Require a plain text or binary file in node.js
Last updated 8 years ago by forbeslindesay .
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$ cnpm install rfile 
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require a plain text or binary file in node.js


$ npm install rfile


var rfile = require('rfile');

var text = rfile('./my-text-file.txt');
var mochaReadme = rfile('mocha/readme.md');
var mochaSource = rfile('mocha');
var image = rfile('image.png', {binary: true});


rfile(pkg, options)

Uses rfile.resolve (see below) to look up your file pkg. This means it supports all the same options as rfile.resolve. Having found the file, it does the following:

return options.binary ? read(path) : fixup(read(path).toString());

options.binary defaults to false and fixup removes the UTF-8 BOM if present and removes any \r characters (added to newlines on windows only).

rfile.resolve(pkg, options)

Internally, resolve is used to lookup your package, so it supports all the same options as that. In addition t defaults basedir to the directory of the function which called rfile or rfile.resolve.

The additional option exclude is useful if you wanted to create a wrapper arround this. It specifies the filenames not to consider for basedir paths. For example, you could create a module called ruglify for requiring and minifying JavaScript in one go.


var rfile = require('rfile');
var uglify require('uglify-js').minify;

module.exports = ruglify;
function ruglify(path, options) {
  return minify(rfile.resolve(path, {exclude: [__filename]}), options).code;

From resolve

  • opts.basedir - directory to begin resolving from (defaults to __dirname of the calling module for rfile)
  • opts.extensions - array of file extensions to search in order (defaults to ['.js', '.json'] for rfile)
  • opts.readFile - how to read files asynchronously
  • opts.isFile - function to asynchronously test whether a file exists
  • opts.packageFilter - transform the parsed package.json contents before looking at the "main" field (useful for browserify etc.)
  • opts.paths - require.paths array to use if nothing is found on the normal node_modules recursive walk (probably don't use this)


One of the interesting features of this is that it respects the main field of package.json files. Say you had a module called foo, you could have a package.json like:

  "name": "foo",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "main": "./foo"

You might then have a foo.js file, containing the JavaScript code of the module, and a foo.css file containing the stylesheet for the module when used in the browser. Using rfile you could load the css by simply calling:

rfile('foo', {extensions: ['.css']});



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