Skip to content


Subversion checkout URL

You can clone with HTTPS or Subversion.

Download ZIP
JavaScript build tool, similar to Make or Rake. Built to work with Node.js.
JavaScript CSS HTML Other

Fetching latest commit…

Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time

Failed to load latest commit information.


Jake -- JavaScript build tool for Node.js


Prerequisites: Jake requires Node.js. (

Get Jake:

git clone git://

Build Jake:

cd node-jake && make && sudo make install

Installing with npm

npm install jake

Or, get the code, and npm link in the code root.

Basic usage

jake [options] target (commands/options ...)


Jake is a simple JavaScript build program with capabilities similar to the regular make or rake command.

Jake has the following features:
    * Jakefiles are in standard JavaScript syntax
    * Tasks with prerequisites
    * Namespaces for tasks
    * Async task execution


--version                   Display the program version.

--help                      Display help information.

-f *FILE*
--jakefile *FILE*           Use FILE as the Jakefile.

--directory *DIRECTORY*     Change to DIRECTORY before running tasks.

--tasks                     Display the tasks, with descriptions, then exit.

Jakefile syntax

Use task or file to define tasks. Call it with three arguments (and one more optional argument):

task(name, dependencies, handler, [async]);

Where name is the string name of the task (or file), dependencies is an array of the dependencies, and handler is a function to run for the task.

The async argument is optional, and when set to true (async === true) indicates the task executes asynchronously. Asynchronous tasks need to call complete() to signal they have completed.

Tasks created with task are always executed when asked for (or depended on). Tasks created with file are only executed if no file with the given name exists or if any of the files it depends on are more recent than the file named by the task. Also, if any dependency is a regular task, the file task will always be executed.

Use desc to add a string description of the task.

Here's an example:

var sys = require('sys');

desc('This is the default task.');
task('default', [], function (params) {
  sys.puts('This is the default task.');

And here's an example of an asynchronous task:

desc('This is an asynchronous task.');
task('asynchronous', [], function () {
  setTimeout(complete, 1000);
}, true);

Use namespace to create a namespace of tasks to perform. Call it with two arguments:

namespace(name, namespaceTasks);

Where is name is the name of the namespace, and namespaceTasks is a function with calls inside it to task or desc definining all the tasks for that namespace.

Here's an example:

var sys = require('sys');

desc('This is the default task.');
task('default', [], function () {
  sys.puts('This is the default task.');

namespace('foo', function () {
  desc('This the foo:bar task');
  task('bar', [], function () {
    sys.puts('doing foo:bar task');

  desc('This the foo:baz task');
  task('baz', ['default', 'foo:bar'], function () {
    sys.puts('doing foo:baz task');


In this example, the foo:baz task depends on both the default and the foo:bar task.

Passing parameters to jake

Two kinds of parameters can be passed to Jake: positional and named parameters.

Any single parameters passed to the jake command after the task name are passed along to the task handler as positional arguments. For example, with the following Jakefile:

var sys = require('sys');

desc('This is an awesome task.');
task('awesome', [], function () {

You could run jake like this:

jake awesome foo bar baz

And you'd get the following output:

[ 'foo', 'bar', 'baz' ]

Any paramters passed to the jake command that contain a colon (:) or equals sign (=) will be added to a keyword/value object that is passed as a final argument to the task handler.

With the above Jakefile, you could run jake like this:

jake awesome foo bar baz qux:zoobie frang:asdf

And you'd get the following output:

[ 'foo'
, 'bar'
, 'baz'
, { qux: 'zoobie', frang: 'asdf' }

Running jake with no arguments runs the default task.

CoffeeScript Jakefiles

Jake can also handle Jakefiles in CoffeeScript. Be sure to make it so Jake knows it's in CoffeeScript.

Here's an example:

sys = require('sys')

desc 'This is the default task.'
task 'default', [], (params) ->
  console.log 'Ths is the default task.'
  invoke 'new', []

task 'new', [], ->
  console.log 'ello from new'
  invoke 'foo:next', ['param']

namespace 'foo', ->
  task 'next', [], (param) ->
    console.log 'ello from next with param: ' + param

Related projects

James Coglan's "Jake":

Confusingly, this is a Ruby tool for building JavaScript packages from source code.

280 North's Jake:

This is also a JavaScript port of Rake, which runs on the Narwhal platform.


Matthew Eernisse,


Mark Wubben / EqualMedia Patrick Walton Andrzej Sliwa Nikolay V. Nemshilov aka St

Something went wrong with that request. Please try again.