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1.0.10 • Public • Published


Digester is a little library to compute hash digests from readable streams or files.

Reads files as streams, hence large files are supported.

Use any hash algorithms of your choice, including non-cryptographic ones.


To get the digest of a file:

const { fileDigester } = require('digester');
const digester = fileDigester(someCreateHashFunc, format);
// or, for most common 'hex' format there is a curried version
// with 'hex' pre-selected:
const { fileDigester } = require('digester/hex');
const digester = fileDigester(someCreateHashFunc);
// and then
const digestPromise = digester(filePath);

Similarly, to digest a stream:

const { streamDigester } = require('digester');
const digester = streamDigester(someCreateHashFunc, format);
// or, with pre-selected 'hex' format:
const { streamDigester } = require('digester/hex');
const digester = streamDigester(someCreateHashFunc);
const digestPromise = digester(someReadableStream);

Full working examples

Digesting files

We have to prepare some hashing function in advance. For the sake of an example let's use one of the algorithms from Node.crypto module, but that is not at all required - any hashing algorithm would do, see Hash algorithms section below for details:

const { fileDigester } = require('digester/hex');
// use md5 hash algorithm from Node.crypto as an example
const { createHash } = require('crypto');
const createHashFn = () => createHash('md5');
// create a digester instance
const digester = fileDigester(createHashFn);
// use current script file as an example
const filePath = __filename;
// Now `digester(filePath)` will return a promise of digest value,
// so we can consume it as any other promise
digester(filePath).then(digest => {
  // output something like:
  // f291989216ac5760078e1ae111be4541

The time needed for this promise to resolve depends on file system and I/O speed, naturally. But as we read the file as stream under the hood, the memory consumption is going to be minimal.

Digesting streams

Is almost identical:

const { streamDigester } = require('digester/hex');
const { createHash } = require('crypto');
const createHashFn = () => createHash('sha256');
const digester = streamDigester(createHashFn);
const { Readable } = require('stream');
const rs = Readable.from('Make a sample readable stream from this text');
// output:
// acdc094f7e69cf861abe8aea7730ebc7084f6278c55d5f858ad87df6f7b8aef8

Why waste original stream?

Needless to say that the original stream is going to be consumed in this digesting procedure.

If for some reason that is not desirable, one might consider a slightly different approach: compute the hash digest on the fly, while it is being naturally consumed as it was implied by application logic. To do that one can use hash-through module, the one that is actually being used by the Digester under the hood.

Consider the example:

const hashThrough = require('hash-through');
const { createHash } = require('crypto');
const createHashFn = () => createHash('sha256');
const ht = hashThrough(createHashFn);
// just created a PassThrough stream able to digest the data traffic
// on the fly, while application does consume it:
// .pipe(ht) acts like man-in-the-middle
const digestPromise = new Promise(resolve => {
  ht.on('finish', () => {
digestPromise.then(digest => {
  // and we got the digest here
  // output:
  // acdc094f7e69cf861abe8aea7730ebc7084f6278c55d5f858ad87df6f7b8aef8

Imagine you receive audio stream from one remote and pass it through to some other remote. With this approach you just tap and when the streaming is over you got the hash digest ready. You application logic doesn't suffer.

Hash algorithms

One has to prepare createHash function in advance, but that is not difficult. Here are some examples:

Algorithms from Node.crypto

That is the easiest:

const { createHash } = require('crypto');
const createHashFn = () => createHash(<algorithm name>);

To see the list of currently supported algorithms do:

const { getHashes } = require('crypto');

That will print out a long list (at the time of writing):


and all of them are ready to be used here.

Other algorithms

There are many other libraries that provide hashing algorithms, but to plug them in here we have to make sure they are in a form of createHash function. Such a function should return a so called Hash object, an object similar to how it is made in Node.crypto (see Hash class in Node docs). Basically, Hash should be a Transform stream and support update(chunk) and digest(format) methods.

Good news is that many existing implementations are able to produce that out-of-the-box or with little tinkering.

Let's try to plug in metrohash npm module as an example. As stated on its site, the module is a "wrapper around MetroHash algorithm", which is a non-cryptographic hashing algorithm by the way.

Here we are:

const { MetroHash128 } = require('metrohash');
// need some seed, use zero for simplicity
const SEED = 0;
const createHashMetro = () => new MetroHash128(SEED);

And we are done. Now we can use it:

const { streamDigester } = require('digester');
const digester = streamDigester(createHashMetro);
// and so on

A few more implementation examples can be found in the tests directory.

Digest formats

If we use main constructor, then we are free to either specify format parameter explicitly:

const { fileDigester } = require('digester');
const digester = streamDigester(createHashFunc, <format>);
// or
const { streamDigester } = require('digester');
const digester = streamDigester(createHashFunc, <format>);

or even omit it, in some cases.

The point is, it is createHashFunc that is responsible for producing a so called Hash object with its Hash.digest(format) method. Therefore the question of what formats are supported and if we can safely omit it - depends solely on that Hash implementation.

Formats for Node.crypto hashes

E.g. if we choose an algorithm implementation from Node.crypto module (const createHashFunc = () => crypto.createHash(<format>)), then:

  1. if format parameter is omitted, then bare Buffer is returned as digest value.

Consider the example:

const { fileDigester } = require('digester');
const { createHash } = require('crypto');
const createHashFn = () => createHash('ripemd160');
const digester = fileDigester(createHashFn); // format parameter is omitted
// output:
// <Buffer 72 e9 3e ce 63 e1 5d 5d ca f3 da 62 d8 cd f9 67 87 3c 56 34>
  1. if format parameter is there, then Buffer.toString(format) is going to be called internally, so one can use any format value Buffer.toString method does support, namely (see Node docs):
  • 'ascii'
  • 'utf8'
  • 'utf16le'
  • 'ucs2' — alias of 'utf16le'
  • 'base64'
  • 'latin1'
  • 'binary' — alias to 'latin1'
  • 'hex'

Formats for other hashes

With other hash algorithm implementations one has to examine digest(format) method of Hash object, that particular createHashFunc is supposed to return.

Pre-selected HEX format

As already mentioned, one can take advantage of curried version of the lib with 'hex' preselected:

const { ... } = require('digester/hex');

Just be sure the Hash object that is returned from particular createHashFunc implementation does indeed support this format, i.e. Hash.digest('hex') does not break. If it does, then switch back to non-curried version.


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