node package manager


Recursive filesystem (and other) operations that Node should have.

Warning: This Project Is Deprecated!

wrench.js is deprecated, and hasn't been updated in quite some time. I heavily recommend using fs-extra to do any extra filesystem operations.

Wrench was built for the early days of Node, and it solved a problem that needed solving. I'm proud of what it's done; at the time of writing this, it was still downloaded over 25,000 times yesterday, and over 500,000 times in the last month. The fact that it wound up being embedded in so many projects is humbling and a great source of fun for me, but I just don't have the time to keep up with this at the moment. No alternate maintainers have appeared, and fs-extra is very well maintained anyway - one community solution is likely better.

So long, and thanks for all the fish. The original docs remain available here for anyone who may need them. If I could 301 a GitHub repository I'd do so.


  • Ryan McGrath

wrench.js - Recursive file operations in Node.js

While I love Node.js, I've found myself missing some functions. Things like recursively deleting/chmodding a directory (or even deep copying a directory), or even a basic line reader, shouldn't need to be re-invented time and time again.

That said, here's my attempt at a re-usable solution, at least until something more formalized gets integrated into Node.js (hint hint). wrench.js is fairly simple to use - check out the documentation/examples below:

Possibly Breaking Change in v1.5.0

In previous versions of Wrench, we went against the OS-default behavior of not deleting a directory unless the operation is forced. In 1.5.0, this has been changed to be the behavior people expect there to be - if you try to copy over a directory that already exists, you'll get an Error returned or thrown stating that you need to force it.

Something like this will do the trick:

wrench.copyDirSyncRecursive('directory_to_copy', 'location_where_copy_should_end_up', {
    forceDelete: true

If you desire the older behavior of Wrench... hit up your package.json. If you happen to find bugs in the 1.5.0 release please feel free to file them on the GitHub issues tracker for this project, or send me a pull request and I'll get to it as fast as I can. Thanks!

If this breaks enough projects I will consider rolling it back. Please hit me up if this seems to be the case.


npm install wrench


var wrench = require('wrench'),
    util = require('util');

Synchronous operations

// Recursively create directories, sub-trees and all. 
wrench.mkdirSyncRecursive(dir, 0777);
// Recursively delete the entire sub-tree of a directory, then kill the directory 
wrench.rmdirSyncRecursive('my_directory_name', failSilently);
// Recursively read directories contents. 
// Recursively chmod the entire sub-tree of a directory 
wrench.chmodSyncRecursive('my_directory_name', 0755);
// Recursively chown the entire sub-tree of a directory 
wrench.chownSyncRecursive("directory", uid, gid);
// Deep-copy an existing directory 
wrench.copyDirSyncRecursive('directory_to_copy', 'location_where_copy_should_end_up', {
    forceDelete: bool, // Whether to overwrite existing directory or not 
    excludeHiddenUnix: bool, // Whether to copy hidden Unix files or not (preceding .) 
    preserveFiles: bool, // If we're overwriting something and the file already exists, keep the existing 
    preserveTimestamps: bool, // Preserve the mtime and atime when copying files 
    inflateSymlinks: bool, // Whether to follow symlinks or not when copying files 
    filter: regexpOrFunction, // A filter to match files against; if matches, do nothing (exclude). 
    whitelist: bool, // if true every file or directory which doesn't match filter will be ignored 
    include: regexpOrFunction, // An include filter (either a regexp or a function) 
    exclude: regexpOrFunction // An exclude filter (either a regexp or a function) 
// Note: If a RegExp is provided then then it will be matched against the filename. If a function is 
//       provided then the signature should be the following: 
//       function(filename, dir) { return result; } 
// Read lines in from a file until you hit the end 
var f = new wrench.LineReader('x.txt');
while(f.hasNextLine()) {
// Note: You will need to close that above line reader at some point, otherwise 
// you will run into a "too many open files" error. f.close() or fs.closeSync(f.fd) are 
// your friends, as only you know when it is safe to close. 

Asynchronous operations

// Recursively read directories contents 
var files = [];
wrench.readdirRecursive('my_directory_name', function(error, curFiles) {
    // curFiles is what you want 
// If you're feeling somewhat masochistic 
wrench.copyDirRecursive(srcDir, newDir, {forceDelete: bool /* See sync version */}, callbackfn);

Questions, comments? Hit me up. (ryan [at] |