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Sublime Text 2 Guard Plugin - helps create a smoother development workflow.
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Sublime Text 2 Guard Plugin

This project provides integration of Guard into the Sublime Text 2 editor. I wrote this as a convenience tool to help improve my daily workflow while deving on numerous projects using BDD and TDD.

This plugin provides an interface for controlling Guard and viewing Guards output within the Sublime Text 2 editor. Not having to switch between a terminal and an editor to see Red/Green states improves workflow drastically.

All of the commands are available via the command palette (super+shift+p).

When performing some operations in Sublime Text 2, like search, it hides the Guard output. Therefore, this plugin provides a default key binding (super+shift+c) to show or reshow the Guard output. It also has an auto show feature that shows or reshows the Guard output automatically when any new content comes in from the Guard process.

  • Commands available when Guard is NOT running

    • Start Guard
  • Commands available all of the time

    • Hide Guard Output (disable auto show)
    • Show Guard Output (enable auto show) (super+shift+c)
  • Commands available when Guard IS running

    • Stop Guard
    • Run all Tests
    • Run all Tests & Show Guard Output (does NOT enable auto show) (ctrl+shift+g)
    • Reload Guard
    • Toggle Notifications
    • Pause/Unpause
    • Output Help

Package Control Installation

This plugin is available via Sublime Package Control. To install using the Sublime Package Control perform the following steps:

  1. Open the Command Palette using super+shift+p and select Package Control: Install Package
  2. Select Guard from the popup menu and press return
  3. Wait for the status bar in the lower left conrner to notify you the install is complete.

Package Control Upgrade

If installed via Sublime Package Control. The plugin will be upgraded to the latest version automatically at Sublime Text 2 startup. Therefore, if you want to force an upgrade of the plugins simply Quit Sublime Text 2 and start it up again.

Manual Installation

To install this Sublime Text 2 plugin, simply run the following commands:

cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/
git clone git:// Guard

Manual Upgrade

To upgrade to the latest version, simply run the following commands:

cd ~/Library/Application\ Support/Sublime\ Text\ 2/Packages/Guard
git pull


Command Palette

As mentioned above the primary way of using this plugin is via the command palette (super+shift+p). Once the command palette is up, fuzzy match the intendend command, and press the return key.

Starting Guard

If Guard is not currently running, start Guard using the "Start Guard" command. It will bring up a pane at the bottom of the screen and show the output of Guard as it runs.

Show/Hide Guard Output

The Guard output can be shown and hidden using the "Show Guard Output" and "Hide Guard Output" command respectively. The "Show Guard Output" command is also available via the default key binding (super+shift+c).

Run all Tests & Show Guard Output

Some users prefer a workflow in which the guard pane is hidden the majority of the time and it is just shown when they run all the tests. For those users we have the "Run all Tests & Show Guard Output" command. This command shows the guard output similar to the "Show Guard Output" command except this command does NOT enable auto show. This command is available as always via the command pallete, but also via the key binding (ctrl+shift+g).

Other Useful Commands

A few of my favorites commands are "Run all Tests", "Reload Guard", and "Pause/Unpause". The "Run all Tests" command will simply request that Guard run all of the tests. The "Reload Guard" command is useful if changes have been made to Rails config initializers or something else that requires reloading. The "Pause/Unpause" command is primarily useful when switching branches or rebasing. It will temporarily prevent Guard from monitoring the project files for changes.

RVM Support

This plugin supports RVM out of the box. Basically, it means that it first checks to see if RVM is installed and loads it. Once RVM is loaded it then looks to see if any of the top level folders in Sublime Text 2 contain a project specific .rvmrc. If one does it will load that .rvmrc and attempt to run Guard on that project.

In the case where it can't find RVM it simply tries to run Guard assuming it is installed as a system gem.

rbenv Support

This plugin supports rbenv out of the box. This means it checks to see if $HOME/.rbenv exists and appropriately modifies the PATH environment variable to include $HOME/.rbenv/bin in the path. It also runs rbenv init - for you.

In the case where it can't find rbenv it simply tries to run Guard assuming it is installed as a system gem.

Clear Output when Matched String Found

The user must create a json file called Guard.sublime-settings in the user config directory Packages/User/. This file has the following format:

  "clear_when_find_this_text": "Running: .*_spec.rb"

Some suggested matches are as follows:

  • Running: .*_spec.rb
  • Running: .*_spec.rb|Failures:
  • Running: .*_spec.rb|Failures:|Reloading Spork for RSpec

If you do NOT want to use this feature simply do not define the clear_when_find_this_text setting.


Does the Guard process die/exit when Sublime Text 2 dies/exits?


Why would I get "Failed to find Guardfile and Gemfile in any of the open folders." as an error?

This error message is a result of the project currently loaded in Sublime Text 2 missing either the Guardfile, the Gemfile, or both. Currently, this plugin requires a Guardfile and a Gemfile to be present in the projects root path to run Guard.

Where do I find out about Guardfiles?

The best place to find out about Guardfiles is the Guard project page.

Where do I found out about Gemfiles?

The best place to find out about Gemfiles is the Bundler project.

What do I do if I find a bug?

Please report all bugs/issues via the Issues tab.

What do I do if I have an idea for a feature/change?

All feature requests or change requests should be made via the Issues tab.


As with all of my Open Source Projects I am open to contributions. There are numerous ways one can contribute.

  1. Contribute Code/Documentation - If you would like to contribute code or documentation changes please fork the repository and submit a pull request.
  2. Feature Requests/Bug Reports - If you would like to contribute by submitting either a feature request or a bug report you may do so via the Issues tab.
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