Simple project templating


Simple new project templating

Note: This project is in early development, and versioning is a little different. Read this for more details.

A lot of the time you make projects with similar starting templates/boilerplates. There are a number of different standard boilerplates out there (like h5bp), but everyone has their own preferences and tweaks. The goal of sprout is to allow you to write a base template once that is somewhat configurable where it needs to be then initialize the template with the options you choose from the command line or through a javascript API to get a jumpstart on your project.

We are aware that the yeoman project serves a similar purpose, but built this anyway because we needed a project with a very clean and understandable generator API as well as a public javascript API for integration into other projects, and yeoman does not have either of these.

npm install sprout -g

Sprout can be used directly through the command line to intitialize projects. Once installed, it exposes the sprout binary, which you can use to add, remove, and/or use your templates. The commands are more or less what you would expect, and are listed below. For reference, words in bold are necessary to type out as-is, words in italic represent placeholders for user input, and words in brackets represent optional arguments.

Command params in [brackets] are optional, and in <angle_brackets> are required.

sprout add [name] <clone_url_or_path>

Description: Adds a template to your repertoire. Name represents how you would like the template to be named within sprout. You are required to add a template which can be either a clone url or a path to a local template. If no name is provided, sprout will use the last piece of the template as the name.

sprout remove <name>

Description: Removes the template with the specified name from sprout. Aliases: rm, delete

sprout list

Description: Lists all templates that you have added to sprout. Aliases: ls, all

sprout init <name> [path] [overrides]

Description: Initializes the template with the given name at the given path. If no path is provided it will create a new folder with the same name as the template in the current working directory. If there already is one, it will throw an error.

Sprout also comes with a man page and will display a help menu as a refresher on these commands if you type something wrong.

Options: You can pass override arguments like -o key value key2 val2 as options which will override the prompts set in your templates.

Aliases: new, create

Note: Options overrides set from the command line will only be passed to your ejs templates as either a string or a boolean. This means that when overriding there are many powerful features from inquirer.js (like validation) that you won't be able to take advantage of.

Sprout was made specifically to be easy to integrate into javascript applications and libraries that create project structures for you. It can be installed locally via npm and used directly in a node project. The API is similar to the CLI interface described above. Each method returns a A+ compliant promise (with extra sugar from when.js) Example code given in coffeescript:

path = require 'path'
sprout = require 'sprout'
# Adding a template 
# ----------------- 
sprout.add({ name: 'node'uri: 'https://github.com/carrot/sprout-node' })
  .done(-> console.log('template added!'))
# removing a template 
# ------------------- 
  .done(-> console.log('template removed!'))
# listing templates 
# ----------------- 
# this comes back as a js object 
templates = sprout.list()
# this comes back as a formatted and colored string inteded to 
# to be printed to the command line 
console.log sprout.list(pretty: true)
# initializing a template 
# ----------------------- 
  name: 'node',
  path: path.join(process.cwd()'new_project'),
  overrides: { foo: 'bar' } # optional, will prompt if not provided 
  defaults: { name: 'suggested name'} # optional 
  .done(-> console.log('project initialized!'))
# other things 
# ------------ 
# returns the path that templates are stored in 
console.log sprout.path()
# returns the path of the template name passed in 
console.log sprout.path('node')

For an example, as well as a sprout template that helps you create new sprout templates, be sure to check out sprout-sprout.

Ok so enough about how this is used, I'm sure you are super excited at this point to get in there and write a template. Probably more excited than a party gorilla, which is pretty wild. So let's take a look.

First thing you'll want to do is set up your project structure, which will probably look something like this:

`- files...

So a folder called root where the actual template goes, an init.coffee where we'll set up the config and stuff, and then any other files you need like a readme and license, which will not be included with the template. If you don't want any config options, you don't even need the init.coffee, just the root folder with the files in it and that's it. But let's assume you are after some additional configuration and jump into init.coffee.

# This function is executed before any of the configuration happens. 
# It's a good place to put any introductory messages you want to display. 
# It is of course optional, and can be asynchronous. 
exports.before = (sprout, done) ->
  console.log 'welcome! this is my before message'
# Configure is exposed as an array, which accepts any number of 
# arguments. Each argument can be a string or an object. A string 
# will prompt the user directly for that value, and using an object 
# allows you to configure a slightly more customizable prompt. 
# The 'prompt' option in an object has a couple of preset values you 
# conforms to the configuration used by SBoudrias/Inquirer.js, found here: 
# https://github.com/SBoudrias/Inquirer.js#question 
exports.configure = [
    type: 'input',
    name: 'foo',
    message: 'What is foo?'
    type: 'input',
    name: 'github_handle',
    message: 'What is your github handle?'
    type: "confirm",
    name: "travis",
    message: "Do you want to utilize Travis CI?",
    default: false
# This function is executed after the configuration info is collected, but 
# before the templates are rendered. It's a good place use user provided config 
# to generate additional config values needed in the template. 
exports.before_render = (sprout, done) ->
  console.log sprout.config_values
  console.log 'executed before templates are rendered'
# This function is executed after the templates are rendered.  It's a good place 
# to do any other custom config you need, like building extra files etc. You 
# have the full power of node at your fingertips here. 
exports.after = (sprout, done) ->
  console.log sprout.config_values # all the config values you collected 
  if not sprout.config_values.travis then sprout.remove('.travis.yml')

We also provide you the power of String.js in all of your ejs templates. This means you can run powerful string operations on your user input like:

class <%= S('user_model').capialize().s; %> // given 'user_model' is prompted by your init.coffee 

So between this config file and the root folder, you should be able to make anything happen fairly easily. If not, please open up and issue and we'll try to make it happening-er and/or easier for you : )

Sometimes changes happen and you might want to be able to specify different versions of a single template. Sprout handles this through git tags. You can specify a tag as a version when you initialize a template by adding a version number after an @ sign, as such (examples provided via CLI here):

$ sprout init my-template@0.1.2

If you do not specify any version, sprout will look for the most recent tag in the repo and use that, and if there are no tags simply use the latest commit.

Although you are welcome to use whatever versioning system you are comfortable with, we would strongly recommended using semver, the widely accepted standard in package versioning. This will provide you with a clear framework for managing situations when breaking changes have been made to your template.

A couple edge cases to discuss. If you specify a tag that can't be found, you will get an error. If you added a template on a specific branch, the tag specified needs to be present on that branch. And if your tag starts with a v followed immeditely by a number, sprout will ignore the v, for convenience and in accordance with the convention that starts git tags with v just to refer to the version.