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Wrapper for access() UNIX C function


Node.js module wrapping access() UNIX C function, which is currently missing in both V8 and Node's fs API. Both sync and async implementations are available.

OS X and Linux platforms supported.


Ever needed to find out whether your app has specific permissions to a path? Now you can check a path for read, write and execute/search permissions on files and directories.


Just issue require('unix-access') and you can run two functions available: sync and async.

var access = require('unix-access');
var result;
// synchronous checks 
result = access.sync('/var/log/your_app.log', '');     // existence of the file 
result = access.sync('/var/log/your_app.log', 'rw');   // read and write permissions 
result = access.sync('/var/log/your_app_dir/', 'rwx'); // full control 
// asynchronous check for read and executable permissions 
access.async('/bin/tar', 'rx', function(errresult) {

Both arguments are of String type. Return value is of Boolean type. TypeError exception is thrown in case of incorrect type of aguments.

Permissions may contain case-insensitive combination of r, w, and x characters. Any other characters will be stripped out.

True return value indicates you do have the permissions you were testing the path for, False means you do not.

Works the same way as sync version but asychronously. Callback argument must be of Function type.

Two arguments will be passed over the callback(err, result) function. Err is of String type, result of Boolean type.


npm install unix-access

Supported platforms and requirements

Tested on OS X Yosemite 10.10.


  • Xcode
  • Python 2.7 (present in the OS by default)

Tested on Debian Wheezy 7.0 64bit.


  • make
  • g++
  • Python 2.7


This module only depends on Nan Node.js module which eliminates incompatibilities among Node.js versions.

For developers of this tool, mocha and should are additional dependencies for running unit tests.

Technical details

Once issuing npm install unix-access, npm copies the module into node_modules directory and then executes node-gyp rebuild command to compile C++ sources. node-gyp is bundled within npm itself so you don't need to install it separately.

The C++ code being built by node-gyp is a gue between Google's V8 engine and native OS access() call defined in <unistd.h>.

Async function is really asynchronous (NOT just issuing callback in process.nextTick()). uv_queue_work() call from libuv manages the asynchronous execution in a separate thread pool.

For more information about UNIX access() function, run man access in your OS.


In order to develop this module, these steps are required:

  • Clone the git repo by executing git clone URL
  • Go to the newly created directory in Terminal
  • Run npm install node-gyp -g
  • Run npm install to download dependencies
  • Run node-gyp rebuild to build your modified code
  • Run unit tests by npm test

If you want to develop this module and try to install dev_dependencies by executing npm install, you may see the error message below:

npm WARN cannot run in wd unix-access@0.1.0 node-gyp rebuild (wd=/root/unix-access-master)

The reason why npm install fails is that you run the npm install command as root user. If you really have to work under root user, use npm install --unsafe-perm instead.