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Watchman: A file watching service by Facebook

Watchman exists to watch files and record when they change. It can also trigger actions (such as rebuilding assets) when matching files change.

Concepts

  • Watchman can recursively watch one or more directory trees (we call them roots ).
  • Watchman does not follow symlinks. It knows they exist, but they show up the same as any other file in its reporting.
  • Watchman waits for a root to settle down before it will start to trigger notifications or command execution.
  • Watchman is conservative, preferring to err on the side of caution; it considers files to be freshly changed when you start to watch them or when it is unsure.
  • You can query a root for file changes since you last checked, or the current state of the tree
  • You can subscribe to file changes that occur in a root

Quickstart

These two lines establish a watch on a source directory and then set up a trigger named buildme that will run a tool named minify-css whenever a CSS file is changed. The tool will be passed a list of the changed filenames.

$ watchman watch ~/src # the single quotes around '*.css' are important! $ watchman -- trigger ~/src buildme '*.css' -- minify-css 

The output for buildme will land in the Watchman log file unless you send it somewhere else.

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