Difference between readFile and readFileSync

Problem

The following code outputs the content of the index.html (it just contains the text hello world) to the browser. However, when I replace readFile with readFileSync, the request times out. What am I missing? Is a different kind of buffer required? I am using node 0.61 and express 2.4

var express = require('express');
var fs = require('fs');

var app = express.createServer(express.logger());

app.get('/', function(request, response) {
    fs.readFile('index.html', function(err, data){
        response.send(data.toString());
    });
});

var port = process.env.PORT || 5000;
app.listen(port, function() {
  console.log("Listening on " + port);
});
Problem courtesy of: Ali

Solution

fs.readFile takes a call back which calls response.send as you have shown - good. If you simply replace that with fs.readFileSync, you need to be aware it does not take a callback so your callback which calls response.send will never get called and therefore the response will never end and it will timeout.

You need to show your readFileSync code if you're not simply replacing readFile with readFileSync.

Also, just so you're aware, you should never call readFileSync in a node express/webserver since it will tie up the single thread loop while I/O is performed. You want the node loop to process other requests until the I/O completes and your callback handling code can run.

Solution courtesy of: bryanmac

Discussion

'use strict'
var fs = require("fs");

/***
 * implementation of readFileSync
 */
var data = fs.readFileSync('input.txt');
console.log(data.toString());
console.log("Program Ended");

/***
 * implementation of readFile 
 */
fs.readFile('input.txt', function (err, data) {
    if (err) return console.error(err);
   console.log(data.toString());
});

console.log("Program Ended");

For better understanding run the above code and compare the results..

Discussion courtesy of: Saurabh Chauhan

This recipe can be found in it's original form on Stack Over Flow.