Node.js — How to Create an Empty File

You may know the touch command from your command line which creates an empty file if it doesn’t exist.

This tutorial shows you how to implement touch in Node.js. You’ll implement a function that creates an empty file using Node.js. You’ll walk through an asynchronous and synchronous way to ensure a file on your file system.

Node.js Series Overview

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  2. Remove All Whitespace From a String in JavaScript
  3. Generate a Random ID or String in Node.js or JavaScript
  4. Remove Extra Spaces From a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  5. Remove Numbers From a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  6. Get the Part Before a Character in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  7. Get the Part After a Character in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  8. How to Check if a Value is a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  9. Check If a String Includes All Strings in JavaScript/Node.js/TypeScript
  10. Check if a Value is a String in JavaScript and Node.js
  11. Limit and Truncate a String to a Given Length in JavaScript and Node.js
  12. Split a String into a List of Characters in JavaScript and Node.js
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  14. Reverse a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  15. Split a String into a List of Lines in JavaScript or Node.js
  16. Split a String into a List of Words in JavaScript or Node.js
  17. Detect if a String is in camelCase Format in Javascript or Node.js
  18. Check If a String Is in Lowercase in JavaScript or Node.js
  19. Check If a String is in Uppercase in JavaScript or Node.js
  20. Get the Part After First Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  21. Get the Part Before First Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  22. Get the Part Before Last Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  23. Get the Part After Last Occurrence in a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  24. How to Count Words in a File
  25. How to Shuffle the Characters of a String in JavaScript or Node.js
  26. Append Characters or Words to a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  27. Check if a String is Empty in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  28. Ensure a String Ends with a Given Character in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  29. Left-Trim Characters Off a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  30. Right-Trim Characters Off a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  31. Lowercase the First Character of a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  32. Uppercase the First Character of a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  33. Prepend Characters or Words to a String in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
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  6. Add Week(s) to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  7. Get the Current Year in JavaScript or Node.js
  8. How to Get a UNIX Timestamp in JavaScript or Node.js
  9. How to Convert a UNIX Timestamp to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  10. Add Days to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  11. Get Yesterday's Date in JavaScript or Node.js
  12. Add Minutes to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  13. Add Hours to a Date in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  14. Check If a Date Is Today in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  15. Check If a Date is Tomorrow in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  16. Check If a Date is Yesterday in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)
  17. How to Format a Date YYYY-MM-DD in JavaScript or Node.js (Coming soon)

Asynchronously Ensure a File

This asynchronous way of creating an empty file uses the helper library fs-extra. fs-extra provides the same API as the Node.js fs module and additional convenience methods.

The fs-extra package includes the extra ensureFile(path) method which creates the file at path:

const Fs = require('fs-extra')

async function ensureFile (path) {  
  await Fs.ensureFile(path)
}

A nice benefit of ensureFile is that it creates all missing directories along the path. It handles the creation of missing directories automatically. Sweet!

Also, it won’t override an existing file.

Synchronously Ensure a File

You can implement the synchronous approach with modules already integrated into the fs module from Node.js:

const Fs = require('fs')

function ensureFileSync (path) {  
  Fs.closeSync(
    Fs.openSync(path, 'a')
  )
}

Notice: the synchronous way will block the Node.js event loop while traversing the file system and creating the file. Please consider using the asynchronous approach.

openSync(path)returns a file descriptor:

const Fs = require('fs')

function ensureFileSync (path) {  
  const fileDescriptor = Fs.openSync(path, 'a')

  return fileDescriptor
}

If you need the file descriptor for further processing, remember to close it when you finish all your handling. This won’t leave created file descriptors open.


Mentioned Resources

  • fs-extra Node.js package: extra methods for the fs object like copy(), remove(), mkdirs()

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