Introducing Grunt-booty

Grunt is great, that’s no revelation, so I thought I would get in on the action by creating a quick plugin that at least I would find useful. It’s no small coincidence that the plugin I wanted to create also requires Bower and works best with Yeoman because Yeoman-Grunt-Bower are great together.

Yeoman, Grunt and Bower

What does it do?

Grunt-booty is a simple assembly task that helps to create your project css scaffolding using Bootstrap and Font-awesome installed via Bower.

The task is designed to work with a Yeoman scaffolded Angular app but it has a couple of parameters that means it will work just fine with other projects too. At the moment it is at version 0.2.x and assumes your project is using Less.

Why Less?

Well at the moment Yeoman is at version 1.0 beta and favours using the Sass flavour of Bootstrap, specifically using Compass to compile Bootstrap into useable css.

If you want to use Less then there are generators for Yeoman flying around but I wanted to be able to install Bootstrap using Bower and run a quick task to include it into my project.

This is an assembly task, why isn’t it a Yeoman generator?

Before Yeoman you could use Grunt to perform basic boiler-plate scaffolding and general assembly tasks but then along came Yeoman which lets Grunt just concentrate on performing build tasks. This is a good thing because Grunt is great at running build tasks and Yeoman is great at running scaffolding tasks!

But for now Grunt-booty is a Grunt task; if you’re using Grunt to build your project then it’s trivial to add this task to build in Bootstrap and Font-awesome. Sure, the separation of concerns is now blurred but it fulfils a purpose and helps to make it easier to get your project started so let’s get started with an example.

Using Grunt-booty

Grunt-booty is currently at v0.2.x, keep up with the docs on Github for the latest additions and instructions to use the plugin

The initial use-case for Grunt-booty was to add Bootstrap and Font-awesome-more to a Yeoman scaffolded Angular app so the following steps will do just that and you’ll end up with a project with the css bits ready to go (this will be fairly detailed but if you just skip through the steps they are really simple and shouldn’t take more than a few minutes to complete, future versions of Grunt-booty should remove several of these steps to make things even easier):

Scaffold your project

Our project is imaginatively titled ‘bootilicious‘, run these at your command line to get the ball rolling:

1 npm install -g yo grunt-cli bower
2 npm install -g generator-angular generator-karma
3 mkdir bootilicous && cd $_
4 yo angular
5 bower install bootstrap font-awesome-more --save
6 npm install grunt-booty grunt-contrib-less --save-dev
7 mkdir -p app/styles/{css,less}
8 rm app/styles/main.css

Yo Angular Scaffold
Let’s fix that up.

Add the main Less file and tell the index page where to find the project css

Create main.less inside app/styles/less and add these lines:

@import './../bootstrap/bootstrap';
@import './../bootstrap/responsive';
@import './../font-awesome-more/font-awesome';

Now open up app/index.html and change line 14 to point to where our compiled less file (main.css) will be:

<link rel="stylesheet" href="styles/css/main.css">

These steps should, again, be handled by Grunt-booty but for now are a manual step. The three import statements place Bootstrap and Bootstrap-responsive into your project while also including Font-awesome to give you access to all the lovely icons. If you want the additional icons that are installed along with Font-awesome-more then you’ll need to import their less files as well, for now we’ll just stick with the main Font-awesome icons.

You might notice that your IDE or text editor is telling you that the import files don’t exist, and they don’t yet but they will do once we’ve set up and run Grunt-booty.

Configure Gruntfile to include Grunt-booty and the Less compilation task

Yeoman will have scaffolded out your project with a meaty and extremely useful Gruntfile so let’s add to that by configuring the Grunt-booty and Grunt-contrib-less tasks. Open up Gruntfile.js and add these tasks to the initConfig object:

booty: {
  dev: {
    options: {
      componentPath: '<%= %>/components/',
      dest: '<%= %>/styles/'
less: {
  dev: {
    options: {
      paths: ['<%= %>/styles/less/']
    files: {
      '<%= %>/styles/css/main.css': '<%= %>/styles/less/main.less'

So this is where Grunt-booty happens. Version 0.2.1 of Grunt-booty uses just two configuration options: the path to the Bower components (in our case Bootstrap and Font-awesome) and the destination path to place them in (we’ll be placing them into our projects’ /styles/ directory which helps to keep our project nice and clean and manageable).

If you’re not using Yeoman to scaffold your project then these two options will still allow you to use Grunt-booty.

Go ahead and run the two tasks to see what Grunt-booty is doing:

grunt booty
grunt less

Grunt booty will have gone and got Bootstrap and Font-awesome from the Bower install and placed them into /styles/, doing a little bit of poking around at the same time to ensure that the paths to the font icons are still valid.

Earlier on we set up our main.less file to import the stuff we wanted into our project and the grunt less task just compiles that file into main.css ready for index.html to grab it when we run it.

The fruit - our project with styles applied

Let’s go ahead and have a look at the output, run this at the command line:

grunt server

The Grunt server task was generated when we used Yeoman to generate our project and it creates a server to serve our project and then watches it for changes (at the moment it does some coffee script and compass compilation that we don’t want but we’ll sort that in a minute).

Yo Angular Scaffold With Bootstrap

You should now see in your browser the index.html file we looked at earlier but now we have Bootstrap styles in it! Hurray for the hero unit!

There is currently nothing in the markup to make sure that Font-awesome installed correctly and is being used so let’s make use of that watch and live-reload task that grunt server is running and make a quick change on the fly.

Open up app/views/main.html and change line 2 to include an icon from Font-awesome:

<h1><i class="icon-github icon-large"></i> 'Allo, 'Allo!</h1>

Yo Angular Scaffold With Font-Awesome

If you’re seeing the nice Github icon in the title then everything has worked and you’re now ready to do the actual job of creating your awesome project. All in all, including downloading time, it shouldn’t have taken more than 5 minutes to get your project, with css, ready to rock.

As we’re using less and we’ve added the less compilation task to the Gruntfile you can go ahead and strip out the compass tasks from the Gruntfile and even npm uninstall grunt-contrib-compass to tidy up. I don’t tend to use coffee-script either so that gets stripped out for me as well.


If you found this task useful then make sure to hit the star button on github and use npm star grunt-booty

Want to discuss this article? Hit me up @veryfizzyjelly

Posted in Coding on April 23rd 2013. Grunt-booty, Gruntplugin, Yeoman, Angular, Bower, Bootstrap, Font-awesome