cargo-auto - automation tasks written in Rust language for the build process of rust projects
version: 2021.1023.917 date: 2021-10-23 author: repository: GitHub

Lines in Rust code Lines in Doc comments Lines in Comments Lines in examples Lines in tests Documentation crev reviews Licence Rust

Try it

Inside your main rust project directory (the one with Cargo.toml) run:

cargo install cargo-auto
cargo auto new


Now try to run a task:

cargo auto build


Congratulations! You are already using cargo-auto. Simple as that.


Cargo is a great tool for building rust projects. It has all the basics: cargo build, cargo build --release, cargo fmt, cargo test, cargo doc,...
But sometimes we need to do more things like copying some files, publish to ftp or enter long commands. These repetitive tasks must be automated.
Task automation makes work easier and faster, simplifies the workflow, while improving the consistency and accuracy of workflows.
This is also sometimes referred to as "workflow automation."
There are many different build systems and task runners there: make, cmake, shell scripts, cargo-xtask, cargo-make, cargo-task, cargo-script, cargo-run-script, runner, python scripts, powershell scripts, cmd prompt scripts, ...
Sadly there is no standard in the rust community for now.
I want something similar to, so I can write my "tasks" in pure rust. I don't want to learn another meta language with weird syntax and difficult to debug. So I will make something really simple, easy, rusty and extensible.

scripting with rust

Rust is a compiled language. It is not really a scripting or interpreted language. But the compilation of small projects is really fast and can be ignored. Subsequent calls will use the already built binary and so the speed will be even faster.
This tool cargo-auto is meant for rust projects, so it means that all the rust infrastructure is already in place.

automation_tasks_rs helper project

The command cargo auto new will create a new directory automation_tasks_rs with a template for a helper rust project in the root directory of your main rust project . It should not interfere with the main rust project. This directory will be added into git commits and pushed to remote repositories as part of the main project. It has its own .gitignore to avoid committing its target directory.
The automation_tasks_rs helper project contains user defined tasks in rust code. Your tasks. This helper project should be opened in a new editor starting from the automation_tasks_rs directory. It does not share dependencies with the main project. It is completely separate and independent.
You can edit it and add your dependencies and rust code. No limits. Freedom of expression.
This is now your code, your tasks and your helper rust project!
Because only you know what you want to automate and how to do it.
Basic example:

/// match arguments and call tasks functions
fn match_arguments_and_call_tasks(mut args: std::env::Args){
    // the first argument is the user defined task: (no argument for help), build, release,...
    let arg_1 =;
    match arg_1 {
        None => print_help(),
        Some(task) => {            
            println!("Running auto task: {}", &task);
            if &task == "build"{
            } else if &task == "release" {
            } else if &task == "doc" {
            } else {
                println!("Task {} is unknown.", &task);

/// write a comprehensible help for user defined tasks
fn print_help() {
    println!("User defined tasks in automation_tasks_rs:");
    println!("cargo auto build - builds the crate in debug mode");
    println!("cargo auto release - builds the crate in release mode");
    println!("cargo auto docs - builds the docs");

// region: tasks

/// cargo build
fn task_build() {
    let shell_commands = [
        "echo $ cargo fmt",
        "cargo fmt",
        "echo $ cargo build",
        "cargo build"];

/// cargo build --release
fn task_release() {
    println!("$ cargo fmt");
    run_shell_command("cargo fmt");
    println!("$ cargo build --release");
    run_shell_command("cargo build --release");

/// cargo doc, then copies to /docs/ folder, because this is a github standard folder
fn task_doc() {
    let shell_commands = [
        "echo $ cargo doc --no-deps --document-private-items --open",
        "cargo doc --no-deps --document-private-items --open",
        // copy to /docs/ because it is github standard
        "echo $ rsync -a --info=progress2 --delete-after target/doc/ docs/",
        "rsync -a --info=progress2 --delete-after target/doc/ docs/",
        "echo Create simple index.html file in docs directory",
        &format!("echo \"<meta http-equiv=\\\"refresh\\\" content=\\\"0; url={}/index.html\\\" />\" > docs/index.html",&project_directory_name()) ,
        // message to help user with next move
        "echo After successful doc, commit and push changes",

// endregion: tasks

cargo auto subcommand

The command cargo install cargo-auto will add a new subcommand to cargo:

cargo auto

This binary is super simple. It has only 3 trivial dependencies: unwrap, termion and lazy_static.
The binary only reads the CLI arguments and runs the automation_tasks_rs binary with them. If needed it will compile automation_tasks_rs first.
The code-flow of the source code of cargo-auto is simple, fully commented and straightforward to audit.
The source code is on GitHub with MIT open-source licensing.

bash auto-completion

With the help of the crate dev_bestia_cargo_completion the commands cargo and cargo auto get bash auto-completion. Try it!


Inside the cargo-auto project there are 2 directories with rust sub-projects as templates. I can open a new editor for these directories and build this crates independently. So it is easy to debug and develop.
Sadly, I cannot publish these directories and files to I can effectively publish only the source code inside my main rust project cargo-auto.
Therefor, before publishing I must copy the text of these files into the modules and It is not difficult now that rust has fantastic raw strings.
Guess what? I found a perfect example for automation! How convenient.


This command will copy the template_basic into automation_tasks_rs directory:

cargo auto new

The new helper project has no dependencies at all, except std. It is really simple to understand how it works.
Open the directory automation_tasks_rs in a new editor, explore and add your own tasks in rust code. It is a plain CLI rust project, you can do everything you need with it. Add dependencies and stuff. No limits. Freedom of expression.
This helper project will be added to you commits and stay part of your project.
Then in the main project, run your task (the task name here is build) simply like this:

cargo auto build

Your code will be compiled (if needed) and executed.


This is a work in progress.
The goal is to create a library crate cargo_auto_lib with many functions that are commonly used when building rust projects.
I made a separate library crate cargo_auto_github_lib for functions that involve Github. Not everybody is using github.

cargo auto new with_lib


Usually I compile and run the code of cargo-auto with added arguments like this:

cargo run -- new
cargo run -- build
cargo run -- release

cargo crev reviews and advisory

We leave in times of danger with supply chain attacks.
It is recommended to always use cargo-crev
to verify the trustworthiness of each of your dependencies.
Please, spread this info.
You can also read reviews quickly on the web. Example for the crate num-traits:

open-source free and free as a beer

My open-source projects are free and free as a beer (MIT license).
I just love programming.
But I need also to drink. If you find my projects and tutorials helpful,
please buy me a beer or two donating on my paypal.
You know the price of a beer in your local bar ;-)
So I can drink a free beer for your health :-)
Na zdravje !