Some of the most useful tips I learn when working with NodeJS
modules management with npm
Nodejs comes with an amazing package manager called
npm. Start a project with
npm init which will then create a configuration file named
package.json, keeping track of all the modules your project is using. You don’t have to manually manage this file yourself. If you want to add a package to
package.json you can add
--save parameter when installing it.
npm install koa-static --save
Also, you should ignore
npm_modules folder when
git push because whoever clone the repo can do
npm install by themselves.
npm_modules folder can grow pretty big so no one would want to
git clone the whole thing.
pm2 instead of forever
When you start learning about NodeJS, you may notice that node process may exit unexpectedly when errors are not handling properly. forever is a node package that ensure node process will run continuously in the background. But forever is very limited. It doesn’t have support for clustering, very limited logging and monitoring.
I later found out a much leaner solution called
pm2. Compare to
pm2 looks like a full solution for deployment with builtin clustering support, terminal configuration and better logging support. In fact, ever since, I only use
pm2 for my production server.
Enabling clustering with
pm2 is as easy as
pm2 start app.js -i 0
0 means that
pm2 will utilize number of threads equals to number of your CPU’s cores. You can specify the no. of child process as you want, ideally one per processor core.
As for local development, I prefer nodemon to keep track of changes in my application and automatically restart the server.
For starters, callbacks are nightmare. Many popular frameworks still make use of callback heavily which creating the sense for newbies that it is the correct way of doing things in
nodejs. It’s not. Over the last 2 months, I’ve started using
Q, async, bluebird and then generators. Of those, generator seems to be the most elegant solution, producing much more readable code than callbacks.
Debugging with node-inspector
I’m pretty sure most nodejs starters will use
console.log() everywhere to debug the application. I did that. It was ok for quick debugging but sometimes, you need a little more than just
console.log. node-inspector is a node package based on Blink Developer Tools that let you debug right in your favorite browser.
node-inspector and use
node-debug app.js for debugging.
npm install node-inspector -g node-debug app.js
These are some of the things that I’ve learnt in the last 2 months working with nodejs. Nodejs is an amazing platform but it can be a pain sometimes. These tips save me a lot of times and make developing in nodejs so much more bearable.