Introducing fs-key-value My First NPM Module

August 15, 2013

Today I published fs-key-value which is my first NPM module. Earlier this week I talked about creating a little wrapper for LevelUp that was supposed to make it work when I spin up multiple processes using cluster. After some further testing I came to the conclusion that my wrapper wasn’t actually working and after banging my head against the wall for a while decided I’d best try a different approach.

My next attempt was to use SQLite (via sqlite3) but I ran into similar problems.

My last attempt is what turned into fs-key-val my first NPM module.

The idea is that I wanted a simple key value API that works properly when I spin up multiple processes via cluster.fork() and one tool I was using in my past experiments was fs-ext which extends the built in fs module and adds support for file locking.

Initially I tried to use all the asynchronous methods but found I was having a hard time making it work. It also really made my code hard to read. The current version uses the synchronous versions which works great and seems to be fast enough for my needs.

I had an easy enough time with get and put but found some race conditions sneaking in when I tried implementing delete. The solution I found was to add a .lock file in the database directory that I can get a shared lock on when using get and put and then an exclusive lock when I’m deleting a file. This way I don’t try to get a files contents after it’s been deleted. Works like a charm.

UPDATE 8/21/2013:

I decided to do things the right way and rewrite my module to be asynchronous. I’ve written a followup post Revisiting fs-key-value about this.


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Written by Andrew Shell, a web developer from Madison, WI.