5.1.0 • Public • Published


Node Task List

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Interactive cli tool that lists and run package.json scripts.

An iPipeTo workflow

Table of Contents

⬇️ Install

$ npm install -g ntl

🔎 Usage

Navigate to any folder containing a package.json file (usually a Node.js project) that has configured scripts, then just use the ntl command:


You can also specify a path to a project folder containing a package.json file:

ntl ./my-node-project

demo animation

😍 Features

  • Interactive interface that lists all package.json scripts
  • Select any item in the interactive interface to execute that task
  • Add descriptions to each task that can be shown in the UI
  • Multiple interactive interfaces (menu list, autocomplete fuzzy search)
  • Many options to customize the UI (exclude scripts, amount of items, etc)
  • Easy to repeat last ran script (nt and rerun options)
  • Run multiple tasks
    • Repeat previously set of ran tasks
    • Preserve order of selection
  • Customize rerun cache options

📚 Customize

Custom runner

By default Node Task List tries to use npm to run the configured script tasks. In case you want to use a custom runner (e.g: yarn or pnpm) you can configure ntl to use whatever runner you prefer.

That can be configured system-wide by setting the environment variable in your profile file (.bashrc or .bash_profile for macos). In case you only want to ever use yarn as your node task runner, you should set:

# .bashrc (linux) OR .bash_profile (macos) 
export NTL_RUNNER=yarn

Keep in mind environment variables are flexible enough that they can also be set temporarily prior to running a command, so the following would also work:

NTL_RUNNER=yarn ntl

❗️ You can also define a runner in a per-project basis using the ntl configuration of your package.json, e.g:

  "name": "<project>",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "ntl": {
    "runner": "yarn"

Using task descriptions

📝 You can define descriptions for your tasks in your package.json file by defining a ntl section, e.g:

  "name": "<project>",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "build": "make build",
    "coverage": "jest --coverage",
    "test": "jest"
  "ntl": {
    "descriptions": {
      "build": "Builds the project",
      "coverage": "Run test outputing code coverage",
      "test": "Run project's tests"

These descriptions will be shown anytime you run ntl.

Displaying task contents

Use the --info or simply -i option in order to display the contents of each script task, like:

$ ntl -i
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run: (Use arrow keys)
❯ generate-manual › maked-man README.md > man/man1/ntl.1
          pretest › eslint cli.js rerun.js test
             test › cross-env NTL_NO_RERUN_CACHE=1 tap

Task contents will also be shown when using the --descriptions option and no description is available for a given item.

Exclude tasks from UI

You can define a list of scripts to be excluded from the interactive menu using the --exclude option:

$ ntl -e coverall tasks
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run: (Use arrow keys)
❯ test

You can also use a wildcard character to exclude multiple scripts:

$ ntl -e "test*"
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run: (Use arrow keys)
❯ coveralls

Exclude tasks with missing descriptions

You can also filter out items that doesn't have a description using the --descriptions-only or -o option.

Customize cache

ntl uses a cache system that stores the last ran command for each project in order to make it easier for users to repeat it. Given its importance, the following environment variables are available in order to customize its location and size:

  • NTL_RERUN_CACHE_DIR: Defines a directory to store the cache file
  • NTL_RERUN_CACHE_NAME: Filename to use for the cache
  • NTL_RERUN_CACHE_MAX: Number of items to store in the cache (defaults to 10)
  • NTL_NO_RERUN_CACHE: When defined, avoid the cache system completely

For example, if a given user wanted to store its cache in ~/.ntl/cache location and save up to 100 items in it, they could add the following to their .bashrc (linux) or .bash_profile (macos):


The cache can also be customized through command line options:

  • --rerun-cache-dir Defines a directory to store the cache file
  • --rerun-cache-name: Filename to use for the cache
  • --no-rerun-cache: Avoids the cache system completely

UI Size

You can increase/reduce the size of the presented UI list using the --size or -s option. In this example we just increased the size of the list to show up to 12 items at once:

$ ntl -s 12
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run:
❯ build

The default size value is 7 items.

🔄 Repeat the last ran task

ntl provides many options to make it easier to rerun the last task, either through having it selected as default option the next time you run the ntl command, or by using one of the following:

  • The ultra convenient way: nt command shorthand 😎 (You should think of nt as: "ok, just run the last node task", in contrast to ntl which should be interpreted as: "ok, give me the node task list again") in case no previous task is available, running nt will behave exactly as ntl
  • Using a --rerun or -r flag, e.g: ntl -r
  • Prepending the NTL_RERUN env variable, e.g: NTL_RERUN=true ntl

demo animation showing how to rerun a script using the nt command shorthand

Ⓜ️ Run multiple tasks

Using the --multiple or -m option, the interface becomes a checkbox-based list that allows you to select multiple tasks and run them in serial.

$ ntl -m
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run:
 ◯ start
 ◉ test
❯◉ test:ci

demo animation showing how to use -m to have a checkbox interface allowing for selection of multiple tasks to be ran in serial

Better yet, combine that with the rerun feature and you can repeat multiple tasks using the nt command.

Run multiple tasks in order of selection

You can run multiple tasks in the order you pick them 😎 Use the --ordered or -O option:

$ ntl -O
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run: (Press <space> to select<r> to res
 ◯   bar › Test task
 ◯   foo › Test task
❯2 hello › Hello world
 ◯ start › Start the development server
 1  test › Run all tests for the project

⏩ Run in autocomplete or fuzzy search mode

Use --autocomplete or -A option in order to use an interface variation that allows you to type the name of the task instead of browsing through an arrow-based menu. This mode can be very helpful when managing a long list of tasks.

$ ntl -A
⬢  Node Task List
? Select a task to run: t
❯ pretest

demo animation showing how to use -m to have a checkbox interface allowing for selection of multiple tasks to be ran in serial

✅ Tips

ntl as default task

You can define ntl as a dev dependency and one of the tasks of your project, specially start - so whenever someone runs npm start or yarn start they get the convenient ntl interface. Like in the following package.json example:

  "name": "<project>",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "start": "ntl"
  "devDependencies": {
    "ntl": "^5.0.0"

Exclude scripts

You can also define a task that invokes ntl while excluding other tasks, e.g:

  "scripts": {
    "test": "jest --coverage",
    "test:watch": "jest --coverage --watchAll",
    "coveralls": "jest --coverage --coverageReporters=text-lcov | coveralls",
    "tasks": "ntl --exclude coverall tasks"

Included command aliases

  • ntl The default command
  • nodetasklist Longhand version in case users have conflicting ntl commands
  • npm-tasklist Legacy longhand version
  • nt Rerun last script shortcut
  • nodetask Rerun last script longhand

ℹ️ Help

Still feel like you could use some --help ?

  ntl [<path>]             Build an interactive interface and run any script
  nt [<path>]              Rerun last executed script
  -a, --all                Includes pre and post scripts on the list   [boolean]
  -A, --autocomplete       Starts in autocomplete mode                 [boolean]
  -D, --debug              Prints to stderr any internal error         [boolean]
  -d, --descriptions       Displays the descriptions of each script    [boolean]
  -o, --descriptions-only  Limits output to scripts with a description [boolean]
  -h, --help               Shows this help message                     [boolean]
  -i, --info               Displays the contents of each script        [boolean]
  -e, --exclude            Excludes specific scripts                     [array]
  -m, --multiple           Allows the selection of multiple items      [boolean]
  -O, --ordered            Selects multiple items in order             [boolean]
  -s, --size               Amount of lines to display at once           [number]
  --rerun-cache-dir        Defines the rerun task cache location        [string]
  --rerun-cache-name       Defines the rerun task cache filename        [string]
  --no-rerun-cache         Never write to or read from cache           [boolean]
  -v, --version            Show version number                         [boolean]
  -r, --rerun              Rerun last executed script                  [boolean]
Visit https://github.com/ruyadorno/ntl for more info


MIT © 2020 Ruy Adorno

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