Fine-grained cross-platform file system monitoring for Node.js

File-grained cross-platform FS monitoring for Node.js

Wait, wait, how's it different from fs.watch? Unlike fs.watch, fsmonitor:

  • monitors an entire subtree (fs.watch only monitors a single folder)
  • gives you the entire list of added, removed and modified files and folders (e.g. when you add or delete a non-empty folder, the change event will contain a list of all files in that folder)

Here's what happens when you call fsmonitor.watch(path):

  • The specified file system subtree is scanned, and the stat data is kept in memory.
  • fs.watch is called to start monitoring every subfolder encountered.
  • When change events are reported, the subtree is rescanned to determine the list of changes.
  • fs.watch is called for the new subfolders, and the watchers are shut down for the removed ones.

Alpha stage. Seems to work, waiting for feedback, shipping as part of LiveReload 0.5 for Windows.

Planned features:

  • only reporting changes in the files matching .gitignore-style masks you specify (using pathspec module for handling masks)
  • more efficient native code implementations on Mac and Windows
  • offloading per-folder monitoring backends to child processes to avoid hitting the limit on the number of file handles
npm install fsmonitor

or, to use fsmonitor command-line tool (see below):

npm install -g fsmonitor
fsmonitor = require('fsmonitor');
fsmonitor.watch('/some/folder', null, function(change) {
    console.log("Change detected:\n" + change);  # has a nice toString

    console.log("Added files:    %j", change.addedFiles);
    console.log("Modified files: %j", change.modifiedFiles);
    console.log("Removed files:  %j", change.removedFiles);

    console.log("Added folders:    %j", change.addedFolders);
    console.log("Modified folders: %j", change.modifiedFolders);
    console.log("Removed folders:  %j", change.removedFolders);

var monitor = fsmonitor.watch('.', {
    // include files
    matches: function(relpath) {
        return relpath.match(/\.js$/i) !== null;
    // exclude directories
    excludes: function(relpath) {
        return relpath.match(/^\.git$/i) !== null;
monitor.on('change', function(changes) {

Includes a command-line tool that can report changes and/or run a specified command on every change.

For example, to invoke npm test when any JavaScript file is modified:

fsmonitor -s -p '+*.js' npm test


Usage: fsmonitor [-d <folder>] [-p] [-s] [-q] [<mask>]... [<command> <arg>...]

  -d <folder>        Specify the folder to monitor (defaults to the current folder)
  -p                 Print changes to console (default if no command specified)
  -s                 Run the provided command once on start up
  -q                 Quiet mode (don't print the initial banner)

  +<mask>            Include only the files matching the given mask
  !<mask>            Exclude files matching the given mask

  If no inclusion masks are provided, all files not explicitly excluded will be included.

General options:
  --help             Display this message
  --version          Display fsmonitor version number

Install necessary modules:

npm install

Start npm test to run the unit tests:

npm test