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Directory Listing

SWS provides a directory listing feature to display the content of directories.

This feature is disabled by default and can be controlled by the boolean -z, --directory-listing option or the equivalent SERVER_DIRECTORY_LISTING env.

static-web-server \
    --port 8787 \
    --root ./my-public-dir \
    --directory-listing true

And here is an example of how the directory listing looks like.

Relative paths for entries

SWS uses relative paths for the directory listing entries (file or directory) and is used regardless of the redirect trailing slash feature.

However, when the "redirect trailing slash" feature is disabled and a directory request URI doesn't contain a trailing slash then the entries will contain the path parent-dir/entry-name as the link value. Otherwise, just an entry-name link value is used (default behavior).

Note also that in both cases, SWS will append a trailing slash to the entry if is a directory.


Sorting by Name, Last modified and Size is enabled as clickable columns when the directory listing is activated via the --directory-listing=true option.

You can also use the sort query parameter to sort manually by certain attributes from URI. E.g https://localhost/?sort=5.

Sorting by default

Sometimes one wants to sort by a certain attribute but by default. In that case, the default ascending or descending ordering of files/dirs by their attributes is provided by the numeric --directory-listing-order option or the equivalent SERVER_DIRECTORY_LISTING_ORDER env.

To do so you have to pass a code sorting number. E.g --directory-listing-order=2.

Code numbers for sorting

Below are the possible number code values for sorting or ordering which are grouped by attribute.


  • 0: Ascending
  • 1: Descending

Last modified

  • 2: Ascending
  • 3: Descending


  • 4: Ascending
  • 5: Descending


  • 6: Unordered


  • The --directory-listing-order option depends on --directory-listing to be enabled.
  • Use the query ?sort=NUMBER to customize the sorting via the URI. E.g https://localhost/?sort=5 (sort by size in descending order)


static-web-server \
    --port 8787 \
    --root ./my-public-dir \
    --directory-listing true \
    # E.g Sorting file/dir names in descending order
    --directory-listing-order 1

Output format

SWS provides support for specifying an output format either HTML (default) or JSON for the directory listing entries via the string --directory-listing-format option or the equivalent SERVER_DIRECTORY_LISTING_FORMAT env.


  • The --directory-listing-format option depends on --directory-listing to be enabled.

HTML format

This is the default format when --directory-listing is enabled.

JSON format

The JSON format used is shown below for directories and files. Note that the size attribute is only available for files and the mtime value is UTC-based.

    "name": "my-directory",
    "type": "directory",
    "mtime": "2022-10-07T00:53:50Z"
    "name": "my_file.tar.gz",
    "type": "file",
    "mtime": "2022-09-27T22:44:34Z",
    "size": 332

Here is an example of serving the directory listing in JSON format.

static-web-server \
    -p=8787 -d=tests/fixtures/public -g=trace \
    --directory-listing=true \

And below and client request example to illustrate how the feature works.

curl -iH "content-type: application/json" http://localhost:8787
# HTTP/1.1 200 OK
# content-type: application/json
# content-length: 163
# cache-control: public, max-age=86400
# date: Tue, 11 Oct 2022 23:24:55 GMT

# [{"name":"spécial directöry","type":"directory","mtime":"2022-10-07T00:53:50Z"},{"name":"index.html.gz","type":"file","mtime":"2022-09-27T22:44:34Z","size":332}]⏎