Build system for web sites and applications
Last updated 9 months ago by vineetit1991 .
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AssetGraph-based build system (mostly) for single-page web applications.

Looking for a Grunt integration? Try grunt-reduce

Quick start


npm install -g assetgraph-builder
buildProduction path/to/your/index.html --outroot path/to/output/directory


docker run --rm -it  -v "$(pwd)":/app/ -w /app/ assetgraph/assetgraph-builder path/to/your/index.html --outroot path/to/output/directory

Congratulations, you just optimized your web page!


  • Requires no build manifest. All information about your project is gathered from the HTML/CSS/JavaScript itself. Just tell it where to find your HTML file(s), and it will find the referenced JavaScript, CSS, etc.
  • Reads your web application from one directory, manipulates and optimizes it, then writes the resulting build to a separate directory with everything included.
  • Supports a multitude of asset/relation types, even shortcut icons, AlphaImageLoader images, conditional comments, fonts linked via @font-face { src: url(...) }, .htc files linked via CSS behavior properties.
  • Bundles JavaScript and CSS.
  • Removes duplicate images, JavaScript, CSS, etc.
  • Supports automatic optimization and custom processing of images using pngquant, pngcrush, optipng, jpegtran, and GraphicsMagick.
  • Minifies/packs JavaScript, CSS, and HTML (uses UglifyJS and cssmin, and jsdom).
  • Supports require.js define and require statements, rolls up the dependency graph like the require.js optimizer does (still missing some features though). Understands the require.js config options baseUrl and paths.
  • Sprites background images (see assetgraph-sprite).
  • Inlines CSS background-images less than 8192 bytes and provides an alternative stylesheet for older IE versions via conditional comments.
  • Inlines CSS and Javascript with total size less than 4096 bytes to reduce HTTP requests.
  • Adds a cache manifest to each HTML page if --manifest is specified.
  • Compiles less to CSS and strips out the in-browser less compiler.
  • Compiles Sass to CSS
  • Renames JavaScript, CSS, images etc. to a 10-char MD5 prefix + the original extension so they can be served with a far-future expiry time.
  • Supports a special syntax for getting the url of static assets from JavaScript code (GETSTATICURL). These are also modelled as relations so the target files will be included in the build and thus renamed so they can be served with a far-future expiry time.
  • Helps getting your static assets on a CDN by rewriting the references to them (controlled by the --cdnroot switch).
  • Updates an existing Content-Security-Policy meta tag to reflect the changes that happened during the build procedure, including hashing of inline scripts and stylesheets.
  • Supports internationalization of HTML, JavaScript, SVG, and Knockout.js templates (support for more template formats will be added on demand).
  • Very customizable, the entire build script is only around 100 lines of code due to the reliance on high level AssetGraph transforms.
  • Angular annotations with ng-annotate and angular template inlining.


Optional first step: To take full advantage of the image processing and optimization features, you need several libraries and command line utilities installed. On Ubuntu you can grab them all by running:

sudo apt-get install -y libcairo2-dev libjpeg8-dev libgif-dev optipng pngcrush pngquant libpango1.0-dev graphicsmagick libjpeg-progs inkscape

Or on OS X, with homebrew:

brew install cairo jpeg giflib optipng pngcrush pngquant pango graphicsmagick jpeg-turbo inkscape
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/opt/X11/lib/pkgconfig

Then make sure you have node.js and npm installed, then run:

$ npm install -g assetgraph-builder

Now you'll have the buildProduction script in your PATH.


$ buildProduction --outroot outputPath [--root webrootPath] [startingAssets]

Assetgraph needs a web root to resolve URLs correctly. If you pass in the --root option assetgraph will use it, otherwise it will take a best guess based on your startingAssets.

The --outroot option tells assetgraph-builder where to write the built files to. If the directory does not exist it will be created for you.

Your startingAssets can be one or more file paths or minimatch patterns, which will be used as the starting point of assetgraphs automatic discovery process. The default is index.html, but you might also want to add any file here that is not linked to by your website, but still has to be a part of the build, for example robots.txt, .htaccess or 404.html. If one or more files are missing from your build, check that you are actually linking to them. If you are not, and it is by design, then you should add these files as input paths in startingAssets.

There are many more options to assetgraph-builder. We suggest you consult the help with buildProduction -h.

Example usage

Build a single page application:

buildProduction --outroot path/to/production --root path/to/dev path/to/dev/index.html

This will load path/to/dev/index.html, follow all local relations to JavaScript, CSS, etc., perform the above mentioned optimizations, then output the result to the directory path/to/production.

Create a CDN-enabled build:

buildProduction --outroot path/to/production --root path/to/dev path/to/dev/index.html \
                --cdnroot \
                --cdnoutroot path/to/production/static/cdn

This will produce a build that assumes that the contents of path/to/production/static/cdn are available at We recommend putting the entire contents of path/to/production online and pointing your CloudFront (or other CDN provider) distribution at the root of your origin server. As long as you serve /static and everything below it with a far-future expires, you won't need to touch your CDN config or manually upload anything to your CDN provider.

Specifying which browsers to support

It's highly recommended that you tell buildProduction which browsers you need to support via the --browsers switch. It draws its syntax from the browserslist module and governs a wide range of tweaks and hacks, for example:

  • Whether the screw IE8 option is passed to UglifyJS.
  • The set of browsers autoprefixer is instructed to support, if autoprefixer is available.
  • Whether to add fallback stylesheets referenced via conditional comments when images are inlined in CSS (due to IE7 not supporting data: urls and IE8's 32 KB data: url limit).

The default is to support all browsers, which will cause a heavier build, especially when IE8 and below are included and inlining of CSS images is active (which it is by default). If you're lucky enough that you don't need to support those browsers, you can add --browsers ">0%, not ie <= 8" and avoid those hacks.

Replacing require.js with almond.js on build

Simply add a data-almond-attribute to the script tag that has require.js as its source. The value should be the path to almond.js like so:

<script data-main="app/main" data-almond="path/to/almond.js" src="path/to/require.js"></script>

When you do this you should not use require as an external script loader, since almond does not support this.

Working with Sass (.scss) assets

Assetgraph will compile your sass assets to CSS, but only if you link in your .scss-files like this:

<link rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" href="path/to/stylesheet.scss">

Or using a requirejs css plugin:

// RequireJS AMD syntax
define(['css!path/to/stylesheet.scss'], function () {
  // Your code here

// RequireJS CommonJS compatible syntax
define(function (require) {

  // Your code here

In order to make this work for you in development you can use livestyle as a static webserver. It will automatically convert the sass files in the HTTP stream, making your page work out of the box with no configuration.

Working with a Content Security Policy

If you add the --contentsecuritypolicy switch and one or more of your HTML files contain a CSP in a meta tag such as:

<meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy" content="default-src 'self'; script-src">

it will be read and updated to reflect the changes that were made during the build. This includes whitelisting your CDN, adding image-src data: if images are inlined, and generating hashes for inline scripts and stylesheets if your policy does not allow 'unsafe-inline'.

You can extract the resulting CSPs from the build and add it to your web server's config, or use something like express-extractheaders to also send the CSP as a response header.

We encourage a workflow like this so that the CSPs of your project are also in effect in your development setup, as that will help catch bugs early.

Tip: If you want to use inline scripts and stylesheets in your development setup, yet don't want to allow 'unsafe-inline' in your policy, you can use a nonce in development:

<!DOCTYPE html>
        <meta http-equiv="Content-Security-Policy"
              content="script-src 'nonce-yeah', style-src 'nonce-yeah'">
        <style rel="stylesheet" nonce="yeah">
            body { color: red; }
        <script nonce="yeah">

buildProduction --contentsecuritypolicy will upgrade the nonce to a hash token if the scripts and stylesheets are still inline when the bundling/externalization steps have been carried out.

Sub resource integrity

The --subresourceintegrity switch will make buildProduction add an integrity attribute to every <script src=...> and <link rel="stylesheet" href=...> that points at an asset that is part of the build. Note that this excludes references to assets that are already located on a CDN, or indeed any http:// url. If you want to lock down such dependencies, please use the bundled addIntegrityToForeignRelations tool or compute the hash yourself and add it to your development HTML manually, for instance:

<script src=""

The reason why this isn't automated is that buildProduction cannot know if a given external resource might change in the future, thus breaking your production build.

Referring to static files in JavaScript using GETSTATICURL

Sometimes you need to load a template or a JSON file from your JavaScript, and you want the file to be included in the build so it's renamed to <md5Prefix>.<extension> etc. Simply putting something like var url = 'foo.json'; $.ajax(url, ...) in your code won't make buildProduction aware that foo.json is a url -- it's indistinguishable from a regular string.

However, if you wrap GETSTATICURL(...) around your url, it will be modelled as a relation, and the target asset will be included in the build. Note that relative urls will be resolved from the url of the containing HTML asset, not the JavaScript asset (otherwise it wouldn't work without buildProduction as there's no way to get retrieve the url of the JavaScript being executed in a browser).


var url = GETSTATICURL('foo.json');
$.ajax(url, ...);

... which will produce something like this after being run through buildProduction:

var url = 'static/96b1d5a6ba.json';
$.ajax(url, ...);

GETSTATICURL includes support for wildcards for cases where you need to pull in multiple static files in one go:

var url = GETSTATICURL('myData/*.json', name);

This will glob for myData/*.json and include all the found files in the build. The additional parameters passed to GETSTATICURL will be used as the wildcard values and can be any JavaScript expression. If myData contains a.json and b.json, the output of buildProduction would look something like this:

var url = {a: "static/a65f5a6f5.json", b: "static/c628491b44.json"}[name];

The wildcards are expanded using node-glob, so all constructs supported by minimatch are supported, except ?, because it's interpreted as a GET parameter delimiter.

For GETSTATICURL to work in development mode the function needs to be declared. The buildDevelopment script adds a bootstrapper script that includes GETSTATICURL, but you can also put this into your main HTML before all your other scripts:

<script id="bootstrapper">
    window.GETSTATICURL = function (url) { // , placeHolderValue1, placeHolderValue2, ...
        var placeHolderValues =, 1);
        return url.replace(/\*\*?|\{[^\}]*\}/g, function () {
            return placeHolderValues.shift();

buildProduction will remove the script with id="bootstrapper" so it doesn't clutter your production code.

Image optimization and processing

The buildProduction switch --optimizeimages turns on automatic lossless optimization of all images of the relevant type in the graph.

Additionally, you can specify individual processing instructions for each image using custom GET parameters. For example you might want to reduce the palette of an image to a specific number of colors or apply a specific compression level:

<img src="myImage.png?pngquant=37">
<img src="myOtherImage.png?optipng=-o7&amp;pngcrush=-rem+tEXT">

The image processing is supported everywhere you can refer to an image, including background-image properties in CSS, shortcut icon links etc.

Additionally, all GraphicsMagick operations (as exposed by the gm module) are supported:

body {
    background-image: url(foo.png?resize=500+300&flip&magnify&pngcrush);

These are especially useful for responsive images:

<img srcset="bar.jpg 1024w,
             bar.jpg?resize=600 600w,
             bar.jpg?resize=500&amp;gravity=Center&amp;crop=300+300 300w"
     sizes="(min-width: 768px) 50vw, 100vw">

They work in JavaScript too:

var img = document.querySelector('.responsive-image');
  GETSTATICURL('baz.gif') + ' 500w, ' +
  GETSTATICURL('baz.gif?resize=300') + ' 300w');
picturefill({ elements: [img] }); // reload if you're using Picturefill

This allows you to only check your original images into version control and have your build system create the scaled/processed/derived ones dynamically.

The processing instructions are executed using the same engine that powers express-processimage and livestyle with the --processimage switch. You can use one of those to have the image processing instructions applied on your development setup.


AssetGraph-builder supports internationalization of strings in your HTML and JavaScript code via a custom syntax. The approach is to do as much as possible at "compile time". For each language you want to support, buildProduction outputs a separate html file, eg. index.en_us.html, index.da.html, and so on. If you're using the TR/TRPAT syntax for getting language-specific strings within JavaScript, buildProduction will also output multiple versions of your JavaScript, one per language, and it will be wired up so that eg. index.da.html will refer to the Danish JavaScript file.

The i18n feature is optional. Enable it by specifying the --locales switch with a comma-separated list of locale ids to compile, for example --locales en_us,da,fr,de.

The translations themselves reside in separate JSON files with an i18n extension. Example syntax (foo.i18n):

    "myKeyName": {
        "en": "The value in English",
        "da": "Værdien på dansk"
    "myOtherKeyName": {
        "en": "The other value in English",
        "da": "Den anden værdi på dansk"
    "advancedKeyWithPlaceholders": {
        "en": "Showing {0}-{1} of {2} records",
        "da": "Der er {2} i alt, viser fra nr. {0} til nr. {1}"
    "IAmSoXToday": {
        "en": "I am so {0} today",
        "da": "Jeg er så {0} i dag"
    "TheColor": {
        "en": "blue",
        "da": "blå"

JavaScript i18n syntax

In JavaScript code you can use the TR function for getting a locale string and TRPAT for getting a function that accepts the placeholder values and returns a locale string.

For these functions to work in development, you currently have to use buildDevelopment tool (still to be documented) to inject some bootstrapper code that implements them. The bootstrapper will be removed by buildProduction.

The second argument for TR and TRPAT is optional. It will be used as the default translated value if the key isn't found in an .i18n file. This is very useful when you haven't yet translated your project. That way you don't need to create the .i18n files before you actually have something to put in them.

JavaScript example:


// This alerts "The value in English" or "Værdien på dansk" depending on which build you're running:
alert(TR('myKeyName', 'the default value'));

// This alerts "Showing 1-50 of 100 records" or "Der er 100 i alt, viser fra nr. 1 til nr. 50":
var foo = 1, bar = 50;
alert(TRPAT('advancedKeyWithPlaceholders', 'the default value')(foo, bar, 100));

var myRenderer = TRPAT('advancedKeyWithPlaceholders', 'the default value');
// This also alerts "Showing 1-2 of 3 records" or "Der er 100 i alt, viser fra nr. 1 til nr. 50":
alert(myRenderer(1, 50, 100));

In production this compiles into (English version):

alert('The value in English');
var foo = 1, bar = 50;
alert('Showing ' + foo + '-' + bar + ' of 100 records');

var myRenderer = function (a0, a1, a2) {return 'Showing ' + a0 + '-' + a1 + ' of ' + a2 + ' records'};
alert(myRenderer(1, 50, 100));

And the Danish version:

alert('Værdien på dansk');
var foo = 1, bar = 50;
alert('Der er 100 i alt, viser fra nr. ' + foo + ' til nr. ' + bar);

var myRenderer = function (a0, a1, a2) {return 'Der er ' + a3 + ' i alt, viser nr. ' + a0 + ' til nr. ' + a1;};
alert(myRenderer(1, 50, 100));

As the translation files consist of plain JSON, translated values do not have to be strings. This enables more advanced features, that you would otherwise have to implement with string concatenation. The feature is best explained with an example. Let's say we would like to translate certain e-mail folder names, but otherwise default to their real name. That could be achieved the following way.

The translation file:

    "FolderName": {
        "en": {
            "Inbox" : "Inbox",
            "Draft" : "Draft",
            "Sent" : "Sent Mail"
        "da": {
            "Inbox" : "Indbakke",
            "Draft" : "Kladder",
            "Trash" : "Sendte e-mails"

The code translating the e-mail folder names:

var folderTranslations = TR("FolderName", {
    "Inbox" : "Inbox",
    "Draft" : "Draft",
    "Sent" : "Sent Mail"

return folderTranslations[folderName] || folderName;

The TR function call extracts the internationalized FolderName structure or uses the provided default. Then we look for the folder name in the translation structure, if it is found we return it; otherwise we just return the folder name.

HTML i18n syntax

Simple example:

<p><span data-i18n="myKeyName">The default text</span></p>

Span tags that only have a data-i18n attribute are removed, so the above compiles to:

<p>The value in English</p>

If you put the data-i18n attribute on a different tag (eg. <div> or <h2>) or use a span with additional attributes, the tag itself will be preserved, and only the data-i18n attribute will be removed:

<span class="foo" data-i18n="myKeyName">The default text</span>

Which compiles into:

<span class="foo">The value in English</span>

Non-text node elements inside the default text are interpreted as placeholders numbered from left to right:

<span data-i18n="advancedKeyWithPlaceholders">Showing <span>1</span> to <span>50</span> of <span>100</span></span>

In the Danish version the above compiles to:

Der er <span>100</span> i alt, viser nr. <span>1</span> til nr. <span>50</span>.

For HTML attributes there's a more elaborate, Knockout.js-ish syntax for the data-i18n attribute:

<div title="The default value" data-i18n="text: 'myKeyName', attr: {title: 'myOtherKeyName'}">The default value</span>

Which compiles to this in English:

<div title="The other value in English">The value in English</span>

I18n of HTML chunks in JavaScript

There's a special syntax for handling chunks of translated HTML in JavaScript:

var myHtmlString = TRHTML('<div data-i18n="IAmSoXToday">I am so <span data-i18n="TheColor" style="color: blue;">blue</span> today</div>');

These HTML chunks behave like described in the "HTML i18n syntax" section above. The above would compile to the following in the Danish production build:

var myHtmlString = TRHTML('<div>Jeg er så <span style="color: blue;">blå</span> i dag</div>');

It also works in combination with GETTEXT in case you prefer to maintain the HTML in a separate file:

var myHtmlString = TRHTML(GETTEXT('my/file.html'));


AssetGraph-builder is licensed under a standard 3-clause BSD license -- see the LICENSE-file for details.

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