Run Node.js scripts from the command line

Article Authors
Table of Contents

The usual way to run a Node.js program is to run the globally available node command (once you install Node.js) and pass the name of the file you want to execute.

If your main Node.js application file is app.js, you can call it by typing:

BASH

Above, you are explicitly telling the shell to run your script with node. You can also embed this information into your JavaScript file with a "shebang" line. The "shebang" is the first line in the file, and tells the OS which interpreter to use for running the script. Below is the first line of JavaScript:

JS

Above, we are explicitly giving the absolute path of interpreter. Not all operating systems have node in the bin folder, but all should have env. You can tell the OS to run env with node as parameter:

JS

To use a shebang, your file should have executable permission. You can give app.js the executable permission by running:

BASH

While running the command, make sure you are in the same directory which contains the app.js file.

Pass string as argument to node instead of file path

To execute a string as argument you can use -e, --eval "script". Evaluate the following argument as JavaScript. The modules which are predefined in the REPL can also be used in script.

On Windows, using cmd.exe a single quote will not work correctly because it only recognizes double " for quoting. In Powershell or Git bash, both ' and " are usable.

BASH

Restart the application automatically

The node command has to be re-executed in bash whenever there is a change in the application. To restart the application automatically, use the nodemon module.

Install the nodemon module globally to system path:

BASH

You can also install nodemon as a development dependency:

BASH

This local installation of nodemon can be run by calling it from within npm script such as npm start or using npx nodemon.

Run the application using the nodemon command followed by the application's file name:

BASH