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npm install --save shellton


Basic example

var shellton = require('shellton');

shellton('echo all the things', function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    console.log(stdout); // all the things

Using IO streams

You can pipe the standard output streams from the child process, as such:

var output = fs.createWriteStream('script-output.txt');

    task: 'node script.js',
    stdout: output
    // you can also do stderr here, if you need
    // or just pipe it to the parent process io stream
    stderr: process.stderr
}, function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    console.log('script.js has exited');

You can also provide input to the external process, as such:

var input = fs.createReadStream('my-script.js');

    task: 'node',
    stdin: input
}, function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    console.log('my-script.js has exited');

Use your imagination here, and you can come up with some much more useful cases.

var shellton = require('shellton');
var through = require('through2');
var chalk = require('chalk');

function colorStream(name, writeStream) {
    writeStream = writeStream || process.stdout;
    var colorFunc = (chalk[name] || chalk.white).bind(chalk);
    var stream = through();
    stream.on('data', function(chunk) {
    return stream;

var input = through();
// write to the parent's output stream in green
var output = colorStream('green', process.stdout);
// write to the parent's error stream in red
var error = colorStream('red', process.stderr);

    task: 'node',
    stdin: input,
    stdout: output,
    stderr: error

// use any dynamically generated javascript
input.write('console.log("output is green");');
input.write('console.error("errors are red");');


shellton(options, callback)

options {string | Object} : The options defining the external task to execute. This parameter is required.

  • When given a string, this is the command line command being executed. You can supply a full command, as you would normally type into bash or the Windows command prompt.
  • When given an object, the following properties are available:
    • task {string} : the command to executed.
    • stdin {Stream} : a stream to pipe into the command.
    • stdout {Stream} : a stream to where the standard output of the command will be piped.
    • stderr {Stream} : a stream to where the standard error of the command will be piped.
    • cwd {string} : the directory from where the command will be executed. The default is the current directory of the parent process.
    • env {Object} : the environment variables for the child process. Values here will be merged with an overwrite values in the current process.env.
    • encoding {string} : the encoding to use to the data provided to the callback. The options are utf8 and buffer, with utf8 being the default.

callback {function} : The callback to call when the child process exists. This parameter is optional. It receives the following parameters, in order:

  • error {Error} : An error that occurred when executing the command. This generally means the command exited with a code other than 0. error.code specifies the exit code of the command.
  • stdout {string|Buffer} : A string representation of the standard output of the command. If the command outputs binary, you will likely want to read directly from stdout in the options object.
  • stderr {string|Buffer} : A string representation of the standard error of the command. If the command outputs binary, you will likely want to read directly from stderr in the options object.


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  • kirilv