0.8.1 • Public • Published


Make like task runner

npm install make -g
  • Windows support \o/
  • Parses Makefile and execute targets
  • Borrows heavily from npm in how recipes are executed
  • Recipes are executed with bash -c instead of executing each rule, line by line like Make does.
  • Supports prerequisite (eg. task depending on other tasks)
  • Path manipulation to prepend ./node_modules/.bin making npm installed commands available in Makefiles.
  • No need to prefix rules with $@ for silent output
  • Slightly easier variables substitution (eg. $VARIABLE instead of $(VARIABLE)
  • Variable declarations
  • No tab requirements

Note: This repository is in the process of being renamed into make instead of the former "bake" name.

What is make.js ?

make.js is a little experiment to implement a simple task runner similar to Make in JavaScript, while bringing in the convenience of npm scripts with $PATH and environment variables.

It takes a similar approach to Make with a very close syntax.

Recipes (or rules, the commands defined for a target / task), are executed with sh -c for unix, cmd.exe /d /s /c for windows platform.

For now, basic variable and target declarations are supported, along with basic prerequisite support (eg. task depending on other tasks).

The parser make.js use is small and have its flaws, but for most Makefiles, make.js is able to parse them correctly. It makes it possible and really easy to use Make on Windows (tested on Windows 10).

The Gist

Given the following Makefile

    echo foo2
foo: prefoo
    echo foo
    echo prefoo
foobar: prefoobar
    echo foobar
    echo blahblah
all: foo foo2 foobar

Run make.js

$ make
make info Invoking foo target
make info Invoking prefoo target
make info Invoking foo2 target
make info Invoking foobar target
make info Invoking prefoobar target
make info ✔ Build sucess in 41ms


$ make <target> [options]

  -h, --help         Show this help
  -v, --version      Show package version
  -d, --debug        Enable extended output

  all                Run target all
  build              Run target build
  foo                Run target foo
  prefoo             Run target prefoo
  foobar             Run target foobar
  prefoobar          Run target prefoobar

$ make init <template> [options]

  default           Scaffold an ES6 setup     (babel, eslint, ...)
  cli               Scaffold an ES6 CLI setup (minimist, ...)


  • Environment variables make_* similar to npm_* available in npm scirpts
  • Variable substitution for prerequities and targets (right now, replacement is done only for rules / recipes)
  • Implement pattern rules
  • Implement automatic variables
  • Implement mtime check (a target needs to be rebuilt if it does not exist of if it's older than any of the prerequities)

make init

Basic scaffolding command

Its purpose is to init a project Makefile with sensible defaults for various development needs.

The default list of templates should be configurable. Adding new ones or overriding existing ones should be a simple process.

Looking in

  • ~/.config/make/templates
  • ~/.make/templates

Where the templates directories have the following structure:

  ├── es6
  │   ├── .babelrc
  │   ├── .eslintrc
  │   ├── Makefile
  │   ├── package.json
  │   └── .travis.yml
  └── frontend
      ├── Makefile
      ├── package.json
      └── webpack.config.js

The subdirectory name is the template name (invoked with make init ).

If no name is defined, it defaults to "default"

  • Makefile - Is the template Makefile to use
  • package.json - JSON file to merge with project's package.json (usually to include devDependencies)
  • *.json - Every JSON files generated is merged with existing files (.eslintrc and .babelrc are handled as JSON files)
  • Every other top level files is copied to destination, existing files are skipped

The package.json file can have a "make" field (removed when merged with package.json), with the following properties:

  • "scripts" - Similar to npm scripts, a list of hooks for make to invoke
  • "scripts.start" - Executed when the generation process starts
  • "scripts.install" - Executed when the template has been generated
  • "description" - Optional description for this template (used on --help)

These hooks can be used to further customize the template generation (like running npm install in "scripts.install")

See the default template package.json file:

  "description": "Scaffold a basic ES6 setup",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "echo Starting generation of default template",
    "prestart": "echo prestart",
    "poststart": "echo poststart",
    "install": "npm install --loglevel http --cache-min Infinity",
    "preinstall": "echo Installing dependencies ...",
    "postinstall": "npm ls --depth 1"

Note --cache-min Infinity is used to bypass the HTTP network checks to the registry for already installed packages.


Here is a quick description of Makefiles syntax, with make differences highlighted.

Bash scripting

  echo """
    Some help message here:
    Run with make help
all: help

This, with Make, would throw an error

$ make help
echo """
/bin/sh: 1: Syntax error: Unterminated quoted string
Makefile:8: recipe for target 'help' failed
make: *** [help] Error 2

While, make.js is ok with it

$ make help
make info Invoking help target

Some help message here
Run with make help

make info ✔ Build sucess in 43ms

Make like variables

somevar = anything after "=" is considered the value till the end of the line
OUT_FLAGS = output.js
  cat a.min.js b.min.js > $OUT_FLAGS
  echo JS file built

The syntax and behavior is a bit different. Instead of using $(var) syntax, $var is used instead (that might changed to allow bash variables within recipes, which uses this syntax).

Task dependencies

Use prerequities to specify tasks that depends on other tasks.


  echo done

build: prebuild

deploy: build


$ make deploy
make info Invoking deploy target
make info Invoking build target
make info Invoking prebuild target
make info ✔ Build sucess in 50ms

npm like environment

Recipes run in an environment very similar to the environment npm scripts are run in, namely the PATH environment variable.


If you depend on modules that define executable scripts, like test suites, then those executables will be added to the PATH for executing the scripts.

So, if your package.json has this:

  "name" : "foo" ,
  "dependencies" : { "bar" : "0.1.x" }

then you could run make to execute a target that uses the bar script, which is exported into the node_modules/.bin directory on npm install.


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  • danielchatfield