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Heroku buildpack: Node.js with Grunt support

Note: this buildpack is no longer maintained

Using Heroku's official Node.js buildpack with a postinstall script, that executes your Gruntfile is the suggested way on building Node.js with Grunt.

Follow the official guide for details and instructions.

(outdated) Introduction

Supported Grunt versions: 0.3 and 0.4. See the Grunt migration guide if you are upgrading from 0.3.

This is a fork of Heroku's official Node.js buildpack with added Grunt support. Using this buildpack you do not need to commit the results of your Grunt tasks (e.g. minification and concatination of files), keeping your repository clean.

After all the default Node.js and npm build tasks have finished, the buildpack checks if a Gruntfile (Gruntfile.js, Gruntfile.coffeeor grunt.js) exists and executes the heroku task by running grunt heroku. For details about grunt and how to define tasks, check out the offical documentation. You must add grunt to the npm dependencies in your package.json file. If no Gruntfile exists, the buildpacks simply skips the grunt step and executes like the standard Node.js buildpack.

How it Works

Here's an overview of what this buildpack does:

  • Uses the webservice to find the latest version of node that satisfies the engines.node semver range in your package.json.
  • Allows any recent version of node to be used, including pre-release versions.
  • Uses an S3 caching proxy of for faster downloads of the node binary.
  • Discourages use of dangerous semver ranges like * and >0.10.
  • Uses the version of npm that comes bundled with node.
  • Puts node and npm on the PATH so they can be executed with heroku run.
  • Caches the node_modules directory across builds for fast deploys.
  • Doesn't use the cache if node_modules is checked into version control.
  • Runs npm rebuild if node_modules is checked into version control.
  • Always runs npm install to ensure npm script hooks are executed.
  • Always runs npm prune after restoring cached modules to ensure cleanup of unused dependencies.
  • Runs grunt if a Gruntfile (Gruntfile.js, Gruntfile.coffeeor grunt.js) is found.

For more technical details, see the heavily-commented compile script.


Create a new app with this buildpack:

heroku create myapp --buildpack

Or add this buildpack to your current app:

heroku buildpacks:set

Set the NODE_ENV environment variable (e.g. development or production):

heroku config:set NODE_ENV=production

Create your Node.js app and add a Gruntfile named Gruntfile.js (or if you want to use CoffeeScript, or grunt.js if you are using Grunt 0.3) with a heroku task:

grunt.registerTask('heroku:development', 'clean less mincss');


grunt.registerTask('heroku:production', 'clean less mincss uglify');

Don't forget to add grunt to your dependencies in package.json. If your grunt tasks depend on other pre-defined tasks make sure to add these dependencies as well:

"dependencies": {
    "grunt": "*",
    "grunt-contrib": "*",
    "less": "*"

Push to heroku

git push heroku master
-----> Heroku receiving push
-----> Fetching custom buildpack... done
-----> Node.js app detected
-----> Resolving engine versions
       Using Node.js version: 0.8.2
       Using npm version: 1.1.41
-----> Fetching Node.js binaries
-----> Vendoring node into slug
-----> Installing dependencies with npm
       Dependencies installed
-----> Building runtime environment
-----> Found gruntfile, running grunt heroku task
Running "heroku" task
-----> Discovering process types


npm can be run with a verbose flag to help debugging if something fails when installing the dependencies.

  • if the VERBOSE environment variable is set, npm is always run with verbose logging.
  • if BUILDPACK_RETRY_VERBOSE is set, npm is relaunched in verbose mode if npm failed.

Thanks to mackwic for these extensions.

Further Information

For more information about using Node.js and buildpacks on Heroku, see these Dev Center articles:


A slightly modified version of Heroku's official Node.js buildpack with added Grunt support.







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