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Registering and loading virtual pieces

Virtual pieces differ from normal pieces in that they are not loaded from the file system. Instead, they are registered directly into the container. This is useful for several purposes:

  • Pieces that are not stored on the file system, such as pieces that are generated at runtime.
  • Pieces that are stored on the file system, but are not loaded by Sapphire. For example, this can occur due to runtime limitations where file system operations are either restricted or not possible (think: Serverless Computing ↗️).
  • Bundling the bot into a single file. This is useful for serverless deployments ↗️, where you cannot rely on the file system.

Registering virtual pieces

To register a virtual piece, you must use the container's loadPiece method. This method accepts a piece constructor, a name, and the store the piece belongs to (in string form).

const { container, Listener } = require('@sapphire/framework');

class UserListener extends Listener {
run() {
// ...

void container.stores.loadPiece({
piece: UserListener,
name: 'ready',
store: 'listeners'

We use void in the above example because the loadPiece method returns a Promise. However, we do not need to await the result of the Promise.

Next, import the file that contains the above code in your entry point:


This will register the UserListener class as a listener with the name ready, and queue it for loading. The piece will be loaded and instantiated when its store's loadAll method is called.

The loadPiece method returns a Promise, which:

  • If its store's loadAll was called, it will load the piece immediately and resolve once it has loaded.
  • Otherwise, it will queue the piece to be loaded by its store's loadAll and resolve it immediately.

In @sapphire/framework, the loadAll method is called when the SapphireClient#login method is called.

A best practice is to make a _load file in each folder that contains virtual pieces. For example, if you have a listeners folder, you can create a listeners/_load.ts file that imports all the listeners in that folder:


Then, import the _load file in your entry point:


Disabling the File System

By default, the file system is enabled. This means that pieces are loaded from the file system when their store's loadAll method is called. However, if you are using virtual pieces, you can disable the file system by passing null to the SapphireClientOptions#baseUserDirectory option when instantiating the client.

const { SapphireClient } = require('@sapphire/framework');

const client = new SapphireClient({
baseUserDirectory: null

By default, Sapphire registers the current path as the base user directory. However, since you are using virtual pieces, you do not need to load pieces from the file system, so you can disable this behavior by using null.

If no paths are registered, then the file system will be disabled automatically.


@sapphire/framework and official plugins support virtual pieces. However, third-party plugins may not support virtual pieces. If you are using a third-party plugin, make sure to check its documentation or its source code to see if it supports virtual pieces.


Virtual pieces have the following limitations:

  • Virtual pieces cannot be reloaded. If you need to reload a virtual piece, you must restart your bot.
  • Virtual pieces have their location assigned as the value of VirtualPath, and return an empty array for directories. This means that you cannot use the directories property to get the location of a virtual piece, which may cause issues for structures that rely on this property, such as Command#fullCategory.
  • Virtual pieces have to be imported manually, which can require long chains of imports.