What is dizmoGen

dizmoGen helps you to write, build, test and deploy dizmos. Based on Yeoman and gulp, it extends those tools to speed up and automate your dizmo development workflow.


First, install Yeoman and generator-dizmo using npm (we assume you have node.js pre-installed):

npm install -g yo
npm install -g generator-dizmo

On most operating systems the -g option (shortcut for --global) requires super user (administrator) rights: Therefore, on Unix like systems you might be required to run the above commands using either sudo (i.e. sudo npm install -g yo and sudo npm install -g generator-dizmo), or run them directly from your super user account of your operating system.

Note: On Windows, make sure you run the installation from the “node.js command prompt” that was added when you installed node.js.


You can upgrade dizmoGen to the latest version using npm as following:

sudo npm update generator-dizmo -g

Quick Start

Invoke the dizmo generator with a name of your choice, for example my-dizmo and answer a few questions:

yo dizmo my-dizmo

After a successful build, drag and drop the ./build/MyDizmo-0.0.0.dzm file onto dizmoViewer: You should see the front side of the dizmo with Hello World! written on it. The name parameter is optional and can be changed at the prompt. Further, calling yo dizmo is equivalent to invoking the default generator with yo dizmo:app.
To list all possible arguments and options of the generator, enter:
yo dizmo --help


At the start, you will be asked a few questions, after which the terminal should look similar to:

~/my-dizmos $ yo dizmo

    |       |    .--------------------------.
    |--(o)--|    |  Welcome to the awesome  |
   `---------´   |     dizmo generator!     |
    ( _´U`_ )    '--------------------------'
     |  ~  |
 ´   `  |° ´ Y `

? Name your dizmo: MyDizmo
? Describe it: My Dizmo
? And its bundle ID? com.example.my_dizmo
? What's your name? Name Surname
? And your email? name.surname@mail.net

The dizmo generator asks you some questions — let’s have a look at them:

? Name your dizmo: MyDizmo

If no dizmoName argument is provided then by default MyDizmo will be suggested: accept or change it as desired. This name will be used to create a project folder in the current director. For example, for the MyDizmo name the folder will be my-dizmo/.

? Describe it: My Dizmo

You should provide a short succinct description of your project. By default the name of the current dizmo will be taken as a base for a suggestion.

? And its bundle ID? com.example.my_dizmo

Each dizmo is required to have a unique bundle.identifier, which is a name of the bundle each dizmo instance will belong to: For example, each sticky-note dizmo would have the same com.dizmo.stickynote bundle ID (but with different dizmo IDs). Choose as a prefix the domain of your company (in reverse notation with top level domain names like com or org preceding the rest), and then append a name related to the dizmo.

? What's your name? Full Name

Provide your full name, to designate yourself as the author of the project. By default, the current GIT user name – if available – or OS login will be suggested. Anything you enter here will be remembered and automatically suggested as the default at your next invocation of yo dizmo.

The entry will be stored once the project skeleton is setup in package.json under person.name. For multiple contributors, see the npm:package.json documentation, section people-fields-author-contributors.

? And your email? my@email.net

Provide your email, so people can reach out to you for feedback, bug reports etc. By default the generator suggests the GIT user email – if available – or the MAIL environment variable (which you may want to correct with your proper email). Again, the next time you invoke yo dizmo, your most recent entry will be the new default suggestion.

The entry will be stored in package.json under person.email. For multiple contributors, see again people-fields-author-contributors.


After you have answered the last question, the generator will create the project’s skeleton. If you have the tree command installed on your operating system, then you can visualize the directory structure:

my-dizmo $ tree
├── .eslintrc.json
├── assets
│  ├── Icon-dark.svg
│  ├── Icon.svg
│  ├── locales
│  │  ├── translation.de.json
│  │  └── translation.en.json
│  └── Preview.png
├── gulp
│  ├── package.js
│  └── tasks
│      └── *
├── gulpfile.js
├── help
│  └── en
│      ├── help.md
│      └── placeholder-400x275.png
├── package.json
├── README.md
└── src
    ├── index.html
    ├── index.js
    ├── lib
    │  └── i18n-*.min.js
    └── style
        └── style.scss

Let’s have a look at each ot the top level files and directories:

  • .eslintrc.json: a JSON file, which can be used to configure the linting process for the JavaScript code; see eslint.org/docs/user-guide/configuring for further information.
  • assets: A folder containing asset files like images, which can be accessed from within the dizmo using a relative path like assets/Preview.png. Put any such files (or media) which are not directly related to styling into this folder. You can also create sub-folders or any nested directory structure according to your needs. One such folder is assets/locales where JSON files for translation purposes can be found.
  • gulp: A folder containing a build system based on gulp. If you are familiar with gulp, then you can change the build mechanism according to your needs; otherwise, just use it as it is.
  • gulpfile.js: The main script driving the gulp build system; usually you can leave this file as it is.
  • help: Once you have developed your dizmo, you might want to provide user documentation, which can be placed in this folder.
  • LICENSE: By default an ISC (Internet Software Consortium) license is generated, which is functionally equivalent to the simplified BSD and MIT licenses, but with a simpler language. Leave or change this according to your needs.
  • package.json: This is an important file! It is consumed by the npm package manager, provides run scripts for the build system (like lint, clean, make, install etc.), and allows to change the dizmo settings. Have a look below at the corresponding section for further information.
  • README.md: A simple shortened version of this README.md; it is meant to provide a quick overview, and can then be replaced with a project specific content.
  • src: A folder containing your own scripts for your dizmo, like index.html and index.js plus style sheets under style/, which use by default SASS. Further, in the src/lib/ folder you can put third party libraries, which you can then directly reference via a <script> tag in the index.html markup.


The configuration for dizmoGen is made in a package.json file, the same that npm uses. In addition to the default entries of npm it contains a dizmo section:

"dizmo": {
    "build": {
        "lint": true,
        "minify": {
            "markups": {
                "htmlmin": false
            "scripts": {
                "sourcemaps": false,
                "obfuscator": false,
                "uglify": false
            "styles": {
                "sourcemaps": false,
                "sass": false
    "settings": {
        "bundle-identifier": "com.example.my_project",
        "bundle-name": "My Project",
        "height": 240,
        "width": 480

And here is a list of available options:

  • build/lint: switches ESLint based linting on or off — edit the .eslintrc.json configuration file to have a detailed control over the linting process; see also gulp-eslint for additional information.
  • build/minify: switches the minification of the markup (*.html), scripts (*.js) and styles (*.[s]css) on or off — but each sub-process can also be toggled separately. Further, they also can be tweaked in detail by providing a configuration object; see the corresponding gulp-htmlmin, javascript-obfuscator, gulp-uglify and gulp-sass pages for more information. Source map generation can be controlled as well, and is off by default. Further, to keep package.json simple, the build/minify flag is set upon project generation directly to false.

    It is not recommended to obfuscate vendor scripts and polyfills, since the obfuscated code can be 15-80% slower (depending on the options) and the files are significantly larger. Hence, when possible (large) third party libraries like jquery.min.js should be embedded into a dizmo under e.g. the src/lib/ directory, and then they should be referenced with a <script href="lib/jquery.min.js"> tag directly from within your HTML markup: This will avoid the libraries being obfuscated and hence, there won’t be any performance penalty.

    Any library however, that is installed into a dizmo project via e.g. npm install --save jquery and then referenced as var $ = require('jquery') from your source code, will be collected by the build system and subsequently also obfuscated! This might actually be desirable, if the third party library is maybe company internal code, and you wish to use it in your dizmo: This arrangement will protect your company’s intellectual property while offering you the desired functionality.

  • settings: Any entry provided here will be translated to an entry in build/Info.plist, which is the main control file defining the properties of a dizmo.

Default Configuration

The dizmo section in package.json can be extended with default values, which have to reside in .generator-dizmo/config.json (in any of the parent directories):

    "dizmo": {
        "settings": {..},
        "deploy": ".."

The configuration is hierarchical and recursive, meaning that a .generator-dizmo/config.json file can be saved in any parent directory of the current project, all of which are then merged during the build dynamically into package.json, where configuration values from files in the lower levels (meaning closer to package.json) have precedence.

Build scripts

  • clean: completely removes the ./build sub-directory.
    npm run clean
  • deploy: builds and installs the dizmo to a installation path given by the dizmo/path configuration entry in package.json (or better in .generator-dizmo/config.json):
    npm run deploy
  • deploy: ..or if the DZM_PATH environment variable has been defined, then the dizmo is copied to the corresponding location.
    DZM_PATH=/path/to/installed/dizmos npm run install
  • lint: applies linting to your source code using ESLint, which can be configured via .eslintrc.json.
    npm run lint
  • make: builds the dizmo (including the *.dzm artifact) from scratch and puts it into the ./build sub-directory.
    npm run make
  • test: ensures to run tests — by default no tests nor a test framework are pre-defined (therefore, a simple exit 0 script has been provided). It is up to the dizmo developer to decide how tests shall be implemented. The only condition is, that the main test script should provide an exit value of 0 in case of success.
    npm run test
  • watch: watches your source code, and incrementally (and quickly!) rebuilds the dizmo on any change.
    npm run watch
  • watch: ..further, it copies the build to the installation path, if either the deploy configuration has been set in package.json or DZM_PATH environment variable has been provided.
    DZM_PATH=/some/path npm run watch


Once your dizmo is built, a build/ folder with the following structure is created:

my-dizmo $ tree build/
├── MyDizmo
│  ├── Icon-dark.svg
│  ├── Icon.svg
│  ├── Info.plist
│  ├── Preview.png
│  ├── assets
│  │  ├── Icon-dark.svg
│  │  ├── Icon.svg
│  │  └── Preview.png
│  ├── help.zip
│  ├── index.html
│  ├── index.js
│  ├── lib
│  │  └── i18n-*.min.js
│  └── style
│      └── style.css
└── MyDizmo-0.0.0.dzm
  • MyDizmo-0.0.0.dzm: A ZIP archive of the MyDizmo folder with a version suffix, which has been defined in package.json.In dizmoViewer only the dizmo bundle with the highest version number is cached! Therefore, it is important to increase the version, when releasing a dizmo to your audience. However, simply changing the version suffix in the *.dzm file name will not work: The version is required to be set in MyDizmo/Info.plist (which happens automatically based on the version information in package.json).
  • MyDizmo/Info.plist: a list of properties (in XML notation) defining a dizmo. This file is derived from the original .info.plist template, which has been enriched with information from package.json.
  • MyDizmo/assets: a copy of the original assets folder;
  • MyDizmo/help.zip: a ZIP archive of the original help folder;
  • MyDizmo/index.html: the main HTML script;
  • MyDizmo/index.js: the main JavaScript;
  • MyDizmo/lib/i18n-*.min.js: i18next internationalization wrapper;
  • MyDizmo/style/style.css: Cascading Style Sheets.


Did I forget to run npm install?
If npm install is not run before attempting to build a dizmo, then a message similar to the one below might be produced:

error argv "/usr/local/bin/node" "/usr/local/bin/npm" "run" "make"
error node v4.2.6
error npm  v3.8.1
error code ELIFECYCLE
error MyDizmo@0.0.0 make: `node ./node_modules/gulp/bin/gulp.js`
error Exit status 1
error Failed at the MyDizmo@0.0.0 make script 'node ./node_modules/gulp/bin/gulp.js'.

In such a case, just run npm install to ensure that all the required dependencies get installed locally.