Written by Pete Corey on Dec 22, 2014.

This morning I started working on a quick project called Suffixer, which is a tool to help you find interesting domain names. For this project I needed a searchable english dictionary accessible from within a Meteor app. After some sleuthing, I decided that adambom’s dictionary JSON would be my best bet. The next step was importing that JSON data into Meteor in the most “Meteor way”.

Creating a Package

Since this is a fairly reusable component, I decided to throw it into a Meteor package. Doing this is as simple and running a “create package” command inside your Meteor project:

meteor create --package pcorey:dictionary

This will create a package called pcorey:dictionary in the packages directory within your project. There you’ll find package.js and other files to get you started. Next, throw some code into the file referenced in the onUse section of package.js. Finally, add the package to your project:

meteor add pcorey:dictionary

You’ll notice that Meteor will immediately pick up this change and build your package into the project. For local packages, this is all you need to get started.

However, I wanted to keep this package in its own github repo and eventually publish it to Meteor’s package repository. With that in mind, I pulled it out of my packages folder within my project and into its own directory.

Package Assets

If you take a look at my package’s github repository, you’ll notice that I’m including dictionary.json in the package.js file:

Package.onUse(function(api) {
    api.versionsFrom('1.0.1');
    api.addFiles('dictionary.js');
    api.addFiles('dictionary.json', 'server', {isAsset: true});
});

I’m passing an additional two arguments to this call of addFiles. The 'server' argument is straight forward; it’s telling meteor to only make this file available to the server. The {isAsset: true} argument is used to incidcate that this file should be loadable as an asset. This is a fairly undocumented feature that I only discovered after some frantic googling. Adding the file to the package in this way lets you load it as an asset in the package:

var dictionary = JSON.parse(Assets.getText('dictionary.json'));

Exporting

My package defines a collection called Dictionary that I intended to be used on the client side by projects importing this package. However, without explicitly exporting Dictionary, it will remain hidden within the package’s scope.

You can specify your package’s exports in your package.js file. Here’s I’m exporting the Dictionary collection defined in dictionary.js and making it accessible to both the client and the server:

api.export('Dictionary', ['client', 'server']);

Publishing Your Package

Once you have your package completed, the next step is to publish it to Meteor’s package repository:

meteor publish --create

When making changes to you package, be sure to increment your version in package.js and then re-publish the package:

meteor publish

You can now add your package to any Meteor project using the standard meteor add command. That’s it!