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Snowdrop is a Node.js utility that watches a local folder for changes and acts as files in that folder change. Among other things, snowdrop can:

  • Rsync files after you edit them in VIM
  • Update your tag file as files change
  • Run commands on init to start VIM or clear caches

Snowdrop was built as a sidecar utility for VIM to allow me to work locally with files that are remote. Because some of the applications I work on aren't easily hosted locally, I needed something that lets me take advantages of neato VIM plugins and features (CtrlP, NERDTree, tags) as if I was running them on the local system.

Snowdrop will ask for info about a remote folder, pull those files down, and watch as you make change so that files can be pushed to the remote machine and ctags files can be updated.


Requires a very recent version of Node.js. This was build using v0.9.10. Tested on Mac OS X 10.8.

Requres rsync and (exuberant) ctags if you plan to use them.

To install, run:

 $ npm install -g snowdrop

Works best with remote systems where you have ssh keys installed.

Using Snowdrop

To use snowdrop, create a new local directory and run snowdrop:

 $ mkdir project; cd project && snowdrop

Follow the prompts to continue the setup process:


Finally, run snowdrop in the project directory to start the monitoring process. As a files changes, is added, or is removed, snowdrop runs the configured commands (usually at least an rsync and ctags).


Run snowdrop -u to rsync the remote files to the local system.


After snowdrop is initialized, a file named .snowdrop.json appears in the current working directory. You can edit this file to change how snowdrop reacts to changes in the filesystem.

The config file contains a JSON object with the following properties:

  • source: The local directory to sync. Shouldn't normally be changed.
  • destination: The remote folder to sync to. Set to false if you do not want to use rsync.
  • ignore: If a regular expression in this array matches a filename, snowdrop will not act when that file changes. Ignores .git and tags by default.
  • init: Commands to run when snowdrop is started.
  • rsync: Flags and options used when snowdrop rsyncs the source to the destination.
  • ctags: Set to true if ctags should be used to create a file named tags in the current working directory.

Contributing changes

  • Fork and send pull requests
  • Submit issues