Please note that, a template project usually has a kickstart.yml file in its root directory. If no kickstart.yml file is found, an empty one will be used instead. Thus allows any project to be used as a template project.

A sample package.json file:

  "name": "{{ name }}",
  "version": "{{ version }}",
  "license": "{{ license }}",

A sample kickstart.yml file:

name: my-app
version: 0.1.0
license: MIT

Run the following command to generate a new project:

mkdir my-awesome-project && cd my-awesome-project
ks -k /path/to/kickstart-javascript/

The generated project:

    - package.json
    - .gitignore

Generated package.json file has the following content:

  "name": "my-app",
  "version": "0.1.0",
  "license": "MIT",

You can also edit the kickstart.yml file as below before executing the ks command:

name: cool-project
version: 0.2.0
license: MIT

In such case the generated package.json file is:

  "name": "cool-project",
  "version": "0.2.0",
  "license": "MIT",

Advanced templating

Nunjucks is the underlying templating engine.

You can use some of its adanvaced features. Sample:


  ketchup: 5 tbsp
  mustard: 1 tbsp
  pickle: 0 tbsp


{% for ingredient, amount in food %}
  Use {{ amount }} of {{ ingredient }}
{% endfor %}

Templating in directory/file name

You can use templating in directory/file name.

For example:

src/{{ serviceName }}/handler.js


You can write comments as {# comments #} which will be omitted when generating code.


  • Each template project must be a runnable project itself
  • Toml + regex as config file
    • Just use string match, no regex
    • Then how to support if, for...etc?
      • Can we give up these adavanced templating features?
        • Then no more nunjucks

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npm i kickstart-cli

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  • tylerlong