Node.js is a platform built on Chrome's JavaScript runtime for easy building of fast, scalable network applications. Node.js uses an event-driven, non-blocking I/O model that makes it lightweight and efficient, perfect for data-intensive real-time applications that run across distributed devices.

Debian packages to install

2018-01-22: please enumerate exactly which Debian packages to install, to get the following commands to work correctly

Packaging modules

On Debian systems up to and including Stretch (Debian 9), Node.js modules are located in:


For Debian Buster (to become Debian 10), Node.js modules are now located in:


For more information about packaging a node module for Debian (and the reasons for the change of location for nodejs modules) please take a look at these pages:

debian/watch policy

Some upstream authors don't publish the same versions in Npmjs and Github tags. To be sure to be consistent between node modules, it is recommended to use Npmjs versions. With uscan ≥ 2.18.6 (stable backport at least), you can use searchmode=plain to parse npmjs versions. Example:

opts="searchmode=plain" \\d[\d\.]*)@ARCHIVE_EXT@

Complex modules

For complex modules, which have many dependencies to be satisfied, you may want to track your work in this wiki in order to keep javascript team updated about.

For more information, please take a look at Tasks page. Take also a look at How to group many modules in one package.

Generated Files

Javascript was initially used for client side scripting on the browsers. Then nodejs came, which made using javascript on the servers also possible. Most widely used version of javascript today is called ECMA Script 5 or ES5.

Javascript is usually minified to reduce size. uglifyjs is a tool than can minify javascript. It removes extra space, reduce variable names among other things.

In debian, if we ship a minified js file, we should include the corresponding non minified code also. To guarantee the non minified code is corresponding to the minified code is, to run uglifyjs during build.

Minification is the simplest code transformation we have. There are other transformations too. nodejs supports modules, but it is very inefficient in a browser (http/2 will change this situation which allows parallel requests). Also there are some functionality only present in nodejs but not in browser environment. so using tools like browserify, webpack or rollup, code written for nodejs can be transformed to run on the browser. We need to run this transformation also during build. How To Bring Node.js Modules to the Browser ?

There is one more type of transformation that is common. They have created a new version of Javascript with new syntax, more functionality built in, it is called ES6 or ES2015. But since browser and nodejs still don't support es6 fully, we have to convert ES6 to ES5. babel and buble are tools to do that. webpack and rollup has plugins to do ES6 to ES5 transformation.

Using build tools like grunt

   1 override_dh_auto_build:
   2         grunt build

   1 override_dh_auto_build:
   2         gulp build

   1 override_dh_auto_build:
   2         babeljs src -d lib

Use this as debian/webpack.config.js

   1 'use strict';
   3 var fs = require('fs');
   4 var path = require('path');
   5 var webpack = require('webpack');
   7 var config = {
   9   target: 'web',
  10   resolve: {
  11     modules: ['/usr/lib/nodejs', '.'],
  12   },
  13   resolveLoader: {
  14     modules: ['/usr/lib/nodejs'],
  15   },
  16   node: {
  17     fs: 'empty'
  18   },
  19   output: {
  20     libraryTarget: 'umd'
  21   },
  22   module: { rules: [ { use: [ 'babel-loader' ] } ] }
  23 }
  25 module.exports = config;

and call webpack from debian/rules

   1 override_dh_auto_build:
   2         webpack --config debian/webpack.config.js lib/Yaml.js dist/Yaml.js --output-library=Yaml

   1 override_dh_auto_build:
   2         cake.coffeescript build

TODO: make debhelper autodetect grunt, gulp and cake.