Working with binary data in a Brackets Extension

A few months ago I released an extension for Brackets called JSDownloader. The idea behind the extension was rather simple. I wanted a quick and easy way to grab my favorite JavaScript libraries. Yes, I realize there are tools out there that do this already. But those tools just didn't work well for me. As an example, I tried Bower once to grab a copy of jQuery and discovered it downloaded a large number of other files as well. To be clear, there is a good reason for that!. But it just wasn't what I personally needed.

From that need JSDownloader was built. But there was big flaw with the extension. I couldn't add support for jQuery Mobile because the jQM library contains a few images. Right now the Bracket's File API allows you to read and write files, but does not provide access to binary data.

There has been a workaround for a few releases though - using Node. I blogged about using Node with Brackets Extensions a few months ago. I never got around to updating JSDownloader because, well, it felt like overkill to me. Also, I held out hope that the core File API would eventually support it. Last week I stopped being lazy and got around to fixing it. I do not believe my solution is the best, but if you have the same need for your extension, you can now copy what I did. My extension pretty much only calls out to Node for the file save operation so in theory, it should be easy to re-use in a totally different extension.

Here is a bit of the code. First, I'll start off with the call to Node from my main JavaScript file in the extension.

var suPromise =,pathToUse);
suPromise.done(function(port) {

In the snippet above, filesToGet is simply an array of files for a particular JavaScript library. For jQuery, this is one file. For jQuery Mobile, this is a JavaScript file, a CSS file, and a few images. Finally, pathToUse is simply the current project directory. So basically - Node will be told what to get and where to save it.

Actually - let me amend the previous statement a bit. In order to make the logic a bit simpler, I'm passing an array of file names that also include an optional path that is a subdirectory. This allows me to store the jQuery Mobile images in a subdirectory called "images". This will be underneath the main directory specified in pathToUse. Again - I'm not saying this is the most elegant solution!

Now let's look at the Node code. I want to be clear here - my confidence in this portion is not terribly high. I've got one main concern I'll share at the end.

function fetchStuff(urls,basePath) {

    urls.forEach(function(item, idx, urls) {
        var fileName = item.href.split("/").pop();
        var fullPath;
        if(item.path) {
            fullPath = basePath + item.path + fileName;
            //does item path exist?
            if(!fs.existsSync(basePath+item.path)) {
        } else {
            fullPath = basePath + fileName;
        // Credit:
        var file = fs.createWriteStream(fullPath);

        function resHandler(res) {
            var imagedata = '';
                res.on('data', function(chunk){
                imagedata += chunk;

            res.on('end', function(){
            fs.writeFile(fullPath, imagedata, 'binary', function(err){
                if (err) throw err;
                    console.log('File saved.');

        if(item.href.indexOf("https") === 0) {
            https.get(item.href, resHandler);
        } else {
            http.get(item.href, resHandler);


    return 1;

For the most part this should make sense. The thing that concerns me the most is the return 1 at the end. I'm pretty sure that is wrong and makes the extension report immediately that it has completed the download. Since I'm talking about pretty small files here I'm not concerned, but it is something I'd like to address.

Want to see it in action? Watch the video below. Sorry I didn't get around to adding background music.

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