Posted by Edd Mann on May 10, 2017

Using Homebrew to Manage Project Development Scripts

When a project becomes sufficiently large in size you will undoubtedly encounter the need to simplify certain tasks, such as managing external dependencies or configuring environment parameters. Within the MyBuilder code-base we have required these kinds of processes for some time. Initially starting with a dev-upload function, it soon grew to a shared shell script which all users had to manually update (think ‘old-school’ copy n’ paste dependency management). This was not ideal and we pondered on several different solutions to manage this problem, such as using Composer scripts. We eventually settled on taking advantage of Homebrew (the Mac package manager), thanks to a podcast that Gavin had listened to. Using this approach allows us to not only manage scripts, but far more complex installation requirements in the future.

In this post I would like to discuss how we went about creating a personal Homebrew Tap and Formula, configured to provide the desired up-to-date scripts which aid in managing the project.

Defining the Formula

Homebrew is well suited to accessing and downloading Taps found on GitHub, providing you abide by some conventions. The repository name (Tap) should begin with homebrew- and include all Formulas within a root Formula directory. Below is a simple Formula definiton which provides access to two scripts along with ‘keg-only’ access to a common script file which is used in both.

class ProjectDevTools < Formula
    desc "Provides scripts to make it easier to work with the code-base"
    url ''

    def install
        prefix.install "src/common"
        bin.install "src/dev-rebuild", "src/dev-tools-update"

Setting up the Example Scripts

Now that we have a mechanism to manage the development scripts lets create some example scripts. I have found it beneficial to be able to reuse an environment variable guard and run function within each of the subsequent scripts. The run function provides us with the ability to conditional suppress command invocation output, if verbose mode is not enabled.



if [[ -z "$PROJECT_ROOT_DIR" || ! -d "$PROJECT_ROOT_DIR" ]]; then
    printf "⚠️ Make sure you have ${ERROR}PROJECT_ROOT_DIR${NC} set\n"
    exit 1

for arg in "$@"; do

    if [[ "$arg" == "-v" ]]; then
        continue # remove `-v` from args

    set -- "$@" "$arg"

function run()
    if [[ $VERBOSE_MODE -eq 1 ]]; then
        echo "$" "$@"
        eval $(printf '%q ' "$@")
        eval $(printf '%q ' "$@") &> /dev/null
        if [ $? -ne 0 ]; then
            printf "${ERROR}⚠️ Error${NC}\n"
            exit 1
            printf "✓\n"

With this script now in-place, we can move on to defining the required steps to rebuild the contrived project. You will notice below that we attempt to source the common file from the local src directory first, this is so throughout development we can easily work with pending changes.


source src/common 2> /dev/null || source $(brew --prefix project-dev-tools)/common


for app in $PROJECT_ROOT_DIR/app/$APP_NAME/; do
    [[ ! -d "$app" ]] && continue

    name=$(basename "$app")
    printf "💾 ${GREEN}$name${NC} ${BLUE}[$app]${NC}\n"

    printf "> running composer install... "
    run composer install -d "$app"

    printf "> clearing cache... "
    run rm -fr "${app}cache/*"

    printf "\n"

printf "🎉 Rebuild Complete!\n"

exit 0

Another useful script that we have found is the ability to update the Formula without the need to understand how Homebrew works. Using the script below - the Tap is updated and Formula re-installed, to ensure that we are using the latest version available within the repository.


source src/common 2> /dev/null || source $(brew --prefix project-dev-tools)/common

printf "> reinstalling project-dev-tools... "
run brew reinstall project-dev-tools

printf "🎉 Update Complete!\n"

exit 0

With this now all in-place we can use the following commands to initially install the new Formula on a development machine. Once this has been successfully run, we can move over to use the newly installed dev-tools-update script for future updates.

brew tap eddmann/project-dev-tools
brew install project-dev-tools


The example Tap and Formula can be found within this GitHub repository. You can see an interactive example of installing and using the scripts created below:

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