Vagrant Gulp Notifications cover image

Vagrant Gulp Notifications

Phil Betley • February 7, 2014

One of my favorite packages to use with gulp is gulp-notify which will display notification messages whenever a task is run. It allows me to see what gulp is doing without having to navigate away from my editor. Here's an example for a sass compilation task.

gulp.task('sass', function() {
    return gulp.src('app/assets/sass/style.scss')
            style: 'compressed'
            message: 'Compiled Sass'

Piping the notify function with a message will display a notification with that message when the task is run. For me, that will be displayed using Mac's Notification Center.

Now, this is all well and good, but I personally run my development environment inside of a Vagrant VM. Getting these notifications to be triggered from vagrant and be sent to Notification Center requires a little work.

Make Vagrant Forward Notifications

On the vagrant side of things, there is a plugin available to forward notifications from guest to host. Vagrant notify works by starting a TCPServer to listen for messages sent to it. These messages are sent by the notify-send script that is placed on the guest vm on boot by the plugin.

To install the plugin, run $ vagrant plugin install vagrant-notify and it will be used for all vagrant machines from now on.

Now, gulp-notify will call the notify-send script provided by the plugin which will forward messages to the TCPServer listening on the host. The TCPServer will then call another notify-send script on the host, in this case, a Mac.

Mac's Notify-send Script

Before getting to the script, there is a required tool to download called terminal-notifier, which is a ruby application that sends messages to Notification Center.

I recommend grabbing the prebuilt binary and dropping it in /Applications as I had some trouble with the gem install version.

Once it has been downloaded, we need to write a short bash script called notify-send to run the terminal-notifier application with the message.

/Applications/ -title "$2" -message "$3"

Since the format of the message being sent by the vagrant plugin is -- "Gulp Notification" "Message", we'll use the last two arguments to send to the terminal-notifier application. Now, move the script to a directory in your $PATH, such as /usr/local/bin, and make the script executable.

With all the pieces in place, whenever one of your Gulp tasks running in your vagrant machine sends a notify message, it will be forwarded to your Mac's Notification Center.