Automating pre-deployment sanity checks with Grunt

By: on August 15, 2014

Grunt is a great tool for building, running and deploying ‘Single Page Apps’. I have a single grunt command to build and deploy to S3 for production, but recently I added some extra functionality to make deployment safer and even easier:

  • Abort if you are not on master branch
  • Abort if there are any uncommitted local changes
  • Abort if not up to date with the origin repo
  • Create a file revision.txt containing the deployed git revision hash, so we can GET it from the server and be sure of which revision is live
  • Automatically create a tag with the date and time.

I found a few existing pieces to implement some of these, but not all of them, and I ended up with a set of custom Grunt tasks, which I present here in the hope that they are useful to others. They could perhaps be packaged up into a Grunt plugin.

With no further ado, here is the stripped down Gruntfile, just showing the parts relevant to this post, though the deploy-prod task definition leaves in the other task names for context in the overall flow.

module.exports = function(grunt) {

  // Load all grunt tasks matching the `grunt-*` pattern

    // Lots of other Grunty things
    // ...

    // Executing the 'gitinfo' command populates grunt.config.gitinfo with useful git information
    // (see for details) plus results of our custom git commands.
    gitinfo: {
      commands: {
        'status': ['status', '--porcelain'],
        'origin-SHA': ['rev-parse', '--verify', 'origin']

    gittag: {
      prod: {
        options: {
          tag: 'prod-<%="ddmmyy-HHMM") %>'

    shell: {
      gitfetch: {
        command: 'git fetch'
      saverevision: {
        // Save the current git revision to a file that we can GET from the server, so we can
        // be sure exactly which version is live.
        command: 'echo <%= gitinfo.local.branch.current.SHA %> > revision.txt',
        options: {
          execOptions: {
            cwd: 'dist'

  grunt.registerTask('check-branch', 'Check we are on required git branch', function(requiredBranch) {

    if (arguments.length === 0) {
      requiredBranch = 'master';

    var currentBranch = grunt.config('');

    if (currentBranch !== requiredBranch) {
      grunt.log.error('Current branch is ' + currentBranch + ' - need to be on ' + requiredBranch);
      return false;

  grunt.registerTask('check-no-local-changes', 'Check there are no uncommitted changes', function() {

    var status = grunt.config('gitinfo.status');

    if (status != '') {
      grunt.log.error('There are uncommitted local modifications.');
      return false;

  grunt.registerTask('check-up-to-date', 'Check code is up to date with remote repo', function() {

    var localSha = grunt.config('gitinfo.local.branch.current.SHA');
    var originSha = grunt.config('gitinfo.origin-SHA');

    if (localSha != originSha) {
      grunt.log.error('There are changes in the origin repo that you don't have.');
      return false;

  // Some of these tasks are of course ommitted above, to keep the code sample focussed.
deploy-prod', ['build','prod-deploy-checks','gittag:prod','aws_s3:prod']);

prod-deploy-checks', ['gitinfo','check-branch:master','check-no-local-changes','shell:gitfetch','check-up-to-date']);

We rely on a few node modules:

  • grunt-git which provides canned tasks for performing a few common git activities. We use it for tagging here.
  • grunt-gitinfo which sets up a config hash with handy data from git, and allows adding custom items easily. This helps us to query the current state of things.
  • grunt-gitshell which lets us run arbitrary command line tasks. We use it to git fetch (not supported by grunt-git, though we could probably have abused gitinfo to do it) and to save the current revision to file. I hope that the command I use for that is cross-platform, even to Windows, but it’s only tested on Mac so far.

Hence I ended up with the following added to package.json:

    "grunt-git": "~0.2.14",
    "grunt-gitinfo": "~0.1.6",
    "grunt-shell": "~0.7.0"

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