When comparing Grunt vs Brunch, the Slant community recommends Brunch for most people. In the question“What are the best Node.js build systems / task runners?” Brunch is ranked 5th while Grunt is ranked 7th. The most important reason people chose Brunch is:
According to speed benchmarks, Brunch is one of the fastest tools around for compiling files. According to the authors of Brunch the reason behind this speed is that it recompiles **only** the changes that were made to an app and performs extensive caching of the app's code.
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Pro Configurations are easy to write
Grunt emphasizes configuration over code. As such grunt configurations are easy to write. Writing them does not require knowledge of streams, promises, concurrency, or asynchronous tasks to set up.
Pro Has tons of plugins
Grunt has been available for a long time and during this time it has garnered a large community of dedicated developers who have made more than 4000 grunt plugins available to be used.
Pro Plugins configured out of the box
The default behaviors for most plugins is normally what you want, so if you just use a plugin without configuring it, it will work for most use cases.
Pro A GUI front-end via spock
A graphical user interface for grunt is available via spock.
Pro Choice of using it as a config file or writing your own functions
Pro Grunt v1.0 alpha uses Orchestrator for maximum concurrency
Grunt version 1 alpha, aka grunt-next, the upcoming next major release of Grunt, uses Orchestrator to sequence and execute tasks and dependencies with maximum concurrency, potentially bringing it up to speed with Gulp in term of performance.
Pro An API that makes writing and using of plugins extremely easy
The API is built in such a way that if you write a Grunt task that is useful for someone else out there or would be useful for future projects, it can be easily made into a grunt plugin and then shared using npm.
Pro Shell commands inside Grunt
There is a Grunt plugin called grunt-exec which allows developers to execute shell commands inside their Grunt files. This is extremely easy if a developer is developing only in Node and constantly getting out of Node environment to run something like a git command can become frustrating.
Pro Compilation is super fast
According to speed benchmarks, Brunch is one of the fastest tools around for compiling files. According to the authors of Brunch the reason behind this speed is that it recompiles only the changes that were made to an app and performs extensive caching of the app's code.
Pro Time to setup is extremely low
After installing Brunch the next step is to load a skeleton from git.io/skeletons. This step is as easy as installing another plugin from the npm registry, just point Brunch to the path of the required skeleton/generator then wait for it to work out its magic. Next, run
brunch build then wait for a second or two and voila! the project is ready.
Pro The configuration file is small and the configuration itself is fast and easy
Brunch's config files can be extremely small compared to other alternatives. The fact that brunch also allows you to chose from a number of generators also lowers the configuration time considerably.
Pro Concatenates scripts and styles and auto-generates matching source maps
Con Grunt compatibility issues
Changes in different versions in grunt are not always backwards-compatible.
Con Large bloated configuration files
To configure Grunt, developers need to basically write large files and configure JSON objects. While it's very powerful, the sheer complexity of it's configuration file may be a large obstacle for newcomers and developers that have not used any automation tools before. This may push them to search for simpler alternatives.
Con Grunt lost mindshare in general
Grunt can only do what the individual plugins allow it to do. New tools aren't always being made available for Grunt, nor are they always being updated as quickly, so you're stuck with an aging ecosystem.
Con The need to track creation/movement of files
Debugging and augmenting grunt pipelines are much harder than other build systems that clearly show the pipelines in the code.
Grunt works on files so you must track where each task puts files and try and intercept that in a task if you want to add something in the middle of a build pipeline.