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Open stuff like URLs, files, executables. Cross-platform.

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open

Open stuff like URLs, files, executables. Cross-platform.

This is meant to be used in command-line tools and scripts, not in the browser.

If you need this for Electron, use shell.openPath() instead.

Note: The original open package was previously deprecated in favor of this package, and we got the name, so this package is now named open instead of opn. If you're upgrading from the original open package (open@0.0.5 or lower), keep in mind that the API is different.

Why?

  • Actively maintained.
  • Supports app arguments.
  • Safer as it uses spawn instead of exec.
  • Fixes most of the original node-open issues.
  • Includes the latest xdg-open script for Linux.
  • Supports WSL paths to Windows apps.

Install

$ npm install open

Usage

const open = require('open');

// Opens the image in the default image viewer and waits for the opened app to quit.
await open('unicorn.png', {wait: true});
console.log('The image viewer app quit');

// Opens the URL in the default browser.
await open('https://sindresorhus.com');

// Opens the URL in a specified browser.
await open('https://sindresorhus.com', {app: {name: 'firefox'}});

// Specify app arguments.
await open('https://sindresorhus.com', {app: {name: 'google chrome', arguments: ['--incognito']}});

API

It uses the command open on macOS, start on Windows and xdg-open on other platforms.

open(target, options?)

Returns a promise for the spawned child process. You would normally not need to use this for anything, but it can be useful if you'd like to attach custom event listeners or perform other operations directly on the spawned process.

target

Type: string

The thing you want to open. Can be a URL, file, or executable.

Opens in the default app for the file type. For example, URLs opens in your default browser.

options

Type: object

wait

Type: boolean
Default: false

Wait for the opened app to exit before fulfilling the promise. If false it's fulfilled immediately when opening the app.

Note that it waits for the app to exit, not just for the window to close.

On Windows, you have to explicitly specify an app for it to be able to wait.

background (macOS only)

Type: boolean
Default: false

Do not bring the app to the foreground.

newInstance (macOS only)

Type: boolean
Default: false

Open a new instance of the app even it's already running.

A new instance is always opened on other platforms.

app

Type: {name: string | string[], arguments?: string[]} | Array<{name: string | string[], arguments: string[]}>

Specify the name of the app to open the target with and optionally, app arguments. app can be an array of apps to try to open and name can be an array of app names to try. If each app fails, the last error will be thrown.

The app name is platform dependent. Don't hard code it in reusable modules. For example, Chrome is google chrome on macOS, google-chrome on Linux and chrome on Windows. If possible, use open.apps which auto-detects the correct binary to use.

You may also pass in the app's full path. For example on WSL, this can be /mnt/c/Program Files (x86)/Google/Chrome/Application/chrome.exe for the Windows installation of Chrome.

allowNonzeroExitCode

Type: boolean
Default: false

Allow the opened app to exit with nonzero exit code when the wait option is true.

We do not recommend setting this option. The convention for success is exit code zero.

open.apps

An object containing auto-detected binary names for common apps. Useful to work around cross-platform differences.

const open = require('open');

await open('https://google.com', {
	app: {
		name: open.apps.chrome
	}
});

Supported apps

Caveats

Double-quotes on Windows

TL;DR: All double-quotes are stripped from the target and do not get to your desired destination (on Windows!).

Due to specific behaviors of Window's Command Prompt (cmd.exe) regarding ampersand (&) characters breaking commands and URLs, double-quotes are now a special case.

The solution (#146) to this and other problems was to leverage the fact that cmd.exe interprets a double-quoted argument as a plain text argument just by quoting it (like Node.js already does). Unfortunately, cmd.exe can only do one of two things: handle them all OR not handle them at all. As per its own documentation:

If /C or /K is specified, then the remainder of the command line after the switch is processed as a command line, where the following logic is used to process quote (") characters:

  1. If all of the following conditions are met, then quote characters on the command line are preserved:
    • no /S switch
    • exactly two quote characters
    • no special characters between the two quote characters, where special is one of: &<>()@^|
    • there are one or more whitespace characters between the two quote characters
    • the string between the two quote characters is the name of an executable file.
  2. Otherwise, old behavior is to see if the first character is a quote character and if so, strip the leading character and remove the last quote character on the command line, preserving any text after the last quote character.

The option that solved all of the problems was the second one, and for additional behavior consistency we're also now using the /S switch, so we always get the second option. The caveat is that this built-in double-quotes handling ends up stripping all of them from the command line and so far we weren't able to find an escaping method that works (if you do, please feel free to contribute!).

To make this caveat somewhat less impactful (at least for URLs), check out the url option. Double-quotes will be "preserved" when using it with an URL.

Related

  • open-cli - CLI for this module
  • open-editor - Open files in your editor at a specific line and column

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Score

Popularity74/100
Quality83/100
Maintenance67/100