Using Brunch


Brunch configuration is incredibly simple. Here's a sample file for an AngularJS and CoffeeScript file.

  assets: /^app\/assets\//
  definition: false
  wrapper: false
  public: '_public'
      'js/vendor.js': /^bower_components/
      'js/app.js': /^app\/scripts/
      before: [
      'css/app.css': /^app\/styles/

(N.B: We're using CoffeeScript here, but you can use raw JavaScript instead if you prefer - just name your file config.js instead)

The configuration file is simply specifying what folders Brunch should look for and what it should do with them. So, using regular expressions we tell Brunch that the app/assets folder should be copied directly into the output folder, which we name _public (see the paths property).

The rest of this is fairly self explanatory, although it's important to note that Brunch uses the new bower.json files to find packages located in bower_components - so only one of jquery.js and jquery.min.js will be included in vendor.js.

Finally, we're also telling Brunch to include certain scripts before others in the vendor.js file, mainly to make sure that angular.js uses jQuery rather than its jQLite implementation.


Looking at the config file again, you'll notice there's no configuration or 'registering' of plugins - although most plugins can be configured, the default behaviour usually works with no configuration.

Brunch plugins are just npm packages. Any Brunch plugin that's installed will automatically be used. Using npm install --save-dev plugin-name will install the package and update package.json.

Looking at the package.json file, we can see the plugins we'll be using in this project:

  "name": "project",
  "version": "0.0.0",
  "dependencies": {
    "express": "latest",
    "mongojs": "latest",
    "mongoose": "latest",
    "underscore": "latest",
    "consolidate": "~0.9.1",
    "q": "~0.9.6",
    "webshot": "~0.5.1",
    "gm": "~1.11.1"
  "devDependencies": {
    "javascript-brunch": ">= 1.0 < 1.8",
    "coffee-script-brunch": ">= 1.0 < 1.8",
    "css-brunch": ">= 1.0 < 1.8",
    "ngmin-uglify-js-brunch": "~1.7.2",
    "clean-css-brunch": ">= 1.0 < 1.8",
    "auto-reload-brunch": "~1.6.5",
    "less-brunch": "~1.5.2"
  "engines": {
    "node": ">=0.8.0"

Here we include the 'base' plugins for JavaScript and CSS, the CoffeeScript and LESS compilation plugins, the CSS minification plugin clean-css-brunch, and the ngmin-uglify-js-brunch - a plugin that runs JavaScript code through ngmin, the AngularJS 'pre-minifier', then uglifyjs to compress the code. We also use the auto reload plugin, which sets up a web socket server and refreshes the page whenever any files on disk are changed.