Task Runner Explorer

Microsoft DevLabs Free

Provides custom task runner support to Visual Studio.

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by Mikey Jensen (The Fantastic) | October 07 2015

How the hell do you hide this thing? It comes up every time it runs, why can't it just run in the background.

by Phi Huynh | September 09 2015

by speedystgt | September 09 2015

Hi Mads,
this plugin seems to be great, but one important thing is not supported.
Most developers may need the possibility to use nested solutions. Is there
any plan to support this? Then you will get five stars.

by Alexander Staroselsky | August 11 2015

Great plugin for organizing and running Gulp/Grunt tasks. Plugin has done a great job of identifying registered tasks in gulpfile and displaying in window so far. One really big win for me was being able to bring up the task runner explorer and run Gulp tasks while MVC application was running, allowing me to run tasks such as gulp-uncss to identify unused css.

by I.Mahmoudi66 | August 06 2015

by Eric Aldinger | June 10 2015

I really like this so far. Good job.

The test output is nicer in the explorer than the output directly from the cli. I wish I knew how to capture that formatting for our build output.

I would like to access this from within the context of any js file.

I would like the option to mute warnings like ">> Local Npm module "grunt-sync" not found. Is it installed?" It should be installed IMHO, but that is a matter of debate for our team. So the warning is not of value right now.

Instead of having jshint and htmlhint directly under Tasks, perhaps move them under a general Hint level. This could enable users to either lint both at the same time, or either independently.

by Guilherme Magalhães | April 03 2015

I'm getting "object reference not set to an instance of an object" while clicking the refresh projects button... Only happens in one new Win10 machine with 2013 and 2015 installed.

Is there a way to debug the extension or get logs?

by LongDinhLe | April 01 2015

by Justin_Butler | March 30 2015

Mads -

Great extension and really helped me get some outsourced front-end code into our Visual Studio environment. In order to take this to the next level, it would be great if there were built-in support in Visual Studio for getting Gulp into the build pipeline so that we can really take advantage of this in Continuous Integration scenarios. There is a really good article about this by Steve Cadwallader on his blog, which can be found here:


Hope you consider making this part of Visual Studio's default functionality. Again thanks for your work thus far!


by KyleButler | March 03 2015

I can't get it to work. Gulp works fine from the command line, but in VS I just get "Process terminated with code 1". No idea what the problem is or how to fix it

by cslater | March 02 2015

Please fix the crash every time you size the splitter window.

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

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  • Hide Task Runner Explorer Window
    1 Posts | Last post Mon 9:42 AM
    • I there a way to permanently hide the Task Runner Explorer window? 
      Every time I build my project it keeps showing up and places its self on top of other windows (such as Error List or Output)
  • Redirect Task Runner Explorer output to Output pane on build
    3 Posts | Last post Sat 11:05 PM
    • I have just started with Task Runner Explorer, and it is not only extremely useful, but helped me with learning Grunt and the transition to Grunt in a number of projects.
      When you say in the description that only Web projects are supported, does that include both Web site projects and Web application projects?
      Would there be any benefit in parsing gruntfile.ts in addition to gruntfile.coffee and gruntfile.js? I imagine not, because gruntfiles are usually relatively small. (It might be easier to get Intellisense on TypeScript files than on standard JS files, but I guess that's not in the scope of this extension.)
      I have one issue on a Web site project -- I've attached a build binding to a grunt task, but the output from the task doesn't show up in the Output pane when I build, nor in the Task Runner Explorer terminal pane.
    • (I just want to note -- the task is running, either to completion, or failing as the case may be).
    • I know the extension is for VS2013, but have issue with VS 2015 when trying to send error from TRE to Error List window. Please assist.
      I saw this post: http://stackoverflow.com/questions/30476118/jshint-gulp-to-error-window-vs2015
      However in VS2015
      console.log("error: JSHint failed.");
      Doesn't show anything in Error List.
      I've also formatted ESLint task output to be like here:
      or http://blogs.msdn.com/b/msbuild/archive/2006/11/03/msbuild-visual-studio-aware-error-messages-and-message-formats.aspx
      Please help finding out if it's possible at all? And if possible which format to use?
  • Failed to load gulpFile.js
    3 Posts | Last post November 18, 2015
    • I have tried the same code in VS 2015 and works well.
      I have:
      - node_modules in the root
      - gulpFile.js
      In VS 2015 I can change the node priority but in VS 2013 I can't. Tools -> Options -> Projects & Solutions  -> External Web Tool (PATH over External).
      The error message in the task runner output is the following:
      Failed to load "C:\Users\daniel.comas\Documents\SourceCode\ProAssist\Main\gulpfile.js"...
      'gulp' is not recognized as an internal or external command,
      operable program or batch file.
    • Did you ever figure this out? I have the same problem with VS 2013...
    • Nevermind... Just after i hit the "Save reply" button i remembered something about an "npm install gulp -g" command :) And this solved the problem.
  • "Project Open" bound task is launched twice when VS2015 RTM is opened
    10 Posts | Last post October 09, 2015
    • I'm using a clean install of VS2015 RTM community edition. I have a single task bound to "Project Open". When the project is opened from a state where VS is already running, the task will be launched once, correctly (though the TRE window seems to force itself to pop-up - I personally would prefer it not to, like it does in VS2013).
      Anyway, my setting in Options -> Environment -> Startup is "Load last loaded solution" so when I open VS it would automatically load the last solution, and TRE would launch the task twice. I have this happening on two of my projects that are set this way (I don't have any other projects that use TRE).
      Having to close one instance every time is quite annoying, and since this isn't really an add-on anymore, I'm not sure exactly how and when it could be fixed. Is there at least a workaround for this problem?
    • Some more info: I'm using Windows 7 SP1 64bit. The task is a Grunt "watch" task. I tried to check if it is also happening with other tasks (like  grunt-ts), and it did. It also occurred randomly when VS was already running, but it only seems to happen consistently when VS is loaded right before the solution/project is opened. I also tried to disable Web Essentials and Web Compiler extensions (these are the only ones that were installed) and it had no effect. It happens very consistently in this scenario.
      The delay between the launching of the two instances looks like 1 or 2 seconds (they don't start exactly at the same time).
      The thing is I never used the VS2015 release candidates myself, so I have no idea if it also happened in the pre-release versions as well, and if it did, someone would have probably reported it? (I would definitely have reported it myself if I encountered it).
    • Screen capture video of the problem: 
      Microsoft connect bug report (with more detailed instructions for reproduction):
    • I figured it out. It's because you have multiple build configurations. Just delete other configurations and leave only one.
    • oops! tried again, doesn't work now :(
    • Also experiencing user2k's issue, however my configuration uses Gulp. Posting here in the hopes that someone may reply.
    • @AshWasHere I have confirmed (using a virtual machine with a clean install of Win10 and VS2015) the problem is reproducible but only happens *if the TRE window is set to _auto-hide_*. I commented on the Microsoft Connect page and asked for the issue to be reopened, please update if you have any conflicting results.
    • A new Microsoft Connect issue has been opened with the additional reproduction instructions. The previous one was closed as "not reproducible" and no response has been received from Microsoft for the additional information I provided:
      I have already taken extreme measures in trying to isolate this issue, and seem to have succeeded. I hope this additional information would finally put it to rest.
    • Having this issue as well, and it's really strange. Reproduces every time on my PC and the PC of only one of my coworkers. Reproduction does not depend on the state of auto-hide mode. However, it never reproduces if I remove the node_modules folder and VS has to re-download it on project start. The next time I open the project with node_modules already downloaded, the task runs twice again. Really annoying. If anyone comes across a workaround, please let us know!
    • @Impworks 
      According to my tests, having the TRE window pinned and set to auto-hide seemed to be a _sufficient_ condition for it to occur (I've reset all settings and even deleted the whole VS profile several times to make sure that there were no other variables interfering here). It did happen occasionally when the window was positioned differently but most of the time it seemed to work normally at that case. As for a relation with 'node_modules', I think that this detail wouldn't be as significant given that a Microsoft person has actually reproduced the problem. There is no need to try to investigate anything but the minimum conditions for reproduction. They have better tools to track and debug this further.
      Unfortunately there hasn't been any response or request for information from Microsoft for more than 2.5 months now. The updated issue I posted mysteriously disappeared but now resurrected. Visual studio update 1 CTP does not include this even as a known issue. It is not even clear whether this would be fixed in the 1st update.
  • Horizontal layout
    1 Posts | Last post October 07, 2015
    • Hello
      It would be quite useful to be able to use horizontal layout, so Task Runner Explorer able to dock left or right.
  • Detecting Gulp tasks inside a solution folder
    1 Posts | Last post September 22, 2015
    • I'm aware that this feature is on the roadmap and isn't implemented yet. What's the rough timeframe for this, and is there any way that I can help with development? (I don't know if this project has a Github page or some project area or something.) While I generally prefer the command-line tools in a Linux, OSX, or Windows environment for Git and node tasks, I'm on a team with developers who aren't. Having this integration would really benefit my team.
  • Errors on project open in VS 2015 community
    1 Posts | Last post September 22, 2015
    • I can't see a bug tracker so posting here.
      When I open a project I get task runner errors but I have not tried to run any tasks/ Perhaps it is trying to parse the files? There really is not enough info in the errors.
      Failed to run "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows\Gruntfile.js"...
      cmd.exe /c grunt -b "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows" --gruntfile "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows\Gruntfile.js" --tasks "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions\Microsoft\Web Tools\TaskRunnerExplorer\Scripts" vs-grunt-task-reader
      Failed to run "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows\package.json"...
      Sequence contains no elements
      Failed to run "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows\Gruntfile.js"...
      cmd.exe /c grunt -b "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows" --gruntfile "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows\Gruntfile.js" --tasks "C:\Program Files (x86)\Microsoft Visual Studio 14.0\Common7\IDE\Extensions\Microsoft\Web Tools\TaskRunnerExplorer\Scripts" vs-grunt-task-reader
      Failed to run "C:\Users\Steve\Documents\projects\GPII-windows\package.json"...
      Sequence contains no elements
      I have existing gruntfile and package.js as this is imported code. I suspect that the package.json Error is as there is no scripts entry.
      Are there and docs for this - what is it looking for etc?
      Source code would be helpful
  • How do I uninstall from VS 2015?
    1 Posts | Last post September 20, 2015
    • The extension isn't listed under "Extensions and Updates". 
  • Failed if solution contains unloaded project (NullReferenceException)
    3 Posts | Last post September 02, 2015
    • 1. open solution with many project
      2. unload project (solution explorer -> project -> unload)
      4. NullReferenceException
      stacktrace: http://1drv.ms/1FuhB8q
      I think, VisitAllProjects method should check "if(project.ProjectItems!=null)"
    • I can confirm that this happens.  Thanks for saving my bacon by pointing this out, I wasn't sure where to turn :)
    • Happening for me too. I thought I was going crazy until I read this post. Thanks!
  • On crashes
    1 Posts | Last post August 28, 2015
    • When visual studio crashes the node process keeps running. This can be pretty bad since most of the time you have a watch process going on and suddenly you have two watch processes and you don't know why things aren't working. I think you should make the node process a child process / linked to visual studio that way these types of things don't happen.
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