How to capture no file for fs.readFileSync()?


Within node.js readFile() shows how to capture an error, however there is no comment for the readFileSync() function regarding error handling. As such, if I try to use readFileSync() when there is no file, I get the error Error: ENOENT, no such file or directory.

How do I capture the exception being thrown? The doco doesn't state what exceptions are thrown, so I don't know what exceptions I need to catch. I should note that I don't like generic 'catch every single possible exception' style of try/catch statements. In this case I wish to catch the specific exception that occurs when the file doesn't exist and I attempt to perform the readFileSync.

Please note that I'm performing sync functions only on start up before serving connection attempts, so comments that I shouldn't be using sync functions are not required :-)

1/22/2014 6:37:23 AM

Accepted Answer

Basically, fs.readFileSync throws an error when a file is not found. This error is from the Error prototype and thrown using throw, hence the only way to catch is with a try / catch block:

var fileContents;
try {
  fileContents = fs.readFileSync('');
} catch (err) {
  // Here you get the error when the file was not found,
  // but you also get any other error

Unfortunately you can not detect which error has been thrown just by looking at its prototype chain:

if (err instanceof Error)

is the best you can do, and this will be true for most (if not all) errors. Hence I'd suggest you go with the code property and check its value:

if (err.code === 'ENOENT') {
  console.log('File not found!');
} else {
  throw err;

This way, you deal only with this specific error and re-throw all other errors.

Alternatively, you can also access the error's message property to verify the detailed error message, which in this case is:

ENOENT, no such file or directory ''

Hope this helps.

9/20/2016 9:53:34 AM

While the accepted solution is okay, I found a much better way of handling this. You can just check if the file exists synchronously:

var file = 'info.json';
var content = '';

// Check that the file exists locally
if(!fs.existsSync(file)) {
  console.log("File not found");

// The file *does* exist
else {
  // Read the file and do anything you want
  content = fs.readFileSync(this.local, 'utf-8');

Licensed under: CC-BY-SA with attribution
Not affiliated with: Stack Overflow