Tutorial: Custom build

Custom build

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The build process is using Grunt and bunch of its tasks defined in Gruntfile.js. During this process, the source files located in the src/* directory are transformed into output files:

  • ./dist/handsontable.js
  • ./dist/handsontable.css
  • ./dist/handsontable.full.js
  • ./dist/handsontable.full.css (more info about dist packages here)
  • ./dist/handsontable.full.min.js
  • ./dist/handsontable.full.min.css

It is advised that you never modify the above-mentioned files but rather make changes in the src/ directory and then run a proper build. This is especially important if you want to contribute your changes back to Handsontable using a pull request.

Grunt tasks

Currently, the following tasks are available for building Handsontable:

  • grunt - runs a single build
  • grunt build - runs a single build but without code quality checking
  • grunt jshint - quality-checking
  • grunt watch - watches for changes in source directory and runs a build when a change is observed. For faster rebuild when a change is observed watcher triggers task which builds files without minify.
  • grunt --force default watch - runs a single build and then watches for changes
  • grunt test - runs a single build followed by Jasmine test suite executed in PhantomJS.

You can create your own tasks by editing Gruntfile.js

Running your first build

To run your own build, follow the below steps:

  1. Install Node.js (available for Windows, Mac and Linux). This will also install NPM (Node Package Manager) that handles all the dependencies. Handsontable was tested with Node.js >=0.12.* and npm >=2.*.
  2. Clone the Handsontable repository on your local disk and go to the directory where you cloned it.
  3. Install Grunt CLI as a global NPM module (npm install -g grunt-cli). More details can be found on Grunt - Getting Started.
  4. Run npm install to download all the dependencies defined in package.json. The dependencies will be downloaded into a new directory node_modules, that is ignored by Git.
  5. Run grunt to make your first build!

If all is working correctly, you should see something like this:

Running your first build

Creating a custom package

This process lets you build a custom package containing only the core engine and selected plugins. It's super useful when you need only a fraction of the spreadsheet's overall functionality or when you have already built a custom plugin and want to incorporate it into the base code. For this purpose we prepared a tool called hot-builder. To install hot-builder globally, run:

npm install hot-builder -g

Then to build Handsontable run:

hot-builder build --output-dir hot-dist

Select all necessary plugins in your terminal and press Enter. If it works correctly, you should see something like this:

Creating a custom package

And after selecting modules you should see something like this:

Creating a custom package

For further details, check out the project page.