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Error management in gulp

#Error management in gulp

Sucking at something is the first step to becoming sorta good at something

No one can assure you, that plugins will run smooth in any circumstances (except for tests - they could), so neither should you convince anyone, that your plugin will never break. Only thing, that you could possibly do (if something gone wrong) - is gracefully inform your plugin user, that something went wrong and die.

We are will use this plugin from beginning to demonstrate error management. Suppose you have a task in gulpfile.js that contains this code (we modified it a little bit to be closer to real-usage):

var coffee = require('gulp-coffee');

gulp.src('coffee/**/*.coffee')
  .pipe(gulpPrefixer('// Copyright 2014 (C) Aswesome company'))
  .pipe(coffee())
  .pipe(gulp.dest('js/'));

What could possibly go wrong? Well gulpPrefixer could emit errors event, as any of Stream gulp-plugins, for example gulp-sass. If you don't do anything with it inside task, Node will throw errors and whole task will be stopped.

You can easily avoid it by catch them and show by appending .on('error', gutil.log) handlers:

gulp.src('coffee/**/*.coffee')
  .pipe(gulpPrefixer('// Copyright 2014 (C) Aswesome company'))
  .on('error', gutil.log)
  .pipe(coffee())
  .on('error', gutil.log)
  .pipe(gulp.dest('js/'));

But this will not solve "stopping" problem of the task. By design, Node stream will stop accepting incoming data, if error event was raised. You can see it in stream.js:103 - cleanup function will deattach ondata handler from source (which in our case is gulp.src) and coffee plugin will stop receiving files although, the rest of the files can be compiled.

For now, we have no other solution besides patching pipe function behaviour. So the gulp-plumber may fix this problem:

gulp.src('coffee/**/*.coffee')
  .pipe(plumber())
  .pipe(gulpPrefixer('// Copyright 2014 (C) Aswesome company'))
  .pipe(coffee())
  .pipe(gulp.dest('js/'));

Note: This will work only if Stream class used in gulp-plugin will not panic on error event and stop being writable/readable.

@JonCatmull
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Haha great comment stream! and the article wasn't to bad either. 👍

@man-oi
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man-oi commented Mar 16, 2016

great idea @sandro-pasquali

@demonkoryu
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Good article, but the comments... I can't even

@blackcater
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Thanks a lot!

@kilianc
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kilianc commented Apr 13, 2016

This is very helpful for development but how do you handle CI and deploy? I need a hard exit > 0 if anything goes wrong.

@robianmcd
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robianmcd commented Jun 14, 2016

@kilianc I'm setting a boolean to determine weather a task should exit the process or not and running something like this

var exitOnError = true; //set to false when running a watch task

//...
.pipe(somethingThatThrowsAnError())
.on("error", function (err) {
  gutil.log(err);
  if(exitOnError) {
    process.exit(1);
  } else {
    this.emit('end');
  }
});

...seems kind of crazy there is no standard way to do this in gulp

@bool3max
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@robianmcd I hate just logging the entire error object, so I always just log err.message. It's way easier to read.

@FieryCod
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Do we really need gulp-plumber in 2016? It seems that the watch do not stops when the error is occurred. Tried several times and everything is working fine.

gulp.task('styles', function() {   
 return gulp.src('public/sass/*.scss')
   .pipe(sass(SassOptions).on('error', sass.logError))
   .pipe(gulp.dest('public/stylesheets'));
});

@normbr
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normbr commented Sep 7, 2016

I think FieryCod has a good question...any thoughts...is plumber still needed?

@Gwenouille
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Hi guys,
Did someone here manage to have gulp work nicely with stylus ? I have set a small watch task with a pipe through stylus, autoprefixer and others, and it crashes altogether if stylus encounters a problem on compiling (like a bad indent).

@toby-howell
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@barneycarroll
@timnew
@hontas
@radekn

I assume you mean this:

gulp.plumbedSrc = (...args) => gulp.src(...args).pipe(plumber());

@absolux
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absolux commented Mar 14, 2017

😆 😃

gulp.plumbed = () => gulp.src(...arguments).pipe(plumber())

@VinnyFonseca
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¯_(ツ)_/¯

@absolux

gulp.plmbd = () => gulp.src(...args).pipe(plumber())

@ankit-chheda
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ankit-chheda commented May 19, 2017

@FieryCod This is mid of 2017 and yes plumber is a go-away-error kind of tool. Many plugins, particularly gulp-sass throw@import error because file is not ready or unreadable. Whenever sass compiler complies SASS files, dont know how, but it takes more time in pipe and next command is already ready to read the file as soon as file is made but not closed. I know this may sound lame, but something like this happens when you try to compile sass, concatenate other css and minify them in a single function. In this case, plumber and wait() is a work-around to let things going.

@paraofheaven
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plumber can solve the pro,that's just what i need

@Joelsz
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Joelsz commented Jun 15, 2018

Thanks @sassy-ankit that cleared my way to use plumber for gulp-sass

@craigphicks
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I wish you explain in more detail the circumstances under which

But this will not solve "stopping" problem of the task. By design, Node stream will stop accepting incoming data, if error event was raised.

is a problem. Unhandled exceptions are certainly a problem - but isn't "stopping on error" the a reasonable default behavior?

@DLiblik
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DLiblik commented Jul 26, 2020

@craigphicks old comment, but in case anyone ends up here... an error in one file in the task doesn't always mean the desire is to have the whole process grind to a halt - depends on the task. This whole conversation covers creating the option to choose.

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