File handling

Compas also comes with various utilities across the stack to handle files in a consistent way.

Generated router & validators

Let's start with looking at the code generators. Here we have the T.file() type to represent files as can be seen in the following examples:

const T = new TypeCreator();
const R = T.router("/");"/upload")
    myFile: T.file(),
  .response({ success: true });


Files are handled separately by the generator and validators, and are put on ctx.validatedFiles with help from formidable. In the generated api clients we generate the correct type (ReadableStream or Blob) depending on the context. And allow for setting custom file parsing options createBodyParsers provided by @compas/server

Saving files

@compas/store comes with Postgres and minio which we let work together in the various utilities for files.


Creates a new file and stores it in both Postgres and Minio (S3). If an existing id is provided the file is overwritten. This function only requires a file name and the source and is able to infer contentType and contentLength. If allowedContentTypes is provided, an error will be thrown if the inferred content type is not one of the allowed content types.


 * @param {InsightEvent} event
 * @param {AppSaveFileFiles} files
 * @return {Promise<void>}
export async function appSaveFile(event, files) {
  eventStart(event, "app.saveFile");

  await createOrUpdateFile(
    { name: files.uploadedFile.originalFilename },
      allowedContentTypes: ["image/png", "application/x-sql"],



  • store.createOrUpdateFile.invalidName -> When name is not specified.
  • store.createOrUpdateFile.invalidContentType -> When the content type is not one of allowedContentTypes.

Securing file downloads

In some cases you want to have private files as well, you can accomplish this by using fileSignAccessToken and fileVerifyAccessToken. When returning an image url to the client, you can add a JWT based token to the url specific for that file id, and with a short expiration date via fileSignAccessToken. Then, when the user requests the file, fileVerifyAccessToken can be used to check if the token is still valid and issued for that file id.

Let's look at a quick example;


const T = new TypeCreator();
const R = T.router("/");

R.get("/product", "getProduct").response({
  publicImageUrl: T.string(),
  privateAvatarUrl: T.string(),

R.get("/product/public-image", "publicImage")
    id: T.uuid(),

R.get("/product/private-avatar", "privateAvatar")
    accessToken: T.string(),


// For the example :)
const publicImageId = uuid();
const privateAvatarId = uuid();

appController.getProduct = (ctx, next) => {
  // Do user checks here, so see if the privateAvatarUrl should be added.

  ctx.body = {
    publicImageUrl: "",
    privateAvatarUrl: `${fileSignAccessToken(
        fileId: privateAvatarId,
        signingKey: "secure key loaded from secure place",
        maxAgeInSeconds: 2 * 60, // User should load the image in 2 minutes

  return next();

appController.publicImage = async (ctx, next) => {
  const file = await queryFile({ where: { id: publicImageId } }).exec(sql);

  await sendFile(ctx, file /* ... */);

  return next();

appController.privateAvatar = async (ctx, next) => {
  const file = await queryFile({ where: { id: privateAvatarId } }).exec(sql);

  // Throws if expired or invalid
    signingKey: "secure key loaded from secure place",
    fileAccessToken: ctx.validatedQuery.accessToken,

  await sendFile(ctx, file /* ... */);

  return next();

An important note is that the tokens can't be revoked. So if you have that requirement there are two options;

  • Keep a blacklist of tokens somewhere
  • Regenerate the signingKey, rendering all tokens invalid.