Dealing with streams

It is highly recommended to write plugins supporting streams. Here is some information on creating a gulp plugin that supports streams.

Make sure to follow the best practices regarding error handling and add a line that makes the gulp plugin re-emit the first error caught during the transformation of the content.

Writing a Plugin > Writing stream based plugins

Dealing with streams

Let's implement a plugin prepending some text to files. This plugin supports all possible forms of file.contents.

var through = require('through2');
var PluginError = require('plugin-error');

// consts
const PLUGIN_NAME = 'gulp-prefixer';

function prefixStream(prefixText) {
  var stream = through();
  return stream;

// plugin level function (dealing with files)
function gulpPrefixer(prefixText) {
  if (!prefixText) {
    throw new PluginError(PLUGIN_NAME, 'Missing prefix text!');

  prefixText = new Buffer(prefixText); // allocate ahead of time

  // creating a stream through which each file will pass
  var stream = through.obj(function(file, enc, cb) {
    if (file.isBuffer()) {
      this.emit('error', new PluginError(PLUGIN_NAME, 'Buffers not supported!'));
      return cb();

    if (file.isStream()) {
      // define the streamer that will transform the content
      var streamer = prefixStream(prefixText);
      // catch errors from the streamer and emit a gulp plugin error
      streamer.on('error', this.emit.bind(this, 'error'));
      // start the transformation
      file.contents = file.contents.pipe(streamer);

    // make sure the file goes through the next gulp plugin
    // tell the stream engine that we are done with this file

  // returning the file stream
  return stream;

// exporting the plugin main function
module.exports = gulpPrefixer;

The above plugin can be used like this:

var gulp = require('gulp');
var gulpPrefixer = require('gulp-prefixer');

gulp.src('files/**/*.js', { buffer: false })
  .pipe(gulpPrefixer('prepended string'))

Some plugins using streams

Last Updated: 8/11/2018, 4:54:05 PM