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Node.js - github-download

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Easily download Github repos without any external dependencies such as Git, Tar, Unzip, etc.


I really like the concept of managing user defined projects, repos, file structures (package management) on Github like the way that Component does package management. I have a package management system Rock that I use to create skeleton/templates of projects. I wanted Rock to use Github as a package management system. I also didn't want any dependencies amongst any 3rd party programs like Git, Tar, or Unzip. Pure Node.js JavaScript is what I wanted.


npm install github-download


ghdownload(params, dir)

Downloads the latest copy of some Github reference (branch, tag, or commit), or the master branch by default (specifically the master branch, it does not honor Github's default branch configuration). This will still work even if the Github API limit has been reached.

  • params: Can either be:
    • a Github URL string such as:
      • git://
      • and even including a reference, e.g.
    • or an object like so: {user: 'jprichardson', repo: 'vcsurl', ref: 'master'}
  • dir: The output directory. Uses the current working directory if nothing is specified.

Returns a GithubDownloader object that emits events on dir, file, and end.


var ghdownload = require('github-download')
  , exec = require('exec')

ghdownload({user: 'jprichardson', repo: 'node-batchflow', ref: 'master'}, process.cwd())
.on('dir', function(dir) {
.on('file', function(file) {
.on('zip', function(zipUrl) { //only emitted if Github API limit is reached and the zip file is downloaded
.on('error', function(err) {
.on('end', function() {
  exec('tree', function(err, stdout, sderr) {


├── lib
│   └── batchflow.js
├── package.json
└── test
    ├── batchflow-par-array.test.js
    ├── batchflow-par-limit.test.js
    ├── batchflow-par-object.test.js
    ├── batchflow-seq-array.test.js
    ├── batchflow-seq-object.test.js
    ├── batchflow.test.js
    ├── mocha.opts
    └── resources

3 directories, 12 files


(MIT License)

Copyright 2013, JP Richardson

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