👋 [Looking for maintainers] SnowFS - a fast, scalable version control file storage for graphic files :art:


SnowFS - a fast, scalable version control file storage for graphic files

release Coverage Status Build and Test


SnowFS is a lightweight multi-platform support library with a focus on binary file versioning. It is made for the graphics industry and was initially developed for Snowtrack.

Disclaimer: This project is in alpha state and actively developed. Do not use this yet in a production environment or without backups.


Feature highlights

  • Supports Branches

  • Asynchronous File Hashing

  • Project open to file-content awareness (e.g: *.psd, *.blend, *.c4d, ..)

  • Super-fast-detection of modifications in large binaries

  • Support for instant snapshots**

  • Support for instant rollback**

  • Support for files bigger >4TB

  • Block-cloning and Copy-on-Write support for APFS and ReFS***

  • Support for removing single versions and/or binaries

  • Primarily I/O bound through libuv

  • Feature XYZ made by you!

** If the underlying filesystem supports it (e.g. APFS, ReFS)

Why not Git/Git-LFS, libgit2, or SVN?

First and foremost, the implementations of Git - namely Git/Git-LFS and libgit2 are excellent implementations of version control systems. But due to their focus on the software development lifecycle they are not suitable to version binaries or graphic files. SnowFS addresses the technical challenges for graphic files by its core design.



  • Support on all major platforms
  • Supported by hosting platforms like GitHub, GitLab, and BitBucket.
  • Fast diff-operation for text-files


  • If not properly tracked, binaries become accidentally part of "base" history
  • Removing older commits is cumbersome due to Gits commit hashing integrity
  • Complicated rewriting history procedure
  • Issues with binaries >4GB on Windows as reported here, here, and here
  • Slow in binary modification detection
  • Git uses a restrictive license



  • Faster zipping, packing, and delta-compression than the reference implementation Git
  • Supports custom backends


  • No native support for Git-LFS without custom backends
  • Custom backends break compatibility with Git

TypeScript / C++ backport

SnowFS is currently written in TypeScript. It is a great language to write powerful and performant I/O bound prototypes. There is a basic and experimental C/C++ backport, but we are looking for maintainers to get things finally rolling. If you have comments, ideas or recommendations, please let us know.

Running benchmarks

We have also implemented a comparison benchmark between SnowFS vs. git-lfs. After executing the build instructions for a development build, the benchmarks can be executed with the following command:

$ npm run benchmarks

Example run on a Macbook Pro (2020) with an APFS formatted SSD to check-in, delete and restore a 4GB Photoshop File.

git lfs track *.psd
git add texture.psd: 20164ms
snow add texture.psd: 4596ms
git rm texture.psd: 575ms
snow rm texture.psd: 111ms
git checkout HEAD~1: 9739ms
snow checkout HEAD~1: 1ms



You can find the best and up-to-date code examples in the test/ directory. Given below these are simply "Hello World!" examples to get you started.

import * as fse from "fs-extra";

import { join } from "path";
import { Index } from "./src";
import { Repository } from "./src/repository";

export async function main() {
  let repo: Repository;
  let index: Index;
  const repoPath = "/path/to/a/non/existing/directory";
    .then((repoResult: Repository) => {
      return fse.copyFile("/path/to/texture.psd", join(repoPath, "texture.psd"));
    .then(() => {
      return index.writeFiles();
    .then(() => {
      return repo.createCommit(index, "This is my first commit");


Command line interface

The CLI of SnowFS offers some basic functionality and is subject to enhancements.


$ snow init foo
$ cp /path/to/texture.psd foo/texture.psd
$ cd foo
$ snow add .
$ snow commit -m "My first texture"
$ snow log
$ snow checkout -b MyNewBranch
$ snow log

Build Instructions

  1. To build SnowFS install node.js for your specific platform.

  2. To build a development build execute:

$ git clone
$ cd snowfs.git
$ npm install
$ npm run ava
  1. To build a production build, execute the commands above, and continue with the commands below:
$ npm run tsc
$ npm run build
$ cd dist/out-tsc


Starting with version 1.0.0 SnowFS follows the semantic versioning scheme. The API change and backward compatibility rules are those indicated by SemVer.


SnowFS is licensed under the MIT license, please review the LICENSE file. Excluded from the license are images, artworks, and logos. Please file a request by mail, if you have any questions.


Other resources

The tests and benchmarks also serve as API specification and usage examples.

These resources are not handled by SnowFS maintainers and might be out of date. Please verify it before opening new issues.

Supported Platforms

Currently, Windows, macOS, and Linux are supported. SnowFS works on plain filesystems like FAT, NTFS, HFS+ and has extended support for APFS and ReFS*.

How can I contribute?

See the guidelines for contributing.

Open Issues
Last Commit
1 week ago