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Using Grunt for theme development


Introduced in Shopware 5.0.1, we ship our software with a Gruntfile, which helps you to create your own themes faster than ever before. Grunt is a JavaScript task runner. When you're working on a JavaScript project, there are several things you'll want to do regularly, like concatenating given files or running JSHint on your code. You can achieve this with command line tools, but it would be nice to have a single, unified set of commands for all those extra tasks. That's what Grunt aims to be. It has several built-in tasks and can be extended with over 4.000 plugins.

In Shopware, we use Grunt to speed up the development of themes. In detail, we implemented a LESS and Uglify.js tasks, which compiles the LESS file based on the backend configuration in a single CSS file. It then concatenates all JavaScript files into a single file, to reduce the amount of HTTP requests.


LESS and Grunt are based on Node.js, which makes it necessary to have Node.js and npm installed on your system. Node.js is available on a majority of systems and distrubition. If your system isn't listed below, please use the official Node.js installation guide.

Install Node.js/npm on Ubuntu 14.04

sudo apt-get update
sudo apt-get install nodejs-legacy npm

Install Node.js/npm on Mac OS X

You can install Node.js and npm on Mac OS X using the provided installer package or you can use either Homebrew or MacPorts as an alternative. If you want to use a package manager to install Node.js on your system, please install Xcode first.

Using Homebrew

brew install node

Using MacPorts

port install nodejs

Install the Grunt CLI

In order to use Grunt in your project, you need to install Grunt CLI.

sudo npm install -g grunt-cli

Install this globally and you'll have access to the grunt command anywhere on your system. Note: The job of the grunt command is to load and run the version of Grunt you have installed locally in your project, regardless of its version. Starting with Grunt v0.4, you should never install Grunt itself globally.

How to use it

Note: The grunt tasks are only meant for development purpose. We can't guarantee that the compiled files are working in your production enviroment, therefore use the built-in LESS compiler in Shopware.

Clearing caches

Before you start the file watch you need to clear the Shopware smarty cache. If you don't do this smarty will load the js and css files with an old timestamp instead of the files which were generated by grunt.

cd var/cache/

Dump theme configuration

Starting in Shopware 5, themes can be configured using the Theme Manager administration module. Before we can use the Grunt tasks, we have to dump the theme configuration using the Shopware console.

./bin/console sw:theme:dump:configuration

Running this command creates a JSON file named config_[shopid].json, which contains the configuration of the theme and the LESS / JS files, which should be compiled using either LESS or Uglify.

Install project dependencies

Now we need to install the dependencies. We install the Grunt library and additional Grunt plugins, which are necessary to compile LESS files for example:

cd themes/
npm install

Start file watch

We have installed everything that we need to start working with Grunt. The default task will call the LESS compiler, concatenate all necessary files together and start watching your files. The watch command will track changes in your files as you save them and automatically process them.

grunt --shopId 1 # optionally specify shopId

Grunt Screenshot