Portable Shell Commands for Node

  • shx

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shx is a wrapper around ShellJS Unix commands, providing an easy solution for simple Unix-like, cross-platform commands in npm package scripts.
shx is proudly tested on every node release since v6!

Difference Between ShellJS and shx

  • ShellJS: Good for writing long scripts, all in JS, running via NodeJS (e.g. node myScript.js).
  • shx: Good for writing one-off commands in npm package scripts (e.g. "clean": "shx rm -rf out/").


npm install shx --save-dev
This will allow using shx in your package.json scripts.


Command Line

If you'd like to use shx on the command line, install it globally with the -g flag. The following code can be run either a Unix or Windows command line:
$ shx pwd                       # ShellJS commands are supported automatically

$ shx ls                        # files are outputted one per line

$ shx rm *.txt                  # a cross-platform way to delete files!

$ shx ls

$ shx echo "Hi there!"
Hi there!

$ shx touch helloworld.txt

$ shx cp helloworld.txt foobar.txt

$ shx mkdir sub

$ shx ls

$ shx rm -r sub                 # options work as well

$ shx --silent ls fakeFileName  # silence error output

All commands internally call the ShellJS corresponding function, guaranteeing cross-platform compatibility.


ShellJS is good for writing long scripts. If you want to write bash-like, platform-independent scripts, we recommend you go with that.
However, shx is ideal for one-liners inside package.json:
  "scripts": {
    "clean": "shx rm -rf build dist && shx echo Done"

Tip: because Windows treats single quotes (ex. 'some string') differently than double quotes, we recommend wrapping your arguments in double quotes for cross platform compatibility (ex. "some string").

Command reference

Shx exposes most ShellJS commands. If a command is not listed here, assume it's supported!


Shx provides unix-like syntax on top of shell.sed(). So ShellJS code like:
shell.sed('-i', /original string/g, 'replacement', 'filename.txt');

would turn into the following Shx command:
shx sed -i "s/original string/replacement/g" filename.txt

Note: like unix sed, shx sed treats / as a special character, and this must be escaped (as \/ in the shell, or \\/ in package.json) if you intend to use this character in either the regex or replacement string. Do not escape / characters in the file path.

Unsupported Commands

As mentioned above, most ShellJS commands are supported in ShellJS. Due to the differences in execution environments between ShellJS and shx (JS vs CLI) the following commands are not supported:
| Unsupported command | Recommend workaround | | ------------------- | -------------------- | | shx cd | Just use plain old cd (it's the same on windows too) | | shx pushd | Just use plain old pushd. Use forward slashes and double-quote the path. (e.g. pushd "../docs". This would fail on Windows without the quotes) | | shx popd | Just use plain old popd | | shx dirs | No workaround | | shx set | See below | | shx exit | Just use plain old exit | | shx exec | Instead of shx exec cmd, just use plain old cmd | | shx ShellString | No workaround (but why would you want this?) |

Shx options

Shx allows you to modify its behavior by passing arguments. Here's a list of supported options:
| set flag | shell.config setting | shx command | Effect | |:---:| --- | --- | --- | | -e | config.fatal = true | Not supported | Exit upon first error | | -v | config.verbose = true | shx --verbose cd foo | Log the command as it's run | | -f | config.noglob = true | shx --noglob cat '*.txt' | Don't expand wildcards | | N/A | config.silent = true | shx --silent cd noexist | Don't show error output |


| Nate Fischer | Ari Porad | Levi Thomason | |:---:|:---:|:---:| | Nate Fischer | Ari Porad | Levi Thomason |