Elegant command execution.

npm install executive
1 downloads in the last day
59 downloads in the last week
130 downloads in the last month


An easy to use wrapper around child_process.spawn, useful for Cakefiles and the like. Pipes stdout, stderr and stdin so you don't have to. Think of it as a streaming child_process.exec with a few extra goodies.


var exec = require('executive');

exec('ls', function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    // Done, no need to echo out as it's piped to stdout by default.

Arguments are parsed out properly for you:

var exec = require('executive');

exec('ls -AGF Foo\\ bar', function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    // Note the escaped folder name.

Also supports simple serial execution of commands:

var exec = require('executive');

exec(['ls', 'ls', 'ls'], function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    // All three ls commands are called in order.

In the case of a failure, no additional commands will be executed:

exec(['ls', 'aaaaa', 'ls'], function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    // First command succeeds, second blows up, third is never called.

Commands can also be specified as a list of objects or a mix:

        cmd: 'ls',
        args: [ '-la' ]
    'ls -la',
        cmd: 'ls',
        args: [ '-l' ]


Options may be passed as the second argument to exec and in the case of quiet and interactive helper functions exist.

exec('ls', {options: quiet})



are equivalent.

options.interactive | exec.interactive

default false

If you need to interact with a program (your favorite text editor for instance) or watch the output of a long running process (tail -f), or just don't care about checking stderr and stdout, set interactive to true:

exec.interactive('vim', function(err) {
    // Edit your commit message or whatnot

options.quiet | exec.quiet

default false

If you'd prefer not to pipe stdin, stdout, stderr set quiet to false:

exec.quiet(['ls', 'ls'], function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    // Not a peep is heard, and both ls commands will be executed.


default true

In case you need to ignore errors during serial execution it's possible to set safe to false:

exec(['ls', 'aaaaaa', 'ls'], {safe: false}, function(err, stdout, stderr) {
    // Both commands execute despite aaaaaa not being a valid executable.

Extra credit

The spawned child process object is accessible when you exec a single program (not available when using the simple serial execution wrapper):

var exec = require('executive');

child = exec.quiet('ls');
child.stdout.on('data', function(data) {
    // Do your own thing

It's especially nice to use in a Cakefile:

exec = require 'executive'

task 'package', 'Package project', ->
  exec '''
    mkdir -p dist
    rm -rf dist/*
    cp manifest.json dist
    cp -rf assets dist
    cp -rf lib dist
    cp -rf views dist
    zip -r package.zip dist
    rm -rf dist
  '''.split '\n'
npm loves you