I created plovr as a by-product of authoring Closure: The Definitive Guide. In the introduction of the book, I explain how to get the Closure Compiler, Compiler Library, and Closure Templates to work together. This turned out to be a painful section to write because there are so many steps involved to get everything set up, and I knew there could be a more effective way.
When I worked at Google, the build system there made it easier to leverage Closure, but it was by no means a one-liner. Some individual teams built additional infrastructure on top of Closure to facilitate the build process, but I did not see anything significant that was reused across teams. In creating plovr, I tried to create what I believe many frontend teams were trying to get at in the development of their own infrastructure for Closure.
I did not have a version of plovr working end-to-end until the weekend before the manuscript of the book was due, so rather than rewrite the introductory sections so they would be based on plovr, I tacked information on plovr at the end as an appendix and then sprinkled some references to it throughout the book. (This also seemed more appropriate than beginning the book by asserting that my tool should be used instead of the scripts maintained by Google, especially at a time when plovr had very few users.)If you are curious about the name (plovr), it is candidly explained in Appendix C of Closure: The Definitive Guide:
“Its name is the product of the animal on the cover of this book, Web 2.0 zeitgeist, and domain name availability.”Some may argue that I am starting to develop a track record for poorly named software projects.