Inferred Tasks (Project Crystal)
In Nx version 18, Nx plugins can automatically infer tasks for your projects based on the configuration of different tools. Many tools have configuration files which determine what a tool does. Nx is able to cache the results of running the tool. Nx plugins use the same configuration files to infer how Nx should run the task. This includes fine-tuned cache settings and automatic task dependencies.
For example, the
@nx/webpack plugin infers tasks to run webpack through Nx based on your repository's webpack configuration. This configuration already defines the destination of your build files, so Nx reads that value and caches the correct output files.
How Does a Plugin Infer Tasks?
Every plugin has its own custom logic, but in order to infer tasks, they all go through the following steps.
1. Detect Tooling Configuration in Workspace
The plugin will search the workspace for configuration files of the tool. For each configuration file found, the plugin will infer tasks. i.e. The
@nx/webpack plugin searches for
webpack.config.js files to infer tasks that run webpack.
2. Create an Inferred Task
The plugin then configures tasks with a name that you specified in the plugin's configuration in
nx.json. The settings for the task are determined by the tool configuration.
@nx/webpack plugin creates tasks named
preview by default and it automatically sets the task caching settings based on the values in the webpack configuration files.
What Is Inferred
Nx plugins infer the following properties by analyzing the tool configuration.
- Command - How is the tool invoked
- Cacheability - Whether the task will be cached by Nx. When the Inputs have not changed the Outputs will be restored from the cache.
- Inputs - Inputs are used by the task to produce Outputs. Inputs are used to determine when the Outputs of a task can be restored from the cache.
- Outputs - Outputs are the results of a task. Outputs are restored from the cache when the Inputs are the same as a previous run.
- Task Dependencies - The list of other tasks which must be completed before running this task.
Nx Uses Plugins to Build the Graph
A typical workspace will have many plugins inferring tasks. Nx processes all the plugins registered in
nx.json to create project configuration for individual projects and a project and task graph that shows the connections between them all.
Plugin Order Matters
Plugins are processed in the order that they appear in the
plugins array in
nx.json. So, if multiple plugins create a task with the same name, the plugin listed last will win. If, for some reason, you have a project with both a
vite.config.js file and a
webpack.config.js file, both the
@nx/vite plugin and the
@nx/webpack plugin will try to create a
build task. The
build task that is executed will be the task that belongs to the plugin listed lower in the
View Inferred Tasks
To view the task settings for projects in your workspace, show the project details either from the command line or using Nx Console.
nx show project my-project --web
Overriding Inferred Task Configuration
You can override the task configuration inferred by plugins in several ways. If you want to overwrite the task configuration for multiple projects, use the
targetDefaults object in the
nx.json file. If you only want to override the task configuration for a specific project, update that project's configuration in
project.json. This configuration is more specific so it will override both the inferred configuration and the
The order of precedence for task configuration is:
- Inferred Task Configurations from plugins in
- Project Configuration in
More details about how to override task configuration is available in these recipes:
Existing Nx Workspaces
If you have an existing Nx Workspace and upgrade to Nx 18, the migration generator will automatically add
NX_ADD_PLUGINS=false to your
.env file. This environment variable allows you to continue to use Nx without inferred tasks. We are working on creating migrations for existing workspaces to start switching to inferred tasks, where desired.
- A newly generated project will have all targets defined with executors - not with inferred tasks.
nx add @nx/some-pluginwill not create a plugin entry for
nx.jsonfile. (So that plugin will not create inferred tasks.)
.env file is ignored by git, ensure that everyone in your organization sets
NX_ADD_PLUGINS=false. This could be done by updating a shared
.env file or setting the environment variable in everyone's
Even once a repository has fully embraced inferred tasks,
project.json and executors will still be useful. The
project.json file is needed to modify inferred task options and to define tasks that can not be inferred. Some executors perform tasks that can not be accomplished by running a tool directly from the command line (i.e. TypeScript batch mode).