Getting Started With node.js on Windows


It’s a little difficult to use Windows with anything other than Visual Studio.  Recently, I decided that I wanted to plung into the wonderful world of node.js, and the love isn’t the same as it is on Mac or *nix based systems.  What I’d like to do here is give you a quick and dirty guide to running node.js on your Windows system.

1a) Get Git

While there is a Windows executable, node.js is an evolving technology.  You’ll want to update it often.  Therefore, it’s easier to pull the source straight from GitHub.  If you’re uncomfortable with this, maybe node.js isn’t for you.

Download Git from http://git-scm.com/

1b) Get Python

In order to build Git, you’ll need to install Python.  Head over to http://www.python.org/download/ and download Python 2.7.2.

2) Pull the node.js source

Once Git is installed, you’ll want to pull the latest version of the node.js source:

git clone https://github.com/joyent/node.git

A few minutes later, you’ll have all the code you need.

3) Build node.js

Open a command window, and run this command (inside the node directory):

vcbuild.bat

This will build the entire node.js runtime for you.  It’ll take a couple minutes to run, so go get a cup of coffee or use the bathroom.

4) Set your PATH

Set your PATH environment variable to include ../node/Release/ (where .. is the fully qualified path name).

If you’re unfamiliar with PATH settings, type "environment variables” into the Start search bar.

5) Go!

Now you should be able to run the node command from anywhere in the command line.  Try running node standalone, and feed it commands one by one.  Or type node (filename).js to execute a particular JavaScript file.

Go forth, and write code.

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