Wrapper library for directory and file watching.

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watchpack high level API doesn’t map directly to watchers. Instead a three level architecture ensures that for each directory only a single watcher exists.

  • The high level API requests DirectoryWatchers from a WatcherManager, which ensures that only a single DirectoryWatcher per directory is created.
  • A user-faced Watcher can be obtained from a DirectoryWatcher and provides a filtered view on the DirectoryWatcher.
  • Reference-counting is used on the DirectoryWatcher and Watcher to decide when to close them.
  • The real watchers are created by the DirectoryWatcher.
  • Files are never watched directly. This should keep the watcher count low.
  • Watching can be started in the past. This way watching can start after file reading.
  • Symlinks are not followed, instead the symlink is watched.


var Watchpack = require("watchpack");

var wp = new Watchpack({
	// options:
	aggregateTimeout: 1000,
	// fire "aggregated" event when after a change for 1000ms no additional change occurred
	// aggregated defaults to undefined, which doesn't fire an "aggregated" event

	poll: true,
	// poll: true - use polling with the default interval
	// poll: 10000 - use polling with an interval of 10s
	// poll defaults to undefined, which prefer native watching methods
	// Note: enable polling when watching on a network path
	// When WATCHPACK_POLLING environment variable is set it will override this option

	followSymlinks: true,
	// true: follows symlinks and watches symlinks and real files
	//   (This makes sense when symlinks has not been resolved yet, comes with a performance hit)
	// false (default): watches only specified item they may be real files or symlinks
	//   (This makes sense when symlinks has already been resolved)

	ignored: "**/.git"
	// ignored: "string" - a glob pattern for files or folders that should not be watched
	// ignored: ["string", "string"] - multiple glob patterns that should be ignored
	// ignored: /regexp/ - a regular expression for files or folders that should not be watched
	// ignored: (entry) => boolean - an arbitrary function which must return truthy to ignore an entry
	// For all cases expect the arbitrary function the path will have path separator normalized to '/'.
	// All subdirectories are ignored too

//   files: Iterable<string>,
//   directories: Iterable<string>,
//   missing: Iterable<string>,
//   startTime?: number
// }){
	files: listOfFiles,
	directories: listOfDirectories,
	missing: listOfNotExistingItems,
	startTime: - 10000
// starts watching these files and directories
// calling this again will override the files and directories
// files: can be files or directories, for files: content and existence changes are tracked
//        for directories: only existence and timestamp changes are tracked
// directories: only directories, directory content (and content of children, ...) and
//              existence changes are tracked.
//              assumed to exist, when directory is not found without further information a remove event is emitted
// missing: can be files or directorees,
//          only existence changes are tracked
//          expected to not exist, no remove event is emitted when not found initially
// files and directories are assumed to exist, when they are not found without further information a remove event is emitted
// missing is assumed to not exist and no remove event is emitted

wp.on("change", function(filePath, mtime, explanation) {
	// filePath: the changed file
	// mtime: last modified time for the changed file
	// explanation: textual information how this change was detected

wp.on("remove", function(filePath, explanation) {
	// filePath: the removed file or directory
	// explanation: textual information how this change was detected

wp.on("aggregated", function(changes, removals) {
	// changes: a Set of all changed files
	// removals: a Set of all removed files
	// watchpack gives up ownership on these Sets.

// Watchpack.prototype.pause()
// stops emitting events, but keeps watchers open
// next "watch" call can reuse the watchers
// The watcher will keep aggregating events
// which can be received with getAggregated()

// Watchpack.prototype.close()
// stops emitting events and closes all watchers

// Watchpack.prototype.getAggregated(): { changes: Set<string>, removals: Set<string> }
const { changes, removals } = wp.getAggregated();
// returns the current aggregated info and removes that from the watcher
// The next aggregated event won't include that info and will only emitted
// when futher changes happen
// Can also be used when paused.

// Watchpack.prototype.collectTimeInfoEntries(fileInfoEntries: Map<string, Entry>, directoryInfoEntries: Map<string, Entry>)
wp.collectTimeInfoEntries(fileInfoEntries, directoryInfoEntries);
// collects time info objects for all known files and directories
// this include info from files not directly watched
// key: absolute path, value: object with { safeTime, timestamp }
// safeTime: a point in time at which it is safe to say all changes happened before that
// timestamp: only for files, the mtime timestamp of the file

// Watchpack.prototype.getTimeInfoEntries()
var fileTimes = wp.getTimeInfoEntries();
// returns a Map with all known time info objects for files and directories
// similar to collectTimeInfoEntries but returns a single map with all entries

// (deprecated)
// Watchpack.prototype.getTimes()
var fileTimes = wp.getTimes();
// returns an object with all known change times for files
// this include timestamps from files not directly watched
// key: absolute path, value: timestamp as number