Task Runner Explorer

Microsoft DevLabs Free

Provides custom task runner support to Visual Studio.

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by pbyte | January 04 2016

+ Great idea

- Extension not maintained anymore
- source code is not open sourced so that we could fix it by ourselves in order to implement complex frontend developement workflows which require tight VS integration. one show stopper is for example the fact that other extensions like NpmTaskRunner depend on it.
- questions/bugs reported by users are totally ignored

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 SturmUndDrang | 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.

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  • Task runner doesn't see /gulpfile.js/index.js
    1 Posts | Last post Sun 7:30 PM
    • Because I split tasks into different files, I put it within gulpfile.js folder.
      But Task runner don't see index.js within gulpfile.js folder.
  • "Project Open" bound task is launched twice when VS2015 RTM is opened
    12 Posts | Last post April 20, 2016
    • 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.
    • Despite the second bug report I posted being marked as "fixed", this bug has persisted in update 1 and now continues in update 2 in all my personal projects. It does not seem to happen on "toy" projects though, like the reduced test case I gave. Maybe it was fixed only partially for trivial cases, there is no way for me to know.
      I have personally given up on this, hoping that perhaps one day someone internal to Microsoft would personally find this important enough to convince the VS team to investigate this more thoroughly. As an outsider there seems to be no response or even a hint of communication from Microsoft members. As it stands now, this problem may even persist to VS 2016 or VS 2017!
      If someone else wants to take "charge" on this, please do!
    • I have successfully reproduced the problem on a clean install of Visual Studio "15" Enterprise Preview Edition in a fresh installation of Windows 10 x64 Insider Build 14316 (inside a VirtualBox VM).
  • gulp task works via command line but not via task runner explorer
    4 Posts | Last post March 30, 2016
    • I rely on a TFS command line tool to build a .VSIX file. I built a gulp task that runs the command, which is "tfx extension create". When I run the gulp task from my command prompt, it works. When I run it via Task Runner Explorer, it doesn't work. Any idea why that might happen? 
      Here's the gulp task that fails: 
      var gulp = require('gulp');
      var exec = require('child_process').exec;
      gulp.task('build', function (cb) {
          exec('tfx extension create', function (err, stdout, stderr) {
      Any ideas on why this might work fine via cmd.exe but fail via task runner explorer?
    • The error I get when run from task runner explorer is: 
      > cmd.exe /c gulp -b "C:\Code\Projects\SOURCE\Main\TfsIntegrations\SourceExtensions" --color --gulpfile "C:\Code\Projects\SOURCE\Main\TfsIntegrations\SourceExtensions\Gulpfile.js" build
      [23:24:04] Using gulpfile C:\Code\Projects\SOURCE\Main\TfsIntegrations\SourceExtensions\Gulpfile.js
      [23:24:04] Starting 'build'...
      TypeError: Object #<Object> has no method 'parse'
      [23:24:05] 'build' errored after 591 ms
      [23:24:05] Error: spawn OK
          at errnoException (child_process.js:1001:11)
          at Process.ChildProcess._handle.onexit (child_process.js:792:34)
      Process terminated with code 1.
    • SOLVED! Check out the answer over here: 
      Thank you Stack Overflow. 
    • Just wanted to post a thank you for this solution. Battling with this for a few hours now and this solves it for sure!
  • It stopped to work with NPM@3 - with flat node_module structure
    2 Posts | Last post March 22, 2016
    • Any suggestions?
    • e.g it doesn't see installed grunt (Fatal error: Unable to find local grunt.) which works fine in older npm with old directory structure
  • Doesnt work under VS 2013
    2 Posts | Last post February 29, 2016
    • Not sure what is going on. Have VS 2013, Updt 5. Installed Task Runner Explorer. Window is now there. Created guplfile.js. tested gulpfile from command line, works fine. But Task Runner Explorer seems dead. Doesn't recognize the gulpfile.  Project dropdown is empty.  Refresh button gets an "object reference not found.." error. Any help would be appreciated.
    • hello again - I know nobody cares but just to let y'all know that its still useless, another great broken toy - why did I even bother to hope that things would work as mouthpieced (or in this case, would work at all)?
  • VS 2013 and 2015
    3 Posts | Last post February 08, 2016
    • Thanks for your hard work!  Any plans to make the 2013 bindings compatible with 2015?  It would be nice to be able to open the solution in either version and have your ProjectOpened/SolutionOpened tasks fire.
    • I have the same problem. Did anyone find a solution?
    • tried setting both the vs2013 and vs2015 versions of the event binding but it only seems to read the value if it is at the top of the file.
  • vs2013 and vs2015
    1 Posts | Last post February 08, 2016
    • it appears that this plugin in vs2013 uses different text in the triple slash comment in gulpfile.js than the Task Runner Explorer in vs2015.
      This is a problem for me trying to adopt this as I have people using both.
      Is this plugin going to be updated to use the same tag as vs2015?
  • Gulp-sass task compile error
    1 Posts | Last post February 04, 2016
    • https://i.gyazo.com/8a41191afa1fa463aa4e2377ab1e2164.png
  • You should tell users that they need integrated shell to install this
    2 Posts | Last post January 21, 2016
    • I was having trouble installing this extension, I spent an hour trying to figure out why this wasn't working and it was as simple as ticking the extensibility option in vs 15 installer.
    • can someone delete this one?
      it's a duplicate, sorry!
  • You should tell users that they need integrated shell to install this
    1 Posts | Last post January 21, 2016
    • I was having trouble installing this extension, I spent an hour trying to figure out why this wasn't working and it was as simple as ticking the extensibility option in vs 15 installer.
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