Commands for downloading files.

SECURITY NOTE: Browsers require that all downloads are initiated by a user event. So rather than allowing malicious sites to put files on your computer however they please, the user at least have to click a button first. As a result, the following commands only work when they are triggered by some user event.


string : String -> String -> String -> Cmd msg

Download a String as a file. Maybe you markdown editor in the browser, and you want to provide a button to download markdown files:

import File.Download as Download

save : String -> Cmd msg
save markdown =
  Download.string "" "text/markdown" markdown

So the arguments are file name, MIME type, and then the file content. In this case is is markdown, but it could be any string information.

bytes : String -> String -> Bytes -> Cmd msg

Download some Bytes as a file. Maybe you are creating custom images, and you want a button to download them as PNG files. After using gren/bytes to generate the file content, you can download it like this:

import Bytes exposing (Bytes)
import File.Download as Download

savePng : Bytes -> Cmd msg
savePng bytes =
  Download.bytes "frog.png" "image/png" bytes

So the arguments are file name, MIME type, and then the file content. With the ability to build any byte sequence you want with gren/bytes, you can create .zip files, .jpg files, or whatever else you might need!

url : String -> Cmd msg

Download a file from a URL on the same origin. So if you have a website at, you could download a math GIF like this:

import File.Download as Download

downloadMathGif : Cmd msg
downloadMathGif =
  Download.url ""

The downloaded file will use whatever name the server suggests. So if you want a different name, have your server add a Content-Disposition header like Content-Disposition: attachment; filename="triangle.gif" when it serves the file.

Warning: The implementation uses <a href="..." download></a> which has two important consequences:

  1. Cross-origin downloads are weird. If you want a file from a different domain (like or this function adds a target="_blank", opening the file in a new tab. Otherwise the link would just take over the current page, replacing your website with a GIF or whatever. To make cross-origin downloads work differently, you can (1) make the request same-origin by sending it to your server and then having your server fetch the file or (2) fetch the file with gren/http and then go through File.Download.bytes.
  2. Same-origin downloads are weird in IE10 and IE11. These browsers do not support the download attribute, so you should always get the target="_blank" behavior where the URL opens in a new tab. Again, you can fetch the file with gren/http and then use File.Download.bytes to get around this.

Things are quite tricky here between the intentional security constraints and particularities of browser implementations, so remember that you can always send the URL out a port and do something even more custom in JavaScript!