Meteor CollectionFS Save Abandoned

Reactive file manager for Meteor

Project README


Looking for maintainers - please reach out! This package is to be archived due to inability to find contributors, thanks to everyone who helped make it possible.

If you're looking for an alternative, we highly recommend Meteor-Files by VeliovGroup


CollectionFS is a suite of Meteor packages that together provide a complete file management solution including uploading, downloading, storage, synchronization, manipulation, and copying. It supports several storage adapters for saving to the local filesystem, GridFS, or S3, and additional storage adapters can be created.

Build Status Join the chat at

Victor Leung wrote a great quick start guide for the most basic image uploading and displaying task.

Check out the Wiki for more information, code examples and how-tos.

  • Updated cfs:grid mongodb dependency to 2.2.4 (Meteor 1.4)

Table of Contents

Table of Contents generated with DocToc

Important Notes

Cordova Android Bug with Meteor 1.2+

Due to a bug in the Cordova Android version that is used with Meteor 1.2, you will need to add the following to your mobile-config.js or you will have problems with this package on Android devices:


Documentation Feedback

If you have Documentation feedback/requests please post on issue 206


Only Meteor 0.9.0 and later are currently supported

$ cd <app dir>

You must add cfs:standard-packages, which is the main package:

$ meteor add cfs:standard-packages

You must add at least one storage adapter package. See the Storage Adapters section for a list of the available storage adapter packages. At least cfs:gridfs or cfs:filesystem must be added, too, even if you are not using them. The temporary store requires one of them.

$ meteor add cfs:gridfs

# OR

$ meteor add cfs:filesystem

# OR

$ meteor add cfs:s3

# OR

$ meteor add cfs:dropbox

# OR

$ meteor add iyyang:cfs-aliyun

Depending on what you need to do, you may need to add additional add-on packages. These are explained in the documentation sections to which they apply.

$ meteor add <CFS add-on package name>


The CollectionFS package makes available two important global variables: FS.File and FS.Collection.

  • An FS.File instance wraps a file and its data on the client or server. It is similar to the browser File object (and can be created from a File object), but it has additional properties and methods. Many of its methods are reactive when the instance is returned by a call to find or findOne.
  • An FS.Collection provides a collection in which information about files can be stored. It is backed by an underlying normal Mongo.Collection instance. Most collection methods, such as find and insert are available on the FS.Collection instance. If you need to call other collection methods such as _ensureIndex, you can call them directly on the underlying Mongo.Collection instance available through myFSCollection.files.

A document from a FS.Collection is represented as a FS.File.

CollectionFS also provides an HTTP upload package that has the necessary mechanisms to upload files, track upload progress reactively, and pause and resume uploads.

Getting Started

The first step in using this package is to define a FS.Collection.

Create the FS Collection and Filestore


Images = new FS.Collection("images", {
  stores: [new FS.Store.FileSystem("images", {path: "~/uploads"})]

In this example, we've defined a FS.Collection named "images", which will be a new collection in your MongoDB database with the name "cfs.images.filerecord". We've also told it to use the filesystem storage adataper and store the files in ~/uploads on the local filesystem. If you don't specify a path, a cfs/files folder in your app container (bundle directory) will be used.

Your FS.Collection and FS.Store variables do not necessarily have to be global on the client or the server, but be sure to give them the same name (the first argument in each constructor) on both the client and the server.

Adding upload permissions (insert)

To allow users to submit files to the FS Collection, you must create an allow rule in Server code:

server.js or within Meteor.isServer block:

  'insert': function () {
    // add custom authentication code here
    return true;

Initiate the upload

Now we can upload a file from the client. Here is an example of doing so from the change event handler of an HTML file input:{
  'change .myFileInput': function(event, template) {
    var files =;
    for (var i = 0, ln = files.length; i < ln; i++) {
      Images.insert(files[i], function (err, fileObj) {
        // Inserted new doc with ID fileObj._id, and kicked off the data upload using HTTP

You can optionally make this code a bit cleaner by using a provided utility method, FS.Utility.eachFile:{
  'change .myFileInput': function(event, template) {
    FS.Utility.eachFile(event, function(file) {
      Images.insert(file, function (err, fileObj) {
        // Inserted new doc with ID fileObj._id, and kicked off the data upload using HTTP

Notice that the only thing we're doing is passing the browser-provided File object to Images.insert(). This will create a FS.File from the File, link it with the Images FS.Collection, and then immediately begin uploading the data to the server with reactive progress updates.

The insert method can directly accept a variety of different file representations as its first argument:

  • File object (client only)
  • Blob object (client only)
  • Uint8Array
  • ArrayBuffer
  • Buffer (server only)
  • A full URL that begins with "http:" or "https:"
  • A local filepath (server only)
  • A data URI string

Where possible, streams are used, so in general you should avoid using any of the buffer/binary options unless you have no choice, perhaps because you are generating small files in memory.

The most common usage is to pass a File object on the client or a URL on either the client or the server. Note that when you pass a URL on the client, the actual data download from that URL happens on the server, so you don't need to worry about CORS. In fact, we recommend doing all inserts on the client (managing security through allow/deny), unless you are generating the data on the server.

Using insert Properly

When you need to insert a file that's located on a client, always call myFSCollection.insert on the client. While you could define your own method, pass it the fsFile, and call myFSCollection.insert on the server, the difficulty is with getting the data from the client to the server. When you pass the fsFile to your method, only the file info is sent and not the data.

By contrast, when you do the insert directly on the client, it automatically chunks the file's data after insert, and then queues it to be sent chunk by chunk to the server. And then there is the matter of recombining all those chunks on the server and stuffing the data back into the fsFile. So doing client-side inserts actually saves you all of this complex work, and that's why we recommend it.

Calling insert on the server should be done only when you have the file somewhere on the server filesystem already or you're generating the data on the server.

After the Upload

After the server receives the FS.File and all the corresponding binary file data, it saves copies of the file in the stores that you specified.

If any storage adapters fail to save any of the copies in the designated store, the server will periodically retry saving them. After a configurable number of failed attempts at saving, the server will give up.

To configure the maximum number of save attempts, use the maxTries option when creating your store. The default is 5.

Storage Adapters

Storage adapters handle retrieving the file data and removing the file data when you delete the file. There are currently four available storage adapters, which are in separate packages. Refer to the package documentation for usage instructions.

Securing sensitive information

If you're using a storage adapter that requires sensitive information such as access keys, we recommend supplying that information using environment variables. If you instead decide to pass options to the storage adapter constructor, then be sure that you do that only in the server code (and not simply within a Meteor.isServer block).

File Manipulation

You may want to manipulate files before saving them. For example, if a user uploads a large image, you may want to reduce its resolution, crop it, compress it, etc. before allowing the storage adapter to save it. You may also want to convert to another content type or change the filename or encrypt the file. You can do all of this by defining stream transformations on a store.

Note: Transforms only work on the server-side code

transformWrite / transformRead

The most common type of transformation is a "write" transformation, that is, a function that changes the data as it is initially stored. You can define this function using the transformWrite option on any store constructor. If the transformation requires a companion transformation when the data is later read out of the store (such as encrypt/decrypt), you can define a transformRead function as well.

For illustration purposes, here is an example of a transformWrite function that doesn't do anything:

transformWrite: function(fileObj, readStream, writeStream) {

The important thing is that you must pipe the readStream to the writeStream before returning from the function. Generally you will manipulate the stream in some way before piping it.


Sometimes you also need to change a file's metadata before it is saved to a particular store. For example, you might have a transformWrite function that changes the file type, so you need a beforeWrite function that changes the extension and content type to match.

The simplest type of beforeWrite function will return an object with extension, name, or type properties. For example:

beforeWrite: function (fileObj) {
  return {
    extension: 'jpg',
    type: 'image/jpg'

This would change the extension and type for that particular store.

Since beforeWrite is passed the fileObj, you can optionally alter that directly. For example, the following would be the same as the previous example assuming the store name is "jpegs":

beforeWrite: function (fileObj) {
  fileObj.extension('jpg', {store: "jpegs", save: false});
  fileObj.type('image/jpg', {store: "jpegs", save: false});

(It's best to provide the save: false option to any of the setters you call in beforeWrite.)

Image Manipulation

A common use for transformWrite is to manipulate images before saving them. To get this set up:

  1. Install GraphicsMagick or ImageMagick on your development machine and on any server that will host your app. (The free Meteor deployment servers do not have either of these, so you can't deploy to there.) These are normal operating system applications, so you have to install them using the correct method for your OS. For example, on Mac OSX you can use brew install graphicsmagick assuming you have Homebrew installed.
  2. Add the cfs:graphicsmagick Meteor package to your app: meteor add cfs:graphicsmagick

Basic Example

var createThumb = function(fileObj, readStream, writeStream) {
  // Transform the image into a 10x10px thumbnail
  gm(readStream,'10', '10').stream().pipe(writeStream);

Images = new FS.Collection("images", {
  stores: [
    new FS.Store.FileSystem("thumbs", { transformWrite: createThumb }),
    new FS.Store.FileSystem("images"),
  filter: {
    allow: {
      contentTypes: ['image/*'] //allow only images in this FS.Collection

Check out the Wiki for more examples and How-tos.


  • When you insert a file, a worker begins saving copies of it to all of the stores you define for the collection. The copies are saved to stores in the order you list them in the stores option array. Thus, you may want to prioritize certain stores by listing them first. For example, if you have an images collection with a thumbnail store and a large-size store, you may want to list the thumbnail store first to ensure that thumbnails appear on screen as soon as possible after inserting a new file. Or if you are storing audio files, you may want to prioritize a "sample" store over a "full-length" store.


You may specify filters to allow (or deny) only certain content types, file extensions or file sizes in a FS.Collection with the filter option:

Images = new FS.Collection("images", {
  filter: {
    maxSize: 1048576, // in bytes
    allow: {
      contentTypes: ['image/*'],
      extensions: ['png']
    deny: {
      contentTypes: ['image/*'],
      extensions: ['png']
    onInvalid: function (message) {
      if (Meteor.isClient) {
      } else {

Alternatively, you can pass your filters object to myFSCollection.filters().

To be secure, this must be added on the server. However, you should use the filter option on the client, too, to help catch many of the disallowed uploads there and allow you to display a helpful message with your onInvalid function.

You can mix and match filtering based on extension or content types. The contentTypes array also supports "image/*" and "audio/*" and "video/*" like the "accepts" attribute on the HTML5 file input element.

If a file extension or content type matches any of those listed in allow, it is allowed. If not, it is denied. If it matches both allow and deny, it is denied. Typically, you would use only allow or only deny, but not both. If you do not pass the filter option, all files are allowed, as long as they pass the tests in your FS.Collection.allow() and FS.Collection.deny() functions.

The extension checks are used only when there is a filename. It's possible to upload a file with no name. Thus, you should generally use extension checks only in addition to content type checks, and not instead of content type checks.

The file extensions must be specified without a leading period. Extension matching is case-insensitive.

An FS.File Instance

An FS.File instance is an object with properties similar to this:

  _id: '',
  collectionName: '', // this property not stored in DB
  collection: collectionInstance, // this property not stored in DB
  createdByTransform: true, // this property not stored in DB
  data: data, // this property not stored in DB
  original: {
    name: '',
    size: 0,
    type: '',
    updatedAt: date
  copies: {
    storeName: {
      key: '',
      name: '',
      size: 0,
      type: '',
      createdAt: date,
      updatedAt: date
  uploadedAt: date,
  anyUserDefinedProp: anything

But name, size, type, and updatedAt should be retrieved and set with the methods rather than directly accessing the props:

// get original;
fileObj.formattedSize(); // must add the "numeral" package to your project to use this method

// get for the version in a store{store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.extension({store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.size({store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.formattedSize({store: 'thumbs'}); // must add the "numeral" package to your project to use this method
fileObj.type({store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.updatedAt({store: 'thumbs'});

// set original'pic.png');
fileObj.updatedAt(new Date);

// set for the version in a store'pic.png', {store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.extension('png', {store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.size(100, {store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.type('image/png', {store: 'thumbs'});
fileObj.updatedAt(new Date, {store: 'thumbs'});

These methods can all be used as UI helpers, too:

{{#each myFiles}}
  <p>Original name: {{}}</p>
  <p>Original extension: {{this.extension}}</p>
  <p>Original type: {{this.type}}</p>
  <p>Original size: {{this.size}}</p>
  <p>Thumbnail name: {{ store="thumbs"}}</p>
  <p>Thumbnail extension: {{this.extension store="thumbs"}}</p>
  <p>Thumbnail type: {{this.type store="thumbs"}}</p>
  <p>Thumbnail size: {{this.size store="thumbs"}}</p>

Also, rather than setting the data property directly, you should use the attachData method.

Check out the full public API for FS.File.

Storing FS.File references in your objects

NOTE: At the moment storing FS.File - References in MongoDB on the server side doesn't work. See eg. ( ( (

_Instead store the id's of your file objects and then fetch the FS.File-Objects from your CollectionFS - Collection.

Often your files are part of another entity. You can store a reference to the file directly in the entity. You need to add cfs:ejson-file to your packages with meteor add cfs:ejson-file. Then you can do for example:

// Add file reference of the event photo to the event
var file = $('#file').get(0).files[0];
var fileObj = eventPhotos.insert(file);
  name: 'My Event',
  photo: fileObj

// Later: Retrieve the event with the photo
var event = events.findOne({name: 'My Event'});
// This loads the data of the photo into
// You can include it in your collection transform function.;

Demo app

You need to ensure that the client is subscribed to the related photo document, too. There are packages on atmosphere, such as publish-with-relations and smart-publish, that attempt to make this easy.

In simple cases, you may also be able to return an array from Meteor.publish:

Meteor.publish("memberAndPhotos", function (userId) {
  check(userId, String);
  return [
    Collections.Members.find({userId: userId}, {fields: {secretInfo: 0}}),
      $query: {'metadata.owner': userId},
      $orderby: {uploadedAt: -1}


File uploads and downloads can be secured using standard Meteor allow and deny methods. To best understand how CollectionFS security works, you must first understand that there are two ways in which a user could interact with a file:

  • She could view or edit information about the file or any custom metadata you've attached to the file record.
  • She could view or edit the actual file data.

You may find it necessary to secure file records with different criteria from that of file data. This is easy to do.

Here's an overview of the various ways of securing various aspects of files:

  • To determine who can see file metadata, such as filename, size, content type, and any custom metadata that you set, use normal Meteor publish/subscribe to publish and subscribe to an FS.Collection cursor. This does not allow the user to download the file data.
  • To determine who can download the actual file, use "download" allow/deny functions. This is a custom type of allow/deny function provided by CollectionFS. The first argument is the userId and the second argument is the FS.File being requested for download. An example:
	download: function(userId, fileObj) {
		return true
  • To determine who can set file metadata, insert files, and upload file data, use "insert" allow/deny functions.
  • To determine who can update file metadata, use "update" allow/deny functions.
  • To determine who can remove files, which removes all file data and file metadata, use "remove" allow/deny functions.

The download allow/deny functions can be thought of essentially as allowing or denying "read" access to the file. For a normal Meteor collection, "read" access is defined through pub/sub, but we don't want to send large amounts of binary file data to each client just because they subscribe to the file record. Thus with CFS, pub/sub will get you the file's metadata on the client whereas an HTTP request to the GET URL is required to view or download the file itself. The download allow/deny determines whether this HTTP request will respond with "Access Denied" or not.

Securing Based on User Information

To secure a file based on a user "owner" or "role" or some other piece of custom metadata, you must set this information on the file when originally inserting it. You can then check it in your allow/deny functions.

var fsFile = new FS.File([0]);
fsFile.owner = Meteor.userId();
fsCollection.insert(fsFile, function (err) {
  if (err) throw err;

Note that you will want to verify this owner metadata in a deny function since the client could put any user ID there.

Display an Uploaded Image

Create a helper that returns your image files:

  images: function () {
    return Images.find(); // Where Images is an FS.Collection instance

Use the url method with an img element in your markup:

<template name="imageView">
  <div class="imageView">
    {{#each images}}
        <a href="{{this.url}}" target="_blank"><img src="{{this.url store='thumbs' uploading='/images/uploading.gif' storing='/images/storing.gif'}}" alt="" class="thumbnail" /></a>


  • {{this.url}} will assume the first store in your stores array. In this example, we're displaying the image from the "thumbs" store but wrapping it in a link that will load the image from the primary store (for example, the original image or a large image).
  • The uploading and storing options allow you to specify a static image that will be shown in place of the real image while it is being uploaded and stored. You can alternatively use if blocks like {{#if this.isUploaded}} and {{#if this.hasStored 'thumbs'}} to display something different until upload and storage is complete.
  • These helpers are actually just instance methods on the FS.File instances, so there are others you can use, such as this.isImage. See the API documentation. The url method is documented separately here.

UI Helpers

There are two types of UI helpers available. First, some of the FS.File instance methods will work when called in templates, too. These are available to you automatically and are documented here. Second, some additional useful helpers are provided in the optional cfs-ui package. These make it easy to render a delete button or an upload progress bar and more. Refer to the cfs-ui readme.

FS.File Instance Helper Methods

Some of the FS.File API methods are designed to be usable as UI helpers.


Returns the HTTP file URL for the current FS.File.

Use with an FS.File instance as the current context.

Specify a store attribute to get the URL for a specific store. If you don't specify the store name, the URL will be for the copy in the first defined store.

{{#each images}}
  URL: {{this.url}}
  <img src="{{this.url store='thumbnail'}}" alt="thumbnail">

This is actually using the url method, which is added to the FS.File prototype by the cfs:access-point package. You can use any of the options mentioned in the API documentation, and you can call it from client and server code.


Returns true if the copy of this file in the specified store has an image content type. If the file object is unmounted or was not saved in the specified store, the content type of the original file is checked instead.

Use with an FS.File instance as the current context.

{{#if isImage}}
{{#if isImage store='thumbnail'}}


Returns true if the copy of this file in the specified store has an audio content type. If the file object is unmounted or was not saved in the specified store, the content type of the original file is checked instead.

Use with an FS.File instance as the current context.

{{#if isAudio}}
{{#if isAudio store='thumbnail'}}


Returns true if the copy of this file in the specified store has a video content type. If the file object is unmounted or was not saved in the specified store, the content type of the original file is checked instead.

Use with an FS.File instance as the current context.

{{#if isVideo}}
{{#if isVideo store='thumbnail'}}


Returns true if all the data for the file has been successfully received on the server. It may not have been stored yet.

Use with an FS.File instance as the current context.

{{#with fileObj}}
{{#if isUploaded}}
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