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It's time to learn Grunt to automate development and design

Now that the Microsoft-Does-Everything-Different is dead and we all are moving to the development models of the future which embrace HTML and JavaScript - it's time to learn Grunt

What's it for?

Basically Grunt is a tool to automatically run scripts for you. These scripts do things like

  1. JavaScript - Linting: This is like finding compile time errors in JavaScript - awesome :)
  2. TypeScript or CoffeeScript compiling
  3. JavaScript compression: Create minified and bundled JS at dev time which us much better and more reliable than on-the-fly like DNN tries to do it. All modern JS does it this way - that's why you always get a ...min.js
  4. JavaScript Source-Map generation: This allows you to still debug JS even though it's minified
  5. LESS or SASS CSS compilation 
  6. JavaScript automation like Automatic-Annotation

How does it do that?

Grunt is JavaScript based and uses nodeJS. It basically looks at a file called gruntfile.js and does whatever is defined there in a batch-run. This file contains a bunch of things like:

  1. What plugins to load (because each action is an own plugin)
  2. What file-sets exist to be processed - like the list of "my css-files"
  3. Run each plugin against these files

This may sound complicated but you'll be amazed at how easy and fast this is. We've been using it on 2sxc for about half a year now and we love it!

Getting Started with Grunt

I'll write some tutorials as soon as we've added Grunt-support to 2sxc Apps. This should be released this week. If you can't wait, just try some online tutorials out there :). 

With love from Switzerland,

Daniel Mettler grew up in the jungles of Indonesia and is founder and CEO of 2sic internet solutions in Switzerland and Liechtenstein, an 20-head web specialist with over 700 DNN projects since 1999. He is also chief architect of 2sxc (see forge), an open source module for creating attractive content and DNN Apps.


Erik Hinds
Grunt is excellent. However, I found it best to keep my skins Less & js files outside the portals folder and use grunt to output minified css/js in the skin folder. Reason being is the node will generate hundreds of temporary files in the node modules folder. Keeping that out of the portal folder is wise because the file manager can index it, and the file picker as well. Older versions of the file picker control don't ignore that, which could lead to a bloated viewstate when trying to parse through dozens and dozens of folders.
Erik Hinds Thursday, June 25, 2015 2:34 PM (link)

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