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Esensi Build Tasks Package

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An Esensi package, coded by Emerson Media.

Want to work with us on great Laravel applications and frontend projects? Email us at

The Esensi/Build package is just one package that makes up Esensi, a platform built on Laravel. This package doesn't depend on Laravel (or use any PHP), and can be used with any project that needs frontend build tools.

Esensi/Build uses gulp tasks to pre-process CSS, JS, fonts and image assets into optimized builds that modern web projects need. The tasks will convert LESS into minified and concatenated CSS files, will bundle the JS assets with Browserify into minified and concatenated JS files, and will optimize builds of fonts and images for production-ready use. There are also tasks for working with Jekyll and deploying builds to remote servers and S3. For more details on the inner workings of the tasks please consult the generously documented source code.

Need help modernizing your frontend code and tools? Email us at, or call 1.877.439.6665.

Quick Start

Getting started with Esensi/Build is simple. Make sure your project has a package.json. If it does not, you can use npm init to help you make one. Then follow these steps:

  1. Add gulp to your project's package.json: npm install --save-dev gulp
  2. Add esensi/build to your package.json: npm install --save-dev esensi-build
  3. Add browserify-shim to your package.json: npm install --save-dev browserify-shim
  4. Copy gulpfile.js and build.json to your project root.
  5. Optional: If you're deploying to S3:
    • Copy aws-credentials.json to your project root, and add your creds to it.
    • Add aws-credentials.json and .awspublish-* to your project's .gitignore.
  6. Customize build.json to fit your source and destination directory requirements.


This package requires the latest stable versions of NodeJS and npm, which are sometimes not available from distro repositories. Consult the official NodeJS documentation on how to install the latest versions on your system.

This package has been tested against the following npm version output:

  npm: '2.9.0',
  http_parser: '2.3',
  modules: '14',
  node: '0.12.2',
  openssl: '1.0.1m',
  uv: '1.4.2-node1',
  v8: '3.28.73',
  zlib: '1.2.8'

Available Tasks

Pro Tip: To run any task with "production" mode optimizations, use the --production flag when executing the command.

Watch Tasks

  • gulp watch - This watches all source directories for changes, and re-runs the appropriate build steps when changes to the source occur. Example: if a LESS file in the styles source directory changes, build:styles will be ran.

Build Tasks

  • gulp build - Runs all build subtasks listed below.
  • gulp build:fonts - Copies all files from the font source to the destination directory.
  • gulp build:images - Copies all files from the image source to the destination directory.
    • With --production switch, the images are compressed.
  • gulp build:scripts - Bundles source JS with Browserify and source maps and produces a revision manifest.
    • With --production switch, the bundled output is stripped of source maps and minified.
  • gulp build:styles - Pre-processes source LESS into CSS with source maps, browser prefixes, and produces a revision manifest.
    • With --production switch, the output is stripped of source maps and then minified.
  • gulp build:clean - Alias of gulp clean task.
  • gulp build:watch - Alias of gulp watch task.
  • gulp build:lint - Alias of gulp lint task.
  • gulp build:jekyll - Alias of gulp jekyll task.

Jekyll Tasks

  • gulp jekyll - Runs all Jekyll subtasks listed below.
  • gulp jekyll:build - Builds Jekyll templates by running jekyll build.
    • Uses --lsi switch for better related blog posts.

Clean Tasks

  • gulp clean - Runs all clean subtasks listed below.
  • gulp clean:fonts - Empties the fonts destination.
  • gulp clean:images - Empties the images destination.
  • gulp clean:scripts - Empties the scripts destination. This task auto-runs before build:scripts.
  • gulp clean:styles - Empties the styles destination. This task auto-runs before build:styles.

Quality Assurance Tasks

  • gulp lint - Runs all lint subtasks listed below.
  • gulp lint:scripts - Runs jshint on source scripts.

Deployment Tasks

  • gulp deploy - Runs all deploy subtasks listed below.
  • gulp deploy:<environment> - Uses rsync or gulp-awspublish to deploy source files to the destination environment. The environments are defined in the build.json file.
    • rsync Example: gulp deploy:rsync-example would deploy to the SSH connection defined by the deployment.connections.rsync-example key in build.json.
    • S3 Example: gulp deploy:s3-example would deploy to the S3 bucket defined by the deployment.connections.s3-example key in build.json. (For more information on S3 deployment, see here.)

Deploying to S3

In order to deploy to an S3 bucket, you need to:

  1. Create your bucket on S3. Note the region. Give it the proper permissions (i.e. anonymous user can read all) and turn on static website hosting if appropriate.

  2. Create a user to interact with your new bucket, with an API key. Save the access key and secret.

  3. Set your new user's policy appropriately, such as this:

    { "Statement": [ { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:ListBucket" ], "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::yourbucket" }, { "Effect": "Allow", "Action": [ "s3:AbortMultipartUpload", "s3:DeleteObject", "s3:GetObject", "s3:GetObjectAcl", "s3:ListMultipartUploadParts", "s3:PutObject", "s3:PutObjectAcl", "s3:RestoreObject" ], "Resource": "arn:aws:s3:::yourbucket/*" } ] }

  4. Add your AWS key and secret to aws-credentials.json. (Make sure this file is in .gitignore!)

  5. Add your bucket and region to build.json, and make sure your source is configured properly. (Note that S3 deployment does not work with multi-value arrays. Also note that to deploy entire directories, your source needs to end with /**.) For example:

         "deployment": {
             "source": ["./**"],
             "connections": {
                 "s3-example": {
                     "type": "s3",
                     "bucket": "yourbucket",
                     "region": "yourregion"
  6. Run gulp deploy:s3-example to deploy.

How This Package Works

This package is an npm module. It is structured like this to reduce duplication between projects, and make it easier to standardize the build process. This package breaks each task out into its own NPM module, as seen in the src/tasks directory. Any file in the src/tasks directory gets automatically required by the loop in index.js.

Traditional Gulp workflows just pack all the tasks into one Gulpfile. This package however is designed to be consumed modularly as a dependency of a project and so it should be required like any other NPM module within a project's Gulpfile. All of the tasks and build commands are then imported with the require statement. Developers can then have a clean Gulpfile which they can use to create project-specific tasks and can easily run npm update to get the latest esensi/build tasks and improvements.

Because the project Gulpfile is largely empty and uncluttered, it makes for a clean place to require project-specific Gulp tasks. Add a new task to a project by writing it directly in the project's Gulpfile or follow the pattern of this package and require('./path/to/task.js').

Add new tasks directly to this esensi/build package by creating a new task file in the src/tasks directory of your pull request branch. Use an existing task as your pattern for development.


  • The gulp watch task does NOT detect new files: manually restart the task when creating new source files. This limitation is a bug in a third party library that will hopefully be fixed soon.
  • This package cannot require gulp itself otherwise the following error will be thrown: Task 'default' is not in your gulpfile. This can result in tasks not showing up. Instead make sure the parent project is the one that defines the Gulp dependency.


Emerson Media is proud to work with some of the most talented people in the web development community. The developer team welcomes requests, suggestions, issues, and of course pull requests. When submitting issues please be as detailed as possible and provide code examples where possible. When submitting pull requests please follow the same code formatting and style guides that the Esensi code base uses. Please help the open-source community by including good code test coverage with your pull requests. All pull requests must be submitted to the version branch to which the code changes apply.

Note: The Esensi team does its best to address all issues on Wednesdays. Pull requests are reviewed in priority followed by urgent bug fixes. Each week the package dependencies are re-evaluated and updates are made for new tag releases.


Copyright (c) 2015 Emerson Media, LP

This package is released under the MIT license. Please see the LICENSE.txt file distributed with every copy of the code for commercial licensing terms.


The GulpJS components that integrate the build tasks into Esensi





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