node package manager


A full featured configurable gulp asset pipeline and static site builder

Gulp Starter

Build Status

Gulp Starter is a delicious blend of tasks and build tools poured into Gulp to form a full-featured modern asset pipeline. It can be used as-is as a static site builder, or can be configured and integrated into your own development environment and site or app structure. The extras folder contains configuration details for Rails and Craft, with more to follow. Check out the compiled demo and play with the source files!

git clone MyApp
cd MyApp
npm install
npm start
Features Tools Used
CSS Sass (Libsass via node-sass), Autoprefixer, CSSNano, Source Maps
JavaScript Babel, Webpack
HTML Nunjucks, gulp-data, or bring your own
Images Compression with imagemin
Icons Auto-generated SVG Sprites and/or Icon Fonts
Fonts Folder and .sass mixin for including WebFonts
Live Updating BrowserSync, Webpack Dev Middleware, Webpack Hot Middleware
Production Builds JS and CSS are uglified and minified, filename md5 hashing (reving), file size reporting, local production Express server for testing builds.
JS Testing Karma, Mocha, Chai, and Sinon, Example Travis CI integration
Deployment Quickly deploy public folder to gh-pages with gulp-gh-pages


Make sure Node installed. I recommend using NVM to manage versions.

This currently tested against Node 4.2.4 - 6.3.0, and should work on newer versions as well. File an issue if it doesn't! If you need 0.12.x support, git checkout 3520e67 or earlier.

Install Dependencies

npm install

Run development tasks:

npm start

Aliases: npm run gulp, npm run development

This is where the magic happens. The perfect front-end workflow. This runs the default gulp task, which starts compiling, watching, and live updating all our files as we change them. BrowserSync will start a server on port 3000, or do whatever you've configured it to do. You'll be able to see live changes in all connected browsers. Don't forget about the additional BrowserSync tools available on port 3001!

Why run this as an npm script? NPM scripts add ./node_modules/bin to the path when run, using the packages version installed with this project, rather than a globally installed ones. Never npm install -g and get into mis-matched version issues again. These scripts are defined in the scripts property of package.json.

Run in tests in watch mode:

npm run test:watch

Run tests once:

npm run test

Build production files:

npm run production

Running the Demo

By default, the files in src are pretty minimal. If you're just exploring and would like to play with the demo files, the files available in extras/demo. Just replace src and config.json with the ones in extras/demo, or simply check out the demo branch.

git checkout demo
npm start

Starting a fresh project

If you plan on using this to start a new project, be sure and clear out the git data start a fresh history:

rm -rf .git && git init
git commit -m "Initialized with Gulp Starter"


Directory and top level settings are convienently exposed in gulpfile.js/config.json. Use this file to update paths to match the directory structure of your project, and to adjust task options.

All task configuration objects have src and dest directories specfied. These are relative to root.src and root.dest respectively. Each configuration also has an extensions array. This is used for file watching, and file deleting/replacing.

If there is a feature you do not wish to use on your project, simply delete the configuration, and the task will be skipped.

Not all configuration is exposed here. For advanced task configuration, you can always edit the tasks themselves in gulpfile.js/tasks.

General Options (see config.json > options)

  • cleanFirst Tells gulp to clean target directory before task is running.
  • reportSizes Set to true if you want to see a size report when running the "production" or "build" task.
  • watch In "development" and "production" task the watcher will be disabled if you set this to "false".
  • watchProduction Enables the watcher in "production" task if you set this to "true".

Start compiling, serving, and watching files

npm run gulp

(or npm run development)

This runs gulp from ./node_modules/bin, using the version installed with this project, rather than a globally installed instance. All commands in the package.json scripts work this way. The gulp command runs the default task, defined in gulpfile.js/tasks/default.js.

All files will compile in development mode (uncompressed with source maps). BrowserSync will serve up files to localhost:3000 and will stream live changes to the code and assets to all connected browsers. Don't forget about the additional BrowserSync tools available on localhost:3001! You can also pass any supported option from browserSync into config (e.g. browser: false). If you don't want to start a server, simply remove the key "server" from your browserSync options.

To run any other existing task, simply add the task name after the gulp command. Example:

npm run gulp production

Asset Task Details

A with details about each asset task are available in their respective folders in the src directory:

Additional Task Details

Build production-ready files

npm run production

This will compile revisioned and compressed files to ./public. To build production files and preview them locally, run


  • rev If you want to revise your asset files in the resulting html code (append hash) you'll have to specify the source (src) and target (dest) directory where your html files are written to.
npm run demo

This will start a static server that serves your production files to http://localhost:5000. This is primarily meant as a way to preview your production build locally, not necessarily for use as a live production server.

Run JavaScript Tests

npm run test

Test files located in __tests__ folders are picked up and run using Karma, Mocha, Chai, and Sinon. The test script right now first compiles a production build, and then, if successful runs Karma. This is nice when using something like Travis CI in that if an error occurs during the build step, Travis alerts me that it failed. To pass, the files have to compile properly AND pass the JS tests.

Deploy to gh-pages

npm run deploy

This task compiles production code and then uses gulp-gh-pages to push the contents of your dest.root to a gh-pages (or other specified) branch, viewable at http://[your-username][your-repo-name]. Be sure to update the homepage property in your package.json.

GitHub Pages isn't the most robust of hosting solutions (you'll eventually run into relative path issues), but it's a great place to quickly share in-progress work, and you get it for free. might be a good alternative for production-ready static hosting to check out, and is just as easy to deploy to. Where ever you're deploying to, all you need to do is npm run gulp production and transfer the contents of the public folder to your server however you see fit.

For non-static sites (Rails, Craft, etc.), make sure the production task runs as part of your deploy process.

Notable changes from 1.0

  • Full asset pipeline and static html compilation
  • gulpfile.js is now a directory
  • update directory structure
  • Replaced Browserify with Webpack!
    • Async CommonJS module requires
    • Automatically splits out shared dependencies
  • New html task w/ Nunjucks templating/compiling
  • Replace CoffeeScript with ES6 (Babel.js)
  • New server task to test production files locally
  • New deploy task to deploy the public directory to gh-pages
  • New rev task that revisions filenames and compress css and js
  • Use gulp-watch instead of (correctly handles new files)
  • New production task runs tests, compression + filename revisioning
  • Remove old examples and extraneous dependencies
  • Upgrades dependencies
  • Added example Travis CI integration that runs karma tests and production build
  • Add SVG sprite implementation from @synapticism in #100

Original Blog Post:

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