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A build system for Dart code generation and modular compilation.

Standalone generator and watcher for Dart using package:build.
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The build_runner package provides a concrete way of generating files using Dart code. Files are always generated directly on disk, and rebuilds are incremental - inspired by tools such as Bazel.

NOTE: Are you a user of this package? You may be interested in simplified user-facing documentation, such as our getting started guide and faq.

Installation #

This package is intended to support development of Dart projects with package:build. In general, add it to your pubspec.yaml as a dev_dependencies by running the following command.

$ dart pub add dev:build_runner

Usage #

When the packages providing Builders are configured with a build.yaml file they are designed to be consumed using an generated build script. Most builders should need little or no configuration, see the documentation provided with the Builder to decide whether the build needs to be customized. If it does you may also provide a build.yaml with the configuration. See the package:build_config README for more information on this file.

To have web code compiled to js add a dev_dependency on build_web_compilers.

Docs #

More comprehensive documentation is stored in this repository, under the docs directory. If you find something is undocumented, please file an issue.

Built-in Commands #

The build_runner package exposes a binary by the same name, which can be invoked using dart run build_runner <command>.

The available commands are build, watch, serve, and test.

  • build: Runs a single build and exits.
  • watch: Runs a persistent build server that watches the files system for edits and does rebuilds as necessary.
  • serve: Same as watch, but runs a development server as well.
    • By default this serves the web and test directories, on port 8080 and 8081 respectively. See below for how to configure this.
  • test: Runs a single build, creates a merged output directory, and then runs dart run test --precompiled <merged-output-dir>. See below for instructions on passing custom args to the test command.

Command Line Options

All the above commands support the following arguments:

  • --help: Print usage information for the command.
  • --delete-conflicting-outputs: Assume conflicting outputs in the users package are from previous builds, and skip the user prompt that would usually be provided.
  • --[no-]fail-on-severe: Whether to consider the build a failure on an error logged. By default this is false.
  • --build-filter: Build filters allow you to choose explicitly which files to build instead of building entire directories. See further documentation on this feature here.

Some commands also have additional options:

  • --hostname: The host to run the server on.
  • --live-reload: Enables automatic page reloading on rebuilds.

Trailing args of the form <directory>:<port> are supported to customize what directories are served, and on what ports.

For example to serve the example and web directories on ports 8000 and 8001 you would do dart run build_runner serve example:8000 web:8001.


The test command will forward any arguments after an empty -- arg to the dart run test command.

For example if you wanted to pass -p chrome you would do dart run build_runner test -- -p chrome.

Inputs #

Valid inputs follow the general dart package rules. You can read any files under the top level lib folder any package dependency, and you can read all files from the current package.

In general it is best to be as specific as possible with your InputSets, because all matching files will be checked against a Builder's buildExtensions - see outputs for more information.

Outputs #

  • You may output files anywhere in the current package.

NOTE: When a BuilderApplication specifies hideOutput: true it may output under the lib folder of any package you depend on.

  • Builders are not allowed to overwrite existing files, only create new ones.
  • Outputs from previous builds will not be treated as inputs to later ones.
  • You may use a previous BuilderApplications's outputs as an input to a later action.

Source control #

This package creates a top level .dart_tool folder in your package, which should not be submitted to your source control repository. You can see our own .gitignore as an example.

# Files generated by dart tools

When it comes to generated files it is generally best to not submit them to source control, but a specific Builder may provide a recommendation otherwise.

It should be noted that if you do submit generated files to your repo then when you change branches or merge in changes you may get a warning on your next build about declared outputs that already exist. This will be followed up with a prompt to delete those files. You can type l to list the files, and then type y to delete them if everything looks correct. If you think something is wrong you can type n to abandon the build without taking any action.

Publishing packages #

In general generated files should be published with your package, but this may not always be the case. Some Builders may provide a recommendation for this as well.

Legacy Usage #

If the generated script does not do everything you need it's possible to manually write one. With this approach every package which uses a Builder must have it's own script, they cannot be reused from other packages. A package which defines a Builder may have an example you can reference, but a unique script must be written for the consuming packages as well. You can reference the generated script at .dart_tool/build/entrypoint/build.dart for an example.

Your script should the run functions defined in this library.

Configuring #

run has a required parameter which is a List<BuilderApplication>. These correspond to the BuilderDefinition class from package:build_config. See apply and applyToRoot to create instances of this class. These will be translated into actions by crawling through dependencies. The order of this list is important. Each Builder may read the generated outputs of any Builder that ran on a package earlier in the dependency graph, but for the package it is running on it may only read the generated outputs from Builders earlier in the list of BuilderApplications.

NOTE: Any time you change your build script (or any of its dependencies), the next build will be a full rebuild. This is because the system has no way of knowing how that change may have affected the outputs.

Contributing #

We welcome a diverse set of contributions, including, but not limited to:

For the stability of the API and existing users, consider opening an issue first before implementing a large new feature or breaking an API. For smaller changes (like documentation, minor bug fixes), just send a pull request.

Testing #

All pull requests are validated against CI, and must pass. The build_runner package lives in a mono repository with other build packages, and all of the following checks must pass for each package.

Ensure code passes all our analyzer checks:

$ dart analyze .

Ensure all code is formatted with the latest dev-channel SDK.

$ dart format .

Run all of our unit tests:

$ dart run test