I wrote a script that downloads all PDFs found on the web page of a particular government agency. I would have chosen bash for such a task, but I want the script to run in Node.js. The downloaded files are a few hundred kilobytes big, if that matters.

It is the first time I use ES6, but I want to learn how to take advantage of all ES6 features, and I want to make my script very much in the spirit of ES6. In bash I would have downloaded the list of PDF files first, then proceeded to download them with indentation back to zero, but I got the impression that putting everything within the first request.get block is more in the ES6 spirit, correct me if I am wrong.

The script works, and validates with ESLint after disabling the following rules:

  • no-console because it is intended to be run on the console
  • no-undef because it tells me require is not defined
  • one-var because it would force me to mix require and other declaration thus triggering no-mixed-requires
  • sort-vars because I want to order constants in a more sensible way
  • strict because it would not accept "use strict"; as the first line

My code:

"use strict";

// Imports
const async = require("async"),
    fs = require("fs"),
    http = require("http"),
    request = require("request");

// Settings
const INDEX_URL = "http://www.kokuminhogo.go.jp/hinan/index.html",
    PREFECTURES_REGEX = /area.*hinan_(.*)\.pdf/g,
    REMOTE_PREFIX = "http://www.kokuminhogo.go.jp/pdf/hinan_",
    LOCAL_PREFIX = "data/file",
    FORMAT_EXTENSION = ".pdf",
    HTTP_STATUS_OK = 200;

// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
// Utility to download a file, with callback
// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
const download = (url, dest, next) => {

    console.log(`Downloading ${url} to ${dest}`);
    const file = fs.createWriteStream(dest);

    http.get(url, (response) => {

        file.on("finish", () => {





// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
// Get list of available prefectures
// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
request.get(INDEX_URL, (error, response, body) => {

    const prefectures = [];

    if (!error && response.statusCode === HTTP_STATUS_OK) {

        let match = PREFECTURES_REGEX.exec(body);

        while (match !== null) {

            match = PREFECTURES_REGEX.exec(body);



    console.log(`Number of prefectures available: ${prefectures.length}`);

// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
// Download the PDF files for all prefectures
// ///////////////////////////////////////////////////////////
    // Files will be numbered 1, 2, etc
    let fileNumber = 1;

    // Process in parallel
        (prefecture, next) => {

                REMOTE_PREFIX + prefecture + FORMAT_EXTENSION,
                LOCAL_PREFIX + fileNumber + FORMAT_EXTENSION,
            fileNumber += 1;


        () => {

            console.log("Finished downloading");



Things that come to my mind after a quick read:

  1. do not use const someFunction = (...) => {...} instead of function someFunction(...) {...})
  2. use module.exports even if it is a script
  3. group functionality into functions; you have comments beautifully spaced, but a function name will be more readable and maintainable
  4. try to have functions that do one thing; when explaining to someone what a function does, and you have to use and then you should split the function
  5. try to use map, filter, etc. instead of having iterations with a variable (e.g. fileNumber)
  6. whenever you have someString + someOther you could use string templating (i.e. ${someString}${someOther}
  7. prefer using promises instead of callbacks; the code ends up being more readable; e.g. use bluebird.promisify
  8. use a good eslint config (e.g. airbnb)

To enhance collaboration, you could use a github repository and reference it here.


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