Editing a file stored in the webserver from the Yaydoc Web App

As a developer, working on a web application, you may want your users to be able to edit a file stored in your webserver. There may be certain use cases in which this may be required. Consider, for instance, its use case in Yaydoc.

Yaydoc allows its users the feature of continuous deployment of their documentation by adding certain configurations in their .travis.yml file. It is possible for Yaydoc to achieve the editing of the Travis file from the Web App itself.

To enable the support of certain functionality in your web application, I have prepared a script using ExpressJS and Socket.IO which can perform the following action. At the client side, we define a retrieve-file event which emits a request to the server. At the server side, we handle the event by executing a retrieveContent(...) function which uses spawn method of child_process to execute a script that retrieves the content of a file.

// Client Side
$(function () {
 var socket = io();
 ....
 ....
 $(“#editor-button”).click(function () {
   socket.emit(“retrieve-file”);
 });
 ....
 ....
});

// Server Side
io.on(“connection”, function (socket) {
 socket.on(“retrieve-file”, function () {
   retrieveContent(socket);
 });
 ....
 ....
});

var retrieveContent = function (socket) {
 var process = require(“child_process”).spawn(“cat”, [“.travis.yml”]);
 process.stdout.on(“data”, function (data) {
   socket.emit(“file-content”, data);
 });
};

After the file content is retrieved from the server, we use a Javascript Editor like ACE to edit the content of the file. Making all the changes to the file, we emit a store-content event. At the server side, we handle the event by executing a storeContent(…) function which uses exec method of child_process to execute a bash script that stores the content to the same file.

$(function () {
 var socket = io();
 var editor = ace.edit(“editor”);
 ....
 ....
 socket.on(“file-content”, function (data) {
   editor.setValue(data, -1);
 });
 ....
 ....
 $(“#save-modal”).click(function () {
   socket.emit(“store-content”, editor.getValue());
 });
});

io.on(“connection”, function (socket) {
 ....
 socket.on(“store-content”, function (data) {
   storeContent(socket, data);
 });
});

var storeContent = function (socket, data) {
 var script = ‘truncate -s 0 .travis.yml && echo “’ + data + ‘“ >> .travis.yml’;
 var process = require(“child_process”).exec(script);

 process.on(“exit”, function (code) {
   if (code === 0) {
     socket.emit(“save-successful”);
   }
 });
};

After successful execution of the script, a successful event is sent to the client-side which can then be handled.

A minimal sample of this application can be found at: https://github.com/imujjwal96/socket-editor