Setting Up Node.js and npm

How to set up node.js and npm on OSX using Homebrew.

Posted by Kirk on 4 January 2016

Node.js is gaining a lot of speed and is an exciting new development framework. Here's a quick overview of how to get Node.js working on OSX along with npm, the package manager for node.

Install Homebrew

Homebrew is the package manager that Apple forgot. Written in Ruby, it allows you to quickly and easily compile software on your Mac. Instructions for installing Homebrew are in the README and I have also written a guide here. You will need to install the Developer Tools for Mac which are installed as part of Xcode. Xcode is available for free - it is a pretty hefty download but you will need it and you can get it here.

Install Node.js via homebrew

Once Homebrew is installed you can go ahead and install Node.js like this:

brew install node

Easy! Now create a file called server.js and paste in the example server code

var http = require('http');
http.createServer(function (req, res) {
  res.writeHead(200, {'Content-Type': 'text/plain'});
  res.end('Hello World\n');
}).listen(8124, "");
console.log('Server running at');

Save the file and from the console run:

node server.js

Now you can visit with your favourite browser and you are up and running with server side JavaScript.

At this point it is probably a good idea to consult the excellent Node.js documentation. This will help you understand what Node.js is and what it can do.

Installing npm

npm is Node's package manager. It is now installed automatically with Node.js so there is no need to do a separate installation.

If you are developing anything in Node.js there is a good chance there is already a library to help you. It might be a module to connect to MySQL, a templating library or a utility library.

You can search for modules like this:

npm search [searchterm]

So to search for underscore do this:

npm search underscore

There is also a website for npm where you can search for packages.

Installing modules

Now we are set up we can install Node modules using npm. Express is a good place to start - it is a Node framework inspired by Sinatra.

npm install express

This provides a solid base to start developing with Node.js including jade the haml inspired Node tempting engine. There is more excellent documentation available for express too.

That's all folks.

I love this shit!


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