Automate the updating of your package.json packages with a grunt task

npm install grunt-dev-update
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Update your devDependencies and dependencies automatically with a grunt task

NPM Version NPM Downloads Dependencies Built with Grunt

Getting Started

This plugin requires Grunt.

If you haven't used Grunt before, be sure to check out the Getting Started guide, as it explains how to create a Gruntfile as well as install and use Grunt plugins. Once you're familiar with that process, you may install this plugin with this command:

npm install grunt-dev-update --save-dev

Once the plugin has been installed, it may be enabled inside your Gruntfile with this line of JavaScript:


The best way to load tasks is probably using load-grunt-tasks

npm i load-grunt-tasks -D

And then add to your gruntfile.js:


The "devUpdate" task

This plugin allows you to both update your dependencies and devDependencies with an automated task.

  1. See outdated packages
  2. Choose whether to just get notified, update them with a prompt, or automatically update them.
  3. Determine whether to stay with semver rules when updating, or to update to latest version.
  4. Update either or both your devDependencies and dependencies

Q: Why not use npm update or npm install?

A: First, npm update doesn't work on dev dependencies. Second, npm update stays inside your semver matching in your package.json, thirdly - npm isn't automated like your grunt tasks.


In your project's Gruntfile, add a task config named devUpdate to the data object passed into grunt.initConfig().

    devUpdate: {
        your_target: {
            options: {
            // Target specific options go here



Type: Boolean Default value: false

Whether to report an already updated package


Type: String Default value: report

How devUpdate should handle the outdated packages. Valid options:

  • report - Just report that the package is outdated.
  • prompt - Prompt user to confirm update of every package
  • force - Automatically force the update for the outdated packages.


Type: Object Default value: {devDependencies: true}

What kind of packages should be checked. Valid options:

  • dependencies - Specify true to check production dependencies.

    Outdated dependencies are installed using the --save option.

  • devDependencies - Specify true to check development dependencies. This is true by default.

    Outdated devDependencies are installed using the --save-dev option.


Type: Boolean Default value: true

If true or undefined, packages will be updated with npm update and will be installed up to your allowed version in your package.json. Your allowed version is determined using semver.

If false your packages will be updated to the latest version there is, regardless of your package.json specifications.

Warning - this could break packages and only use this option if you're sure of what you're doing.


Type: null|Object|String Default value: null

This option allow you to manully configure the path of your package.json. Valid options:

  • null - This will use matchdep own logic for finding your package.json (using findup to find nearest package.json). This is the recommended and default option.
  • String - specify a relative path from your process.cwd() to find your package.json.
  • Object - pass in an object representing your package.json

For better understanding the String and Object option, please see matchdep config.

Usage Examples

Default Options

Example usage with all options specified with defaults:

    devUpdate: {
        main: {
            options: {
                updateType: 'report', //just report outdated packages
                reportUpdated: false, //don't report already updated packages
                semver: true, //use package.json semver rules when updating
                packages: { //what packages to check
                    devDependencies: true, //only devDependencies
                    dependencies: false
                packageJson: null //find package.json automatically


In lieu of a formal styleguide, take care to maintain the existing coding style. Add unit tests for any new or changed functionality. Lint and test your code using Grunt.


Copyright (c) 2014 Gilad Peleg. Licensed under the MIT license.

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