Node.js Runtime

GraalVM can run unmodified Node.js applications. Applications can freely import and use NPM packages, including native ones.

To enable the GraalVM Node.js runtime, install the Node.js distribution based on Oracle GraalVM or GraalVM Community Edition for your operating system.

  1. Navigate to GitHub releases and download Node.js.

  2. Unzip the archive:

    Note: If you are using macOS Catalina and later, first remove the quarantine attribute:

     sudo xattr -r -d <archive>.tar.gz


     tar -xzf <archive>.tar.gz

    Alternatively, open the file in the Finder.

  3. Check the version to see if the runtime is active:

     ./path/to/bin/node --version

The Node.js standalone provides node and npm launchers. The npm command is equivalent to the default Node.js command and supports all Node.js APIs.

For the differences between running the node native launcher and accessing Node.js NPM modules or ECMAScript modules from a Java Context, see NodeJSVSJavaScriptContext.

Running Node.js Applications #

To run a Node.js-based application, use the node launcher:

node [options] [filename] [args]

GraalVM’s Node.js runtime is based on a recent version of Node.js, and runs the GraalVM JavaScript engine instead of Google V8. Thus, some internal features (e.g., VM-internal statistics, configuration, profiling, debugging, etc.) are unsupported, or supported with potentially different behavior.

The node command is largely compatible with Node.js, and features additional GraalVM-specific functionalities (e.g., interoperability with Java and all other GraalVM languages). A list of available options can be obtained with node --help.

Installing Packages Using npm #

To install a Node.js package, use the npm launcher. The npm command is equivalent to the default NPM command, and supports most of its options.

An NPM package can be installed with:

npm install <package>

As the npm command of GraalVM Node.js is largely compatible with NPM, packages will be installed in the node_modules folder, as expected.

Installing npm Packages Globally #

Node packages can be installed globally using npm and the -g option. By default, npm installs global packages (links to their executables) in the path where the node executable is installed, typically NODE/bin. That folder is where global packages are installed. You might want to add that directory to your $PATH if you regularly use globally installed packages, especially their command line interfaces.

Another option is to specify the global installation folder of npm by setting the $PREFIX environment variable, or by specifying the --prefix option when running npm install. For example, the following command will install global packages in the /foo/bar folder:

npm install --prefix /foo/bar -g <package>

More details about prefix can be found in the official NPM documentation.

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