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Grunt

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Grunt vs gulp: What are the differences?

Developers describe Grunt as "The JavaScript Task Runner". The less work you have to do when performing repetitive tasks like minification, compilation, unit testing, linting, etc, the easier your job becomes. After you've configured it, a task runner can do most of that mundane work for you—and your team—with basically zero effort. On the other hand, gulp is detailed as "The streaming build system". Build system automating tasks: minification and copying of all JavaScript files, static images. More capable of watching files to automatically rerun the task when a file changes.

Grunt and gulp belong to "JS Build Tools / JS Task Runners" category of the tech stack.

"Configuration ", "Open source" and "Automation of minification and live reload" are the key factors why developers consider Grunt; whereas "Build speed", "Readable" and "Code-over-configuration" are the primary reasons why gulp is favored.

Grunt and gulp are both open source tools. It seems that gulp with 31.3K GitHub stars and 4.41K forks on GitHub has more adoption than Grunt with 11.9K GitHub stars and 1.55K GitHub forks.

According to the StackShare community, gulp has a broader approval, being mentioned in 1163 company stacks & 705 developers stacks; compared to Grunt, which is listed in 796 company stacks and 429 developer stacks.

Decisions about Grunt and gulp

Very simple to use and a great way to optimize repetitive tasks, like optimize PNG images, convert to WebP, create sprite images with CSS.

I didn't choose Grunt because of the fact it uses files and Gulp uses memory, making it faster for my use case since I need to work with 3000+ small images. And the fact Gulp has 32k+ stars on GitHub.

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Pros of Grunt
Pros of gulp
  • 288
    Configuration
  • 176
    Open source
  • 166
    Automation of minification and live reload
  • 60
    Great community
  • 7
    SASS compilation
  • 454
    Build speed
  • 277
    Readable
  • 244
    Code-over-configuration
  • 210
    Open source
  • 175
    Node streams
  • 107
    Intuitive
  • 84
    Lots of plugins
  • 66
    Works great with browserify
  • 45
    Easy to Learn
  • 17
    Laravel-elixir
  • 4
    build workflow
  • 3
    Great community
  • 3
    Simple & flexible
  • 2
    Stylus intergration
  • 2
    jade intergration
  • 0
    Well documented
  • 0
    Clean Code

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What is Grunt?

The less work you have to do when performing repetitive tasks like minification, compilation, unit testing, linting, etc, the easier your job becomes. After you've configured it, a task runner can do most of that mundane work for you—and your team—with basically zero effort.

What is gulp?

Build system automating tasks: minification and copying of all JavaScript files, static images. More capable of watching files to automatically rerun the task when a file changes.

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What are some alternatives to Grunt and gulp?
Webpack
A bundler for javascript and friends. Packs many modules into a few bundled assets. Code Splitting allows to load parts for the application on demand. Through "loaders" modules can be CommonJs, AMD, ES6 modules, CSS, Images, JSON, Coffeescript, LESS, ... and your custom stuff.
npm
npm is the command-line interface to the npm ecosystem. It is battle-tested, surprisingly flexible, and used by hundreds of thousands of JavaScript developers every day.
Yarn
Yarn caches every package it downloads so it never needs to again. It also parallelizes operations to maximize resource utilization so install times are faster than ever.
Gradle
Gradle is a build tool with a focus on build automation and support for multi-language development. If you are building, testing, publishing, and deploying software on any platform, Gradle offers a flexible model that can support the entire development lifecycle from compiling and packaging code to publishing web sites.
Apache Maven
Maven allows a project to build using its project object model (POM) and a set of plugins that are shared by all projects using Maven, providing a uniform build system. Once you familiarize yourself with how one Maven project builds you automatically know how all Maven projects build saving you immense amounts of time when trying to navigate many projects.
See all alternatives
Reviews of Grunt and gulp
Review of
Grunt

Grunt is all based on configuration. Some of the configuration is well documented, and some pre-built Gruntfiles can be dropped in and work like a charm. But if you are ever in the position where you have to make any changes to your large and complicated Gruntfile, set aside a few days to work on it. The deeper you get into it, the less intuitive you will find it, and the more strange behaviors you will find from plugins with some 'automagical' undocumented configuration or behavior. If you want a build process that you can understand, and that six months from now you will still understand, you are better off using Gulp.

Co-Founder and CTO at Tipe
Review of
gulp

Gulp is a new build system which shows a lot of promise. The use of streams and code-over-configuration makes for a simpler and more intuitive build. There isn't much boilerplate code so you're able to roll your own asset pipeline. Even if you don't know node.js streams, gulp is pretty readable and easier to understand.

PS: It's worth saying if you know Grunt then you can learn Gulp in a day.

pm at 36kr
Review of
gulp

love it!l like gulp‘s logo!

How developers use Grunt and gulp
Cloudcraft uses
gulp

Gulp is used as the build system for Cloudcraft.co with a lot of custom targets: vendoring dependencies, transpiling ES2015 to Ecmascript5 (with Babel), incremental compilation of multiple watched modules, minification, creation of app distribution packages etc. Having previously used Grunt, I've come to greatly prefer Gulp due to the ability to easily write my own tasks using plain JS without necessarily relying on plugins for everything.

Scrayos UG (haftungsbeschränkt) uses
gulp

gulp is used to package our plugins for the WSC (Woltlab Suite Core) in a fast, convenient and code-driven way. We enjoy the comfort it offers with stuff like the gzip-plugin or tar-packing.

Refractal uses
gulp

For all our frontend site builds, Grunt allows us to do one-click builds for SASS, Coffeescript and other tools, with minifying and general restructuring built right in.

IVS uses
gulp

gulp is a fancy alternative to grunt (that we don't use anymore). Just use async/await instead of "stream" everything (which is a nonsens). We don't use gulp.

Tinker Travel uses
gulp

If a project has a more complex build, gulp allows us to build a flexible build pipeline and automatically rebuild on files changes. Speeds up JS development.

IVS uses
Grunt

Using ES7 async/await make the whole tooling chain "problem" disappear. No more code - no grunt tasks, no problems. We don't use grunt anymore.

Chris Saylor uses
Grunt

We use it in development for the main application and is responsible for generating the Electron binary artifacts for the client application.

Cian Ó Cuinneagáin uses
Grunt

Concat all javascript files, less files plus other work. Then moves all output files to build directory(declared in the build.config file).

Aspire uses
Grunt

Build our client-side app: process and minify LESS, AngularJS, HTML partials, etc.

Giftstarter uses
Grunt

We use Grunt to automate some stuff, mostly related to tasks for the the Web App.