I had been going with my batches of shell scripts because I value auditability in what I use, and to keep a low overhead of 3rd-party dependencies. Every additional programming language and its homegrown package manager that I add kills me a little inside.
But what won me over with gulp is that the Node.JS module ecosystem has been focused on front-end development problems. In spite of the high package overhead involved with installing gulp and all its companion packages—meaning, screens of other package install messages go flying by for every final package I explicitly install—it’s all self-contained. And I get to benefit from other peoples’ work in scratching the same itches that I have.