Upgrading from 0.3 to 0.4

Note that even if you are familiar with grunt, it would be worthwhile to read the new Getting started guide.

Grunt is now split into three parts: grunt, grunt-cli and grunt-init.

  1. The npm module grunt should be installed locally to your project. It contains the code and logic for running tasks, loading plugins, etc.
  2. The npm module grunt-cli should be installed globally. It puts the grunt command in your PATH so you can execute it anywhere. By itself, it doesn't do anything; its job is to load and run the Grunt that has been installed locally to your project, regardless of the version. For more information about why this has changed, please read npm 1.0: Global vs Local installation.
  3. The init task has been broken into its own npm module, grunt-init. It should be installed globally with npm install -g grunt-init and run with the grunt-init command. In the coming months, Yeoman will completely replace grunt-init. See the grunt-init project page for more information.

Grunt 0.3 Notes

If you are upgrading from Grunt 0.3, make sure to uninstall global grunt:

npm uninstall -g grunt

Note that for 0.3.x, plugin names and task configuration options may be different than those shown in "The Gruntfile" section.

This file was named grunt.js for 0.3.x versions of Grunt.

Pre-existing tasks and plugins

All grunt-contrib-* series plugins are Grunt 0.4 ready. However, it is highly unlikely that third party plugins written for Grunt 0.3 will continue to work with 0.4 until they have been updated. We are actively working with plugin authors to ensure this happens as swiftly as possible.

A forthcoming Grunt release will be focused on decoupling grunt's architecture so that plugins are not affected by future updates.


  • Grunt now requires Node.js version >= 0.8.0

The Gruntfile

  • The "Gruntfile" has changed from grunt.js to Gruntfile.js.
  • CoffeeScript is supported in your Gruntfile.coffee project Gruntfile or *.coffee task files (transpiling to JS happens automatically).

See the "The Gruntfile" section of the Getting started guide for more information.

Core Tasks are now Grunt Plugins

The eight core tasks that were included in Grunt 0.3 are now separate Grunt plugins. Each is a discrete npm module that must be installed as a plugin per the "Loading Grunt plugins and tasks" section of the Getting started guide.

Some task names and options have changed. Be sure to see each plugin's documentation as linked above for the latest configuration details.


The configuration format for Grunt 0.4 tasks has been standardized and greatly enhanced. See the Configuring tasks guide, as well as individual plugin documentation for more information.

  • File globbing (wildcard) patterns may now be negated to exclude matched files.
  • Tasks now support a standard options object.
  • Tasks now support a standard files object.

<% %> style template strings specified as config data inside the Gruntfile are automatically expanded, see the grunt.template documentation for more information.

Directives have been removed, but their functionality has been retained. These replacements can be made:

  • '<config:prop.subprop>''<%= prop.subprop %>'
  • '<json:file.json>'grunt.file.readJSON('file.json')
  • '<file_template:file.js>'grunt.template.process(grunt.file.read('file.js'))

Instead of specifying a banner in a file list with '<banner>' or '<banner:prop.subprop>', the grunt-contrib-concat and grunt-contrib-uglify plugins each have a banner option.

Instead of stripping banners from files individually with '<file_strip_banner:file.js>', the grunt-contrib-concat and grunt-contrib-uglify plugins each have an option to strip/preserve banners.

Alias task changes

When specifying an alias task, the list of tasks to run must now be specified as an array.

// v0.3.x (old format)
grunt.registerTask('default', 'jshint nodeunit concat');
// v0.4.x (new format)
grunt.registerTask('default', ['jshint', 'nodeunit', 'concat']);

Task arguments may now contain spaces

The aforementioned alias task change (task lists must be specified as an array) makes this possible. Just be sure to surround task arguments containing spaces with quotes when specifying them on the command line, so they can be properly parsed.

grunt my-task:argument-without-spaces "other-task:argument with spaces"

Character encodings

The file.defaultEncoding method was added to normalize character encodings, and all grunt.file methods have been updated to support the specified encoding.


Grunt's helper system has been removed in favor of node require. For a concise example on how to share functionality between Grunt plugins, please see grunt-lib-legacyhelpers. Plugin authors are encouraged to upgrade their plugins.


The Grunt API saw substantial changes from 0.3 to 0.4.

  • grunt
    • Removed grunt.registerHelper and grunt.renameHelper methods.
  • grunt.config
    • Changed config.get method to automatically recursively expand <% %> templates.
    • Added config.getRaw method that will retrieve raw (unexpanded) config data.
    • Changed config.process method to now process a value as if it had been retrieved from the config, expanding templates recursively. This method is called internally inside of config.get, but not inside of config.getRaw.
  • grunt.event added so that tasks may emit events.
  • grunt.fail
    • Won't emit a beep if --no-color option specified.
    • Added fail.code exit code map.
    • Removed fail.warnAlternate method.
  • grunt.file
  • grunt.task
    • Tasks registered with both task.registerTask and task.registerMultiTask get a this.options method.
    • Added task.normalizeMultiTaskFiles method to facilitate the normalization of multi task files objects into the this.file property.
    • Removed task.registerHelper and task.renameHelper methods.
    • Removed task.searchDirs property.
    • Removed task.expand task.expandDirs task.expandFiles task.getFile task.readDefaults methods (moved into grunt-init).
  • grunt.package reflects the metadata stored in grunt's package.json.
  • grunt.version is the current version of Grunt as a string.
  • grunt.template
    • Added template.addDelimiters method to add new template delimiters.
    • Added template.setDelimiters method to select template delimiters.
    • The init and user template delimiters have been removed, but you can add them in again if you need to with template.addDelimiters (grunt-init uses this to enable the {% %} template delimiters).
  • grunt.util replaces the now-removed grunt.utils.
    • Changed util._ to use Lo-Dash
    • Added the util.callbackify method.
    • Changed the util.spawn method to be much better behaved and pass more consistent arguments into its callback.

Task / plugin authors

Plugin authors, please indicate clearly on your repository README which version number of your Grunt plugin breaks compatibility with Grunt 0.3.


  • Multi tasks
    • Multiple src-dest file mappings may now be specified per target in a files object (this is optional).
  • this.files / grunt.task.current.files
    • The this.files property is an array of src-dest file mapping objects to be iterated over in your multi task. It will always be an array, and you should always iterate over it, even if the most common use case is to specify a single file.
    • Each src-dest file mapping object has a src and dest property (and possibly others, depending on what the user specified). The src property is already expanded from whatever glob pattern the user may have specified.
  • this.filesSrc / grunt.task.current.filesSrc
    • The this.filesSrc property is a reduced, uniqued array of all files matched by all specified src properties. Useful for read-only tasks.
  • this.options / grunt.task.current.options
    • The this.options method may be used within tasks to normalize options. Inside a task, you may specify options defaults like: var options = this.options({option: 'defaultvalue', ...});


  • An updated gruntplugin template has been created for Grunt 0.4-compatible plugins, and is available in the standalone grunt-init.


  • If you had previously installed a development version of Grunt 0.4 or any grunt-contrib plugins, be sure to flush your npm cache with npm cache clean first to ensure that you are pulling the final version of Grunt and grunt-contrib plugins.

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Licensed under the MIT License.