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How I learned to stop worrying and love task runners

A year ago I wrote an article on how I didn’t see the point in tools like Gulp and Grunt. One year later and I have to admit, the old me was an idiot.

So what changed your mind?

In the last paragraph of the aforementioned article, I wrote:

If I’m being honest, Codekit will remain my tool of choice. I think for the sake of ‘fitting in’ at the hip London agencies, I’m going to run a project in Gulp just to make sure I understand the nuts and bolts of it but with each release, Codekit just gets better and better, whereas the other tools seem to just fade into obscurity.

THAT is what changed my mind, I did build a project in gulp, then another, then another and before I knew it, I couldn’t live without it. The sheer power it provided was something completely unprecedented in my (not inconsiderable) time as a developer. To call it a paradigm shift would not be an understatement.

I’m not one for fashion, especially when it comes to web development, I’ll take robust over flashy and new any day of the week, this can sometimes mean that it will take me a while to ‘catch-on’ to things which are legitimately the “next big thing”. I do get there in the end though and now I consider task-runners to be indispensable when it comes to project architecture, when combined with other tools such as NPM and Yeoman, it transforms setting the basics of a new project up from an arduous task which could take hours (if not over a day on some projects) into one which takes only minutes!

So there you have it, don’t discredit software just because it’s new or because you’ve got a tried and tested tool under your belt. You never know unless you try.

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Alex Ward
Freelance UI Developer at
Freelance User Interface Developer, Aspiring novelist and ill-informed political writer from Sevenoaks, UK.

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