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Stand Alone JavaScript Build Tools

In the last few years there has been an explosion of build tools to help JavaScript developers create complex applications. Grunt.js, the Rails 3 Asset Pipeline, Smoosh and Browserify are few examples available to organize your files, package and concatenate output. Some of these allow you to mix-in other tools like JSHint, JSMin / UglifyJS, Less / Stylus, QUnit and Phantom.js to bring the automation of trivial build tasks closer to the developer. Additionally, there is an emerging trend to perform these tasks in real time rather than upon commit / continuous integration.

Each panelist will quickly demonstrate how they use these lightweight, editor-independent build tools in order for the audience to see how different approaches solve similar problems. The panel also will explore the emerging paradigms and best practices the industry is developing due to these tools.

Additional Supporting Materials


  1. Build tools that provide a lightweight build step to manage dependancies and concentrate files have given frontend developers the freedom to truly start breaking up files into small more, modular pieces. How have you seen these tools change the way you code?
  2. How have you seen these build tools improve code organization and architecture?
  3. What are some new tools, or new ways of using existing tools, that you've seen and want to try out?
  4. Many projects have started to run their unit tests continually in the background via a headless browser. This essentially has created a new paradigm within TDD that is similar to continuous integration (test on every checkin), but brings it one level closer to be catching test failures on every file save. Realtime JS linting is one of the most common applications of this. How does realtime responsive tool feedback influence the developer experience?
  5. Where do you think the future of custom build tools is heading? What new possibilities will this open up for developers? What problems do you think still need to be solved by these tools?



Ryan Stevens, Client Services Development Manager,

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