Run commands when paths change.


You’ll need to install Node.js to use Watchy. Node comes packaged with npm, which is Node’s package manager, and the preferred method of installing Watchy. After installing Node, simply type

npm install -g watchy

and you should have the watchy command available!


Usage: watchy [options] -- command arg1 arg2...


  -h, --help                           output usage information
  -V, --version                        output the version number
  -w, --watch [paths]                  rerun the command when [paths] change
  -i, --ignore [regex] [default /\.]   ignore changes to paths matching [regex]
  -k, --keep-alive                     restart on exit, useful for servers
  -W, --wait [sec]                     time after SIGTERM to SIGKILL
  -s, --silent                         be quieter, only output errors
  -n, --no-color                       disable colored output
  -S, --no-init-spawn                  prevent spawn when the watcher is created
  -r, --restart [string] [default rs]  enter this command to manually restart the process. Set to - to disable.
  -p, --use-polling                    slower, but useful when watching over NFS


# The simple case
watchy -w lib -- say "The lib directory changed."

# Piping works as well
watchy -w styles -- bash -c "lessc styles/main.less | autoprefixer -o .tmp/styles/main.css"

# Keep a process alive, restarting it as soon as it exits or "server.js"
# changes.
watchy -kw server.js -- node server.js

# Watch every file except dotfiles, the node_modules folder, and JSON files.
# NOTE: Listen to as few files as possible for better performance.
watchy -w . -i '/\.|/node_modules|\.json$' -- node server.js

# Tick tock!
watchy -ks -- bash -c 'date && sleep 1'

# Tick tock (annoying version)!
watchy -ks -- bash -c 'say "In case you were wondering, it is `date`" && sleep 5'

# $EVENT and $FILE are passed to the process from chokidar (thanks @remy).
watchy -w . -- bash -c 'echo $EVENT $FILE'
# => change /Users/casey/projects/watchy/

Note: If you’re using watchy for help with preprocessing, I’d recommend checking out my cogs project that is highly optimized for that case with in-memory processed file caching, directives, AMD support, and much more.


By default, watchy will send SIGTERM to the running process after a change and wait for it to exit gracefully. By sending the --wait|-W n option, you can tell watchy to forcefully SIGKILL the process after n seconds. In general, you should try to clean up connections in your processes like so:

process.on('SIGTERM', function () {
  // etc...