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File System Notifier that invokes scripts when new input files are available


The fs-notifier daemon monitors directories (folders) for changes and notifies interested scripts about these changes. Changes include

  1. Files created
  2. Files modified

The daemon always runs on port 8664 on the machine on which it is run. For example, http://localhost:8664/ if you are running it on the machine on which you are reading this page.

fs-notifier automatically re-tries failed files up to 5 times.

I personally use fs-notifier as a crude data-driven workflow management tool, and create pipes of workflows, with each script consuming the output produced by the previous script in the pipe.

  { "script": "/home/username/",
    "email": "",
    "files": [ "[a-z]{2,3}wiki-([0-9]+)-pages-articles.xml.bz2", ".*\\.c" ]
  { "script": "/home/username/",
    "email": "",
    "files": [ ".*" ]
  { "smtp": { "user": "username", "password": "password",
              "host": "SMTP host name", "ssl": true

The script section is the complete PATH of the script to invoke.

Every script is invoked with just 1 argument, that being the path name of the file is is supposed to process. Every script returns Zero (0) to indicate success, and a non-zero value to indicate failure. Failed files for a script are automatically re-tried up to 5 times.

The file names ( and in the example config file above) of scripts MUST be unique since they are used to determine the status of complete files. i.e. You can NOT have 2 scripts with the exact same file name.

You can move scripts around as long as their file names remain the same. i.e /home/username/ can be changed to /opt/scripts/folder01/folder02/, but you may NOT change it to /home/username/ If you do, then all files associated with this script will be re-tried. There is however a way around this (if you really MUST rename a file). See the section Running below.

email is OPTIONAL and if set, an email will be sent to the specified address every time a script fails to process a given file. This is detected by checking the return code of the script. Zero (0) indicates success, and anything else indicates a failure.

The strings in the files array are regular expressions that are used to match against file names. If multiple regular expressions match a single file name for a given script, then that file is processed just once.

The configuration entry with a key of smtp indicates the SMTP configuration used to send out email in case of script execution failures.

You will need node.js installed on the machine you wish to install fs-notifier on. Once you have it, just type:

$ npm install fs-notifier

Create a configuration file (sample above) and place it at $HOME/.fsnotifier.

$ fs-notifier --watchdir=PATH1 --watchdir=PATH_N --metadatadir=PATH_TO_METADATADIR --config=PATH_TO_CONFIG

You may specify as many --watchdir arguments as the number of directories you wish to watch.

The --metadatadir is a directory where the metadata about the completion status of the various scripts on the files being watched is stored. This is used in the case when the daemon is stopped and re-started to determine which files have been successfully processed by a certain script. This is why it is important (nay ESSENTIAL) to keep the name of the script the same. If you ABSOLUTELY MUST rename a script, please also rename the folder under this directory to reflect the new name of the script.

The --config is the path to the configuration file in case it isn't placed at $HOME/.fsnotifier. Please don't use paths like ~/folder/file since fs-notifier will NOT perform GLOB expansion.

There are many ways to set up fs-notifier, but the expected environment uses a process monitoring tool such as:

  1. forever
  2. daemontools

to monitor the running fs-notifier process (since it blocks). This ensures that if the process is killed (which it can be by clicking the Kill Daemon link on the main page), then the process monitoring tool of your choice will re-start it. This is a valid way by which you can re-load the configuration file. The process will FAIL to restart if the configuration file is not in a valid JSON format.

When the fs-notifier process is killed, it sends a SIGTERM signal to each of the scripts that are currently running, so that those scripts can handle that signal and [dis]gracefully terminate.

I don't know the behaviour of fs-notifier in the following scenarios:

  1. --watchdir is a symlink.

  2. --watchdir contains a symlink of another --watchdir argument.

  3. The directory in --watchdir is deleted and re-created after the daemon is started.

  4. The directory --metadatadir does NOT have the necessary permissions for the fs-notifier daemon to create directories and write files to it.

  5. The same directory is specified in both the --metadatadir as well as the --watchdir arguments.