CLI for creating and configuring new Xcode projects
Ruby Objective-C Shell Swift
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Liftoff is a CLI for creating and configuring iOS Xcode projects.


brew tap thoughtbot/formulae
brew install liftoff

Liftoff was previously distributed via RubyGems. This method of installation has been deprecated, and all new releases will be done through Homebrew. If you are migrating from RubyGems, you should uninstall the gem version to avoid confusion in the future.


Run this command in a directory


View the documentation:

man liftoff
man liftoffrc

When Liftoff finds an existing project in the current directory, it will perform the following configurations:

  • Set the indentation level (In spaces, 4 by default).
  • Treat warnings as errors for release schemes.
  • Enable warnings at the project level, check liftoffrc(5) for a list of the warnings.
  • Turn on Static Analysis for the project.
  • Add a build phase shell script that turns "TODO:" and "FIXME:" into warnings.
  • Add default .gitignore and .gitattributes files.
  • Initialize a new git repo and create an initial commit (if needed).

When you run Liftoff in a directory without a project file, it will create a new directory structure for a project, and generate a well-configured Xcode project in that subdirectory:

$ cd ~/dev/
$ liftoff
Project name? MyCoolApp
Company name? thoughtbot
Author name? Gordon Fontenot
Prefix? MCA
Creating MyCoolApp
Creating MyCoolApp/Categories
Creating MyCoolApp/Classes

Liftoff will generate a brand new project for you based on the provided values. Generating projects via Liftoff has these advantages:

  • Minimized time reorganizing the repository
  • Sets up git repository automatically
  • Defined group structure
  • Matching directory structure on disk (linked to the proper group)
  • Easily customizable
  • Configurations can be shared easily


You can use a liftoffrc file to speed up your workflow by defining your preferred configuration for Liftoff.

Liftoff will look for config files in the local directory and then the home directory. If it can't find a key in ./.liftoffrc or ~/.liftoffrc, it will use the default values. Check liftoffrc(5) for more information:

man liftoffrc

You can see the current liftoffrc on master, but be aware that the keys might not match up completely with the current released version.

Directory Structure and Templates

One of the most powerful things that Liftoff can do for you is let you quickly and easily customize your project's group and directory structure. By defining a YAML dictionary inside your local or user .liftoffrc, you can completely dictate the structure that will be created. This includes group structure, order, placement of template files, etc. And remember that these groups will be mimicked on disk as well.

You can also create your own templates, or override the defaults by adding them to ~/.liftoff/templates or ./.liftoff/templates. Liftoff will use the same fallback order when looking for templates as it does for the .liftoffrc.

These files (and filenames) will be parsed with ERB, using the values provided at run time (or the default values from a liftoffrc).


Liftoff is maintained by Mark Adams and Gordon Fontenot. It was written by thoughtbot, inc.


The names and logos for thoughtbot are trademarks of thoughtbot, inc.


Liftoff is Copyright (c) 2012-2014 thoughtbot, inc. It is free software, and may be redistributed under the terms specified in the LICENSE file.