by gtothesquare

GitHub Readme.md

Heroku buildpack: Node.js with grunt, bower and sass (via compass) support

Supported Grunt versions: 0.3 and 0.4. See the Grunt migration guide if you are upgrading from 0.3.

This repo is a fork of alexaivars fork. This fork added modified the order in which compass is installed. This way we make sure that we have SASS before grunt tasks are ran. Also, added the option to install npm packages in non production mode. This means that devDependencies will be installed. This was added since we also used Heroku for testing and rapid prototyping. Just set the environment variable DEPLOY_TYPE in Heroku config:

$ heroku config:set DEPLOY_TYPE="dev"

The alexaivars fork added support for installation of bower dependencies from private repositories. Todo this you will need to generate a ssh key pair, add the public RSA key to GitHub or BitBucket and then add the private to Heroku:

$ heroku config:set SSH_KEY="`cat your_rsa_private`"

This is a fork of a fork of a fork of Heroku's official Node.js buildpack with support for installing dependencies from private repositories from BitBucket and GitHub. Also, install

For this build pack to run you will need to have grunt and bower as dependencies in your package.json.

After all the default Node.js and npm build tasks have finished, the buildpack checks if a Gruntfile (Gruntfile.js, Gruntfile.coffeeor grunt.js) exists and executes the heroku task by running grunt heroku. For details about grunt and how to define tasks, check out the offical documentation. You must add grunt to the npm dependencies in your package.json file. If no Gruntfile exists, the buildpacks simply skips the grunt step and executes like the standard Node.js buildpack.

How it Works

Here's an overview of what this buildpack does:

  • Uses the semver.io webservice to find the latest version of node that satisfies the engines.node semver range in your package.json.
  • Allows any recent version of node to be used, including pre-release versions.
  • Uses an S3 caching proxy of nodejs.org for faster downloads of the node binary.
  • Discourages use of dangerous semver ranges like * and >0.10.
  • Installs compass, caching it for future use.
  • Uses the version of npm that comes bundled with node.
  • Puts node and npm on the PATH so they can be executed with heroku run.
  • Caches the node_modules directory across builds for fast deploys.
  • Doesn't use the cache if node_modules is checked into version control.
  • Runs npm rebuild if node_modules is checked into version control.
  • Check if DEPLOY_TYPE is set to dev, if true will run npm install instead of npm install --production
  • Always runs npm install to ensure npm script hooks are executed.
  • Always runs npm prune after restoring cached modules to ensure cleanup of unused dependencies.
  • Runs grunt if a Gruntfile (Gruntfile.js, Gruntfile.coffeeor grunt.js) is found.
  • Doesn't install grunt-cli every time.

For more technical details, see the heavily-commented compile script.


Create a new app with this buildpack:

heroku create myapp --buildpack heroku config:add BUILDPACK_URL=https://github.com/stephanmelzer/heroku-buildpack-nodejs-grunt-compass.git

Or add this buildpack to your current app:

heroku config:add BUILDPACK_URL=https://github.com/stephanmelzer/heroku-buildpack-nodejs-grunt-compass.git

Set the NODE_ENV environment variable (e.g. development or production):

heroku config:set NODE_ENV=production

Create your Node.js app and add a Gruntfile named Gruntfile.js (or Gruntfile.coffee if you want to use CoffeeScript, or grunt.js if you are using Grunt 0.3) with a heroku task:

grunt.registerTask('heroku:development', 'clean less mincss');


grunt.registerTask('heroku:production', 'clean less mincss uglify');

Don't forget to add grunt to your dependencies in package.json. If your grunt tasks depend on other pre-defined tasks make sure to add these dependencies as well:

"dependencies": {
    "grunt": "*",
    "bower": "*"
    "less": "*"

Push to heroku

git push heroku master
----> Fetching custom git buildpack... done
-----> Node.js app detected
-----> Requested node range:  0.10.x
-----> Resolved node version: 0.10.25
-----> Downloading and installing node
-----> Found Gruntfile
-----> Augmenting package.json with grunt and grunt-cli
-----> Restoring node_modules directory from cache
-----> Pruning cached dependencies not specified in package.json
       npm WARN package.json mealgen@0.0.0 No repository field.
-----> Installing dependencies
       npm WARN package.json mealgen@0.0.0 No repository field.
-----> Caching node_modules directory for future builds
-----> Cleaning up node-gyp and npm artifacts
-----> Installing Compass
-----> Restoring ruby gems directory from cache
Updating installed gems
Nothing to update
-----> Caching ruby gems directory for future builds
-----> Building runtime environment
-----> Running grunt heroku: task


npm can be run with a verbose flag to help debugging if something fails when installing the dependencies.

  • if the VERBOSE environment variable is set, npm is always run with verbose logging.
  • if BUILDPACK_RETRY_VERBOSE is set, npm is relaunched in verbose mode if npm failed.

Thanks to mackwic for these extensions.

Further Information

For more information about using Node.js and buildpacks on Heroku, see these Dev Center articles: