Getting Up To Speed With GULP.js

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At 10:30am on 3/6/2019, I attended Getting Up To Speed With GULP.js presented by Michael Schore, at the 2019 North Carolina Computer Instruction Association Conference in the SciTech Building At East Carolina University in Greenville, NC.

Getting Up To Speed With GULP.js

What its used for

Installation process and requirements

Basic usage

What its used for

GULP is a task runner, and its used to automate the processes you have. There are all kinds of helpers out there that help us streamline. Mainly NODE and NODE JS and NPM, Node Package Manager.

Bootstrap connection

Bootstrap is the material components that begin when a computer opens. Babel, browserfly, grunt, bauer, yeoman, all helpful. Most of these sprouted up as open source products, and still are. Starting in the web, everything was proprietary, but now many things are open.


It is often used to do front end tasks such as spinning up a web server, reloading the browser automatically whenever a file is saved. Using preprocessors like SASS or LESS (style systems to overcome CSS problems or inabilities), but also allow you to use global variables. Also it allows for optimizing assets like CSS, JS, and Images.

Installation process and requirements

Node.js requires node, npx, npm. Sass requires Ruby.

GIT from git-scm.com. Get Node.js from nodejs.org. Ruby from Rubyinstaller.org


Installers are pretty straightforward. With NPM installed, we can simply execute a global installation command. Command line can be overwhelming and difficult to understand for GUI-minded individuals. Powershell and CMD or BASH are great to work with.

Installing and verifying GULP

Install GULP into your dev dependencies. Check the versions of the install, and now we’re ready to start GULPing!

Basic usage

To create our first file, it should be in the root directory of your project.

Which yields…

Basic Useful Plugins

Found on the github website: http://github.com.gulpjs

Gulp-util https://github.com/gulpjs/gulptili

Running out of the box

Bash will note that an error occurs out of the box. We didn’t give it anything to do, and we didn’t make it local

Be cautious of the node_modules directory. This will grow as time goes on.


Lets add the gulp-less module. This adds the ability to conver LESS to CSS. Less is a backwards-compatible language extension for CSS. This is the official documentation file for LESS. This will be another hands-on bit, so I may only show slides here…


Used to actually automate your tasks. Simple ones like the example just run a goup of tasks when called

Var gulp = require(‘gulp’)

Var uglify = require(‘gulp-uglify’)


Gulp.task(‘uglify’,   … Hands-on…

Going to devhint.io you can get to a treasure trove of examples using GULP. Items like EMCAscript6 (newest version of javascript at this time) can be found, used and massaged, it can be found. IF your legal department requires you to update the header for the document automatically every time you work with the file, GULP and set that up.

The biggest thing GULP is used for is to watch yourself and run functions when changes are made. It automatically generates javascript or copyscript or typescript files when files are adjusted if needed. It can compile different script files into backward compatible javascript files. Think of the time this would save!

When we as humans find a mind-numbing, repetitive task to do, we find a machine to do it. If there isn’t one, we (historically at least) find a peon, subject, or slave to do the task.

Gulp.js files are used to cover several items- Pipe is a movement command, and its heavily used in an example we cover during class time. This is a different way of setting up tasks and subroutines (or functions) to cover different tasks.

When running the script on your computer, the WATCH function comes into play. When anything happens which affects the files/functions being WATCHED, it updates the materials in the folder. Because items are updated and fixed when changes are made to WATCHED files, this is a major upgrade to workflow on items.


What are some good files to WATCH?

Well, if you’re working with HTML, CSS files, HTML files, IMG files, JS files, etc. As new files are added to a folder, they can be added to the server, PHP plugins are also good. At the corporate level, teams get together  to talk about code and workflow to find out how much they can write, use, and test. This is especially good for items with our students, and to add productivity for workers making high 5 or 6 figure salaries.

Is everything safe?

Dig into it. On the surface it may sound good, but read what people are saying, and you might find that its not what its cracked up to be. It depends on the workflow, variables, and items you’re using. Be vigilant and don’t just take part because everyone else is.

How is SAS acting with all the opensource products?

Who owns github? Microsoft. Corporations use enterprise solutions with them, having their entire software library in their storage. The entire .NET framework is now available as open source code. They are hoping to gain a better product and enhanced usability with the open products. SAS is in a weird position as they are very proprietary in nature. IBM in true IBM fashion, will give things, but try to take things with their other hand.

There is more movement to OS involvement. You cannot add so many proprietary things. Its good to have other eyes looking at your work with and eye to improvement. Our students need to know what is happening in the working world, but they must also take that on themselves.

If we push students all the time, they don’t learn to push themselves. Michael teaches them that this is not the end of the line, this is the beginning of the line. We are giving our students tools that they can use. This is not the end all be all. The tools may be inadequate later, but the skills will take you far. We focus on solving problems, not following steps 1,2,3.