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Tiny LiveReload server, background-friendly


This script manages a tiny LiveReload server implementation.

It exposes an HTTP server and express middleware, with a very basic REST Api to notify the server of a particular change.

It doesn't have any watch ability, it must be done at the build process or application level.

Instead, it exposes a very simple API to notify the server that some changes have been made, then broadcasted to every livereload client connected.

# notify a single change
curl http://localhost:35729/changed?files=style.css

# notify using a longer path
curl http://localhost:35729/changed?files=js/app.js

# notify multiple changes, comma or space delimited
curl http://localhost:35729/changed?files=index.html,style.css,docs/docco.css

Or you can bulk the information into a POST request, with body as a JSON array of files.

curl -X POST http://localhost:35729/changed -d '{ "files": ["style.css", "app.js"] }'

# from a JSON file
node -pe 'JSON.stringify({ files: ["some.css", "files.css"] })' > files.json
curl -X POST -d @files.json http://localhost:35729

As for the livereload client, you need to install the browser extension: (note: you need to listen on port 35729 to be able to use with your brower extension)

or add the livereload script tag manually: (and here you can choose whatever port you want)

The best way to integrate the runner in your workflow is to add it as a reload step within your build tool.

var tinylr = require('tiny-lr');
// standard LiveReload port 
var port = 35729;
// tinylr(opts) => new tinylr.Server(opts); 
tinylr().listen(port, function() {
  console.log('... Listening on %s ...', port);

You can define your own route and listen for specific request:

var server = tinylr();
server.on('GET /myplace', function(reqres) {

And stop the server manually:


This will close any websocket connection established and emit a close event.

To use as a connect / express middleware, tiny-lr needs query / bodyParser middlewares prior in the stack (to handle POST requests)

Any handled requests ends at the tinylr level, not found and errors are nexted to the rest of the stack.

var port = process.env.LR_PORT || process.env.PORT || 35729;
var path    = require('path');
var express = require('express');
var tinylr  = require('tiny-lr');
var body    = require('body-parser');
var app = express();
// This binds both express app and tinylr on the same port 
  .use(tinylr.middleware({ app: app }))
  .listen(port, function() {
    console.log('listening on %d', port);

The port you listen on is important, and tinylr should always listen on the LiveReload standard one: 35729. Otherwise, you won't be able to rely on the browser extensions, though you can still use the manual snippet approach.

You can also start two different servers, one on your app port, the other listening on the LiveReload port.

Head over to

See make-livereload repo. This repository defines a bin wrapper you can use and install with:

npm install make-livereload -g

It bundles the same bin wrapper previously used in tiny-lr repo.

Usage: tiny-lr [options]


  -h, --help     output usage information
  -V, --version  output the version number
  port           -p
  pid            Path to the generated PID file (default: ./

See gulp-livereload repo.

  • livereload - Path to the client side lib (defaults to path.join(__dirname, '../node_modules/livereload-js/dist/livereload.js'))
  • port - Livereload port (defaults to 35729)
  • errorListener - A callback to invoke when an error occurs (otherwise, fallbacks to standard error output)
  • app - An express or other middleware based HTTP server
  • key - Option to pass in to create an https server
  • cert - Option to pass in to create an https server
  • pfx - Can also be used to create an https server instead of key & cert
  • liveCSS - LiveReload option to enable live CSS reloading (defaults to true)
  • liveJs - LiveReload option to enable live JS reloading (defaults to true)
  • liveImg - LiveReload option to enable live images reloading (defaults to true)
npm test


# tiny-lr accepts ws clients.
var url = parse(this.request.url);
var server =;
var ws = = new WebSocket('ws://' + + '/livereload');
ws.onopen = function(event) {
  var hello = {
    command: 'hello',
    protocols: ['']
ws.onmessage = function(event) {
  assert.deepEqual(, JSON.stringify({
    command: 'hello',
    protocols: [''],
    serverName: 'tiny-lr'

properly cleans up established connection on exit.

var ws =;
ws.onclose = done.bind(null, null);
  .expect(200, function() {
    console.log('server shutdown');
# tiny-lr ## GET / respond with nothing, but respond.
  .expect('Content-Type', /json/)
  .expect(200, done);

unknown route respond with proper 404 and error message.

  .expect('Content-Type', /json/)
  .expect('{"error":"not_found","reason":"no such route"}')
  .expect(404, done);
## GET /changed with no clients, no files.
  .expect('Content-Type', /json/)
  .expect(200, done);

with no clients, some files.

  .expect('Content-Type', /json/)
  .expect(200, done);
## POST /changed with no clients, no files.
  .expect('Content-Type', /json/)
  .expect(200, done);

with no clients, some files.

var data = { clients: [], files: ['cat.css', 'sed.css', 'ack.js'] };
  .send({ files: data.files })
  .expect('Content-Type', /json/)
  .expect(200, done);
## GET /livereload.js respond with livereload script.
  .expect(200, done);
## GET /kill shutdown the server.
var server = this.server;
  .expect(200, function(err) {
    if(err) return done(err);