Task Runner Explorer

Microsoft DevLabs Free

Provides custom task runner support to Visual Studio.

(18) Review
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by JHubSharp | February 16 2015

Awesome work. The tooling here and elsewhere in VS2015 has really renewed my focus on client-side development. Thanks!

by Pat James | February 12 2015

It is a nice idea but it completely breaks Visual Studio's git integration. To me, git is much more valuable inside VS. I can run gulp, grunt, etc just fine outside of VS with very little reduction in capability from what Task Runner Explorer offers. Not so with git. Maybe if/when this bug https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/Feedback/Details/865064 is resolved I will give it another try.

by DevDells | January 23 2015

You don't need a file save event to bind to. Just use the Grunt watcher.
Takes a little time to get Grunt integrated in your workflow, but this Task Runner makes it so much simpler.
Staying in VS makes it more transparent.

by Guido Müller | January 16 2015

Nice tool. From my perspective it would be an improvement to have a binding for a file save action to trigger a grunt task.

by Jorge Neyra | January 16 2015

This works great! I have 2 issues though. One was mentioned by another user about the tasks taking too long for the production files to be ready before publishing. My second issue is that any new files created by the tasks are not automatically included in the project.

by MaksimVi | January 08 2015

Great idea, but still needs improvements. Bindings seem to be triggered by every project inside the solution instead of just the one containing gruntfile.

by vilicvane | December 21 2014

Great to have this. And it would be great if there's a quick way to know the updates of running tasks without unfold task runner.

by LordDawnhunter | December 09 2014

Great tool but there is a small issue.
When publishing a web project, the package is created before "gulp" has finished running.
So, there is either missing files or files that are empty.

by Christiaan Rakowski | December 06 2014

by KatieArnott | November 12 2014

Can you add a gulp task to VS’s publish event?

Mads Kristensen November 18 2014
| Edit |

Yes. Your .pubxml file is actually an MSBuild file, so you can easily call any command line tool from it

by JayChase | November 06 2014

Just getting started but it seems stable and easy to use.

by Templarian | September 26 2014

No issues so far, installed it and tested it out on one of our large AngularJS projects at work without any modifications.

I wish there was a way to assign an alias to a button (on the toolbar). We have build.local and build.staging.

//Update: Yes, Hotkeys functionality would actually be better. I would probably prefer the hotkeys over a physical button (but some might like the button). (it deleted your reply when I updated this text).

by leoduran | September 17 2014

I put together a simple spike and everything worked well. Once I transitioned to a larger project the extension stopped working when I right click the Gruntfile. Do you have a place for submitting issues?

Great job with the extension. It will change the way we develop client-side code going forwards.

Take care,

Mads Kristensen September 19 2014
| Edit |

Please submit the issues under the "Q AND A" tab or send them to me directly at madsk at Microsoft com. Thanks

by jimmcslim | September 07 2014

Getting there... a great preview of what is to come.

Probably worth mentioning, especially to 'new-age front-end dev' newbs like myself, that you need to have done 'npm install -g grunt-cli' from your command line to get the Task Runner Explorer to work with Grunt... it won't parse the gruntfile.js otherwise. I think I thought that having listed grunt in the package.json devDependencies that would be sufficient, nor is doing 'npm install -g grunt' enough ,you need the cli tools (which are themselves dependent upon the grunt package). Just a trick for new players!

Mads Kristensen October 01 2014
| Edit |

I've added that to the Prerequisites section in the description. In VS14, those tools will be installed by VS so you won't have to install them separately yourself.

by Kenneth Brubaker | September 05 2014

When I talked with Mads at the 2012 Build, he said they hadn't "wrapped their heads around" tools such as Grunt and libraries such as Angular. That was frustrating given the seamless integration that WebStorm had...

Well, now! Consider them wrapped! Good show, guys, good show. Now bring it home with VS14 and Monaco.

by Peter Pirc | September 03 2014

Just started "grunt serve" with "watch" task and now enjoying rebuild and browser refresh whenever I change the code in VS. Great work! :)

by Stephen Feest (Cezanne HR) | September 03 2014

Really pleased to see Grunt support being added to Visual Studio. Unfortunately we can't use it for our 'real world' projects yet because our Gruntfiles are at solution level but it sounds like this will be coming in a future release.

Mads Kristensen September 03 2014
| Edit |

This is being addressed and will be supported in future releases. Thanks for the feedback!

by John Papa | September 03 2014

Great integration with Gulp and Grunt! Love being able to run the tasks from Visual Studio and bind them to actions, such as on clean.

Great job!

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  • VS stopped working and restarting
    1 Posts | Last post 8:33 AM
    • Hi, everytime i re-sized the project pane of the task runner explorer my vs will restart. Can someone help me to fix it?
  • Don't modify gulpfile.js
    1 Posts | Last post Thu 4:55 PM
    • The following comment is added to gulpfile.js
      /// <vs SolutionOpened='default' />
      There are two reasons why this should not happen.  
      1.) Different users may want to configure different solution open defaults.
      2.) In an IDE agnostic development environment, the project should not be "polluted" by my tool choice.  It's fine if there is a user specific local configuration file that is never checked into source control.
  • Object reference not set to an instance
    2 Posts | Last post Wed 9:01 PM
    • When I click on the refresh button, it displays a message dialog : "Object not set to an instance of an object." ???
    • Apparently this was cause by an project item that failed to loaded (this was a silverlight project and I didnt have the silverlight sdk installed). As soon as I removed the project from the solution, Task Runner Explorer started working again.
  • Support "Gruntfile.js" (with capital G)
    2 Posts | Last post February 22, 2015
    • The documentation on gruntjs.com generally refers to Gruntfile with a capital G, and a casual audit of major projects on Github that utilize Grunt shows that almost all of them (including high-profile projects like jQuery) make use of the Capital-G file name. Unfortunately this extension only currently detects a gruntfile if it is named with a lower-case "g". This is the root error I believe underlies a number of the threads in this Q&A; I hope it will be a quick fix to add support for capital-G files.
    • +1 for reading in capital-G Gruntfile.js
      I can't get it to work even with lowercase 'g'.  gruntfile.js is at the root of my web project (not the solution).  Tried with an ASP.NET MVC (.NET 4.5) project and a Single Page Application project.  Running VS 2013 Ultimate Update 4, Web Essentials 2013.  Made sure /Scripts/_reference.js was good (path correct to gruntfile.js).  To ensure it wasn't something specific to my Gruntfile.js I tried with the sample one provided http://gruntjs.com/sample-gruntfile.  Still no luck.  Also uninstalled Web Essentials 2013 to make sure there wasn't a conflict there.  Didn't help.  
      Is there a way to get more verbose error messages?
  • Failed to load
    3 Posts | Last post February 21, 2015
    • When opening Task Runner explorer by right clicking on gulpfile.cs I get an error message saying "Failed to load.  See output window for more information."  The output window says "Referenced file '~/Scripts/_references.js' not found."
      Running the latest version of Task Runner Explorer.
    • http://madskristensen.net/post/the-story-behind-_referencesjs
      If you don't have a _reference.js file in your project, but you have Web Essentials 2013 installed, then it's really easy to add one. Simply right-click the /Scripts/ folder and go to the Add submenu to find an easy way to add references.js.
    • The thing is that in VS2015 , using the ASP.NET 5 Starter Web, there is no /Scripts/ folder. I guess we can't use gulpfile with Task Runner Explorer yet, which is kinda sad.
  • No option for Task Runner Explorer when right-clicking grunt file
    3 Posts | Last post February 18, 2015
    • I'm unable to get Task Runner Explorer to see my project-level gruntfile.js. The project is in the root of the solution. When I right-click on the file, I see the Grunt submenu from Grunt Launcher (showing everything as expected). However, there is no option for TRX. When I open the TRX window from View > Other Windows, it shows nothing and refreshing results in a 'object reference not set...' message. I did have this working last fall shortly after its release. Since then I haven't used it and now I'm unable to get it working. I've tried disabling extensions, reinstalling TRX, etc. Any ideas?
    • In another branch, the same project shows TRX as it should. Not sure what the difference between the branches are (same solution, just in different branches).
    • Have you made any progress with this? Having the same issue, even when I try to set-up a new test project. Would much appreciate it if you've figured it out. Thanks!
  • Task Runner Explorer not showing for gulp files
    1 Posts | Last post February 18, 2015
    • I currently have the problem that I cannot use the TRX with gulp files. I can run it with the grunt launcher but I cannot use the TRX on it sadly.
  • Tasks vs Sub Tasks
    1 Posts | Last post February 16, 2015
    • How does TRX determine a task vs a sub task? I have two tasks that look near identical but one is reported as a task and one as a sub-task. Is there some way to configure this?
  • Workarounds to VS git integration defects & node_modules path?
    2 Posts | Last post February 16, 2015
    • I'm trying to use this AND use the integrated git support in VS 2013.  The problem is you get a too-deep folder named node_modules that prevents any git commits.  Adding the node_modules path to the .gitignore settings should resolve this problem...except that it doesn't.  See https://connect.microsoft.com/VisualStudio/Feedback/Details/865064
      Is there a workaround?  If not, may I suggest you add this to the known issues and limitations note?
    • This isn't anything to do with this extension, it's how NPM manages dependencies. There's a pretty interesting thread about it in the NPM repo - the attitude has been "Don't use Windows" until recently. Now it sounds like they are working on a fix.
      You can also move the project directory up as high as you can. I moved my solution to c: root and the problem is gone. Not an ideal solution, but it works...
  • Compatible with Web Site project and/or Web Application projects?
    1 Posts | Last post February 12, 2015
    • When you say that "Only web projects are supported", are both web site projects and web application projects supported, or is only one of them supported?
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