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Sync Files to Public Folder in Next.js using Chokidar

Sync Files to Public Folder in Next.js using Chokidar

When building a website with React or Next.js, you may have some assets (e.g. images, videos, or other static files) that need to be accessible on the server. These assets can be stored in a folder of your choice, but they won't be automatically included in the build process. In this tutorial, we'll learn how to use Chokidar and fs-extra to automatically sync files to the public folder, making them available to your website.

Prerequisites

Before we start, make sure that you have the following tools installed on your machine:

  • Node.js (v12 or later)
  • pnpm

You should also have a basic understanding of JavaScript and the command line.

Step 1: Install Dependencies

We'll use Chokidar and fs-extra to detect file changes and copy them to the public folder. To install these dependencies, run the following command in your project directory:

pnpm install chokidar fs-extra --save-dev

Step 2: Create a Sync Script

We'll create a script that watches for file changes in a source directory and syncs them to a destination directory. Create a new file called sync.js in your project directory and add the following code:

const chokidar = require("chokidar")
const fs = require("fs-extra")
const path = require("path")
 
const source = "your/source/directory"
const destination = "your/destination/directory" // Usually "./public/assets/" or "./public/"
 
// Check if --watch flag is present in the command line arguments
const watch = process.argv.includes("--watch")
 
// Copy files on startup
fs.copySync(source, destination, { recursive: true })
 
// Watch for changes if --watch flag is present
if (watch) {
  const watcher = chokidar.watch(source, {
    persistent: true,
    usePolling: true,
  })
 
  // Watch for all events in source folder
  watcher.on("all", (event, filePath) => {
    console.log(`${event}: ${filePath}`)
    const relativePath = path.relative(source, filePath)
    const destinationPath = path.join(destination, relativePath)
    if (event === "unlink") {
      fs.removeSync(destinationPath)
    } else {
      fs.copySync(filePath, destinationPath)
    }
  })
}

This script copies all files from the source directory to the destination directory on startup, and then watches for all events in the source directory. When a file is added, changed, or deleted, the script syncs it to the destination directory. Note that we're using chokidar to watch for file changes, and fs-extra to copy and remove files.

Step 3: Add a Watch Task

We can run the sync script manually every time we make changes to the source files, but it would be more convenient to have it run automatically. We'll add a watch task to our package.json file that runs the sync script whenever a file in the source directory changes.

Open your package.json file and add the following script:

{
  "scripts": {
    "dev": "pnpm run sync --watch & next dev",
    "build": "npm run sync && next build",
    "sync": "node scripts/sync.js"
  }
}

The sync option runs the sync script, and the dev script runs both the sync --watch and next dev commands. This will start the development server and watch for changes in the source directory. Whenever a file changes, the sync script will be triggered, and the changes will be synced to the public directory.

With this setup, any changes you make to files in the content/assets folder will be automatically synced to the public/assets folder during development.

In the build script, we first run the sync script to sync the latest files to the public/assets folder. After that, we run the next build command to build the Next.js application.

That's it! With this setup, you can easily sync files from a source directory to a public directory in a React or Next.js project using chokidar and fs-extra.