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Introducing Mikochi: a minimalist remote file browser

Like many people working in DevOps, I have taken the bad habit to keep playing with servers and containers in my free time. One of the things I have running is a Media Server, which I use to access my collection of movies and shows (that I evidently own and ripped myself). To make my life easier with this, I have built a web application that allows me to browse, manage, and stream/download files. It is called Mikochi and received its first stable release last week.

The mikochi UI

Problem statement

My media server was initially running Jellyfin. It is a pretty nice piece of software that probably fits the need of many people. Sadly for me, it focuses a lot on areas I didn’t care about (metadata, transcoding, etc) while being lackluster on classic file management.

The features I need is to have basic FTP-like management from a browser. This means it needs to list the content of folders and allow navigation between them while allowing to download, rename, delete, and upload files.

In addition to that, I also wanted a search function that could lead me to any file/directory in the server.

Since it’s replacing a media server, the last requirement was streaming. I do not use streaming in the browser much (since it doesn’t always support fancy codecs like HEVC), so I just needed to be able to read it from a media player like VLC or MPV, which is easier.


One of my aims in this project was to get back into frontend development since I didn’t touch a line of JavaScript in a while. For this project, I decided to use Preact, a React alternative weighing only 3kb.

Preact was a great surprise. I expected a framework that small to be too good to be true, but it works well. I didn’t experience any trouble learning it since it is almost the same API as React and didn’t encounter any performance issues or unexplainable crashes. I will definitely try to use it again for future projects.

The complete JS bundle size ends up being ~36kb, barely more than the icon pack that I use.

Two small anime characters surrounded by grass
The character who gave this software its name


The backend was made using Go, which has been one of my main languages for the past 5 years. I used the Gin framework to handle the regular HTTP boilerplate, which worked admirably.

The only pain point I had was re-implementing JWT authentication. I had decided to not use a library for that because I felt that, it might not handle an edge case well: I need tokens passed in GET params for streaming requests, since VLC isn’t going to write a Authorization header. It’s not particularly complex but it is a lot of code.

I had the good surprise that streaming files “just works” in a single line of code:


Running it

If you’re interested in trying out Mikochi, it can be launched with just a Docker image:

docker run \
-p 8080:8080 -v $(PWD)/data:/data \
-e DATA_DIR="/data" -e USERNAME=alicegg \
-e PASSWORD=horsebatterysomething zer0tonin/mikochi:latest

Compiled binaries are also available on GitHub. And for those who love fighting with Ingresses and PersistentVolumeClaims, there’s a helm chart available.