Programmatically create Ninja build-system files

Ninja-build Generator

Programmatically create Ninja build-system files from JavaScript. This can be used into any kind of project, though (Ruby, Python, or even C++, why not...). In any case that's always preferable to use npm to handle the package installation.


Most of the time, you'll add it to the devDependencies of your package.json:

$ npm install ninja-build-gen --save-dev

You may typically want to install the ninja-build as well. Indeed, this package does not include the Ninja build system.

Generally, you should not need this package for package distribution (instead of being in dependencies), since it's mostly useful to handle the minimal compilation of assets, like CoffeeScript files. Published packages should contain the compiled JS files (or CSS, etc.), not the sources (nor the tests).


This is typically useful to create a configure script. In this script, let's first create a new build file for Ninja version 1.3, with the build directory build:

ninjaBuildGen = require('ninja-build-gen');
ninja = ninjaBuildGen('1.3', 'build');

Let's add two rules, for example, one to compile CoffeeScript files, the other to compile Stylus files:

ninja.rule('coffee').run('coffee -cs < $in > $out')
     .description("Compile Coffeescript '$in' to '$out'.");
ninja.rule('stylus').run('stylus $in -o $$(dirname $out)')
     .description("Compile Stylus '$in' to '$out'");

Then we can add edges to compile the actual files, for example:

ninja.edge('assets').from(['foo.js', 'bar.js', 'glo.cs']);

Let's save the file to the standard Ninja filename:'');

That's it! Now you can run the configure script, then ninja, to build the project:

$ node configure.js
$ ninja
[1/3] Compile Coffeescript '' to 'foo.js'.
[2/3] Compile Coffeescript '' to 'bar.js'.
[3/3] Compile Coffeescript 'glo.styl' to 'glo.css'.
$ ninja
ninja: nothing to do.

Thanks to Ninja, you get minimal recompilation: only changed file are recompiled upon invocation.


This package is only here to make easier the creation of Ninja build files, but it does not provide any high-level features, and won't ever provide them (that's out of scope). That is, no wildcards, no globbing and file lookup; just streamlined Ninja build file generation.


Feel free to fork and submit pull requests.