Output to the command line using Node.js
How to print to the command line console using Node.js, from the basic console.log to more complex scenarios
Table of Contents
Basic output using the console module
Node.js provides a
console module which provides tons of very useful ways to interact with the command line.
It is basically the same as the
console object you find in the browser.
The most basic and most used method is
console.log(), which prints the string you pass to it to the console.
If you pass an object, it will render it as a string.
You can pass multiple variables to
console.log, for example:
and Node.js will print both.
We can also format pretty phrases by passing variables and a format specifier.
%sformat a variable as a string
%dformat a variable as a number
%iformat a variable as its integer part only
%oformat a variable as an object
Clear the console
console.clear() clears the console (the behavior might depend on the console used)
console.count() is a handy method.
Take this code:
What happens is that
console.count() will count the number of times a string is printed, and print the count next to it:
You can just count apples and oranges:
The console.countReset() method resets counter used with console.count().
We will use the apples and orange example to demonstrate this.
Notice how the call to
console.countReset('orange') resets the value counter to zero.
Print the stack trace
There might be cases where it's useful to print the call stack trace of a function, maybe to answer the question how did you reach that part of the code?
You can do so using
This will print the stack trace. This is what's printed if we try this in the Node.js REPL:
Calculate the time spent
You can easily calculate how much time a function takes to run, using
stdout and stderr
As we saw console.log is great for printing messages in the Console. This is what's called the standard output, or
console.error prints to the
It will not appear in the console, but it will appear in the error log.
Color the output
You can color the output of your text in the console by using escape sequences. An escape sequence is a set of characters that identifies a color.
You can try that in the Node.js REPL, and it will print
hi! in yellow.
However, this is the low-level way to do this. The simplest way to go about coloring the console output is by using a library. Chalk is such a library, and in addition to coloring it also helps with other styling facilities, like making text bold, italic or underlined.
You install it with
npm install chalk@4, then you can use it:
chalk.yellow is much more convenient than trying to remember the escape codes, and the code is much more readable.
Check the project link posted above for more usage examples.
Create a progress bar
Progress is an awesome package to create a progress bar in the console. Install it using
npm install progress
This snippet creates a 10-step progress bar, and every 100ms one step is completed. When the bar completes we clear the interval: