Determine XDG Base Directory paths (OS/platform portable)

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import xdgPortable from 'https://cdn.skypack.dev/xdg-portable';



Determine XDG Base Directory paths (OS/platform portable)

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Installation (CJS/ESM/TypeScript)

npm install xdg-portable
# or... `npm install "git:github.com/rivy/js.xdg-portable"`
# or... `npm install "git:github.com/rivy/js.xdg-portable#v9.0.0"`
# or... `npm install "https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/rivy/js.xdg-portable/dist/xdg-portable.tgz"`


CommonJS (CJS)

const xdg = require('xdg-portable/cjs');

const configDirs = xdg.configDirs();
const stateDir = xdg.state();

const locatePath = require('locatePath');
const mkdirp = require('mkdirp');

const configDir = locatePath.sync(configDirs) || configDirs[0];
mkdirp.sync(configDir, 0o700);

mkdirp.sync(stateDir, 0o700);

ECMAScript (ESM)/TypeScript

import xdg from 'xdg-portable';
const configDirs = xdg.configDirs();


import xdg from 'https://deno.land/x/xdg/src/mod.deno.ts';
//import xdg from 'https://deno.land/x/xdg@v9.0.0/src/mod.deno.ts';
//or (via CDN, with optional version/version-range/latest/commit support)...
//import xdg from 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/rivy/js.xdg-portable@9.0.0/src/mod.deno.ts'; // v9.0.0
//import xdg from 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/rivy/js.xdg-portable@9/src/mod.deno.ts'; // v9.x.y
//import xdg from 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/rivy/js.xdg-portable/src/mod.deno.ts'; // latest
//import xdg from 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/rivy/js.xdg-portable@latest/src/mod.deno.ts'; // latest
//import xdg from 'https://cdn.jsdelivr.net/gh/rivy/js.xdg-portable@COMMIT/src/mod.deno.ts'; // commit
const configDirs = xdg.configDirs();
Required Deno permissions
--allow-env · allow access to the process environment variables

This module/package requires access to various environment variable to determine platform and user configuration (eg, XDG configuration variables, location of temp and user directories, ...).




const xdg = require('xdg-portable/cjs'); // CJS
//import xdg from 'xdg-portable'; // ESM/TypeScript
//import xdg from 'https://deno.land/x/xdg/src/mod.deno.ts'; // Deno

When importing this module, the object returned is a function object, XDG, augmented with attached methods. Additional XDG objects may be constructed by direct call of the imported XDG object (eg, const x = xdg()) or by using new (eg, const x = new xdg()). Notably, since the XDG object contains no user-facing instance state, all XDG objects will be functionally identical.


  • XDG ~ primary module function object

Types named here are exported individually by name (eg, as "XDG").

import type { XDG } from 'xdg-portable'; // TypeScript
//import type { XDG } from 'https://deno.land/x/xdg/src/mod.deno.ts'; // Deno


All module methods return platform-compatible path strings which are normalized and have no trailing path separators.

The returned paths and are not guaranteed to exist on the file system. So, the user application is responsible for directory construction, if/when needed. If needed, make-dir or mkdirp can be used to create the directories.

xdg.cache(): string

  • Returns the directory path for user-specific non-essential (ie, cached) data files.

Deletion of the data contained here might cause an application to slow down.

const cacheDir = xdg.cache();
//(mac)=> '/Users/rivy/Library/Caches'
//(nix)=> '/home/rivy/.cache'
//(win)=> 'C:\\Users\\rivy\\AppData\\Local\\xdg.cache'

This directory location would be analogous to /var/cache for *nix.

%LocalAppData%\xdg.cache is the default for the windows platform.

xdg.config(): string

  • Returns the directory path for user-specific configuration files.

Deletion of the data contained here might require the user to reconfigure an application.

const configDir = xdg.config();
//(mac)=> '/Users/rivy/Library/Preferences'
//(nix)=> '/home/rivy/.config'
//(win)=> 'C:\\Users\\rivy\\AppData\\Roaming\\xdg.config'

This directory location would be analogous to /etc for *nix.

%AppData%\xdg.config is the default for the windows platform.

xdg.data(): string

  • Returns directory path for user-specific data files.

Deletion of the data contained here might force the user to restore from backups.

const dataDir = xdg.data();
//(mac)=> '/Users/rivy/Library/Application Support'
//(nix)=> '/home/rivy/.local/share'
//(win)=> 'C:\\Users\\rivy\\AppData\\Roaming\\xdg.data'

This directory location would be analogous to /usr/share for *nix.

%AppData%\xdg.data is the default for the windows platform.

xdg.runtime(): string?

  • Returns the directory path for user-specific non-essential runtime files (such as sockets, named pipes, etc); may be undefined.

Deletion of the data contained here might interfere with a currently executing application but should have no effect on future executions.

const runtimeDir = xdg.runtime();

The XDG specification defines some fairly strict specifications for a "runtime"-data candidate directory. To meet these criteria, the directory must usually be supplied by the OS. The user may override this by using the XDG_RUNTIME_DIR environment variable.

undefined is the default for the windows platform.

xdg.state(): string

  • Returns the directory path for user-specific state files (non-essential and more volatile than configuration files).

Deletion of the data contained here should not materially interfere with execution of an application.

const stateDir = xdg.state();
//(mac)=> '/Users/rivy/Library/State'
//(nix)=> '/home/rivy/.local/state'
//(win)=> 'C:\\Users\\rivy\\AppData\\Local\\xdg.state'

This directory location might hold data such as backups, input history, logs, recent file lists, visual application state, etc.

%LocalAppData%\xdg.state is the default for the windows platform.

xdg.configDirs(): readonly string[]

  • Returns a preference-ordered array of base directory paths to search for configuration files (includes xdg.config() directory as first entry).
const configDirs = xdg.configDirs();
//(mac)=> [ '/Users/rivy/Library/Preferences', ... ]
//(nix)=> [ '/home/rivy/.config', ... ]
//(win)=> [ 'C:\\Users\\rivy\\AppData\\Roaming\\xdg.config' , ... ]

xdg.dataDirs(): readonly string[]

  • Returns a preference-ordered array of base directory paths to search for data files (includes xdg.data() directory as first entry).
const dataDirs = xdg.dataDirs();
//(mac)=> [ '/Users/rivy/Library/Application Support', ... ]
//(nix)=> [ '/home/rivy/.local/share', ... ]
//(win)=> [ 'C:\\Users\\rivy\\AppData\\Roaming\\xdg.share' , ... ]

Supported Platforms



NodeJS >= 4.0[^*]

[^*]: With the conversion to a TypeScript-based project, due to tooling constraints, building and testing are more difficult and more limited on Node platforms earlier than NodeJS-v10. However, the generated CommonJS/UMD project code is fully tested (for NodeJS-v10+) and continues to be compatible with NodeJS-v4+.

CommonJS modules (CJS; *.js and *.cjs)

CJS is the basic supported output (with support for NodeJS versions as early as NodeJS-v4).

const xdg = require('xdg-portable/cjs');

Note: for CJS, require('xdg-portable') is supported for backward-compatibility and will execute correctly at run-time. However, require('xdg-portable') links to the default package type declarations which, though correct for ESM or TypeScript, are incorrect for CJS. This, then, leads to incorrect analysis of CJS files by static analysis tools such as TypeScript and Intellisense.

Using require('xdg-portable/cjs') is preferred as it associates the proper CJS type declarations and provides correct information to static analysis tools.

ECMAScript modules (ESM; *.mjs)

  • Requires v8.0+.

XDG fully supports ESM imports.

import xdg from 'xdg-portable';

TypeScript (*.ts)

  • Requires v8.0+.

As of v8.0+, XDG has been converted to a TypeScript-based module. As a consequence, TypeScript type definitions are automatically generated, bundled, and exported by the module.


  • Requires v9.0+.

XDG also fully supports use by Deno.

import xdg from 'https://deno.land/x/xdg/src/mod.deno.ts';


The XDG Base Directory Specification@ defines categories of user information (ie, "cache", "config", "data", ...), defines their standard storage locations, and defines the standard process for user configuration of those locations (using XDG_CACHE_HOME, etc).

Applications supporting the XDG convention are expected to store user-specific files within these locations, either within the common/shared directory (eg, `${xdg.cache()}/filename`) or within a more isolated application-defined subdirectory (eg, `${xdg.config()}/DIR/filename`; DIR usually being the application name).

Windows ("win32") specific notes

Windows has an alternate convention, offering just two standard locations for applications to persist data, either %APPDATA% (for files which may "roam" with the user between hosts) and %LOCALAPPDATA% (for local-machine-only files). All application files are expected to be stored within an application-unique subdirectory in one of those two locations, usually under a directory matching the application name. There is no further popular convention used to segregate the file types (ie, into "cache", "config", ...) in any way similar to the XDG specification.

So, to support basic XDG-like behavior (that is, segregating the information types into type-specific directories), this module creates a new convention for Windows hosts, placing the specific types of files into subdirectories under either %APPDATA% or %LOCALAPPDATA%, as appropriate for the file type. For example, "cache"-type files will be offered placement into %LOCALAPPDATA%\xdg.cache, "config"-type files into %APPDATA%\xdg.config, "data"-type files into %APPDATA%\xdg.data, etc.

xdg-app-paths builds on this module and offers application specific paths more in-line with usual platform conventions, but still compatible with the XDG specification.

Fallback to temporary directory

In the uncommon case that both the XDG environment variable is not set and the users home directory can't be determined, the temporary directory (OS/platform specific; determined by temp() from os-paths) will be used as a fallback for the missing home directory value.


This module was forked from sindresorhus/xdg-basedir in order to add cross-platform portability and support simpler cross-platform applications.

Building and Contributing

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Build requirements

  • NodeJS >= 10.14
  • a JavaScript package/project manager (npm or yarn)



npm install-test

Project development scripts

> npm run help
usage: `npm run TARGET` or `npx run-s TARGET [TARGET..]`


build               build/compile package
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help                display help
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lint:markdown       check for markdown errors (using `remark`)
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realclean           remove all generated files
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retest              clean and (re-)test project
reset:hard          remove *all* generated files and reinstall dependencies
show:deps           show package dependencies
test                test package
test:code           test package code
test:types          test for type declaration errors (using `tsd`)
update              update/prepare for distribution [alias: 'dist']
update:changelog    update CHANGELOG (using `git changelog ...`)
update:dist         update distribution content


Contributions are welcome.

Any pull requests should be based off of the default branch (master). And, whenever possible, please include tests for any new code, ensuring that local (via npm test) and remote CI testing passes.

By contributing to the project, you are agreeing to provide your contributions under the same license as the project itself.



MIT © Roy Ivy III