Netlify Eleventy Build Failure

Posted: April 3, 2023 | Categories: Eleventy

I am in the process of migrating my existing site hosted on FatCow to Eleventy hosted on Netlify and while I work on the site, I setup my domain so it points to the work in progress site.

When I setup the site and build in Netlify yesterday, the site built and deployed for me the first time, but then quit working and gave me the following error:

9:00:51 AM: $ eleventy
9:00:52 AM: bash: eleventy: command not found
9:00:52 AM: ​
9:00:52 AM: "build.command" failed
9:00:52 AM: ────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────
9:00:52 AM: ​
9:00:52 AM: Error message
9:00:52 AM: Command failed with exit code 127: eleventy (
9:00:52 AM: ​
9:00:52 AM: Error location
9:00:52 AM: In Build command from Netlify app:
9:00:52 AM: eleventy
9:00:52 AM: ​
9:00:52 AM: Resolved config
9:00:52 AM: build:
9:00:53 AM: Failed during stage 'building site': Build script returned non-zero exit code: 2 (
9:00:52 AM: command: eleventy
9:00:52 AM: commandOrigin: ui
9:00:52 AM: environment:
9:00:52 AM: - NODE_ENV
9:00:52 AM: publish: /opt/build/repo/_site
9:00:52 AM: publishOrigin: ui

I ran the build all day on my local system with no errors, so this really perplexed me. I poked and prodded at the Netlify docs, but couldn't find a solution that worked. As I prepared to jump on the Netlify community site to ask for help, I opened the build log to copy the error text displayed above and found the reason for the build failure:

9:00:42 AM: WARNING: The environment variable 'NODE_ENV' is set to 'production'. Any 'devDependencies' in package.json will not be installed

Being an experienced Node/JavaScript developer, I knew to install my dev dependencies in the project's package.json file under devDependencies and that worked just fine on my local system. That is a flawed premise though, Eleventy is a static site generator, so runtime for an Eleventy project is during the build process, not while the 'app' executes.

I quickly moved the devDependencies to dependencies and the project built and deployed as expected.

This site uses Netlify as well and it only took me a few seconds to realize why this issue hit me now rather than when I built this site. I was playing around with HTML minification in Eleventy projects based on the Minifying HTML Output tutorial and during implementation I added a NODE_ENV environment variable in Netlify to enable HTML minification for production use (rather than having it enabled all the time) and that triggered Netlify to ignore my devDependencies.

Problem solved!

If this post helps you in some way, please consider buying me a coffee.