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connect-autoreload is connect middleware that supports a basic javascript client. The server watches for file changes and the client reloads your page when files are changed. This is useful if you're a frontend developer and you're sick of manually refreshing the page to reflect your changes.

Standalone reload script

If you're looking for the easiest way to refresh your page when files change, check out autoreload. If you want to integrate the autoreload behavior into your own connect/express server, read on.


npm install connect-autoreload, or add connected-autoreload to your package.json.


See the standalone app in example/. Edit the config, start the server (node path/to/app.js), drop in the js, and you're good to go.

Adding autoreload to an existing server

If you already have an express app, it's easy to add autoreload middleware:

var autoreload = require('connect-autoreload')

var config = {
  watch_dirs: 'js html css/compiled thirdparty/frontend',
  ignore_regex: /\.sw[poax]$/,
  delay: 150,  // wait 150ms before reloading


This will set up the default endpoint, waitForReload/.

It's recommend to start the node app from your project's root directory. That way, watch_dirs will correctly work with relative paths. examples/ is a shorthand for this if you use git.

Including the Javascript client

<script src="http://localhost:60000/autoreload.js"></script> or include js/autoreload.js on your page.

To start reloading the page when changes happen, call AutoReload.Watch(). If you run your autoreload server at a different host/port as your page is served from, it can be set as parameter, like AutoReload.Watch('http://localhost:60000').

You can call AutoReload.Stop() at any point to cancel the refresh-on-change behavior.

https setup

If your web server requires an https connection, your connect app must have a valid cert or your browser will choke.

If you are running a separate web server, it might be annoying to set up the dummy autoreload node app with your cert. Instead, you can proxy via Apache or nginx -

Example Apache config using ProxyPass:

ProxyPass /waitForReload http://localhost:60000/waitForReload

Example nginx config:

location /waitForReload {
  proxy_pass      http://localhost:60000/waitForReload

MIT License

Copyright (c) 2013 Ian Webster/Room 77, Inc.
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