Basic static file server in NodeJS


I'm trying to create a static file server in nodejs more as an exercise to understand node than as a perfect server. I'm well aware of projects like Connect and node-static and fully intend to use those libraries for more production-ready code, but I also like to understand the basics of what I'm working with. With that in mind, I've coded up a small server.js:

var http = require('http'),
    url = require('url'),
    path = require('path'),
    fs = require('fs');
var mimeTypes = {
    "html": "text/html",
    "jpeg": "image/jpeg",
    "jpg": "image/jpeg",
    "png": "image/png",
    "js": "text/javascript",
    "css": "text/css"};

http.createServer(function(req, res) {
    var uri = url.parse(req.url).pathname;
    var filename = path.join(process.cwd(), uri);
    path.exists(filename, function(exists) {
        if(!exists) {
            console.log("not exists: " + filename);
            res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
            res.write('404 Not Found\n');
        var mimeType = mimeTypes[path.extname(filename).split(".")[1]];
        res.writeHead(200, mimeType);

        var fileStream = fs.createReadStream(filename);

    }); //end path.exists

My question is twofold

  1. Is this the "right" way to go about creating and streaming basic html etc in node or is there a better/more elegant/more robust method ?

  2. Is the .pipe() in node basically just doing the following?


var fileStream = fs.createReadStream(filename);
fileStream.on('data', function (data) {
fileStream.on('end', function() {

Thanks everyone!

9/1/2011 8:56:27 AM

Accepted Answer

  • Your basic server looks good, except:

    There is a return statement missing.

    res.write('404 Not Found\n');
    return; // <- Don't forget to return here !!


    res.writeHead(200, mimeType);

    should be:

    res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type':mimeType});

  • Yes pipe() does basically that, it also pauses/resumes the source stream (in case the receiver is slower). Here is the source code of the pipe() function:

9/1/2011 9:28:16 AM

Less is more

Just go command prompt first on your project and use

$ npm install express

Then write your app.js code like so:

var express = require('express'),
app = express(),
port = process.env.PORT || 4000;

app.use(express.static(__dirname + '/public'));

You would then create a "public" folder where you place your files. I tried it the harder way first but you have to worry about mime types which is just having to map stuff which is time consuming and then worry about response types, etc. etc. etc.... no thank you.

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