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Be scalable! Update is a new, open source developer framework and CLI for automating updates of any kind in code projects.


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Install Update's CLI and an example updater globally:

$ npm install --global update && updater-example

Initialize update:

$ update init

Run update:

$ update


What does Update do?

All updating is accomplished using plugins called updaters, which are run by command line or API, and can be installed globally, locally, or created in a local updatefile.js.

You can create your own updaters using Update's API, or install updaters using npm, to do things like:

  • create continuity and consistency across projects
  • enforce conventions across all of your projects
  • instantly update an old or inherited project to your latest personal preferences (convert tabs to spaces, convert from jshint to eslint or the other way around, or any other detail)
  • reformat code to meet your standards
  • convert a config file to a different format (json to yaml, yaml to json, etc)
  • update files that are typically excluded from build cycles, and are often forgotten about after they're created. For example:
  • after initializing a new project with a project generator, like generate or Google's Yeoman, you can "normalize" all of the generated files to use your own preferences

Why should I use Update?

  • be more productive: Update eliminates time spent on things that can be automated, but typically aren't since they either don't need to be done often, don't fit into the build cycle or a project's deliverables, or because they're usually updated manually. As code projects mature, time spent on these things tend to stay linear or increase as the size of a community grows. If you maintain more than a handful of projects, time spent on these things compounds with each new project under your stewardship.
  • your way, instantly: updaters can be published to and installed from npm, but you can also easily create your own personal updaters. Once your updaters are setup, just run update init, then projects under your maintenance will convert to the the conventions you prefer within milliseconds after running update.
  • plugin ecosystem: any plugins that work with Base applications will work also with Update. Which means you can use plugins (or generators) from assemble, verb, and generate, to name a few.
  • well tested: with more than 1,250 unit tests


Here are some random example commits after running $ update.

Project/Commit Updaters used
generate-scaffold editorconfig, travis
updater-editorconfig editorconfig, eslint, travis, license
expand-target editorconfig, eslint, travis, package


  • unparalleled flow control: through the use of updaters, sub-updaters and tasks
  • generators: support for generate generators. If your updater needs to create new files, there might be a generator for that. Just use the generator the same way you would use an updater.
  • render templates: use templates to create new files, or replace existing files
  • prompts: It's easy to create custom prompts. Answers to prompts can be used as context for rendering templates, for settings options, determining file names, directory structure, and anything else that requires user feedback.
  • any engine: use any template engine to render templates, including handlebars, lodash, swig and pug, or anything supported by consolidate.
  • data: gather data from the user's environment to populate "hints" in user prompts or for rendering templates
  • fs: in the spirit of gulp, use .src and .dest to read and write globs of files.
  • vinyl: files and templates are vinyl files
  • streams: full support for gulp and assemble plugins
  • smart plugins: Update is built on base, so any "smart" plugin from the Base ecosystem can be used
  • stores: persist configuration settings, global defaults, project-specific defaults, answers to prompts, and so on.
  • much more!


Installing update

Install update

To use Update's CLI, update must first be installed globally with npm:

$ npm install --global update

This adds the update command to your system path, allowing it to be run from anywhere.

Installing updaters

Updaters can be found on npm, but if you're not familiar with how Update works, we recommend installing updater-example:

$ npm install --global updater-example

Create "example.txt"

In the current working directory, create an empty file named example.txt.


As a habit, when using update make sure your work is committed, then run:

$ update example

This appends the string foo to the contents of example.txt. Visit the updater-example project for additional steps and guidance.


Update ships with the following built-in tasks. These will be externalized to an updater or generate generator at some point.


Select the updaters to run every time update is run. Use --add to add additional updaters, and --remove to remove them. You can run this command whenever you want to update your preferences, like after installing new updaters.


$ update init


Display a list of currently installed updaters.


$ update defaults:list
# aliased as
$ update list


Display a help menu of available commands and flags.


$ update defaults:help
# aliased as
$ update help


Show the list of updaters that are registered to run on the current project.


$ update defaults:show
# aliased as
$ update show


Default task for the built-in defaults generator.


$ update help

Help menu

$ update help

  Usage: update <command> [options]

  Command: updater or tasks to run


    --config, -c      Save a configuration value to the `update` object in package.json
    --cwd             Set or display the current working directory
    --help, -h        Display this help menu
    --init, -i        Prompts you to choose the updaters to automatically run (your "queue")
    --add             Add updaters to your queue
    --remove          Remove updaters from your queue
    --run             Force tasks to run regardless of command line flags used
    --silent, -S      Silence all tasks and updaters in the terminal
    --show <key>      Display the value of <key>
    --version, -V     Display the current version of update
    --verbose, -v     Display all verbose logging messages


    # run updater "foo"
    $ update foo

    # run task "bar" from updater "foo"
    $ update foo:bar

    # run multiple tasks from updater "foo"
    $ update foo:bar,baz,qux

    # run a sub-generator from updater "foo"
    $ update

    # run task "xyz" from sub-generator ""
    $ update

    Update attempts to automatically determine if "foo" is a task or updater.
    If there is a conflict, you can force update to run updater "foo"
    by specifying its default task. Example: `$ update foo:default`



Discovering updaters

  • Find updaters to install by searching npm for packages with the keyword updateupdater
  • Visit Update's GitHub org to see the updaters maintained by the core team

Discovering plugins

Plugins from any applications built on base should work with Update (and can be used in your updater):

  • base: find base plugins on npm using the baseplugin keyword
  • assemble: find assemble plugins on npm using the assembleplugin keyword
  • generate: find generate plugins on npm using the generateplugin keyword
  • templates: find templates plugins on npm using the templatesplugin keyword
  • update: find update plugins on npm using the updateplugin keyword
  • verb: find verb plugins on npm using the verbplugin keyword

Authoring updaters

Visit the updater documentation guide to learn how to use, author and publish updaters.


Customize settings and default behavior using the update property in package.json. These values will override global defaults.

  "update": {
    "updaters": ["package", "license", "keywords"]


The following options may be defined in package.json.


The updaters to run on the current project.


Run updater-license and updater-package on the current project:

  "update": {
    "updaters": ["package", "license"]

More information

Release History


Changelog entries are classified using the following labels from keep-a-changelog:

  • added: for new features
  • changed: for changes in existing functionality
  • deprecated: for once-stable features removed in upcoming releases
  • removed: for deprecated features removed in this release
  • fixed: for any bug fixes

Custom labels used in this changelog:

  • dependencies: bumps dependencies
  • housekeeping: code re-organization, minor edits, or other changes that don't fit in one of the other categories.

Heads up!

Please let us know if any of the following heading links are broken. Thanks!

0.7.3 - 2016-07-21


  • ensure app.cwd in the current instance is the cwd defined by the user on the options or argv.

0.7.0 - 2016-07-21


  • as of v0.7.0, we will begin using the keep-a-changelog format for release history
  • adds support user-defined templates
  • adds support for app.home(), which resolves to ~/ or the user-defined options.homedir. This directory is used to determine the base directory for user-defined templates.
  • adds support for common-config. Exposed on the app.common object (e.g. app.common.set() etc)
  • adds experimental support for a home updater. If an updatefile.js exists in the ~/update directory (this will be customizable, but it's not yet), this file will be loaded and .use()d as a plugin before other updaters are loaded. You can use this to set options, add defaults, etc. But you can also run it explictly via commandline with the update home command.


  • fixes app.cwd so that it's updated when app.options.dest (--dest) is set
  • ensure args are parsed consistently



First stable release!

(Changelog generated by helper-changelog)


Related projects

  • assemble: Get the rocks out of your socks! Assemble makes you fast at creating web projects… more | homepage
  • base: Framework for rapidly creating high quality, server-side node.js applications, using plugins like building blocks | homepage
  • generate: Command line tool and developer framework for scaffolding out new GitHub projects. Generate offers the… more | homepage
  • verb: Documentation generator for GitHub projects. Verb is extremely powerful, easy to use, and is used… more | homepage


Are you using Update in your project? Have you published an updater and want to share your Update project with the world?

Here are some suggestions!

  • If you get like Update and want to tweet about it, please use the hashtag #updatejs (not @)
  • Show your love by starring Update and update
  • Get implementation help on StackOverflow (please use the updatejs tag in questions)
  • Gitter Discuss Update with us on Gitter
  • If you publish an updater, thank you! To make your project as discoverable as possible, please add the keyword updateupdater to package.json.


Pull requests and stars are always welcome. For bugs and feature requests, please create an issue.

Please read the contributing guide for advice on opening issues, pull requests, and coding standards.

Running tests

Running and reviewing unit tests is a great way to get familiarized with a library and its API. You can install dependencies and run tests with the following command:

$ npm install && npm test


Jon Schlinkert


Copyright © 2018, Jon Schlinkert. Released under the MIT License.

This file was generated by verb-generate-readme, v0.6.0, on January 23, 2018.


Update is a new developer framework and CLI for automating updates of any kind in code projects. If you know how to use assemble, generate or verb, you'll know how to use update.




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