live-reload for ssh connected devices 🐪
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live-reload for ssh connected devices 🐪

What is remote-code? remote-code is a developer tool that helps you to write code on your normal developer machine but actually run on a remote device (e.g. raspberry pi). It automagically syncs your local files with the remote, installs dependencies on the device if you update your package.json and makes sure the remote process keeps running while you develop using nodemon.

Why would I need that? You may need it depending on your project and how you want to develop; my need for a tool like this emerged from projects supposed to run on a raspberry pi that heavily relies on using pi specific hardware like bluetooth, IO ports etc. The alternative to remote coding would be to develop on the pi directly. That means either replicating your dev setup onto the machine or working with less familiar tools.


⚠️ Please check that your remote host fulfills all prerequisites

Recommended to use as CLI

$ npm i -g remote-code

supported platforms

remote-code relies heavily on other node modules to achieve the functionality, while they claim to support all major operating systems there currently is no test suite for this. Feel free to contribute 🐳

It has been tested for the following combinations of local/remote

local remote
MacBook Pro  raspbian
MacBook 2017 Ubuntu 18.04 (AWS EC2)
MacBook 2017 RHEL 7.6 (AWS EC2)


At the moment your remote host needs to fulfill a few requirements for this to work:

  1. rsync installed
  2. npm & nodemon globally available (if you use the default start command)
  3. remote target needs to have reachable npm upstream to install dependencies (i.e. internet connection)


$ remote-code help
  live-reload for ssh connected devices 🐪

    $ remote-code <[user@]host>

    This will happen:
    ✈️  sync local directory content with remote dir
    📦  run 'npm install' to install dependencies
    👀  open a ssh stream to view remote output
    🔃  run 'nodemon .' in the remote directory

    Note: Without specifying --source and/or --target default dirs will be used. You should only do this for testing as the directory could be dirty from previous runs.

    --identity-file,  -i    SSH keyfile
    --install-cmd,    -I    installation / setup command [npm install]
    --port,           -p    Custom port [22]
    --source,         -s    directory to synchronize (local) [CWD]
    --start-cmd,      -S    command to start on remote (should implement a file watcher) [nodemon .]
    --target,         -t    remote location to sync to ["~/remote-sync"]
    --user,           -u    SSH username
    --verbose,        -v    log all the things

    $ remote-code user@
    $ remote-code -p 23 -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa --user admin
    $ remote-code -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa pi@ --source ~/myProject --target "~/myProject"
    $ remote-code -i ~/.ssh/id_rsa pi@ -S 'sudo \`which node\` johnny5' -I "npm install"```

## FAQ

### Error: rsync exited with code 12

Getting this error after the `✈️       syncing files` message usually indicates issues with the availability of `rsync` on your client/server. Please check the following:

- your identify file is correct
- try running the command with `--verbose` and look for the `rsync` command that is being logged after the file sync is initiated, verify that the arguments look OK
- compare the rsync versions of host and client using `rsync --version`, if the protocol versions differentiate too much it might be an issue

Note: See [this list]( for other rsync error codes

### Error: rsync exited with code 127

This error might pop up if the remote host does not have `rsync` installed. Please verify you have it installed.

## Todo

- [ ] ship with `setup` routine to install `npm` & `nodemon` if they are missing on remote
- [ ] test if this works with virtual machines as a target (e.g. EC2)
- [ ] test password authentication
- [ ] move options logic to index to allow testing for defaults

If you find anything that you don't like **create an issue**.

# License

MIT © [Andreas Offenhaeuser](

## Credits

Kudos to the libraries I didn't have to worry about because someone else did:

- [chokidar]( watch files on local system
- [rsync]( a great wrapper around the rsync binary
- [nodemon]( keep node process on remote running
- [ssh2]( start remote processes like `nodemon` and `npm install`