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Node.js: fs-extra

This module adds a few extra file system methods that aren't included in the native fs module. It is a drop in replacement for fs.

Why?

I got tired of including mkdirp and rimraf in most of my projects.

Naming

I put a lot of thought into the naming of these function. Inspired by @coolaj86's request. So he deserves much of the credit for raising the issue. See discussion(s) here:

First, I believe that in as many cases as possible, the Node.js naming schemes should be chosen. However, there are problems with the Node.js own naming schemes.

For example, fs.readFile() and fs.readdir(): the F is capitalized in File and the d is not capitalized in dir. Perhaps a bit pedantic, but they should still be consistent. Also, Node.js has chosen a lot of POSIX naming schemes, which I believe is great. See: fs.mkdir(), fs.rmdir(), fs.chown(), etc.

We have a dilemma though. How do you consistently name methods that perform the following POSIX commands: cp, cp -r, mkdir -p, and rm -rf?

My perspective: when in doubt, err on the side of simplicity. Consider that for a moment. A directory is just a hierarchical grouping of directories and files. So when you want to copy it or remove it, in most cases you'll want to copy or remove all of its contents. When you want to create a directory, if the directory that it's suppose to be contained in does not exist, then in most cases you'll want to create that too.

So, if you want to remove a file or a directory regardless of whether it has contents, just call fs.remove(path) or its alias fs.delete(path). If you want to copy a file or a directory whether it has contents, just call fs.copy(source, destination). If you want to create a directory regardless of whether its parent directories exist, just call fs.mkdirs(path) or fs.mkdirp(path).

Compromise

If you feel that this module should add functionality, please let me know. If you don't like the naming scheme, let me know that as well. I'm willing to work with the community so that we can develop a logical grouping of file system functions that aren't found Node.js.

Installation

npm install fs-extra

Usage

var fs = require('fs-extra');

Methods

NOTE: You can still use the native Node.js methods. They are copied over to fs-extra.

copy(src, dest, callback)

Copy a file or directory. The directory can have contents. Like cp -r. There isn't a synchronous version implemented yet.

Sync: (none)

Examples:

var fs = require('fs-extra');

fs.copy('/tmp/myfile', '/tmp/mynewfile', function(err){
  if (err) {
    console.error(err);
  }
  else {
    console.log("success!")
  }
}); //copies file

fs.copy('/tmp/mydir', '/tmp/mynewdir', function(err){
  if (err) {
    console.error(err);
  }
  else {
    console.log("success!")
  }
}); //copies directory, even if it has subdirectories or files

remove(dir, callback) / delete(dir, callback)

Removes a file or directory. The directory can have contents. Like rm -rf.

Sync: removeSync() / deleteSync()

Examples:

var fs = require('fs-extra');

fs.remove('/tmp/myfile', function(err){
  if (err) {
    console.error(err);
  }
  else {
    console.log("success!")
  }
});

fs.removeSync('/home/jprichardson'); //I just deleted my entire HOME directory. 

mkdirs(dir, callback) / mkdirp(dir, callback)

Creates a directory. If the parent hierarchy doesn't exist, it's created. Like mkdir -p.

Sync: mkdirsSync() / mkdirpSync()

Examples:

var fs = require('fs');
var fse = require('fs-extra');

fse.mkdirs('/tmp/some/long/path/that/prob/doesnt/exist', function(err){
  if (err) {
    console.error(err);
  }
  else {
    console.log("success!")
  }
});

fse.mkdirsSync('/tmp/another/path');

//now use Node.js native mkdir()

fs.mkdir('/tmp/node/cant/do/this', function(err){
  console.log('this wasnt successful');
});

createFile(file, callback)

Creates a file. If the file that is requested to be created is in directories that do not exist, these directories are created. If the file already exists, it is NOT MODIFIED.

Sync: createFileSync()

Example:

var fs = require('fs-extra')
  , file = '/tmp/this/path/does/not/exist/file.txt'

fs.createFile(file, function(err) {
  console.log(err); //null

  //file has now been created, including the directory it is to be placed in
})

outputFile(file, data, callback)

Almost the same as writeFile, except that if the directory does not exist, it's created.

Sync: outputFileSync()

Example:

var fs = require('fs-extra')
  , file = '/tmp/this/path/does/not/exist/file.txt'

fs.outputFile(file, 'hello!' function(err) {
  console.log(err); //null

  fs.readFile(file, 'utf8', function(err, data) {
    console.log(data); //hello!
  })
})

readTextFile(file, callback)

Exactly the same as readFile(file, 'utf8', callback).

Sync: readTextFileSync().

Example:

var fs = require('fs-extra')
  , file = '/etc/passwd'

fs.readTextFile(file, function(err, data) { //instead of fs.readFile(file, 'utf8', callback)
  console.log(data); // (contents of your /etc/passwd) file
})

Methods from jsonfile

fs.readJSONFile() / fs.readJSONFileSync()

Reads a JSON file and then parses it into an object.

Example:

var fs = require('fs-extra');

fs.readJSONFile('./package.json', function(err, packageObj) {
  console.log(packageObj.version); //0.1.3
});

fs.writeJSONFile() / fs.writeJSONFileSync()

Writes an object to a JSON file.

Example:

var fs = require('fs-extra');
fs.writeJSONFile('./package.json', {name: 'fs-extra'}, function(err){
  console.log(err);
});

exists() / existsSync()

These methods are actually from path in v0.6. But in Node v0.8 they are moved from path to fs. So you can use this module to help make your modules v0.6 and v0.8 compatible.

Author

node-fs-extra was written by JP Richardson. You should follow him on Twitter @jprichardson. Also read his coding blog Procbits. If you write software with others, you should checkout Gitpilot to make collaboration with Git simple.

License

Licensed under MIT

Copyright (c) 2011-2012 JP Richardson

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