A better, modern implementation of Skipper's S3 file adapter





GitHub Stars



Last Commit

4yrs ago






Size (min+gzip)




Type Definitions





skipper emblem - face of a ship's captain Skipper-Better-S3

NPM Version Runs on Node Built with GNU Make Uses ECMAScript 2015

A better, modern implementation of Skipper's S3 file adapter

This adapter uses ECMAScript 2015 (ES 6) syntax: you must run at least Node.js v4 in order to use this adapter.

Why better?

Compared to the official S3 adapter, this one allows you to do some extra things currently not possible (or too difficult) with the official one:

  • Customise access control to uploaded files (i.e. make a file publicly readable)
  • Upload filesystem-originated readable streams (or any other type of stream), not just http file uploads
  • Create signed S3 URLs


$ npm install skipper-better-s3 --save

Also make sure you have Skipper installed as your body parser.

Skipper is installed by default in Sails v0.10 and above.


File uploads

You upload the files as usual with any other adapter. See some examples below.

Supported options

keyStringYour Amazon access key
secretStringYour Amazon secret
bucketStringThe S3 bucket to upload the file to
regionStringOptional. If your S3 bucket resides in a different region than "us-standard", you can use this parameter to operate on that region.
s3paramsObjectOptional parameters to be passed to the underlying Amazon SDK library when performing the file upload. This could be any parameter that is supported by the S3's upload() method.
s3optionsObjectOptional configuration for the upload request to be passed to the underlying Amazon SDK library. This could be any parameter that is supported by the second argument of the upload() method.
s3configObjectOptional configuration for the S3 service itself. This is passed directly to the constructor.
onProgressFunctionMarked by Skipper core as experimental. If provided, will be called periodically as the data is being uploaded with current progress information.

Example usage

const options =
      { // This is the usual stuff
        adapter: require('skipper-better-s3')
      , key: 'somekeyhere'
      , secret: 'dontsharethis'
      , bucket: 'my-s3-bucket'
      , region: 'us-east-1'  // Optional - default is 'us-standard'
        // Let's use the custom s3params to upload this file as publicly
        // readable by anyone
      , s3params:
        { ACL: 'public-read'
        // And while we are at it, let's monitor the progress of this upload
      , onProgress: progress => sails.log.verbose('Upload progress:', progress)

req.file('avatar').upload(options, (err, files) => {
  // ... Continue as usual

Server-initiated file uploads

If you need to upload a file which your application generates (i.e. the file does not come via http upload request), you need to create a receiver to which you write the readable stream.

// You can use all the supported options here
const options =
      { key: 'somekeyhere'
      , secret: 'dontsharethis'
      , bucket: 'my-s3-bucket'

// Create and configure an adapter
const adapter = require('skipper-better-s3')(options)
// Now, create a receiver - receiver is a writable stream which accepts
// other streams that should be uploaded to S3
// All files will be saved to this S3 directory (this configuration object is optional)
const receiver = adapter.receive({ dirname: 'optional/directory/path' })

// Suppose we want to upload a file which we temporarily saved to disk
const file = fs.createReadStream('/tmp/my-report.pdf')

// And now, just send the file to the receiver!
receiver.write(file, () => {
  // Upload complete! You can find some interesting info on the stream's
  // `extra` property

If you need to upload any other type of stream than a file stream or HTTP upload body (i.e. a zlib or crypto stream), you should add a fd property to the stream, which should be the name of the file in the S3 storage. If you forget to add this property, a random unique identifier will be generated for you.

This feature is currently experimental as it lacks the expected response structure that is provided by Skipper when you upload a standard http stream.

File downloads

To download a previously uploaded file, you must first get an actual adapter object to use it and provide some basic configuration, like your S3 credentials and the bucket to read from.

You can either get a readable stream that you can consume or pipe to the client directly (efficient, does not require buffering the whole file to memory), or you can provide a callback which will then receive the full contents of the file being downloaded.

Example usage

const options =
      { key: 'somekeyhere'
      , secret: 'dontsharethis'
      , bucket: 'my-s3-bucket'
      // This will give you an adapter instance configured with the
      // credentials and bucket defined above
    , adapter = require('skipper-better-s3')(options)

// Now the adapter is ready to interface with your S3 bucket.
// Let's assume you have a file named 'avatar.jpg' stored
// in the root of this bucket...

// Option 1: get a readable stream of the file
const readableStream ='avatar.jpg')
// Option 2: get the full file contents in a callback'avatar.jpg', (err, data) => {
  // data is now a Buffer containing the avatar

Directory listing

You can get a list of files at a given path in a bucket.

Example usage

const options =
      { key: 'somekeyhere'
      , secret: 'dontsharethis'
      , bucket: 'my-s3-bucket'
      // This will give you an adapter instance configured with the
      // credentials and bucket defined above
    , adapter = require('skipper-better-s3')(options)

// Assuming there is a directory named 'avatars' in your bucket root...'avatars', (err, files) => {
  // files is now an array of paths, relative to the given directory name

Deleting objects

Simply call adapter.rm(fd, done) on a configured adapter instance (see previous examples on how to get such instance). fd should be the path to the object to be deleted, relative to the bucket.

Example usage

// Assuming you already have an adapter instance...
adapter.rm('avatars/123.jpg', (err, res) => {
  // res is whatever S3 SDK returns (honestly no idea what's inside, have a look)


This adapter comes with some extra functionality not defined in the Skipper adapter specifications.

Generating signed URLs for S3

Signed URLs are a great way of allowing others to interact with your S3 storage directly. For example, you can generate a file download link that will be valid only for 5 minutes, or a link which will allow someone to upload a file into a predetermined location in your S3 bucket.

This is great, because it allows your clients to interact with your S3 storage directly, instead of bothering your server with all the network traffic and computational power necessary to upload/download files.

Example usage

// Assuming you already have an adapter instance...
const url = adapter.url('getObject', { s3params: { Key: 'avatars/123.jpg' } })
// Give the url to the client - they can read this file directly from there
// Optionally do a redirect (303 - "see other") to this file yourself:
// res.redirect(303, url)


Full API documentation with detailed description of all methods is available offline. Clone this repo and do the following within the cloned folder:

$ npm install
$ make docs
$ open docs/index.html # If open does not work, just double-click this file


This software is licensed under the BSD-3-Clause License. See the LICENSE file for more information.

Rate & Review

Great Documentation0
Easy to Use0
Highly Customizable0
Bleeding Edge0
Responsive Maintainers0
Poor Documentation0
Hard to Use0
Unwelcoming Community0