1.1.0 • Public • Published


A way to get your favourite libraries and scripts from the internet, and fast.

Built with ♥ by @jackfranklin and @phuu.

Build Status

Supports Node 0.10.x and 0.8.x.

The following documentation is for using Pulldown as a CLI tool. If you'd like documentation on the use of Pulldown as a module, please see MODULE_USAGE.md.


Install pulldown globally using npm:

$ npm install -g pulldown

If you get any errors (particularly if you are on Node 0.8), try updating npm:

$ npm install -g npm

This gives you a pulldown command to use on your command line:

$ pulldown
  Usage: pulldown <identifier>[::<file>] [<identifier>[::<file>], ...] [options]
  An <identifier> can be a URL, a library name or a set.
    -o, --output  output directory
    -d, --dry-run  don't actually download the files
    -v, --version  get the current pulldown version
    -n, --noisy  verbose mode, basically
  Example usage:
    pulldown jquery             # Downloads jQuery
    pulldown jquery::jq.js      # Downloads jQuery to jq.js
    pulldown jquery angular.js  # Downloads jQuery and Angular.js
    pulldown backbone           # Downloads jQuery, Underscore.js and Backbone.js
    pulldown backbone -o js     # Downloads same as above, but into js/

Downloading Libraries

$ pulldown jquery
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js was downloaded to jquery.min.js
$ pulldown jquery underscore
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js was downloaded to jquery.min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/underscore/1.0.0/underscore.min.js was downloaded to underscore.min.js

Pulldown works by searching on the cdnjs site for what you asked it for.

Custom Downloads

Of course, not everything you might want to download exists on cdnjs. You can add your own custom downloads to ~/.pulldown.json. This file might look something like this:

  "mycustommodule": "http://www.madeup.com/custom/module.js"

Then you can run:

$ pulldown mycustommodule
->  Success: http://www.madeup.com/custom/module.js was downloaded to module.js

Pulldown will know where to look. Pulldown will always look in your local ~/.pulldown.json file before searching. This means if you want a particular version of a library you can put it into your local file, and Pulldown will always use that.

Sets on the Server

Pulldown comes with the notion of sets. Sets are a collection of libraries.

For example, a Backbone application typically requires 3 libraries:

  • Backbone
  • jQuery
  • Underscore

Rather than download all three yourself, Pulldown has you covered:

$ pulldown backbone
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/underscore.js/1.4.4/underscore-min.js was downloaded to underscore-min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/backbone.js/1.0.0/backbone-min.js was downloaded to backbone-min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js was downloaded to jquery.min.js

We define sets on our server. When you hit our server asking for backbone, we give you back jQuery, Underscore and Backbone. If you think there's more sets we should support, let us know.

Custom Sets

You can define custom sets in your ~/.pulldown.json. They look like this:

  "backboneapp": ["jquery", "underscore", "backbone.js"]

Here I define a custom set, backboneapp, that will download jQuery, Underscore and Backbone. This is an example we have on the server, so you don't need to, but it's useful for setting up common sets of libraries you use together. Downloading them all becomes as simple as:

$ pulldown backboneapp
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/underscore.js/1.4.4/underscore-min.js was downloaded to underscore-min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/backbone.js/1.0.0/backbone-min.js was downloaded to backbone-min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js was downloaded to jquery.min.js

Output Directories

You can tell Pulldown to save what it downloads into a directory, that will be created if it doesn't exist:

$ pulldown backbone -o foo/
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/underscore.js/1.4.4/underscore-min.js was downloaded to foo/underscore-min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/backbone.js/1.0.0/backbone-min.js was downloaded to foo/backbone-min.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js was downloaded to foo/jquery.min.js

Custom File Names

If you're downloading something that will resolve to a single file, you can choose the name of the file that will be downloaded using two colons:

$ pulldown jquery::foo.js
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.0/jquery.min.js was downloaded to foo.js


Pulldown supports finding a specific version of a library, and will do its best to find it. Use identifier@version:

$ pulldown jquery@1.7.1
->  Success: https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/1.7.1/jquery.min.js was downloaded to jquery.min.js

Pulldown searches cdnjs for it. If it can't find the right version, it'll give you the latest.

Dry Run

If you want to see what would happen when you run a particular command, append the -d or --dry-run flag. This will not download the files, but will tell you what would happen:

$ pulldown jquery -d
-> Dry Run - no files will be downloaded
-> https://cdnjs.cloudflare.com/ajax/libs/jquery/2.0.3/jquery.min.js would have been downloaded to jquery.min.js


$ npm update pulldown -g


See the CONTRIBUTING.md file.

Pulldown vs Bower

We get a lot of questions about the similarities and differences of Pulldown compared to Bower.

Short Answer: Bower is a package manager; Pulldown downloads files. Bower configurations can be saved with a project and shared by people working on it; Pulldown cannot – it is almost configuration-less. Think of it as way to get a copy of your favourite library, fast.

Long Answer: Bower is a far more complex and fully-featured package and, more importantly, dependency manager. If you have a complex project with multiple 3rd party libraries in play, and you want to keep tight control over the versions you're using, Bower is best suited. Use Bower when you wouldn't want to commit all those libraries to Git, but would want to commit a component.json file.

We envisage (and personally use) Pulldown for those times when you just want one or two libraries, and have little care for versioning or dependencies. For example, if I want to prototype a quick Backbone app, I can quickly run $ pulldown jquery underscore backbone.js to get all three. Here it doesn't matter to me which versions I have (Pulldown will always pull in the latest stable version by default) and I'll probably commit those libraries to Git too. Pulldown also has the concept of sets, which is often where people get confused. These two commands are equal:

$ pulldown jquery underscore backbone.js
$ pulldown backbone

The second command will download the Backbone set, which will give you Underscore, jQuery and Backbone. This looks like dependency management - and sort of is - but it's really dumb. All Pulldown is doing here is seeing you asked it for "backbone", and replacing that with "jquery underscore backbone.js", which it then goes and gets separately. Sets are hard coded in the Pulldown API:

"backbone": ["backbone.js", "underscore", "jquery"],

The sets are there purely to allow you to save time and type less. There is no versioning, dependency checks or anything done with sets. They are just a list of libraries to download, nothing more.


  • Pulldown: run once, commit libraries to source control.
  • Bower: add package to configuration file, don't commit libraries to source control, run often.

If you've any further questions, please do ask.



  • Deal better and show on command line any API errors and problems with Heroku


  • Fixed a bug that would show the help and not the version number when you ran $ pulldown -v.


  • If you downloaded a URL and passed an output name (eg $ pulldown foo.com/bar.js::test.js), it will now save the file to the specified name and not just ignore it (bug #74).


  • add found: true flag to the results returned from the pulldown.init callback. This enables you to see if a searchTerm was successful by seeing if result.found === true.


  • Fixed TypeError when you search for something that no longer exists ( Number #70 )
  • Improve handling of errors and the console output.


  • complete rewrite to separate Pulldown the module and Pulldown the CLI tool. The module is now responsible for searching the API and returning the contents of the library source. The CLI tool saves those to files and parses the command line arguments.
  • Various small bug fixes and tweaks.


  • you can now run a dry-run to see what will happen with the flag -d or --dry-run: $ pulldown -d jquery (Number #40)
  • if you use 1 semi colon instead of 2 to split URL and output (eg jquery:foo.js), which is incorrect, you'll see a nice error message instead of a JS exception. (Number #33)
  • you can run $ pulldown ls to list the sets we support. (Number #38)
  • bug fixed: when downloading zips, the -o flag was ignored. (Number #41)
  • bug fixed: you can now specify complex paths to download a file to: $ pulldown jquery::foo/bar/baz/jquery.js (Number #42)


  • you can now programatically require Pulldown: var Pulldown = require("pulldown") (presuming it's in your package.json and installed as a dependency).
  • progress bars are shown when downloading a file


  • pulldown will now notify you when a new version is out and you should upgrade
  • swapped to using chalk for the coloured output


  • swapped to using :: for seperating search term with output name
  • support URLs


  • allow help to be got at through pulldown -h or pulldown --help


  • added a help command (pulldown)
  • don't add zip extension to output path if it is already there


  • support downloading and unzipping of ZIP files.


  • only let the file name be dictated by the user if there's only one file to download


  • avoid downloading the same file more than once if we can avoid it


  • show an error if the search term could not be resolved


  • pass in an output directory to save all files to (pulldown backbone -o foo/)
  • support saving a file to a particular name (pulldown jquery:foo.js)


  • improve Windows support (thanks @sindresorhus)


  • make sure URLs in local JSON file are valid


  • complete rewrite. Too much to document here (see this README for a full briefing on the new pulldown).


  • updated structure of .pulldownrc to allow for specifying the file name
  • fix mkdir showing error if no directory given


  • if you try to install something to a folder that doesn't exist, pulldown will now create it


  • initial release!
  • this is a rewrite and rework of the old nodefetch module, with a better name.




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