What Is Node.js?
There are plenty of definitions to be found online. Let’s take a look at a couple of the more popular ones:
And this is what StackOverflow has to offer:
However, when we say that Node is built on the V8 engine, we don’t mean that Node programs are executed in a browser. They aren’t. Rather, the creator of Node (Ryan Dahl) took the V8 engine and enhanced it with various features, such as a file system API, an HTTP library, and a number of operating system–related utility methods.
How Do I Install Node.js?
In this next section, we’ll install Node and say hello (world). We’ll also look at npm, a package manager that comes bundled with Node.
Node Binaries vs Version Manager
Many websites will recommend that you head to the official Node download page and grab the Node binaries for your system. While that works, I would suggest that you use a version manager instead. This is a program which allows you to install multiple versions of Node and switch between them at will. There are various advantages to using a version manager. For example, it negates potential permission issues which would otherwise see you installing packages with admin permissions.
If you fancy going the version manager route, please consult our quick tip: Install Multiple Versions of Node.js using nvm. Otherwise, grab the correct binaries for your system from the link above and install those.
“Hello, World!” the Node.js Way
You can check that Node is installed on your system by opening a terminal and typing
node -v. If all has gone well, you should see something like
v8.9.4 displayed. This is the current LTS version at the time of writing.
Next, create a new file
hello.js and copy in the following code:
This uses Node’s built-in console module to display a message in a terminal window. To run the example, type the following command:
If Node.js is configured properly, “Hello, World!” will be displayed.