Top JavaScript Task Runners : Grunt, Gulp, and RequireJS

DevelopmentNovember 02, 2023

A JS task runner runs commands for you that would otherwise be tedious or impossible. Task runners provide value by automating numerous development tasks such as concatenating files, spinning up development servers, and compiling code. Task runner automatically executes processes behind the scenes, saving both work and time.

Here, we will look at some of the most popular task runner tools to choose from.

1. Grunt

The Grunt ecosystem is enormous, and it's growing every day. With literally hundreds of plugins to choose from, you can use Grunt to automate just about anything with a minimum of effort. You can choose from any of the plugins available, or you can create one for yourself with Grunt.

Developed By: Ben Alman 

Pros:

  • You can automate repetitive tasks with minimum effort by simply creating a setup file.

  • Based on NodeJS, and is very flexible.

  • Open-source.

  • SASS compilation.

  • Grunt has a great community.

  • Allows developers to work with a new codebase as it has minimum infrastructure.

  • Robust and can advantageously be used for big production sites.

Top companies using this: 

Statistics:

  • GitHub stars: 12.1k

  • Initial Release: 4 April 2016

More info →

2. Gulp

Gulp is another toolkit to automate and enhance your workflow. Leverage gulp and the flexibility of JavaScript to automate slow, repetitive workflows and compose them into efficient build pipelines. Gulp is efficient, flexible, composable, and provides you with speed and accuracy.

Developed By: Eric Schoffstall 

Pros:

  • Using code over configuration, utilize all of JavaScript to create your gulp file.

  • Gulp lets you write individual, focused tasks and compose them into more extensive operations.

  • Aspects such as file watching are built-in.

  • Most plugins are simple and designed to do a single job.

  • Works excellent with browserify.

  • Gulp is easy to learn.

Top companies using this: 

Statistics: 

  • GitHub stars: 32.3k

  • Release Date: 26 September 2013

More info →

3. Yarn

The yarn has the reputation of being quick, secure, and reliable. Yarn caches every package it downloads, so it never needs to download it again. It also parallelizes operations to maximize resource utilization, so install times are faster than ever.

Developed By: Facebook, Exponent, Google, and Tilde 

Pros:

  • Yarn parallelizes operations to maximize resource utilization, so install times are faster than ever.

  • It uses the Hadoop operating system, which means processes will be resilient and capable of distributing vast data sets.

  • Yarn can install any npm package and works where npm fails.

  • There is a central controlling authority which, among other things, allows for immense scalability.

  • It is highly compatible with existing Hadoop MapReduce applications.

Top companies using this:

Statistics: 

  • GitHub stars: 40k

More info →

4. RequireJS 

RequireJS is a JavaScript file and module loader. It is optimized for in-browser use, but it can be used in other JavaScript environments, like Rhino and Node. Using a modular script loader like RequireJS will improve the speed and quality of your code.

Developed By: David Mark

Pros: 

  • Combines and streamlines modules into one script for optimal performance.

  • In the case of large-sized applications, it can reduce code complexity.

  • With React, debugging is more straightforward as it loads files from plain script tags.

Top companies using this:

Statistics:

  • GitHub stars: 12.7k

  • Release Date: 19 Feb 2010

More info →

5. Brunch

Brunch is an assembler for HTML5 applications. Brunch focuses on producing a small number of files that can be deployed from a large number of separate development trees. This front-end development tool provides a smooth and quick work experience. It's agnostic to frameworks, libraries, programming, stylesheet & templating languages, and backend technology.

Developed By: Paul Miller, Elan Shanker, Nik Graf, Thomas Schranz 

Pros:

  • Built-in dev server with live reload.

  • Has many pre-configurable framework "skeletons"

  • Notifies you about errors via console and system notifications.

  • The commands are simple and easy to execute.

  • It can create fast-zero builds as well as incremental builds.

Top companies using this:

Statistics:

  • GitHub stars: 6.8k

  • Release Date: 7 Jun 2011

More info →

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