Scripts with Laoban

The ‘whole point’ of laoban is to allow scripts to be easily created that will execute for each project .

Getting going

Using run

Actually you can execute a ‘command’ in every project already. The follow will execute the command in quotes in each project. We are using a variable ${packageDirectory} because linux and windows have different ways of finding the current directory but the variable works anyway

laoban run 'echo "Hello ${packageDirectory}"' 

This is very useful. I regularly do things like the following

laoban run 'rm -rf node_modules
laoban run 'rm -rf target' 

Making our first script

Let’s add a new script which we will call ‘helloworld’ to be traditional

Open the laoban.json file in your editor. If it has a scripts section already, just edit it, otherwise add the following

  "scripts": {
    "helloWorld": {
      "description": "Our first script that echos 'hello directory' in each project",
      "commands":    ["echo Hello ${packageDirectory}"]

You can now execute this with laoban helloWorld, find it in the help with laoban --help and it has it’s own help section with laoban helloWorld --help

What can we run

Shell commands

The default type of command is a shell command. For example "echo Hello ${packageDirectory}

Javascript commands

Arbitrary javascript commands can be executed. For example "js:process.cwd()"

File commands

Since Windows and linux have different ways of deleting files, we can use a file command to delete a file. There are currently three types of file command: all about deleting files, but later we might add move/copy etc.

= Command = Purpose
file:rm Deletes a file
file:rmDir Deletes a directory
file: rmLog Deletes the log file (is special because logs are in use by laoban). Only really used by the clean command

Types of commands

Simple commands

  "helloWorld": {
    "description": "Our first script that echos 'hello directory' in each project",
    "commands":    ["echo Hello ${packageDirectory}"]

After adding this command laoban --help will now display the command and the description. and laoban helloWorld will execute it

More complex commands

  "test": {
    "description": "runs ${packageManager} test",
    "commands":    [
      {"name": "test", "command": "${packageManager} test", "status": true}

Here we can see that the command has one step with name test. Because status is true the step results will be visible in the status. This is very useful when we have ‘things we want to pass’ in many projects. It’s important that the projects all compile, that the tests execute and that they publish successfully. If we have many projects it can be hard to ‘check the logs’ and see that happened. Here the command laoban status will tell us about the named steps and whether the last time they executed they were successful.

  name?: string,     // The name of the command
  command: string,   // the command that is actually executed
  status?: boolean,  // should the commands status be remembered
  eachLink?: boolean,// see below (hardly every used)
  osGuard?: string,  // Is the command only able to run in one operating system
  pmGuard?: string,  // Is the command only able to run with one package manager
  directory?: string // override the directory that the command is executed in

Some commands need to be accessed once for each link defined in the projectDetails file.

    "remoteLink"   : {
      "commands"       : [
        {"name": "remoteLink", "command": "${packageManager} link ${link}", "eachLink": true, "status": true},

Here we can see that the command will be executed once for each link. The variable ${link} holds the value of the link


If a command needs to run in a different directory (typically a sub directory) the directory can be set

   "install"    : {
      "commands"   : [
        {"name": "link", "command": "${packageManager} link", "status": true, "directory": "dist"},

This link command is now executed in the dist sub directory


Guards start very simple, but can get complex (if you want). The guards are used to prevent commands from being executed. A good example is publish which should only be executed if the project is marked as being able to be published.

Details of guards and how to use them can be found here

Setting environment variables with scripts

cwd is automatically added as an environment variable to represent the current directory other environment variables can be added to scripts such as

  "ls-pact": {
    "osGuard":     "Windows_NT",
    "description": "lists the projects with pact files in them",
    "guard":       "${projectDetails.details.packport}",
    "commands":    ["echo %PORT%  %cwd%"],
    "env":         {
      "PORT": "${projectDetails.details.packport}"


Some scripts don’t parallelise that well. For example if we are compiling projects, and some projects depend on other projects then we want to compile them in ‘the right order’.

Setting ‘inLinksOrder’ means that the links in the projectDetails are used to determine the order in which things are executed

This can be seen using -g | --generationPlan as an option. This behavior can also be forced on any command by selecting -l, --links


Some commands we want to be ‘quiet’ if nothing is wrong. For example compile: if everything is OK we want no output. Others are more verbose: such as test. For these we can set ‘showShell:true’ and the output will be shown as though the -s options was used