Node.js v9.2.0 Documentation


Table of Contents

About this Documentation#

The goal of this documentation is to comprehensively explain the Node.js API, both from a reference as well as a conceptual point of view. Each section describes a built-in module or high-level concept.

Where appropriate, property types, method arguments, and the arguments provided to event handlers are detailed in a list underneath the topic heading.

Every .html document has a corresponding .json document presenting the same information in a structured manner. This feature is experimental, and added for the benefit of IDEs and other utilities that wish to do programmatic things with the documentation.

Every .html and .json file is generated based on the corresponding .md file in the doc/api/ folder in Node.js's source tree. The documentation is generated using the tools/doc/generate.js program. The HTML template is located at doc/template.html.

If errors are found in this documentation, please submit an issue or see the contributing guide for directions on how to submit a patch.

Stability Index#

Throughout the documentation are indications of a section's stability. The Node.js API is still somewhat changing, and as it matures, certain parts are more reliable than others. Some are so proven, and so relied upon, that they are unlikely to ever change at all. Others are brand new and experimental, or known to be hazardous and in the process of being redesigned.

The stability indices are as follows:

Stability: 0 - Deprecated This feature is known to be problematic, and changes may be planned. Do not rely on it. Use of the feature may cause warnings to be emitted. Backwards compatibility across major versions should not be expected.
Stability: 1 - Experimental This feature is still under active development and subject to non-backwards compatible changes, or even removal, in any future version. Use of the feature is not recommended in production environments. Experimental features are not subject to the Node.js Semantic Versioning model.

Note: Caution must be used when making use of Experimental features, particularly within modules that may be used as dependencies (or dependencies of dependencies) within a Node.js application. End users may not be aware that experimental features are being used, and therefore may experience unexpected failures or behavioral changes when changes occur. To help avoid such surprises, Experimental features may require a command-line flag to explicitly enable them, or may cause a process warning to be emitted. By default, such warnings are printed to stderr and may be handled by attaching a listener to the process.on('warning') event.

Stability: 2 - Stable The API has proven satisfactory. Compatibility with the npm ecosystem is a high priority, and will not be broken unless absolutely necessary.

JSON Output#

Stability: 1 - Experimental

Every HTML file in the markdown has a corresponding JSON file with the same data.

This feature was added in Node.js v0.6.12. It is experimental.

Syscalls and man pages#

System calls like open(2) and read(2) define the interface between user programs and the underlying operating system. Node functions which simply wrap a syscall, like fs.open(), will document that. The docs link to the corresponding man pages (short for manual pages) which describe how the syscalls work.

Note: some syscalls, like lchown(2), are BSD-specific. That means, for example, that fs.lchown() only works on macOS and other BSD-derived systems, and is not available on Linux.

Most Unix syscalls have Windows equivalents, but behavior may differ on Windows relative to Linux and macOS. For an example of the subtle ways in which it's sometimes impossible to replace Unix syscall semantics on Windows, see Node issue 4760.

Usage#

node [options] [v8 options] [script.js | -e "script" | - ] [arguments]

Please see the Command Line Options document for information about different options and ways to run scripts with Node.js.

Example#

An example of a web server written with Node.js which responds with 'Hello World':

const http = require('http');

const hostname = '127.0.0.1';
const port = 3000;

const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
  res.statusCode = 200;
  res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
  res.end('Hello World\n');
});

server.listen(port, hostname, () => {
  console.log(`Server running at http://${hostname}:${port}/`);
});

To run the server, put the code into a file called example.js and execute it with Node.js:

$ node example.js
Server running at http://127.0.0.1:3000/

All of the examples in the documentation can be run similarly.

Assert#

Stability: 2 - Stable

The assert module provides a simple set of assertion tests that can be used to test invariants.

assert(value[, message])#

  • value <any>
  • message <any>

An alias of assert.ok().

assert.deepEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests for deep equality between the actual and expected parameters. Primitive values are compared with the Abstract Equality Comparison ( == ).

Only enumerable "own" properties are considered. The assert.deepEqual() implementation does not test the [[Prototype]] of objects or enumerable own Symbol properties. For such checks, consider using assert.deepStrictEqual() instead. assert.deepEqual() can have potentially surprising results. The following example does not throw an AssertionError because the properties on the RegExp object are not enumerable:

// WARNING: This does not throw an AssertionError!
assert.deepEqual(/a/gi, new Date());

An exception is made for Map and Set. Maps and Sets have their contained items compared too, as expected.

"Deep" equality means that the enumerable "own" properties of child objects are evaluated also:

const assert = require('assert');

const obj1 = {
  a: {
    b: 1
  }
};
const obj2 = {
  a: {
    b: 2
  }
};
const obj3 = {
  a: {
    b: 1
  }
};
const obj4 = Object.create(obj1);

assert.deepEqual(obj1, obj1);
// OK, object is equal to itself

assert.deepEqual(obj1, obj2);
// AssertionError: { a: { b: 1 } } deepEqual { a: { b: 2 } }
// values of b are different

assert.deepEqual(obj1, obj3);
// OK, objects are equal

assert.deepEqual(obj1, obj4);
// AssertionError: { a: { b: 1 } } deepEqual {}
// Prototypes are ignored

If the values are not equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.deepStrictEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Identical to assert.deepEqual() with the following exceptions:

  1. Primitive values besides NaN are compared using the Strict Equality Comparison ( === ). Set and Map values, Map keys and NaN are compared using the SameValueZero comparison (which means they are free of the caveats).
  2. [[Prototype]] of objects are compared using the Strict Equality Comparison too.
  3. Type tags of objects should be the same.
  4. Object wrappers are compared both as objects and unwrapped values.
  5. 0 and -0 are not considered equal.
  6. Enumerable own Symbol properties are compared as well.
const assert = require('assert');

assert.deepEqual({ a: 1 }, { a: '1' });
// OK, because 1 == '1'

assert.deepStrictEqual({ a: 1 }, { a: '1' });
// AssertionError: { a: 1 } deepStrictEqual { a: '1' }
// because 1 !== '1' using strict equality

// The following objects don't have own properties
const date = new Date();
const object = {};
const fakeDate = {};

Object.setPrototypeOf(fakeDate, Date.prototype);

assert.deepEqual(object, fakeDate);
// OK, doesn't check [[Prototype]]
assert.deepStrictEqual(object, fakeDate);
// AssertionError: {} deepStrictEqual Date {}
// Different [[Prototype]]

assert.deepEqual(date, fakeDate);
// OK, doesn't check type tags
assert.deepStrictEqual(date, fakeDate);
// AssertionError: 2017-03-11T14:25:31.849Z deepStrictEqual Date {}
// Different type tags

assert.deepStrictEqual(NaN, NaN);
// OK, because of the SameValueZero comparison

assert.deepStrictEqual(new Number(1), new Number(2));
// Fails because the wrapped number is unwrapped and compared as well.
assert.deepStrictEqual(new String('foo'), Object('foo'));
// OK because the object and the string are identical when unwrapped.

assert.deepStrictEqual(-0, -0);
// OK
assert.deepStrictEqual(0, -0);
// AssertionError: 0 deepStrictEqual -0

const symbol1 = Symbol();
const symbol2 = Symbol();
assert.deepStrictEqual({ [symbol1]: 1 }, { [symbol1]: 1 });
// OK, because it is the same symbol on both objects.
assert.deepStrictEqual({ [symbol1]: 1 }, { [symbol2]: 1 });
// Fails because symbol1 !== symbol2!

If the values are not equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.doesNotThrow(block[, error][, message])#

Asserts that the function block does not throw an error. See assert.throws() for more details.

When assert.doesNotThrow() is called, it will immediately call the block function.

If an error is thrown and it is the same type as that specified by the error parameter, then an AssertionError is thrown. If the error is of a different type, or if the error parameter is undefined, the error is propagated back to the caller.

The following, for instance, will throw the TypeError because there is no matching error type in the assertion:

assert.doesNotThrow(
  () => {
    throw new TypeError('Wrong value');
  },
  SyntaxError
);

However, the following will result in an AssertionError with the message 'Got unwanted exception (TypeError)..':

assert.doesNotThrow(
  () => {
    throw new TypeError('Wrong value');
  },
  TypeError
);

If an AssertionError is thrown and a value is provided for the message parameter, the value of message will be appended to the AssertionError message:

assert.doesNotThrow(
  () => {
    throw new TypeError('Wrong value');
  },
  TypeError,
  'Whoops'
);
// Throws: AssertionError: Got unwanted exception (TypeError). Whoops

assert.equal(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests shallow, coercive equality between the actual and expected parameters using the Abstract Equality Comparison ( == ).

const assert = require('assert');

assert.equal(1, 1);
// OK, 1 == 1
assert.equal(1, '1');
// OK, 1 == '1'

assert.equal(1, 2);
// AssertionError: 1 == 2
assert.equal({ a: { b: 1 } }, { a: { b: 1 } });
//AssertionError: { a: { b: 1 } } == { a: { b: 1 } }

If the values are not equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.fail([message])#

assert.fail(actual, expected[, message[, operator[, stackStartFunction]]])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any> Default: 'Failed'
  • operator <string> Default: '!='
  • stackStartFunction <function> Default: assert.fail

Throws an AssertionError. If message is falsy, the error message is set as the values of actual and expected separated by the provided operator. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError. If just the two actual and expected arguments are provided, operator will default to '!='. If message is provided only it will be used as the error message, the other arguments will be stored as properties on the thrown object. If stackStartFunction is provided, all stack frames above that function will be removed from stacktrace (see Error.captureStackTrace). If no arguments are given, the default message Failed will be used.

const assert = require('assert');

assert.fail(1, 2, undefined, '>');
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: 1 > 2

assert.fail(1, 2, 'fail');
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: fail

assert.fail(1, 2, 'whoops', '>');
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: whoops

assert.fail(1, 2, new TypeError('need array'));
// TypeError: need array

Note: In the last two cases actual, expected, and operator have no influence on the error message.

assert.fail();
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: Failed

assert.fail('boom');
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: boom

assert.fail('a', 'b');
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: 'a' != 'b'

Example use of stackStartFunction for truncating the exception's stacktrace:

function suppressFrame() {
  assert.fail('a', 'b', undefined, '!==', suppressFrame);
}
suppressFrame();
// AssertionError [ERR_ASSERTION]: 'a' !== 'b'
//     at repl:1:1
//     at ContextifyScript.Script.runInThisContext (vm.js:44:33)
//     ...

assert.ifError(value)#

  • value <any>

Throws value if value is truthy. This is useful when testing the error argument in callbacks.

const assert = require('assert');

assert.ifError(0);
// OK
assert.ifError(1);
// Throws 1
assert.ifError('error');
// Throws 'error'
assert.ifError(new Error());
// Throws Error

assert.notDeepEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests for any deep inequality. Opposite of assert.deepEqual().

const assert = require('assert');

const obj1 = {
  a: {
    b: 1
  }
};
const obj2 = {
  a: {
    b: 2
  }
};
const obj3 = {
  a: {
    b: 1
  }
};
const obj4 = Object.create(obj1);

assert.notDeepEqual(obj1, obj1);
// AssertionError: { a: { b: 1 } } notDeepEqual { a: { b: 1 } }

assert.notDeepEqual(obj1, obj2);
// OK, obj1 and obj2 are not deeply equal

assert.notDeepEqual(obj1, obj3);
// AssertionError: { a: { b: 1 } } notDeepEqual { a: { b: 1 } }

assert.notDeepEqual(obj1, obj4);
// OK, obj1 and obj4 are not deeply equal

If the values are deeply equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.notDeepStrictEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests for deep strict inequality. Opposite of assert.deepStrictEqual().

const assert = require('assert');

assert.notDeepEqual({ a: 1 }, { a: '1' });
// AssertionError: { a: 1 } notDeepEqual { a: '1' }

assert.notDeepStrictEqual({ a: 1 }, { a: '1' });
// OK

If the values are deeply and strictly equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.notEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests shallow, coercive inequality with the Abstract Equality Comparison ( != ).

const assert = require('assert');

assert.notEqual(1, 2);
// OK

assert.notEqual(1, 1);
// AssertionError: 1 != 1

assert.notEqual(1, '1');
// AssertionError: 1 != '1'

If the values are equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.notStrictEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests strict inequality as determined by the Strict Equality Comparison ( !== ).

const assert = require('assert');

assert.notStrictEqual(1, 2);
// OK

assert.notStrictEqual(1, 1);
// AssertionError: 1 !== 1

assert.notStrictEqual(1, '1');
// OK

If the values are strictly equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.ok(value[, message])#

  • value <any>
  • message <any>

Tests if value is truthy. It is equivalent to assert.equal(!!value, true, message).

If value is not truthy, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

const assert = require('assert');

assert.ok(true);
// OK
assert.ok(1);
// OK
assert.ok(false);
// throws "AssertionError: false == true"
assert.ok(0);
// throws "AssertionError: 0 == true"
assert.ok(false, 'it\'s false');
// throws "AssertionError: it's false"

assert.strictEqual(actual, expected[, message])#

  • actual <any>
  • expected <any>
  • message <any>

Tests strict equality as determined by the Strict Equality Comparison ( === ).

const assert = require('assert');

assert.strictEqual(1, 2);
// AssertionError: 1 === 2

assert.strictEqual(1, 1);
// OK

assert.strictEqual(1, '1');
// AssertionError: 1 === '1'

If the values are not strictly equal, an AssertionError is thrown with a message property set equal to the value of the message parameter. If the message parameter is undefined, a default error message is assigned. If the message parameter is an instance of an Error then it will be thrown instead of the AssertionError.

assert.throws(block[, error][, message])#

Expects the function block to throw an error.

If specified, error can be a constructor, RegExp, or validation function.

If specified, message will be the message provided by the AssertionError if the block fails to throw.

Validate instanceof using constructor:

assert.throws(
  () => {
    throw new Error('Wrong value');
  },
  Error
);

Validate error message using RegExp:

assert.throws(
  () => {
    throw new Error('Wrong value');
  },
  /value/
);

Custom error validation:

assert.throws(
  () => {
    throw new Error('Wrong value');
  },
  function(err) {
    if ((err instanceof Error) && /value/.test(err)) {
      return true;
    }
  },
  'unexpected error'
);

Note that error can not be a string. If a string is provided as the second argument, then error is assumed to be omitted and the string will be used for message instead. This can lead to easy-to-miss mistakes:

// THIS IS A MISTAKE! DO NOT DO THIS!
assert.throws(myFunction, 'missing foo', 'did not throw with expected message');

// Do this instead.
assert.throws(myFunction, /missing foo/, 'did not throw with expected message');

Caveats#

For the following cases, consider using ES2015 Object.is(), which uses the SameValueZero comparison.

const a = 0;
const b = -a;
assert.notStrictEqual(a, b);
// AssertionError: 0 !== -0
// Strict Equality Comparison doesn't distinguish between -0 and +0...
assert(!Object.is(a, b));
// but Object.is() does!

const str1 = 'foo';
const str2 = 'foo';
assert.strictEqual(str1 / 1, str2 / 1);
// AssertionError: NaN === NaN
// Strict Equality Comparison can't be used to check NaN...
assert(Object.is(str1 / 1, str2 / 1));
// but Object.is() can!

For more information, see MDN's guide on equality comparisons and sameness.

Async Hooks#

Stability: 1 - Experimental

The async_hooks module provides an API to register callbacks tracking the lifetime of asynchronous resources created inside a Node.js application. It can be accessed using:

const async_hooks = require('async_hooks');

Terminology#

An asynchronous resource represents an object with an associated callback. This callback may be called multiple times, for example, the connection event in net.createServer, or just a single time like in fs.open. A resource can also be closed before the callback is called. AsyncHook does not explicitly distinguish between these different cases but will represent them as the abstract concept that is a resource.

Public API#

Overview#

Following is a simple overview of the public API.

const async_hooks = require('async_hooks');

// Return the ID of the current execution context.
const eid = async_hooks.executionAsyncId();

// Return the ID of the handle responsible for triggering the callback of the
// current execution scope to call.
const tid = async_hooks.triggerAsyncId();

// Create a new AsyncHook instance. All of these callbacks are optional.
const asyncHook =
    async_hooks.createHook({ init, before, after, destroy, promiseResolve });

// Allow callbacks of this AsyncHook instance to call. This is not an implicit
// action after running the constructor, and must be explicitly run to begin
// executing callbacks.
asyncHook.enable();

// Disable listening for new asynchronous events.
asyncHook.disable();

//
// The following are the callbacks that can be passed to createHook().
//

// init is called during object construction. The resource may not have
// completed construction when this callback runs, therefore all fields of the
// resource referenced by "asyncId" may not have been populated.
function init(asyncId, type, triggerAsyncId, resource) { }

// before is called just before the resource's callback is called. It can be
// called 0-N times for handles (e.g. TCPWrap), and will be called exactly 1
// time for requests (e.g. FSReqWrap).
function before(asyncId) { }

// after is called just after the resource's callback has finished.
function after(asyncId) { }

// destroy is called when an AsyncWrap instance is destroyed.
function destroy(asyncId) { }

// promiseResolve is called only for promise resources, when the
// `resolve` function passed to the `Promise` constructor is invoked
// (either directly or through other means of resolving a promise).
function promiseResolve(asyncId) { }

async_hooks.createHook(callbacks)#

Registers functions to be called for different lifetime events of each async operation.

The callbacks init()/before()/after()/destroy() are called for the respective asynchronous event during a resource's lifetime.

All callbacks are optional. For example, if only resource cleanup needs to be tracked, then only the destroy callback needs to be passed. The specifics of all functions that can be passed to callbacks is in the Hook Callbacks section.

const async_hooks = require('async_hooks');

const asyncHook = async_hooks.createHook({
  init(asyncId, type, triggerAsyncId, resource) { },
  destroy(asyncId) { }
});

Note that the callbacks will be inherited via the prototype chain:

class MyAsyncCallbacks {
  init(asyncId, type, triggerAsyncId, resource) { }
  destroy(asyncId) {}
}

class MyAddedCallbacks extends MyAsyncCallbacks {
  before(asyncId) { }
  after(asyncId) { }
}

const asyncHook = async_hooks.createHook(new MyAddedCallbacks());
Error Handling#

If any AsyncHook callbacks throw, the application will print the stack trace and exit. The exit path does follow that of an uncaught exception, but all uncaughtException listeners are removed, thus forcing the process to exit. The 'exit' callbacks will still be called unless the application is run with --abort-on-uncaught-exception, in which case a stack trace will be printed and the application exits, leaving a core file.

The reason for this error handling behavior is that these callbacks are running at potentially volatile points in an object's lifetime, for example during class construction and destruction. Because of this, it is deemed necessary to bring down the process quickly in order to prevent an unintentional abort in the future. This is subject to change in the future if a comprehensive analysis is performed to ensure an exception can follow the normal control flow without unintentional side effects.

Printing in AsyncHooks callbacks#

Because printing to the console is an asynchronous operation, console.log() will cause the AsyncHooks callbacks to be called. Using console.log() or similar asynchronous operations inside an AsyncHooks callback function will thus cause an infinite recursion. An easily solution to this when debugging is to use a synchronous logging operation such as fs.writeSync(1, msg). This will print to stdout because 1 is the file descriptor for stdout and will not invoke AsyncHooks recursively because it is synchronous.

const fs = require('fs');
const util = require('util');

function debug(...args) {
  // use a function like this one when debugging inside an AsyncHooks callback
  fs.writeSync(1, `${util.format(...args)}\n`);
}

If an asynchronous operation is needed for logging, it is possible to keep track of what caused the asynchronous operation using the information provided by AsyncHooks itself. The logging should then be skipped when it was the logging itself that caused AsyncHooks callback to call. By doing this the otherwise infinite recursion is broken.

asyncHook.enable()#

  • Returns: <AsyncHook> A reference to asyncHook.

Enable the callbacks for a given AsyncHook instance. If no callbacks are provided enabling is a noop.

The AsyncHook instance is disabled by default. If the AsyncHook instance should be enabled immediately after creation, the following pattern can be used.

const async_hooks = require('async_hooks');

const hook = async_hooks.createHook(callbacks).enable();

asyncHook.disable()#

  • Returns: <AsyncHook> A reference to asyncHook.

Disable the callbacks for a given AsyncHook instance from the global pool of AsyncHook callbacks to be executed. Once a hook has been disabled it will not be called again until enabled.

For API consistency disable() also returns the AsyncHook instance.

Hook Callbacks#

Key events in the lifetime of asynchronous events have been categorized into four areas: instantiation, before/after the callback is called, and when the instance is destroyed.

init(asyncId, type, triggerAsyncId, resource)#
  • asyncId <number> A unique ID for the async resource.
  • type <string> The type of the async resource.
  • triggerAsyncId <number> The unique ID of the async resource in whose execution context this async resource was created.
  • resource <Object> Reference to the resource representing the async operation, needs to be released during destroy.

Called when a class is constructed that has the possibility to emit an asynchronous event. This does not mean the instance must call before/after before destroy is called, only that the possibility exists.

This behavior can be observed by doing something like opening a resource then closing it before the resource can be used. The following snippet demonstrates this.

require('net').createServer().listen(function() { this.close(); });
// OR
clearTimeout(setTimeout(() => {}, 10));

Every new resource is assigned an ID that is unique within the scope of the current process.

type#

The type is a string identifying the type of resource that caused init to be called. Generally, it will correspond to the name of the resource's constructor.

FSEVENTWRAP, FSREQWRAP, GETADDRINFOREQWRAP, GETNAMEINFOREQWRAP, HTTPPARSER,
JSSTREAM, PIPECONNECTWRAP, PIPEWRAP, PROCESSWRAP, QUERYWRAP, SHUTDOWNWRAP,
SIGNALWRAP, STATWATCHER, TCPCONNECTWRAP, TCPWRAP, TIMERWRAP, TTYWRAP,
UDPSENDWRAP, UDPWRAP, WRITEWRAP, ZLIB, SSLCONNECTION, PBKDF2REQUEST,
RANDOMBYTESREQUEST, TLSWRAP, Timeout, Immediate, TickObject

There is also the PROMISE resource type, which is used to track Promise instances and asynchronous work scheduled by them.

Users are be able to define their own type when using the public embedder API.

Note: It is possible to have type name collisions. Embedders are encouraged to use a unique prefixes, such as the npm package name, to prevent collisions when listening to the hooks.

triggerId#

triggerAsyncId is the asyncId of the resource that caused (or "triggered") the new resource to initialize and that caused init to call. This is different from async_hooks.executionAsyncId() that only shows when a resource was created, while triggerAsyncId shows why a resource was created.

The following is a simple demonstration of triggerAsyncId:

async_hooks.createHook({
  init(asyncId, type, triggerAsyncId) {
    const eid = async_hooks.executionAsyncId();
    fs.writeSync(
      1, `${type}(${asyncId}): trigger: ${triggerAsyncId} execution: ${eid}\n`);
  }
}).enable();

require('net').createServer((conn) => {}).listen(8080);

Output when hitting the server with nc localhost 8080:

TCPWRAP(2): trigger: 1 execution: 1
TCPWRAP(4): trigger: 2 execution: 0

The first TCPWRAP is the server which receives the connections.

The second TCPWRAP is the new connection from the client. When a new connection is made the TCPWrap instance is immediately constructed. This happens outside of any JavaScript stack (side note: a executionAsyncId() of 0 means it's being executed from C++, with no JavaScript stack above it). With only that information, it would be impossible to link resources together in terms of what caused them to be created, so triggerAsyncId is given the task of propagating what resource is responsible for the new resource's existence.

resource#

resource is an object that represents the actual async resource that has been initialized. This can contain useful information that can vary based on the value of type. For instance, for the GETADDRINFOREQWRAP resource type, resource provides the hostname used when looking up the IP address for the hostname in net.Server.listen(). The API for accessing this information is currently not considered public, but using the Embedder API, users can provide and document their own resource objects. For example, such a resource object could contain the SQL query being executed.

In the case of Promises, the resource object will have promise property that refers to the Promise that is being initialized, and a parentId property set to the asyncId of a parent Promise, if there is one, and undefined otherwise. For example, in the case of b = a.then(handler), a is considered a parent Promise of b.

Note: In some cases the resource object is reused for performance reasons, it is thus not safe to use it as a key in a WeakMap or add properties to it.

Asynchronous context example#

The following is an example with additional information about the calls to init between the before and after calls, specifically what the callback to listen() will look like. The output formatting is slightly more elaborate to make calling context easier to see.

let indent = 0;
async_hooks.createHook({
  init(asyncId, type, triggerAsyncId) {
    const eid = async_hooks.executionAsyncId();
    const indentStr = ' '.repeat(indent);
    fs.writeSync(
      1,
      `${indentStr}${type}(${asyncId}):` +
      ` trigger: ${triggerAsyncId} execution: ${eid}\n`);
  },
  before(asyncId) {
    const indentStr = ' '.repeat(indent);
    fs.writeSync(1, `${indentStr}before:  ${asyncId}\n`);
    indent += 2;
  },
  after(asyncId) {
    indent -= 2;
    const indentStr = ' '.repeat(indent);
    fs.writeSync(1, `${indentStr}after:   ${asyncId}\n`);
  },
  destroy(asyncId) {
    const indentStr = ' '.repeat(indent);
    fs.writeSync(1, `${indentStr}destroy: ${asyncId}\n`);
  },
}).enable();

require('net').createServer(() => {}).listen(8080, () => {
  // Let's wait 10ms before logging the server started.
  setTimeout(() => {
    console.log('>>>', async_hooks.executionAsyncId());
  }, 10);
});

Output from only starting the server:

TCPWRAP(2): trigger: 1 execution: 1
TickObject(3): trigger: 2 execution: 1
before:  3
  Timeout(4): trigger: 3 execution: 3
  TIMERWRAP(5): trigger: 3 execution: 3
after:   3
destroy: 3
before:  5
  before:  4
    TTYWRAP(6): trigger: 4 execution: 4
    SIGNALWRAP(7): trigger: 4 execution: 4
    TTYWRAP(8): trigger: 4 execution: 4
>>> 4
    TickObject(9): trigger: 4 execution: 4
  after:   4
after:   5
before:  9
after:   9
destroy: 4
destroy: 9
destroy: 5

Note: As illustrated in the example, executionAsyncId() and execution each specify the value of the current execution context; which is delineated by calls to before and after.

Only using execution to graph resource allocation results in the following:

TTYWRAP(6) -> Timeout(4) -> TIMERWRAP(5) -> TickObject(3) -> root(1)

The TCPWRAP is not part of this graph, even though it was the reason for console.log() being called. This is because binding to a port without a hostname is a synchronous operation, but to maintain a completely asynchronous API the user's callback is placed in a process.nextTick().

The graph only shows when a resource was created, not why, so to track the why use triggerAsyncId.

before(asyncId)#

When an asynchronous operation is initiated (such as a TCP server receiving a new connection) or completes (such as writing data to disk) a callback is called to notify the user. The before callback is called just before said callback is executed. asyncId is the unique identifier assigned to the resource about to execute the callback.

The before callback will be called 0 to N times. The before callback will typically be called 0 times if the asynchronous operation was cancelled or, for example, if no connections are received by a TCP server. Persistent asynchronous resources like a TCP server will typically call the before callback multiple times, while other operations like fs.open() will call it only once.

after(asyncId)#

Called immediately after the callback specified in before is completed.

Note: If an uncaught exception occurs during execution of the callback, then after will run after the 'uncaughtException' event is emitted or a domain's handler runs.

destroy(asyncId)#

Called after the resource corresponding to asyncId is destroyed. It is also called asynchronously from the embedder API emitDestroy().

Note: Some resources depend on garbage collection for cleanup, so if a reference is made to the resource object passed to init it is possible that destroy will never be called, causing a memory leak in the application. If the resource does not depend on garbage collection, then this will not be an issue.

promiseResolve(asyncId)#

Called when the resolve function passed to the Promise constructor is invoked (either directly or through other means of resolving a promise).

Note that resolve() does not do any observable synchronous work.

Note: This does not necessarily mean that the Promise is fulfilled or rejected at this point, if the Promise was resolved by assuming the state of another Promise.

For example:

new Promise((resolve) => resolve(true)).then((a) => {});

calls the following callbacks:

init for PROMISE with id 5, trigger id: 1
  promise resolve 5      # corresponds to resolve(true)
init for PROMISE with id 6, trigger id: 5  # the Promise returned by then()
  before 6               # the then() callback is entered
  promise resolve 6      # the then() callback resolves the promise by returning
  after 6

async_hooks.executionAsyncId()#

  • Returns: <number> The asyncId of the current execution context. Useful to track when something calls.

For example:

const async_hooks = require('async_hooks');

console.log(async_hooks.executionAsyncId());  // 1 - bootstrap
fs.open(path, 'r', (err, fd) => {
  console.log(async_hooks.executionAsyncId());  // 6 - open()
});

It is important to note that the ID returned fom executionAsyncId() is related to execution timing, not causality (which is covered by triggerAsyncId()). For example:

const server = net.createServer(function onConnection(conn) {
  // Returns the ID of the server, not of the new connection, because the
  // onConnection callback runs in the execution scope of the server's
  // MakeCallback().
  async_hooks.executionAsyncId();

}).listen(port, function onListening() {
  // Returns the ID of a TickObject (i.e. process.nextTick()) because all
  // callbacks passed to .listen() are wrapped in a nextTick().
  async_hooks.executionAsyncId();
});

async_hooks.triggerAsyncId()#

  • Returns: <number> The ID of the resource responsible for calling the callback that is currently being executed.

For example:

const server = net.createServer((conn) => {
  // The resource that caused (or triggered) this callback to be called
  // was that of the new connection. Thus the return value of triggerAsyncId()
  // is the asyncId of "conn".
  async_hooks.triggerAsyncId();

}).listen(port, () => {
  // Even though all callbacks passed to .listen() are wrapped in a nextTick()
  // the callback itself exists because the call to the server's .listen()
  // was made. So the return value would be the ID of the server.
  async_hooks.triggerAsyncId();
});

JavaScript Embedder API#

Library developers that handle their own asychronous resources performing tasks like I/O, connection pooling, or managing callback queues may use the AsyncWrap JavaScript API so that all the appropriate callbacks are called.

class AsyncResource()#

The class AsyncResource was designed to be extended by the embedder's async resources. Using this users can easily trigger the lifetime events of their own resources.

The init hook will trigger when an AsyncResource is instantiated.

Note: It is important that before/after calls are unwound in the same order they are called. Otherwise an unrecoverable exception will occur and the process will abort.

The following is an overview of the AsyncResource API.

const { AsyncResource } = require('async_hooks');

// AsyncResource() is meant to be extended. Instantiating a
// new AsyncResource() also triggers init. If triggerAsyncId is omitted then
// async_hook.executionAsyncId() is used.
const asyncResource = new AsyncResource(type, triggerAsyncId);

// Call AsyncHooks before callbacks.
asyncResource.emitBefore();

// Call AsyncHooks after callbacks.
asyncResource.emitAfter();

// Call AsyncHooks destroy callbacks.
asyncResource.emitDestroy();

// Return the unique ID assigned to the AsyncResource instance.
asyncResource.asyncId();

// Return the trigger ID for the AsyncResource instance.
asyncResource.triggerAsyncId();

AsyncResource(type[, triggerAsyncId])#

  • type <string> The type of async event.
  • triggerAsyncId <number> The ID of the execution context that created this async event.

Example usage:

class DBQuery extends AsyncResource {
  constructor(db) {
    super('DBQuery');
    this.db = db;
  }

  getInfo(query, callback) {
    this.db.get(query, (err, data) => {
      this.emitBefore();
      callback(err, data);
      this.emitAfter();
    });
  }

  close() {
    this.db = null;
    this.emitDestroy();
  }
}

asyncResource.emitBefore()#

Call all before callbacks to notify that a new asynchronous execution context is being entered. If nested calls to emitBefore() are made, the stack of asyncIds will be tracked and properly unwound.

asyncResource.emitAfter()#

Call all after callbacks. If nested calls to emitBefore() were made, then make sure the stack is unwound properly. Otherwise an error will be thrown.

If the user's callback throws an exception, emitAfter() will automatically be called for all asyncIds on the stack if the error is handled by a domain or 'uncaughtException' handler.

asyncResource.emitDestroy()#

Call all destroy hooks. This should only ever be called once. An error will be thrown if it is called more than once. This must be manually called. If the resource is left to be collected by the GC then the destroy hooks will never be called.

asyncResource.asyncId()#

  • Returns: <number> The unique asyncId assigned to the resource.

asyncResource.triggerAsyncId()#

  • Returns: <number> The same triggerAsyncId that is passed to the AsyncResource constructor.

Buffer#

Stability: 2 - Stable

Prior to the introduction of TypedArray in ECMAScript 2015 (ES6), the JavaScript language had no mechanism for reading or manipulating streams of binary data. The Buffer class was introduced as part of the Node.js API to make it possible to interact with octet streams in the context of things like TCP streams and file system operations.

Now that TypedArray has been added in ES6, the Buffer class implements the Uint8Array API in a manner that is more optimized and suitable for Node.js' use cases.

Instances of the Buffer class are similar to arrays of integers but correspond to fixed-sized, raw memory allocations outside the V8 heap. The size of the Buffer is established when it is created and cannot be resized.

The Buffer class is a global within Node.js, making it unlikely that one would need to ever use require('buffer').Buffer.

Examples:

// Creates a zero-filled Buffer of length 10.
const buf1 = Buffer.alloc(10);

// Creates a Buffer of length 10, filled with 0x1.
const buf2 = Buffer.alloc(10, 1);

// Creates an uninitialized buffer of length 10.
// This is faster than calling Buffer.alloc() but the returned
// Buffer instance might contain old data that needs to be
// overwritten using either fill() or write().
const buf3 = Buffer.allocUnsafe(10);

// Creates a Buffer containing [0x1, 0x2, 0x3].
const buf4 = Buffer.from([1, 2, 3]);

// Creates a Buffer containing UTF-8 bytes [0x74, 0xc3, 0xa9, 0x73, 0x74].
const buf5 = Buffer.from('tést');

// Creates a Buffer containing Latin-1 bytes [0x74, 0xe9, 0x73, 0x74].
const buf6 = Buffer.from('tést', 'latin1');

Buffer.from(), Buffer.alloc(), and Buffer.allocUnsafe()#

In versions of Node.js prior to v6, Buffer instances were created using the Buffer constructor function, which allocates the returned Buffer differently based on what arguments are provided:

  • Passing a number as the first argument to Buffer() (e.g. new Buffer(10)), allocates a new Buffer object of the specified size. Prior to Node.js 8.0.0, the memory allocated for such Buffer instances is not initialized and can contain sensitive data. Such Buffer instances must be subsequently initialized by using either buf.fill(0) or by writing to the Buffer completely. While this behavior is intentional to improve performance, development experience has demonstrated that a more explicit distinction is required between creating a fast-but-uninitialized Buffer versus creating a slower-but-safer Buffer. Starting in Node.js 8.0.0, Buffer(num) and new Buffer(num) will return a Buffer with initialized memory.
  • Passing a string, array, or Buffer as the first argument copies the passed object's data into the Buffer.
  • Passing an ArrayBuffer returns a Buffer that shares allocated memory with the given ArrayBuffer.

Because the behavior of new Buffer() changes significantly based on the type of value passed as the first argument, applications that do not properly validate the input arguments passed to new Buffer(), or that fail to appropriately initialize newly allocated Buffer content, can inadvertently introduce security and reliability issues into their code.

To make the creation of Buffer instances more reliable and less error prone, the various forms of the new Buffer() constructor have been deprecated and replaced by separate Buffer.from(), Buffer.alloc(), and Buffer.allocUnsafe() methods.

Developers should migrate all existing uses of the new Buffer() constructors to one of these new APIs.

Buffer instances returned by Buffer.allocUnsafe() may be allocated off a shared internal memory pool if size is less than or equal to half Buffer.poolSize. Instances returned by Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() never use the shared internal memory pool.

The --zero-fill-buffers command line option#

Node.js can be started using the --zero-fill-buffers command line option to force all newly allocated Buffer instances created using either new Buffer(size), Buffer.allocUnsafe(), Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() or new SlowBuffer(size) to be automatically zero-filled upon creation. Use of this flag changes the default behavior of these methods and can have a significant impact on performance. Use of the --zero-fill-buffers option is recommended only when necessary to enforce that newly allocated Buffer instances cannot contain potentially sensitive data.

Example:

$ node --zero-fill-buffers
> Buffer.allocUnsafe(5);
<Buffer 00 00 00 00 00>

What makes Buffer.allocUnsafe() and Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() "unsafe"?#

When calling Buffer.allocUnsafe() and Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow(), the segment of allocated memory is uninitialized (it is not zeroed-out). While this design makes the allocation of memory quite fast, the allocated segment of memory might contain old data that is potentially sensitive. Using a Buffer created by Buffer.allocUnsafe() without completely overwriting the memory can allow this old data to be leaked when the Buffer memory is read.

While there are clear performance advantages to using Buffer.allocUnsafe(), extra care must be taken in order to avoid introducing security vulnerabilities into an application.

Buffers and Character Encodings#

Buffer instances are commonly used to represent sequences of encoded characters such as UTF-8, UCS2, Base64 or even Hex-encoded data. It is possible to convert back and forth between Buffer instances and ordinary JavaScript strings by using an explicit character encoding.

Example:

const buf = Buffer.from('hello world', 'ascii');

// Prints: 68656c6c6f20776f726c64
console.log(buf.toString('hex'));

// Prints: aGVsbG8gd29ybGQ=
console.log(buf.toString('base64'));

The character encodings currently supported by Node.js include:

  • 'ascii' - For 7-bit ASCII data only. This encoding is fast and will strip the high bit if set.

  • 'utf8' - Multibyte encoded Unicode characters. Many web pages and other document formats use UTF-8.

  • 'utf16le' - 2 or 4 bytes, little-endian encoded Unicode characters. Surrogate pairs (U+10000 to U+10FFFF) are supported.

  • 'ucs2' - Alias of 'utf16le'.

  • 'base64' - Base64 encoding. When creating a Buffer from a string, this encoding will also correctly accept "URL and Filename Safe Alphabet" as specified in RFC4648, Section 5.

  • 'latin1' - A way of encoding the Buffer into a one-byte encoded string (as defined by the IANA in RFC1345, page 63, to be the Latin-1 supplement block and C0/C1 control codes).

  • 'binary' - Alias for 'latin1'.

  • 'hex' - Encode each byte as two hexadecimal characters.

Note: Today's browsers follow the WHATWG Encoding Standard which aliases both 'latin1' and ISO-8859-1 to win-1252. This means that while doing something like http.get(), if the returned charset is one of those listed in the WHATWG specification it is possible that the server actually returned win-1252-encoded data, and using 'latin1' encoding may incorrectly decode the characters.

Buffers and TypedArray#

Buffer instances are also Uint8Array instances. However, there are subtle incompatibilities with the TypedArray specification in ECMAScript 2015. For example, while ArrayBuffer#slice() creates a copy of the slice, the implementation of Buffer#slice() creates a view over the existing Buffer without copying, making Buffer#slice() far more efficient.

It is also possible to create new TypedArray instances from a Buffer with the following caveats:

  1. The Buffer object's memory is copied to the TypedArray, not shared.

  2. The Buffer object's memory is interpreted as an array of distinct elements, and not as a byte array of the target type. That is, new Uint32Array(Buffer.from([1, 2, 3, 4])) creates a 4-element Uint32Array with elements [1, 2, 3, 4], not a Uint32Array with a single element [0x1020304] or [0x4030201].

It is possible to create a new Buffer that shares the same allocated memory as a TypedArray instance by using the TypeArray object's .buffer property.

Example:

const arr = new Uint16Array(2);

arr[0] = 5000;
arr[1] = 4000;

// Copies the contents of `arr`
const buf1 = Buffer.from(arr);

// Shares memory with `arr`
const buf2 = Buffer.from(arr.buffer);

// Prints: <Buffer 88 a0>
console.log(buf1);

// Prints: <Buffer 88 13 a0 0f>
console.log(buf2);

arr[1] = 6000;

// Prints: <Buffer 88 a0>
console.log(buf1);

// Prints: <Buffer 88 13 70 17>
console.log(buf2);

Note that when creating a Buffer using a TypedArray's .buffer, it is possible to use only a portion of the underlying ArrayBuffer by passing in byteOffset and length parameters.

Example:

const arr = new Uint16Array(20);
const buf = Buffer.from(arr.buffer, 0, 16);

// Prints: 16
console.log(buf.length);

The Buffer.from() and TypedArray.from() have different signatures and implementations. Specifically, the TypedArray variants accept a second argument that is a mapping function that is invoked on every element of the typed array:

  • TypedArray.from(source[, mapFn[, thisArg]])

The Buffer.from() method, however, does not support the use of a mapping function:

Buffers and ES6 iteration#

Buffer instances can be iterated over using the ECMAScript 2015 (ES6) for..of syntax.

Example:

const buf = Buffer.from([1, 2, 3]);

// Prints:
//   1
//   2
//   3
for (const b of buf) {
  console.log(b);
}

Additionally, the buf.values(), buf.keys(), and buf.entries() methods can be used to create iterators.

Class: Buffer#

The Buffer class is a global type for dealing with binary data directly. It can be constructed in a variety of ways.

new Buffer(array)#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use Buffer.from(array) instead.

Allocates a new Buffer using an array of octets.

Example:

// Creates a new Buffer containing the UTF-8 bytes of the string 'buffer'
const buf = new Buffer([0x62, 0x75, 0x66, 0x66, 0x65, 0x72]);

new Buffer(arrayBuffer[, byteOffset [, length]])#

This creates a view of the ArrayBuffer without copying the underlying memory. For example, when passed a reference to the .buffer property of a TypedArray instance, the newly created Buffer will share the same allocated memory as the TypedArray.

The optional byteOffset and length arguments specify a memory range within the arrayBuffer that will be shared by the Buffer.

Example:

const arr = new Uint16Array(2);

arr[0] = 5000;
arr[1] = 4000;

// Shares memory with `arr`
const buf = new Buffer(arr.buffer);

// Prints: <Buffer 88 13 a0 0f>
console.log(buf);

// Changing the original Uint16Array changes the Buffer also
arr[1] = 6000;

// Prints: <Buffer 88 13 70 17>
console.log(buf);

new Buffer(buffer)#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use Buffer.from(buffer) instead.
  • buffer <Buffer> An existing Buffer to copy data from.

Copies the passed buffer data onto a new Buffer instance.

Example:

const buf1 = new Buffer('buffer');
const buf2 = new Buffer(buf1);

buf1[0] = 0x61;

// Prints: auffer
console.log(buf1.toString());

// Prints: buffer
console.log(buf2.toString());

new Buffer(size)#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use Buffer.alloc() instead (also see Buffer.allocUnsafe()).
  • size <integer> The desired length of the new Buffer.

Allocates a new Buffer of size bytes. If the size is larger than buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH or smaller than 0, a RangeError will be thrown. A zero-length Buffer will be created if size is 0.

Prior to Node.js 8.0.0, the underlying memory for Buffer instances created in this way is not initialized. The contents of a newly created Buffer are unknown and may contain sensitive data. Use Buffer.alloc(size) instead to initialize a Buffer to zeroes.

Example:

const buf = new Buffer(10);

// Prints: <Buffer 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00>
console.log(buf);

new Buffer(string[, encoding])#

  • string <string> String to encode.
  • encoding <string> The encoding of string. Default: 'utf8'

Creates a new Buffer containing the given JavaScript string string. If provided, the encoding parameter identifies the character encoding of string.

Examples:

const buf1 = new Buffer('this is a tést');

// Prints: this is a tést
console.log(buf1.toString());

// Prints: this is a tC)st
console.log(buf1.toString('ascii'));


const buf2 = new Buffer('7468697320697320612074c3a97374', 'hex');

// Prints: this is a tést
console.log(buf2.toString());

Class Method: Buffer.alloc(size[, fill[, encoding]])#

  • size <integer> The desired length of the new Buffer.
  • fill <string> | <Buffer> | <integer> A value to pre-fill the new Buffer with. Default: 0
  • encoding <string> If fill is a string, this is its encoding. Default: 'utf8'

Allocates a new Buffer of size bytes. If fill is undefined, the Buffer will be zero-filled.

Example:

const buf = Buffer.alloc(5);

// Prints: <Buffer 00 00 00 00 00>
console.log(buf);

Allocates a new Buffer of size bytes. If the size is larger than buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH or smaller than 0, a RangeError will be thrown. A zero-length Buffer will be created if size is 0.

If fill is specified, the allocated Buffer will be initialized by calling buf.fill(fill).

Example:

const buf = Buffer.alloc(5, 'a');

// Prints: <Buffer 61 61 61 61 61>
console.log(buf);

If both fill and encoding are specified, the allocated Buffer will be initialized by calling buf.fill(fill, encoding).

Example:

const buf = Buffer.alloc(11, 'aGVsbG8gd29ybGQ=', 'base64');

// Prints: <Buffer 68 65 6c 6c 6f 20 77 6f 72 6c 64>
console.log(buf);

Calling Buffer.alloc() can be significantly slower than the alternative Buffer.allocUnsafe() but ensures that the newly created Buffer instance contents will never contain sensitive data.

A TypeError will be thrown if size is not a number.

Class Method: Buffer.allocUnsafe(size)#

  • size <integer> The desired length of the new Buffer.

Allocates a new Buffer of size bytes. If the size is larger than buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH or smaller than 0, a RangeError will be thrown. A zero-length Buffer will be created if size is 0.

The underlying memory for Buffer instances created in this way is not initialized. The contents of the newly created Buffer are unknown and may contain sensitive data. Use Buffer.alloc() instead to initialize Buffer instances to zeroes.

Example:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(10);

// Prints: (contents may vary): <Buffer a0 8b 28 3f 01 00 00 00 50 32>
console.log(buf);

buf.fill(0);

// Prints: <Buffer 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00 00>
console.log(buf);

A TypeError will be thrown if size is not a number.

Note that the Buffer module pre-allocates an internal Buffer instance of size Buffer.poolSize that is used as a pool for the fast allocation of new Buffer instances created using Buffer.allocUnsafe() and the deprecated new Buffer(size) constructor only when size is less than or equal to Buffer.poolSize >> 1 (floor of Buffer.poolSize divided by two).

Use of this pre-allocated internal memory pool is a key difference between calling Buffer.alloc(size, fill) vs. Buffer.allocUnsafe(size).fill(fill). Specifically, Buffer.alloc(size, fill) will never use the internal Buffer pool, while Buffer.allocUnsafe(size).fill(fill) will use the internal Buffer pool if size is less than or equal to half Buffer.poolSize. The difference is subtle but can be important when an application requires the additional performance that Buffer.allocUnsafe() provides.

Class Method: Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow(size)#

  • size <integer> The desired length of the new Buffer.

Allocates a new Buffer of size bytes. If the size is larger than buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH or smaller than 0, a RangeError will be thrown. A zero-length Buffer will be created if size is 0.

The underlying memory for Buffer instances created in this way is not initialized. The contents of the newly created Buffer are unknown and may contain sensitive data. Use buf.fill(0) to initialize such Buffer instances to zeroes.

When using Buffer.allocUnsafe() to allocate new Buffer instances, allocations under 4KB are, by default, sliced from a single pre-allocated Buffer. This allows applications to avoid the garbage collection overhead of creating many individually allocated Buffer instances. This approach improves both performance and memory usage by eliminating the need to track and cleanup as many Persistent objects.

However, in the case where a developer may need to retain a small chunk of memory from a pool for an indeterminate amount of time, it may be appropriate to create an un-pooled Buffer instance using Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() then copy out the relevant bits.

Example:

// Need to keep around a few small chunks of memory
const store = [];

socket.on('readable', () => {
  const data = socket.read();

  // Allocate for retained data
  const sb = Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow(10);

  // Copy the data into the new allocation
  data.copy(sb, 0, 0, 10);

  store.push(sb);
});

Use of Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() should be used only as a last resort after a developer has observed undue memory retention in their applications.

A TypeError will be thrown if size is not a number.

Class Method: Buffer.byteLength(string[, encoding])#

Returns the actual byte length of a string. This is not the same as String.prototype.length since that returns the number of characters in a string.

Note: For 'base64' and 'hex', this function assumes valid input. For strings that contain non-Base64/Hex-encoded data (e.g. whitespace), the return value might be greater than the length of a Buffer created from the string.

Example:

const str = '\u00bd + \u00bc = \u00be';

// Prints: ½ + ¼ = ¾: 9 characters, 12 bytes
console.log(`${str}: ${str.length} characters, ` +
            `${Buffer.byteLength(str, 'utf8')} bytes`);

When string is a Buffer/DataView/TypedArray/ArrayBuffer, the actual byte length is returned.

Class Method: Buffer.compare(buf1, buf2)#

Compares buf1 to buf2 typically for the purpose of sorting arrays of Buffer instances. This is equivalent to calling buf1.compare(buf2).

Example:

const buf1 = Buffer.from('1234');
const buf2 = Buffer.from('0123');
const arr = [buf1, buf2];

// Prints: [ <Buffer 30 31 32 33>, <Buffer 31 32 33 34> ]
// (This result is equal to: [buf2, buf1])
console.log(arr.sort(Buffer.compare));

Class Method: Buffer.concat(list[, totalLength])#

Returns a new Buffer which is the result of concatenating all the Buffer instances in the list together.

If the list has no items, or if the totalLength is 0, then a new zero-length Buffer is returned.

If totalLength is not provided, it is calculated from the Buffer instances in list. This however causes an additional loop to be executed in order to calculate the totalLength, so it is faster to provide the length explicitly if it is already known.

If totalLength is provided, it is coerced to an unsigned integer. If the combined length of the Buffers in list exceeds totalLength, the result is truncated to totalLength.

Example: Create a single Buffer from a list of three Buffer instances

const buf1 = Buffer.alloc(10);
const buf2 = Buffer.alloc(14);
const buf3 = Buffer.alloc(18);
const totalLength = buf1.length + buf2.length + buf3.length;

// Prints: 42
console.log(totalLength);

const bufA = Buffer.concat([buf1, buf2, buf3], totalLength);

// Prints: <Buffer 00 00 00 00 ...>
console.log(bufA);

// Prints: 42
console.log(bufA.length);

Class Method: Buffer.from(array)#

Allocates a new Buffer using an array of octets.

Example:

// Creates a new Buffer containing UTF-8 bytes of the string 'buffer'
const buf = Buffer.from([0x62, 0x75, 0x66, 0x66, 0x65, 0x72]);

A TypeError will be thrown if array is not an Array.

Class Method: Buffer.from(arrayBuffer[, byteOffset[, length]])#

This creates a view of the ArrayBuffer without copying the underlying memory. For example, when passed a reference to the .buffer property of a TypedArray instance, the newly created Buffer will share the same allocated memory as the TypedArray.

Example:

const arr = new Uint16Array(2);

arr[0] = 5000;
arr[1] = 4000;

// Shares memory with `arr`
const buf = Buffer.from(arr.buffer);

// Prints: <Buffer 88 13 a0 0f>
console.log(buf);

// Changing the original Uint16Array changes the Buffer also
arr[1] = 6000;

// Prints: <Buffer 88 13 70 17>
console.log(buf);

The optional byteOffset and length arguments specify a memory range within the arrayBuffer that will be shared by the Buffer.

Example:

const ab = new ArrayBuffer(10);
const buf = Buffer.from(ab, 0, 2);

// Prints: 2
console.log(buf.length);

A TypeError will be thrown if arrayBuffer is not an ArrayBuffer.

Class Method: Buffer.from(buffer)#

  • buffer <Buffer> An existing Buffer to copy data from.

Copies the passed buffer data onto a new Buffer instance.

Example:

const buf1 = Buffer.from('buffer');
const buf2 = Buffer.from(buf1);

buf1[0] = 0x61;

// Prints: auffer
console.log(buf1.toString());

// Prints: buffer
console.log(buf2.toString());

A TypeError will be thrown if buffer is not a Buffer.

Class Method: Buffer.from(string[, encoding])#

  • string <string> A string to encode.
  • encoding <string> The encoding of string. Default: 'utf8'

Creates a new Buffer containing the given JavaScript string string. If provided, the encoding parameter identifies the character encoding of string.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from('this is a tést');

// Prints: this is a tést
console.log(buf1.toString());

// Prints: this is a tC)st
console.log(buf1.toString('ascii'));


const buf2 = Buffer.from('7468697320697320612074c3a97374', 'hex');

// Prints: this is a tést
console.log(buf2.toString());

A TypeError will be thrown if string is not a string.

Class Method: Buffer.from(object[, offsetOrEncoding[, length]])#

  • object <Object> An object supporting Symbol.toPrimitive or valueOf()
  • offsetOrEncoding <number> | <string> A byte-offset or encoding, depending on the value returned either by object.valueOf() or object[Symbol.toPrimitive]().
  • length <number> A length, depending on the value returned either by object.valueOf() or object[Symbol.toPrimitive]().

For objects whose valueOf() function returns a value not strictly equal to object, returns Buffer.from(object.valueOf(), offsetOrEncoding, length).

For example:

const buf = Buffer.from(new String('this is a test'));
// <Buffer 74 68 69 73 20 69 73 20 61 20 74 65 73 74>

For objects that support Symbol.toPrimitive, returns Buffer.from(object[Symbol.toPrimitive](), offsetOrEncoding, length).

For example:

class Foo {
  [Symbol.toPrimitive]() {
    return 'this is a test';
  }
}

const buf = Buffer.from(new Foo(), 'utf8');
// <Buffer 74 68 69 73 20 69 73 20 61 20 74 65 73 74>

Class Method: Buffer.isBuffer(obj)#

Returns true if obj is a Buffer, false otherwise.

Class Method: Buffer.isEncoding(encoding)#

Returns true if encoding contains a supported character encoding, or false otherwise.

Class Property: Buffer.poolSize#

This is the number of bytes used to determine the size of pre-allocated, internal Buffer instances used for pooling. This value may be modified.

buf[index]#

The index operator [index] can be used to get and set the octet at position index in buf. The values refer to individual bytes, so the legal value range is between 0x00 and 0xFF (hex) or 0 and 255 (decimal).

This operator is inherited from Uint8Array, so its behavior on out-of-bounds access is the same as UInt8Array - that is, getting returns undefined and setting does nothing.

Example: Copy an ASCII string into a Buffer, one byte at a time

const str = 'Node.js';
const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(str.length);

for (let i = 0; i < str.length; i++) {
  buf[i] = str.charCodeAt(i);
}

// Prints: Node.js
console.log(buf.toString('ascii'));

buf.buffer#

The buffer property references the underlying ArrayBuffer object based on which this Buffer object is created.

const arrayBuffer = new ArrayBuffer(16);
const buffer = Buffer.from(arrayBuffer);

console.log(buffer.buffer === arrayBuffer);
// Prints: true

buf.compare(target[, targetStart[, targetEnd[, sourceStart[, sourceEnd]]]])#

  • target <Buffer> | <Uint8Array> A Buffer or Uint8Array to compare to.
  • targetStart <integer> The offset within target at which to begin comparison. Default: 0
  • targetEnd <integer> The offset with target at which to end comparison (not inclusive). Ignored when targetStart is undefined. Default: target.length
  • sourceStart <integer> The offset within buf at which to begin comparison. Ignored when targetStart is undefined. Default: 0
  • sourceEnd <integer> The offset within buf at which to end comparison (not inclusive). Ignored when targetStart is undefined. Default: buf.length
  • Returns: <integer>

Compares buf with target and returns a number indicating whether buf comes before, after, or is the same as target in sort order. Comparison is based on the actual sequence of bytes in each Buffer.

  • 0 is returned if target is the same as buf
  • 1 is returned if target should come before buf when sorted.
  • -1 is returned if target should come after buf when sorted.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from('ABC');
const buf2 = Buffer.from('BCD');
const buf3 = Buffer.from('ABCD');

// Prints: 0
console.log(buf1.compare(buf1));

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf1.compare(buf2));

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf1.compare(buf3));

// Prints: 1
console.log(buf2.compare(buf1));

// Prints: 1
console.log(buf2.compare(buf3));

// Prints: [ <Buffer 41 42 43>, <Buffer 41 42 43 44>, <Buffer 42 43 44> ]
// (This result is equal to: [buf1, buf3, buf2])
console.log([buf1, buf2, buf3].sort(Buffer.compare));

The optional targetStart, targetEnd, sourceStart, and sourceEnd arguments can be used to limit the comparison to specific ranges within target and buf respectively.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from([1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9]);
const buf2 = Buffer.from([5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 1, 2, 3, 4]);

// Prints: 0
console.log(buf1.compare(buf2, 5, 9, 0, 4));

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf1.compare(buf2, 0, 6, 4));

// Prints: 1
console.log(buf1.compare(buf2, 5, 6, 5));

A RangeError will be thrown if: targetStart < 0, sourceStart < 0, targetEnd > target.byteLength or sourceEnd > source.byteLength.

buf.copy(target[, targetStart[, sourceStart[, sourceEnd]]])#

  • target <Buffer> | <Uint8Array> A Buffer or Uint8Array to copy into.
  • targetStart <integer> The offset within target at which to begin copying to. Default: 0
  • sourceStart <integer> The offset within buf at which to begin copying from. Ignored when targetStart is undefined. Default: 0
  • sourceEnd <integer> The offset within buf at which to stop copying (not inclusive). Ignored when sourceStart is undefined. Default: buf.length
  • Returns: <integer> The number of bytes copied.

Copies data from a region of buf to a region in target even if the target memory region overlaps with buf.

Example: Create two Buffer instances, buf1 and buf2, and copy buf1 from byte 16 through byte 19 into buf2, starting at the 8th byte in buf2

const buf1 = Buffer.allocUnsafe(26);
const buf2 = Buffer.allocUnsafe(26).fill('!');

for (let i = 0; i < 26; i++) {
  // 97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a'
  buf1[i] = i + 97;
}

buf1.copy(buf2, 8, 16, 20);

// Prints: !!!!!!!!qrst!!!!!!!!!!!!!
console.log(buf2.toString('ascii', 0, 25));

Example: Create a single Buffer and copy data from one region to an overlapping region within the same Buffer

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(26);

for (let i = 0; i < 26; i++) {
  // 97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a'
  buf[i] = i + 97;
}

buf.copy(buf, 0, 4, 10);

// Prints: efghijghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
console.log(buf.toString());

buf.entries()#

Creates and returns an iterator of [index, byte] pairs from the contents of buf.

Example: Log the entire contents of a Buffer

const buf = Buffer.from('buffer');

// Prints:
//   [0, 98]
//   [1, 117]
//   [2, 102]
//   [3, 102]
//   [4, 101]
//   [5, 114]
for (const pair of buf.entries()) {
  console.log(pair);
}

buf.equals(otherBuffer)#

Returns true if both buf and otherBuffer have exactly the same bytes, false otherwise.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from('ABC');
const buf2 = Buffer.from('414243', 'hex');
const buf3 = Buffer.from('ABCD');

// Prints: true
console.log(buf1.equals(buf2));

// Prints: false
console.log(buf1.equals(buf3));

buf.fill(value[, offset[, end]][, encoding])#

Fills buf with the specified value. If the offset and end are not given, the entire buf will be filled. This is meant to be a small simplification to allow the creation and filling of a Buffer to be done on a single line.

Example: Fill a Buffer with the ASCII character 'h'

const b = Buffer.allocUnsafe(50).fill('h');

// Prints: hhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
console.log(b.toString());

value is coerced to a uint32 value if it is not a String or Integer.

If the final write of a fill() operation falls on a multi-byte character, then only the first bytes of that character that fit into buf are written.

Example: Fill a Buffer with a two-byte character

// Prints: <Buffer c8 a2 c8>
console.log(Buffer.allocUnsafe(3).fill('\u0222'));

buf.includes(value[, byteOffset][, encoding])#

  • value <string> | <Buffer> | <integer> What to search for.
  • byteOffset <integer> Where to begin searching in buf. Default: 0
  • encoding <string> If value is a string, this is its encoding. Default: 'utf8'
  • Returns: <boolean> true if value was found in buf, false otherwise.

Equivalent to buf.indexOf() !== -1.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from('this is a buffer');

// Prints: true
console.log(buf.includes('this'));

// Prints: true
console.log(buf.includes('is'));

// Prints: true
console.log(buf.includes(Buffer.from('a buffer')));

// Prints: true
// (97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a')
console.log(buf.includes(97));

// Prints: false
console.log(buf.includes(Buffer.from('a buffer example')));

// Prints: true
console.log(buf.includes(Buffer.from('a buffer example').slice(0, 8)));

// Prints: false
console.log(buf.includes('this', 4));

buf.indexOf(value[, byteOffset][, encoding])#

  • value <string> | <Buffer> | <Uint8Array> | <integer> What to search for.
  • byteOffset <integer> Where to begin searching in buf. Default: 0
  • encoding <string> If value is a string, this is its encoding. Default: 'utf8'
  • Returns: <integer> The index of the first occurrence of value in buf or -1 if buf does not contain value.

If value is:

  • a string, value is interpreted according to the character encoding in encoding.
  • a Buffer or Uint8Array, value will be used in its entirety. To compare a partial Buffer, use buf.slice().
  • a number, value will be interpreted as an unsigned 8-bit integer value between 0 and 255.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from('this is a buffer');

// Prints: 0
console.log(buf.indexOf('this'));

// Prints: 2
console.log(buf.indexOf('is'));

// Prints: 8
console.log(buf.indexOf(Buffer.from('a buffer')));

// Prints: 8
// (97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a')
console.log(buf.indexOf(97));

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf.indexOf(Buffer.from('a buffer example')));

// Prints: 8
console.log(buf.indexOf(Buffer.from('a buffer example').slice(0, 8)));


const utf16Buffer = Buffer.from('\u039a\u0391\u03a3\u03a3\u0395', 'ucs2');

// Prints: 4
console.log(utf16Buffer.indexOf('\u03a3', 0, 'ucs2'));

// Prints: 6
console.log(utf16Buffer.indexOf('\u03a3', -4, 'ucs2'));

If value is not a string, number, or Buffer, this method will throw a TypeError. If value is a number, it will be coerced to a valid byte value, an integer between 0 and 255.

If byteOffset is not a number, it will be coerced to a number. Any arguments that coerce to NaN or 0, like {}, [], null or undefined, will search the whole buffer. This behavior matches String#indexOf().

const b = Buffer.from('abcdef');

// Passing a value that's a number, but not a valid byte
// Prints: 2, equivalent to searching for 99 or 'c'
console.log(b.indexOf(99.9));
console.log(b.indexOf(256 + 99));

// Passing a byteOffset that coerces to NaN or 0
// Prints: 1, searching the whole buffer
console.log(b.indexOf('b', undefined));
console.log(b.indexOf('b', {}));
console.log(b.indexOf('b', null));
console.log(b.indexOf('b', []));

If value is an empty string or empty Buffer and byteOffset is less than buf.length, byteOffset will be returned. If value is empty and byteOffset is at least buf.length, buf.length will be returned.

buf.keys()#

Creates and returns an iterator of buf keys (indices).

Example:

const buf = Buffer.from('buffer');

// Prints:
//   0
//   1
//   2
//   3
//   4
//   5
for (const key of buf.keys()) {
  console.log(key);
}

buf.lastIndexOf(value[, byteOffset][, encoding])#

Identical to buf.indexOf(), except buf is searched from back to front instead of front to back.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from('this buffer is a buffer');

// Prints: 0
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf('this'));

// Prints: 17
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf('buffer'));

// Prints: 17
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf(Buffer.from('buffer')));

// Prints: 15
// (97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a')
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf(97));

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf(Buffer.from('yolo')));

// Prints: 5
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf('buffer', 5));

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf.lastIndexOf('buffer', 4));


const utf16Buffer = Buffer.from('\u039a\u0391\u03a3\u03a3\u0395', 'ucs2');

// Prints: 6
console.log(utf16Buffer.lastIndexOf('\u03a3', undefined, 'ucs2'));

// Prints: 4
console.log(utf16Buffer.lastIndexOf('\u03a3', -5, 'ucs2'));

If value is not a string, number, or Buffer, this method will throw a TypeError. If value is a number, it will be coerced to a valid byte value, an integer between 0 and 255.

If byteOffset is not a number, it will be coerced to a number. Any arguments that coerce to NaN, like {} or undefined, will search the whole buffer. This behavior matches String#lastIndexOf().

const b = Buffer.from('abcdef');

// Passing a value that's a number, but not a valid byte
// Prints: 2, equivalent to searching for 99 or 'c'
console.log(b.lastIndexOf(99.9));
console.log(b.lastIndexOf(256 + 99));

// Passing a byteOffset that coerces to NaN
// Prints: 1, searching the whole buffer
console.log(b.lastIndexOf('b', undefined));
console.log(b.lastIndexOf('b', {}));

// Passing a byteOffset that coerces to 0
// Prints: -1, equivalent to passing 0
console.log(b.lastIndexOf('b', null));
console.log(b.lastIndexOf('b', []));

If value is an empty string or empty Buffer, byteOffset will be returned.

buf.length#

Returns the amount of memory allocated for buf in bytes. Note that this does not necessarily reflect the amount of "usable" data within buf.

Example: Create a Buffer and write a shorter ASCII string to it

const buf = Buffer.alloc(1234);

// Prints: 1234
console.log(buf.length);

buf.write('some string', 0, 'ascii');

// Prints: 1234
console.log(buf.length);

While the length property is not immutable, changing the value of length can result in undefined and inconsistent behavior. Applications that wish to modify the length of a Buffer should therefore treat length as read-only and use buf.slice() to create a new Buffer.

Examples:

let buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(10);

buf.write('abcdefghj', 0, 'ascii');

// Prints: 10
console.log(buf.length);

buf = buf.slice(0, 5);

// Prints: 5
console.log(buf.length);

buf.parent#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use buf.buffer instead.

The buf.parent property is a deprecated alias for buf.buffer.

buf.readDoubleBE(offset[, noAssert])#

buf.readDoubleLE(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 8.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <number>

Reads a 64-bit double from buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (readDoubleBE() returns big endian, readDoubleLE() returns little endian).

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8]);

// Prints: 8.20788039913184e-304
console.log(buf.readDoubleBE());

// Prints: 5.447603722011605e-270
console.log(buf.readDoubleLE());

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readDoubleLE(1));

// Warning: reads passed end of buffer!
// This will result in a segmentation fault! Don't do this!
console.log(buf.readDoubleLE(1, true));

buf.readFloatBE(offset[, noAssert])#

buf.readFloatLE(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 4.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <number>

Reads a 32-bit float from buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (readFloatBE() returns big endian, readFloatLE() returns little endian).

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([1, 2, 3, 4]);

// Prints: 2.387939260590663e-38
console.log(buf.readFloatBE());

// Prints: 1.539989614439558e-36
console.log(buf.readFloatLE());

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readFloatLE(1));

// Warning: reads passed end of buffer!
// This will result in a segmentation fault! Don't do this!
console.log(buf.readFloatLE(1, true));

buf.readInt8(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 1.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads a signed 8-bit integer from buf at the specified offset.

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Integers read from a Buffer are interpreted as two's complement signed values.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([-1, 5]);

// Prints: -1
console.log(buf.readInt8(0));

// Prints: 5
console.log(buf.readInt8(1));

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readInt8(2));

buf.readInt16BE(offset[, noAssert])#

buf.readInt16LE(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 2.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads a signed 16-bit integer from buf at the specified offset with the specified endian format (readInt16BE() returns big endian, readInt16LE() returns little endian).

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Integers read from a Buffer are interpreted as two's complement signed values.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([0, 5]);

// Prints: 5
console.log(buf.readInt16BE());

// Prints: 1280
console.log(buf.readInt16LE());

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readInt16LE(1));

buf.readInt32BE(offset[, noAssert])#

buf.readInt32LE(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 4.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads a signed 32-bit integer from buf at the specified offset with the specified endian format (readInt32BE() returns big endian, readInt32LE() returns little endian).

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Integers read from a Buffer are interpreted as two's complement signed values.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([0, 0, 0, 5]);

// Prints: 5
console.log(buf.readInt32BE());

// Prints: 83886080
console.log(buf.readInt32LE());

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readInt32LE(1));

buf.readIntBE(offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

buf.readIntLE(offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - byteLength.
  • byteLength <integer> Number of bytes to read. Must satisfy: 0 < byteLength <= 6.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset and byteLength validation? Default: false.
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads byteLength number of bytes from buf at the specified offset and interprets the result as a two's complement signed value. Supports up to 48 bits of accuracy.

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([0x12, 0x34, 0x56, 0x78, 0x90, 0xab]);

// Prints: -546f87a9cbee
console.log(buf.readIntLE(0, 6).toString(16));

// Prints: 1234567890ab
console.log(buf.readIntBE(0, 6).toString(16));

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readIntBE(1, 6).toString(16));

buf.readUInt8(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 1.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads an unsigned 8-bit integer from buf at the specified offset.

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([1, -2]);

// Prints: 1
console.log(buf.readUInt8(0));

// Prints: 254
console.log(buf.readUInt8(1));

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readUInt8(2));

buf.readUInt16BE(offset[, noAssert])#

buf.readUInt16LE(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 2.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads an unsigned 16-bit integer from buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (readUInt16BE() returns big endian, readUInt16LE() returns little endian).

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([0x12, 0x34, 0x56]);

// Prints: 1234
console.log(buf.readUInt16BE(0).toString(16));

// Prints: 3412
console.log(buf.readUInt16LE(0).toString(16));

// Prints: 3456
console.log(buf.readUInt16BE(1).toString(16));

// Prints: 5634
console.log(buf.readUInt16LE(1).toString(16));

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readUInt16LE(2).toString(16));

buf.readUInt32BE(offset[, noAssert])#

buf.readUInt32LE(offset[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 4.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads an unsigned 32-bit integer from buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (readUInt32BE() returns big endian, readUInt32LE() returns little endian).

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([0x12, 0x34, 0x56, 0x78]);

// Prints: 12345678
console.log(buf.readUInt32BE(0).toString(16));

// Prints: 78563412
console.log(buf.readUInt32LE(0).toString(16));

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readUInt32LE(1).toString(16));

buf.readUIntBE(offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

buf.readUIntLE(offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to read. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - byteLength.
  • byteLength <integer> Number of bytes to read. Must satisfy: 0 < byteLength <= 6.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip offset and byteLength validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer>

Reads byteLength number of bytes from buf at the specified offset and interprets the result as an unsigned integer. Supports up to 48 bits of accuracy.

Setting noAssert to true allows offset to be beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from([0x12, 0x34, 0x56, 0x78, 0x90, 0xab]);

// Prints: 1234567890ab
console.log(buf.readUIntBE(0, 6).toString(16));

// Prints: ab9078563412
console.log(buf.readUIntLE(0, 6).toString(16));

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Index out of range
console.log(buf.readUIntBE(1, 6).toString(16));

buf.slice([start[, end]])#

Returns a new Buffer that references the same memory as the original, but offset and cropped by the start and end indices.

Specifying end greater than buf.length will return the same result as that of end equal to buf.length.

Note: Modifying the new Buffer slice will modify the memory in the original Buffer because the allocated memory of the two objects overlap.

Example: Create a Buffer with the ASCII alphabet, take a slice, and then modify one byte from the original Buffer

const buf1 = Buffer.allocUnsafe(26);

for (let i = 0; i < 26; i++) {
  // 97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a'
  buf1[i] = i + 97;
}

const buf2 = buf1.slice(0, 3);

// Prints: abc
console.log(buf2.toString('ascii', 0, buf2.length));

buf1[0] = 33;

// Prints: !bc
console.log(buf2.toString('ascii', 0, buf2.length));

Specifying negative indexes causes the slice to be generated relative to the end of buf rather than the beginning.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from('buffer');

// Prints: buffe
// (Equivalent to buf.slice(0, 5))
console.log(buf.slice(-6, -1).toString());

// Prints: buff
// (Equivalent to buf.slice(0, 4))
console.log(buf.slice(-6, -2).toString());

// Prints: uff
// (Equivalent to buf.slice(1, 4))
console.log(buf.slice(-5, -2).toString());

buf.swap16()#

Interprets buf as an array of unsigned 16-bit integers and swaps the byte-order in-place. Throws a RangeError if buf.length is not a multiple of 2.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3, 0x4, 0x5, 0x6, 0x7, 0x8]);

// Prints: <Buffer 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08>
console.log(buf1);

buf1.swap16();

// Prints: <Buffer 02 01 04 03 06 05 08 07>
console.log(buf1);


const buf2 = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3]);

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Buffer size must be a multiple of 16-bits
buf2.swap16();

buf.swap32()#

Interprets buf as an array of unsigned 32-bit integers and swaps the byte-order in-place. Throws a RangeError if buf.length is not a multiple of 4.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3, 0x4, 0x5, 0x6, 0x7, 0x8]);

// Prints: <Buffer 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08>
console.log(buf1);

buf1.swap32();

// Prints: <Buffer 04 03 02 01 08 07 06 05>
console.log(buf1);


const buf2 = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3]);

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Buffer size must be a multiple of 32-bits
buf2.swap32();

buf.swap64()#

Interprets buf as an array of 64-bit numbers and swaps the byte-order in-place. Throws a RangeError if buf.length is not a multiple of 8.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3, 0x4, 0x5, 0x6, 0x7, 0x8]);

// Prints: <Buffer 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08>
console.log(buf1);

buf1.swap64();

// Prints: <Buffer 08 07 06 05 04 03 02 01>
console.log(buf1);


const buf2 = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3]);

// Throws an exception: RangeError: Buffer size must be a multiple of 64-bits
buf2.swap64();

Note that JavaScript cannot encode 64-bit integers. This method is intended for working with 64-bit floats.

buf.toJSON()#

Returns a JSON representation of buf. JSON.stringify() implicitly calls this function when stringifying a Buffer instance.

Example:

const buf = Buffer.from([0x1, 0x2, 0x3, 0x4, 0x5]);
const json = JSON.stringify(buf);

// Prints: {"type":"Buffer","data":[1,2,3,4,5]}
console.log(json);

const copy = JSON.parse(json, (key, value) => {
  return value && value.type === 'Buffer' ?
    Buffer.from(value.data) :
    value;
});

// Prints: <Buffer 01 02 03 04 05>
console.log(copy);

buf.toString([encoding[, start[, end]]])#

  • encoding <string> The character encoding to decode to. Default: 'utf8'
  • start <integer> The byte offset to start decoding at. Default: 0
  • end <integer> The byte offset to stop decoding at (not inclusive). Default: buf.length
  • Returns: <string>

Decodes buf to a string according to the specified character encoding in encoding. start and end may be passed to decode only a subset of buf.

The maximum length of a string instance (in UTF-16 code units) is available as buffer.constants.MAX_STRING_LENGTH.

Examples:

const buf1 = Buffer.allocUnsafe(26);

for (let i = 0; i < 26; i++) {
  // 97 is the decimal ASCII value for 'a'
  buf1[i] = i + 97;
}

// Prints: abcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz
console.log(buf1.toString('ascii'));

// Prints: abcde
console.log(buf1.toString('ascii', 0, 5));


const buf2 = Buffer.from('tést');

// Prints: 74c3a97374
console.log(buf2.toString('hex'));

// Prints: té
console.log(buf2.toString('utf8', 0, 3));

// Prints: té
console.log(buf2.toString(undefined, 0, 3));

buf.values()#

Creates and returns an iterator for buf values (bytes). This function is called automatically when a Buffer is used in a for..of statement.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.from('buffer');

// Prints:
//   98
//   117
//   102
//   102
//   101
//   114
for (const value of buf.values()) {
  console.log(value);
}

// Prints:
//   98
//   117
//   102
//   102
//   101
//   114
for (const value of buf) {
  console.log(value);
}

buf.write(string[, offset[, length]][, encoding])#

  • string <string> String to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write string. Default: 0
  • length <integer> Number of bytes to write. Default: buf.length - offset
  • encoding <string> The character encoding of string. Default: 'utf8'
  • Returns: <integer> Number of bytes written.

Writes string to buf at offset according to the character encoding in encoding. The length parameter is the number of bytes to write. If buf did not contain enough space to fit the entire string, only a partial amount of string will be written. However, partially encoded characters will not be written.

Example:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(256);

const len = buf.write('\u00bd + \u00bc = \u00be', 0);

// Prints: 12 bytes: ½ + ¼ = ¾
console.log(`${len} bytes: ${buf.toString('utf8', 0, len)}`);

buf.writeDoubleBE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

buf.writeDoubleLE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <number> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 8.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (writeDoubleBE() writes big endian, writeDoubleLE() writes little endian). value should be a valid 64-bit double. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than a 64-bit double.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(8);

buf.writeDoubleBE(0xdeadbeefcafebabe, 0);

// Prints: <Buffer 43 eb d5 b7 dd f9 5f d7>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeDoubleLE(0xdeadbeefcafebabe, 0);

// Prints: <Buffer d7 5f f9 dd b7 d5 eb 43>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeFloatBE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

buf.writeFloatLE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <number> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 4.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (writeFloatBE() writes big endian, writeFloatLE() writes little endian). value should be a valid 32-bit float. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than a 32-bit float.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(4);

buf.writeFloatBE(0xcafebabe, 0);

// Prints: <Buffer 4f 4a fe bb>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeFloatLE(0xcafebabe, 0);

// Prints: <Buffer bb fe 4a 4f>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeInt8(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 1.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset. value should be a valid signed 8-bit integer. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than a signed 8-bit integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

value is interpreted and written as a two's complement signed integer.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(2);

buf.writeInt8(2, 0);
buf.writeInt8(-2, 1);

// Prints: <Buffer 02 fe>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeInt16BE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

buf.writeInt16LE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 2.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (writeInt16BE() writes big endian, writeInt16LE() writes little endian). value should be a valid signed 16-bit integer. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than a signed 16-bit integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

value is interpreted and written as a two's complement signed integer.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(4);

buf.writeInt16BE(0x0102, 0);
buf.writeInt16LE(0x0304, 2);

// Prints: <Buffer 01 02 04 03>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeInt32BE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

buf.writeInt32LE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 4.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (writeInt32BE() writes big endian, writeInt32LE() writes little endian). value should be a valid signed 32-bit integer. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than a signed 32-bit integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

value is interpreted and written as a two's complement signed integer.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(8);

buf.writeInt32BE(0x01020304, 0);
buf.writeInt32LE(0x05060708, 4);

// Prints: <Buffer 01 02 03 04 08 07 06 05>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeIntBE(value, offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

buf.writeIntLE(value, offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - byteLength.
  • byteLength <integer> Number of bytes to write. Must satisfy: 0 < byteLength <= 6.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value, offset, and byteLength validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes byteLength bytes of value to buf at the specified offset. Supports up to 48 bits of accuracy. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than a signed integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(6);

buf.writeIntBE(0x1234567890ab, 0, 6);

// Prints: <Buffer 12 34 56 78 90 ab>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeIntLE(0x1234567890ab, 0, 6);

// Prints: <Buffer ab 90 78 56 34 12>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUInt8(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 1.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset. value should be a valid unsigned 8-bit integer. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than an unsigned 8-bit integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(4);

buf.writeUInt8(0x3, 0);
buf.writeUInt8(0x4, 1);
buf.writeUInt8(0x23, 2);
buf.writeUInt8(0x42, 3);

// Prints: <Buffer 03 04 23 42>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUInt16BE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

buf.writeUInt16LE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 2.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (writeUInt16BE() writes big endian, writeUInt16LE() writes little endian). value should be a valid unsigned 16-bit integer. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than an unsigned 16-bit integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(4);

buf.writeUInt16BE(0xdead, 0);
buf.writeUInt16BE(0xbeef, 2);

// Prints: <Buffer de ad be ef>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUInt16LE(0xdead, 0);
buf.writeUInt16LE(0xbeef, 2);

// Prints: <Buffer ad de ef be>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUInt32BE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

buf.writeUInt32LE(value, offset[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - 4.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value and offset validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes value to buf at the specified offset with specified endian format (writeUInt32BE() writes big endian, writeUInt32LE() writes little endian). value should be a valid unsigned 32-bit integer. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than an unsigned 32-bit integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(4);

buf.writeUInt32BE(0xfeedface, 0);

// Prints: <Buffer fe ed fa ce>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUInt32LE(0xfeedface, 0);

// Prints: <Buffer ce fa ed fe>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUIntBE(value, offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

buf.writeUIntLE(value, offset, byteLength[, noAssert])#

  • value <integer> Number to be written to buf.
  • offset <integer> Number of bytes to skip before starting to write. Must satisfy: 0 <= offset <= buf.length - byteLength.
  • byteLength <integer> Number of bytes to write. Must satisfy: 0 < byteLength <= 6.
  • noAssert <boolean> Skip value, offset, and byteLength validation? Default: false
  • Returns: <integer> offset plus the number of bytes written.

Writes byteLength bytes of value to buf at the specified offset. Supports up to 48 bits of accuracy. Behavior is undefined when value is anything other than an unsigned integer.

Setting noAssert to true allows the encoded form of value to extend beyond the end of buf, but the result should be considered undefined behavior.

Examples:

const buf = Buffer.allocUnsafe(6);

buf.writeUIntBE(0x1234567890ab, 0, 6);

// Prints: <Buffer 12 34 56 78 90 ab>
console.log(buf);

buf.writeUIntLE(0x1234567890ab, 0, 6);

// Prints: <Buffer ab 90 78 56 34 12>
console.log(buf);

buffer.INSPECT_MAX_BYTES#

Returns the maximum number of bytes that will be returned when buf.inspect() is called. This can be overridden by user modules. See util.inspect() for more details on buf.inspect() behavior.

Note that this is a property on the buffer module returned by require('buffer'), not on the Buffer global or a Buffer instance.

buffer.kMaxLength#

  • <integer> The largest size allowed for a single Buffer instance.

An alias for buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH

Note that this is a property on the buffer module returned by require('buffer'), not on the Buffer global or a Buffer instance.

buffer.transcode(source, fromEnc, toEnc)#

Re-encodes the given Buffer or Uint8Array instance from one character encoding to another. Returns a new Buffer instance.

Throws if the fromEnc or toEnc specify invalid character encodings or if conversion from fromEnc to toEnc is not permitted.

The transcoding process will use substitution characters if a given byte sequence cannot be adequately represented in the target encoding. For instance:

const buffer = require('buffer');

const newBuf = buffer.transcode(Buffer.from('€'), 'utf8', 'ascii');
console.log(newBuf.toString('ascii'));
// Prints: '?'

Because the Euro () sign is not representable in US-ASCII, it is replaced with ? in the transcoded Buffer.

Note that this is a property on the buffer module returned by require('buffer'), not on the Buffer global or a Buffer instance.

Class: SlowBuffer#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() instead.

Returns an un-pooled Buffer.

In order to avoid the garbage collection overhead of creating many individually allocated Buffer instances, by default allocations under 4KB are sliced from a single larger allocated object. This approach improves both performance and memory usage since v8 does not need to track and cleanup as many Persistent objects.

In the case where a developer may need to retain a small chunk of memory from a pool for an indeterminate amount of time, it may be appropriate to create an un-pooled Buffer instance using SlowBuffer then copy out the relevant bits.

Example:

// Need to keep around a few small chunks of memory
const store = [];

socket.on('readable', () => {
  const data = socket.read();

  // Allocate for retained data
  const sb = SlowBuffer(10);

  // Copy the data into the new allocation
  data.copy(sb, 0, 0, 10);

  store.push(sb);
});

Use of SlowBuffer should be used only as a last resort after a developer has observed undue memory retention in their applications.

new SlowBuffer(size)#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow() instead.
  • size <integer> The desired length of the new SlowBuffer.

Allocates a new Buffer of size bytes. If the size is larger than buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH or smaller than 0, a RangeError will be thrown. A zero-length Buffer will be created if size is 0.

The underlying memory for SlowBuffer instances is not initialized. The contents of a newly created SlowBuffer are unknown and may contain sensitive data. Use buf.fill(0) to initialize a SlowBuffer to zeroes.

Example:

const { SlowBuffer } = require('buffer');

const buf = new SlowBuffer(5);

// Prints: (contents may vary): <Buffer 78 e0 82 02 01>
console.log(buf);

buf.fill(0);

// Prints: <Buffer 00 00 00 00 00>
console.log(buf);

Buffer Constants#

Note that buffer.constants is a property on the buffer module returned by require('buffer'), not on the Buffer global or a Buffer instance.

buffer.constants.MAX_LENGTH#

  • <integer> The largest size allowed for a single Buffer instance.

On 32-bit architectures, this value is (2^30)-1 (~1GB). On 64-bit architectures, this value is (2^31)-1 (~2GB).

This value is also available as buffer.kMaxLength.

buffer.constants.MAX_STRING_LENGTH#

  • <integer> The largest length allowed for a single string instance.

Represents the largest length that a string primitive can have, counted in UTF-16 code units.

This value may depend on the JS engine that is being used.

C++ Addons#

Node.js Addons are dynamically-linked shared objects, written in C++, that can be loaded into Node.js using the require() function, and used just as if they were an ordinary Node.js module. They are used primarily to provide an interface between JavaScript running in Node.js and C/C++ libraries.

At the moment, the method for implementing Addons is rather complicated, involving knowledge of several components and APIs :

  • V8: the C++ library Node.js currently uses to provide the JavaScript implementation. V8 provides the mechanisms for creating objects, calling functions, etc. V8's API is documented mostly in the v8.h header file (deps/v8/include/v8.h in the Node.js source tree), which is also available online.

  • libuv: The C library that implements the Node.js event loop, its worker threads and all of the asynchronous behaviors of the platform. It also serves as a cross-platform abstraction library, giving easy, POSIX-like access across all major operating systems to many common system tasks, such as interacting with the filesystem, sockets, timers and system events. libuv also provides a pthreads-like threading abstraction that may be used to power more sophisticated asynchronous Addons that need to move beyond the standard event loop. Addon authors are encouraged to think about how to avoid blocking the event loop with I/O or other time-intensive tasks by off-loading work via libuv to non-blocking system operations, worker threads or a custom use of libuv's threads.

  • Internal Node.js libraries. Node.js itself exports a number of C++ APIs that Addons can use — the most important of which is the node::ObjectWrap class.

  • Node.js includes a number of other statically linked libraries including OpenSSL. These other libraries are located in the deps/ directory in the Node.js source tree. Only the V8 and OpenSSL symbols are purposefully re-exported by Node.js and may be used to various extents by Addons. See Linking to Node.js' own dependencies for additional information.

All of the following examples are available for download and may be used as the starting-point for an Addon.

Hello world#

This "Hello world" example is a simple Addon, written in C++, that is the equivalent of the following JavaScript code:

module.exports.hello = () => 'world';

First, create the file hello.cc:

// hello.cc
#include <node.h>

namespace demo {

using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

void Method(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();
  args.GetReturnValue().Set(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "world"));
}

void init(Local<Object> exports) {
  NODE_SET_METHOD(exports, "hello", Method);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, init)

}  // namespace demo

Note that all Node.js Addons must export an initialization function following the pattern:

void Initialize(Local<Object> exports);
NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Initialize)

There is no semi-colon after NODE_MODULE as it's not a function (see node.h).

The module_name must match the filename of the final binary (excluding the .node suffix).

In the hello.cc example, then, the initialization function is init and the Addon module name is addon.

Building#

Once the source code has been written, it must be compiled into the binary addon.node file. To do so, create a file called binding.gyp in the top-level of the project describing the build configuration of the module using a JSON-like format. This file is used by node-gyp -- a tool written specifically to compile Node.js Addons.

{
  "targets": [
    {
      "target_name": "addon",
      "sources": [ "hello.cc" ]
    }
  ]
}

Note: A version of the node-gyp utility is bundled and distributed with Node.js as part of npm. This version is not made directly available for developers to use and is intended only to support the ability to use the npm install command to compile and install Addons. Developers who wish to use node-gyp directly can install it using the command npm install -g node-gyp. See the node-gyp installation instructions for more information, including platform-specific requirements.

Once the binding.gyp file has been created, use node-gyp configure to generate the appropriate project build files for the current platform. This will generate either a Makefile (on Unix platforms) or a vcxproj file (on Windows) in the build/ directory.

Next, invoke the node-gyp build command to generate the compiled addon.node file. This will be put into the build/Release/ directory.

When using npm install to install a Node.js Addon, npm uses its own bundled version of node-gyp to perform this same set of actions, generating a compiled version of the Addon for the user's platform on demand.

Once built, the binary Addon can be used from within Node.js by pointing require() to the built addon.node module:

// hello.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

console.log(addon.hello());
// Prints: 'world'

Please see the examples below for further information or https://github.com/arturadib/node-qt for an example in production.

Because the exact path to the compiled Addon binary can vary depending on how it is compiled (i.e. sometimes it may be in ./build/Debug/), Addons can use the bindings package to load the compiled module.

Note that while the bindings package implementation is more sophisticated in how it locates Addon modules, it is essentially using a try-catch pattern similar to:

try {
  return require('./build/Release/addon.node');
} catch (err) {
  return require('./build/Debug/addon.node');
}

Linking to Node.js' own dependencies#

Node.js uses a number of statically linked libraries such as V8, libuv and OpenSSL. All Addons are required to link to V8 and may link to any of the other dependencies as well. Typically, this is as simple as including the appropriate #include <...> statements (e.g. #include <v8.h>) and node-gyp will locate the appropriate headers automatically. However, there are a few caveats to be aware of:

  • When node-gyp runs, it will detect the specific release version of Node.js and download either the full source tarball or just the headers. If the full source is downloaded, Addons will have complete access to the full set of Node.js dependencies. However, if only the Node.js headers are downloaded, then only the symbols exported by Node.js will be available.

  • node-gyp can be run using the --nodedir flag pointing at a local Node.js source image. Using this option, the Addon will have access to the full set of dependencies.

Loading Addons using require()#

The filename extension of the compiled Addon binary is .node (as opposed to .dll or .so). The require() function is written to look for files with the .node file extension and initialize those as dynamically-linked libraries.

When calling require(), the .node extension can usually be omitted and Node.js will still find and initialize the Addon. One caveat, however, is that Node.js will first attempt to locate and load modules or JavaScript files that happen to share the same base name. For instance, if there is a file addon.js in the same directory as the binary addon.node, then require('addon') will give precedence to the addon.js file and load it instead.

Native Abstractions for Node.js#

Each of the examples illustrated in this document make direct use of the Node.js and V8 APIs for implementing Addons. It is important to understand that the V8 API can, and has, changed dramatically from one V8 release to the next (and one major Node.js release to the next). With each change, Addons may need to be updated and recompiled in order to continue functioning. The Node.js release schedule is designed to minimize the frequency and impact of such changes but there is little that Node.js can do currently to ensure stability of the V8 APIs.

The Native Abstractions for Node.js (or nan) provide a set of tools that Addon developers are recommended to use to keep compatibility between past and future releases of V8 and Node.js. See the nan examples for an illustration of how it can be used.

N-API#

Stability: 1 - Experimental

N-API is an API for building native Addons. It is independent from the underlying JavaScript runtime (ex V8) and is maintained as part of Node.js itself. This API will be Application Binary Interface (ABI) stable across version of Node.js. It is intended to insulate Addons from changes in the underlying JavaScript engine and allow modules compiled for one version to run on later versions of Node.js without recompilation. Addons are built/packaged with the same approach/tools outlined in this document (node-gyp, etc.). The only difference is the set of APIs that are used by the native code. Instead of using the V8 or Native Abstractions for Node.js APIs, the functions available in the N-API are used.

The functions available and how to use them are documented in the section titled C/C++ Addons - N-API.

Addon examples#

Following are some example Addons intended to help developers get started. The examples make use of the V8 APIs. Refer to the online V8 reference for help with the various V8 calls, and V8's Embedder's Guide for an explanation of several concepts used such as handles, scopes, function templates, etc.

Each of these examples using the following binding.gyp file:

{
  "targets": [
    {
      "target_name": "addon",
      "sources": [ "addon.cc" ]
    }
  ]
}

In cases where there is more than one .cc file, simply add the additional filename to the sources array. For example:

"sources": ["addon.cc", "myexample.cc"]

Once the binding.gyp file is ready, the example Addons can be configured and built using node-gyp:

$ node-gyp configure build

Function arguments#

Addons will typically expose objects and functions that can be accessed from JavaScript running within Node.js. When functions are invoked from JavaScript, the input arguments and return value must be mapped to and from the C/C++ code.

The following example illustrates how to read function arguments passed from JavaScript and how to return a result:

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>

namespace demo {

using v8::Exception;
using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Number;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

// This is the implementation of the "add" method
// Input arguments are passed using the
// const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args struct
void Add(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  // Check the number of arguments passed.
  if (args.Length() < 2) {
    // Throw an Error that is passed back to JavaScript
    isolate->ThrowException(Exception::TypeError(
        String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "Wrong number of arguments")));
    return;
  }

  // Check the argument types
  if (!args[0]->IsNumber() || !args[1]->IsNumber()) {
    isolate->ThrowException(Exception::TypeError(
        String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "Wrong arguments")));
    return;
  }

  // Perform the operation
  double value = args[0]->NumberValue() + args[1]->NumberValue();
  Local<Number> num = Number::New(isolate, value);

  // Set the return value (using the passed in
  // FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>&)
  args.GetReturnValue().Set(num);
}

void Init(Local<Object> exports) {
  NODE_SET_METHOD(exports, "add", Add);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Init)

}  // namespace demo

Once compiled, the example Addon can be required and used from within Node.js:

// test.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

console.log('This should be eight:', addon.add(3, 5));

Callbacks#

It is common practice within Addons to pass JavaScript functions to a C++ function and execute them from there. The following example illustrates how to invoke such callbacks:

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>

namespace demo {

using v8::Function;
using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Null;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

void RunCallback(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();
  Local<Function> cb = Local<Function>::Cast(args[0]);
  const unsigned argc = 1;
  Local<Value> argv[argc] = { String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "hello world") };
  cb->Call(Null(isolate), argc, argv);
}

void Init(Local<Object> exports, Local<Object> module) {
  NODE_SET_METHOD(module, "exports", RunCallback);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Init)

}  // namespace demo

Note that this example uses a two-argument form of Init() that receives the full module object as the second argument. This allows the Addon to completely overwrite exports with a single function instead of adding the function as a property of exports.

To test it, run the following JavaScript:

// test.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

addon((msg) => {
  console.log(msg);
// Prints: 'hello world'
});

Note that, in this example, the callback function is invoked synchronously.

Object factory#

Addons can create and return new objects from within a C++ function as illustrated in the following example. An object is created and returned with a property msg that echoes the string passed to createObject():

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>

namespace demo {

using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

void CreateObject(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  Local<Object> obj = Object::New(isolate);
  obj->Set(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "msg"), args[0]->ToString());

  args.GetReturnValue().Set(obj);
}

void Init(Local<Object> exports, Local<Object> module) {
  NODE_SET_METHOD(module, "exports", CreateObject);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Init)

}  // namespace demo

To test it in JavaScript:

// test.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

const obj1 = addon('hello');
const obj2 = addon('world');
console.log(obj1.msg, obj2.msg);
// Prints: 'hello world'

Function factory#

Another common scenario is creating JavaScript functions that wrap C++ functions and returning those back to JavaScript:

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>

namespace demo {

using v8::Function;
using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::FunctionTemplate;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

void MyFunction(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();
  args.GetReturnValue().Set(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "hello world"));
}

void CreateFunction(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  Local<FunctionTemplate> tpl = FunctionTemplate::New(isolate, MyFunction);
  Local<Function> fn = tpl->GetFunction();

  // omit this to make it anonymous
  fn->SetName(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "theFunction"));

  args.GetReturnValue().Set(fn);
}

void Init(Local<Object> exports, Local<Object> module) {
  NODE_SET_METHOD(module, "exports", CreateFunction);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Init)

}  // namespace demo

To test:

// test.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

const fn = addon();
console.log(fn());
// Prints: 'hello world'

Wrapping C++ objects#

It is also possible to wrap C++ objects/classes in a way that allows new instances to be created using the JavaScript new operator:

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>
#include "myobject.h"

namespace demo {

using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;

void InitAll(Local<Object> exports) {
  MyObject::Init(exports);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, InitAll)

}  // namespace demo

Then, in myobject.h, the wrapper class inherits from node::ObjectWrap:

// myobject.h
#ifndef MYOBJECT_H
#define MYOBJECT_H

#include <node.h>
#include <node_object_wrap.h>

namespace demo {

class MyObject : public node::ObjectWrap {
 public:
  static void Init(v8::Local<v8::Object> exports);

 private:
  explicit MyObject(double value = 0);
  ~MyObject();

  static void New(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);
  static void PlusOne(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);
  static v8::Persistent<v8::Function> constructor;
  double value_;
};

}  // namespace demo

#endif

In myobject.cc, implement the various methods that are to be exposed. Below, the method plusOne() is exposed by adding it to the constructor's prototype:

// myobject.cc
#include "myobject.h"

namespace demo {

using v8::Context;
using v8::Function;
using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::FunctionTemplate;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Number;
using v8::Object;
using v8::Persistent;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

Persistent<Function> MyObject::constructor;

MyObject::MyObject(double value) : value_(value) {
}

MyObject::~MyObject() {
}

void MyObject::Init(Local<Object> exports) {
  Isolate* isolate = exports->GetIsolate();

  // Prepare constructor template
  Local<FunctionTemplate> tpl = FunctionTemplate::New(isolate, New);
  tpl->SetClassName(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "MyObject"));
  tpl->InstanceTemplate()->SetInternalFieldCount(1);

  // Prototype
  NODE_SET_PROTOTYPE_METHOD(tpl, "plusOne", PlusOne);

  constructor.Reset(isolate, tpl->GetFunction());
  exports->Set(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "MyObject"),
               tpl->GetFunction());
}

void MyObject::New(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  if (args.IsConstructCall()) {
    // Invoked as constructor: `new MyObject(...)`
    double value = args[0]->IsUndefined() ? 0 : args[0]->NumberValue();
    MyObject* obj = new MyObject(value);
    obj->Wrap(args.This());
    args.GetReturnValue().Set(args.This());
  } else {
    // Invoked as plain function `MyObject(...)`, turn into construct call.
    const int argc = 1;
    Local<Value> argv[argc] = { args[0] };
    Local<Context> context = isolate->GetCurrentContext();
    Local<Function> cons = Local<Function>::New(isolate, constructor);
    Local<Object> result =
        cons->NewInstance(context, argc, argv).ToLocalChecked();
    args.GetReturnValue().Set(result);
  }
}

void MyObject::PlusOne(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  MyObject* obj = ObjectWrap::Unwrap<MyObject>(args.Holder());
  obj->value_ += 1;

  args.GetReturnValue().Set(Number::New(isolate, obj->value_));
}

}  // namespace demo

To build this example, the myobject.cc file must be added to the binding.gyp:

{
  "targets": [
    {
      "target_name": "addon",
      "sources": [
        "addon.cc",
        "myobject.cc"
      ]
    }
  ]
}

Test it with:

// test.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

const obj = new addon.MyObject(10);
console.log(obj.plusOne());
// Prints: 11
console.log(obj.plusOne());
// Prints: 12
console.log(obj.plusOne());
// Prints: 13

Factory of wrapped objects#

Alternatively, it is possible to use a factory pattern to avoid explicitly creating object instances using the JavaScript new operator:

const obj = addon.createObject();
// instead of:
// const obj = new addon.Object();

First, the createObject() method is implemented in addon.cc:

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>
#include "myobject.h"

namespace demo {

using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

void CreateObject(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  MyObject::NewInstance(args);
}

void InitAll(Local<Object> exports, Local<Object> module) {
  MyObject::Init(exports->GetIsolate());

  NODE_SET_METHOD(module, "exports", CreateObject);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, InitAll)

}  // namespace demo

In myobject.h, the static method NewInstance() is added to handle instantiating the object. This method takes the place of using new in JavaScript:

// myobject.h
#ifndef MYOBJECT_H
#define MYOBJECT_H

#include <node.h>
#include <node_object_wrap.h>

namespace demo {

class MyObject : public node::ObjectWrap {
 public:
  static void Init(v8::Isolate* isolate);
  static void NewInstance(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);

 private:
  explicit MyObject(double value = 0);
  ~MyObject();

  static void New(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);
  static void PlusOne(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);
  static v8::Persistent<v8::Function> constructor;
  double value_;
};

}  // namespace demo

#endif

The implementation in myobject.cc is similar to the previous example:

// myobject.cc
#include <node.h>
#include "myobject.h"

namespace demo {

using v8::Context;
using v8::Function;
using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::FunctionTemplate;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Number;
using v8::Object;
using v8::Persistent;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

Persistent<Function> MyObject::constructor;

MyObject::MyObject(double value) : value_(value) {
}

MyObject::~MyObject() {
}

void MyObject::Init(Isolate* isolate) {
  // Prepare constructor template
  Local<FunctionTemplate> tpl = FunctionTemplate::New(isolate, New);
  tpl->SetClassName(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "MyObject"));
  tpl->InstanceTemplate()->SetInternalFieldCount(1);

  // Prototype
  NODE_SET_PROTOTYPE_METHOD(tpl, "plusOne", PlusOne);

  constructor.Reset(isolate, tpl->GetFunction());
}

void MyObject::New(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  if (args.IsConstructCall()) {
    // Invoked as constructor: `new MyObject(...)`
    double value = args[0]->IsUndefined() ? 0 : args[0]->NumberValue();
    MyObject* obj = new MyObject(value);
    obj->Wrap(args.This());
    args.GetReturnValue().Set(args.This());
  } else {
    // Invoked as plain function `MyObject(...)`, turn into construct call.
    const int argc = 1;
    Local<Value> argv[argc] = { args[0] };
    Local<Function> cons = Local<Function>::New(isolate, constructor);
    Local<Context> context = isolate->GetCurrentContext();
    Local<Object> instance =
        cons->NewInstance(context, argc, argv).ToLocalChecked();
    args.GetReturnValue().Set(instance);
  }
}

void MyObject::NewInstance(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  const unsigned argc = 1;
  Local<Value> argv[argc] = { args[0] };
  Local<Function> cons = Local<Function>::New(isolate, constructor);
  Local<Context> context = isolate->GetCurrentContext();
  Local<Object> instance =
      cons->NewInstance(context, argc, argv).ToLocalChecked();

  args.GetReturnValue().Set(instance);
}

void MyObject::PlusOne(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  MyObject* obj = ObjectWrap::Unwrap<MyObject>(args.Holder());
  obj->value_ += 1;

  args.GetReturnValue().Set(Number::New(isolate, obj->value_));
}

}  // namespace demo

Once again, to build this example, the myobject.cc file must be added to the binding.gyp:

{
  "targets": [
    {
      "target_name": "addon",
      "sources": [
        "addon.cc",
        "myobject.cc"
      ]
    }
  ]
}

Test it with:

// test.js
const createObject = require('./build/Release/addon');

const obj = createObject(10);
console.log(obj.plusOne());
// Prints: 11
console.log(obj.plusOne());
// Prints: 12
console.log(obj.plusOne());
// Prints: 13

const obj2 = createObject(20);
console.log(obj2.plusOne());
// Prints: 21
console.log(obj2.plusOne());
// Prints: 22
console.log(obj2.plusOne());
// Prints: 23

Passing wrapped objects around#

In addition to wrapping and returning C++ objects, it is possible to pass wrapped objects around by unwrapping them with the Node.js helper function node::ObjectWrap::Unwrap. The following examples shows a function add() that can take two MyObject objects as input arguments:

// addon.cc
#include <node.h>
#include <node_object_wrap.h>
#include "myobject.h"

namespace demo {

using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Number;
using v8::Object;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

void CreateObject(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  MyObject::NewInstance(args);
}

void Add(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  MyObject* obj1 = node::ObjectWrap::Unwrap<MyObject>(
      args[0]->ToObject());
  MyObject* obj2 = node::ObjectWrap::Unwrap<MyObject>(
      args[1]->ToObject());

  double sum = obj1->value() + obj2->value();
  args.GetReturnValue().Set(Number::New(isolate, sum));
}

void InitAll(Local<Object> exports) {
  MyObject::Init(exports->GetIsolate());

  NODE_SET_METHOD(exports, "createObject", CreateObject);
  NODE_SET_METHOD(exports, "add", Add);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, InitAll)

}  // namespace demo

In myobject.h, a new public method is added to allow access to private values after unwrapping the object.

// myobject.h
#ifndef MYOBJECT_H
#define MYOBJECT_H

#include <node.h>
#include <node_object_wrap.h>

namespace demo {

class MyObject : public node::ObjectWrap {
 public:
  static void Init(v8::Isolate* isolate);
  static void NewInstance(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);
  inline double value() const { return value_; }

 private:
  explicit MyObject(double value = 0);
  ~MyObject();

  static void New(const v8::FunctionCallbackInfo<v8::Value>& args);
  static v8::Persistent<v8::Function> constructor;
  double value_;
};

}  // namespace demo

#endif

The implementation of myobject.cc is similar to before:

// myobject.cc
#include <node.h>
#include "myobject.h"

namespace demo {

using v8::Context;
using v8::Function;
using v8::FunctionCallbackInfo;
using v8::FunctionTemplate;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;
using v8::Persistent;
using v8::String;
using v8::Value;

Persistent<Function> MyObject::constructor;

MyObject::MyObject(double value) : value_(value) {
}

MyObject::~MyObject() {
}

void MyObject::Init(Isolate* isolate) {
  // Prepare constructor template
  Local<FunctionTemplate> tpl = FunctionTemplate::New(isolate, New);
  tpl->SetClassName(String::NewFromUtf8(isolate, "MyObject"));
  tpl->InstanceTemplate()->SetInternalFieldCount(1);

  constructor.Reset(isolate, tpl->GetFunction());
}

void MyObject::New(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  if (args.IsConstructCall()) {
    // Invoked as constructor: `new MyObject(...)`
    double value = args[0]->IsUndefined() ? 0 : args[0]->NumberValue();
    MyObject* obj = new MyObject(value);
    obj->Wrap(args.This());
    args.GetReturnValue().Set(args.This());
  } else {
    // Invoked as plain function `MyObject(...)`, turn into construct call.
    const int argc = 1;
    Local<Value> argv[argc] = { args[0] };
    Local<Context> context = isolate->GetCurrentContext();
    Local<Function> cons = Local<Function>::New(isolate, constructor);
    Local<Object> instance =
        cons->NewInstance(context, argc, argv).ToLocalChecked();
    args.GetReturnValue().Set(instance);
  }
}

void MyObject::NewInstance(const FunctionCallbackInfo<Value>& args) {
  Isolate* isolate = args.GetIsolate();

  const unsigned argc = 1;
  Local<Value> argv[argc] = { args[0] };
  Local<Function> cons = Local<Function>::New(isolate, constructor);
  Local<Context> context = isolate->GetCurrentContext();
  Local<Object> instance =
      cons->NewInstance(context, argc, argv).ToLocalChecked();

  args.GetReturnValue().Set(instance);
}

}  // namespace demo

Test it with:

// test.js
const addon = require('./build/Release/addon');

const obj1 = addon.createObject(10);
const obj2 = addon.createObject(20);
const result = addon.add(obj1, obj2);

console.log(result);
// Prints: 30

AtExit hooks#

An "AtExit" hook is a function that is invoked after the Node.js event loop has ended but before the JavaScript VM is terminated and Node.js shuts down. "AtExit" hooks are registered using the node::AtExit API.

void AtExit(callback, args)#

  • callback <void (*)(void*)> A pointer to the function to call at exit.
  • args <void*> A pointer to pass to the callback at exit.

Registers exit hooks that run after the event loop has ended but before the VM is killed.

AtExit takes two parameters: a pointer to a callback function to run at exit, and a pointer to untyped context data to be passed to that callback.

Callbacks are run in last-in first-out order.

The following addon.cc implements AtExit:

// addon.cc
#include <assert.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <node.h>

namespace demo {

using node::AtExit;
using v8::HandleScope;
using v8::Isolate;
using v8::Local;
using v8::Object;

static char cookie[] = "yum yum";
static int at_exit_cb1_called = 0;
static int at_exit_cb2_called = 0;

static void at_exit_cb1(void* arg) {
  Isolate* isolate = static_cast<Isolate*>(arg);
  HandleScope scope(isolate);
  Local<Object> obj = Object::New(isolate);
  assert(!obj.IsEmpty());  // assert VM is still alive
  assert(obj->IsObject());
  at_exit_cb1_called++;
}

static void at_exit_cb2(void* arg) {
  assert(arg == static_cast<void*>(cookie));
  at_exit_cb2_called++;
}

static void sanity_check(void*) {
  assert(at_exit_cb1_called == 1);
  assert(at_exit_cb2_called == 2);
}

void init(Local<Object> exports) {
  AtExit(at_exit_cb2, cookie);
  AtExit(at_exit_cb2, cookie);
  AtExit(at_exit_cb1, exports->GetIsolate());
  AtExit(sanity_check);
}

NODE_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, init)

}  // namespace demo

Test in JavaScript by running:

// test.js
require('./build/Release/addon');

N-API#

Stability: 1 - Experimental

N-API (pronounced N as in the letter, followed by API) is an API for building native Addons. It is independent from the underlying JavaScript runtime (ex V8) and is maintained as part of Node.js itself. This API will be Application Binary Interface (ABI) stable across versions of Node.js. It is intended to insulate Addons from changes in the underlying JavaScript engine and allow modules compiled for one version to run on later versions of Node.js without recompilation.

Addons are built/packaged with the same approach/tools outlined in the section titled C++ Addons. The only difference is the set of APIs that are used by the native code. Instead of using the V8 or Native Abstractions for Node.js APIs, the functions available in the N-API are used.

APIs exposed by N-API are generally used to create and manipulate JavaScript values. Concepts and operations generally map to ideas specified in the ECMA262 Language Specification. The APIs have the following properties:

  • All N-API calls return a status code of type napi_status. This status indicates whether the API call succeeded or failed.
  • The API's return value is passed via an out parameter.
  • All JavaScript values are abstracted behind an opaque type named napi_value.
  • In case of an error status code, additional information can be obtained using napi_get_last_error_info. More information can be found in the error handling section Error Handling.

The documentation for N-API is structured as follows:

The N-API is a C API that ensures ABI stability across Node.js versions and different compiler levels. However, we also understand that a C++ API can be easier to use in many cases. To support these cases we expect there to be one or more C++ wrapper modules that provide an inlineable C++ API. Binaries built with these wrapper modules will depend on the symbols for the N-API C based functions exported by Node.js. These wrappers are not part of N-API, nor will they be maintained as part of Node.js. One such example is: node-api.

In order to use the N-API functions, include the file node_api.h which is located in the src directory in the node development tree. For example:

#include <node_api.h>

Basic N-API Data Types#

N-API exposes the following fundamental datatypes as abstractions that are consumed by the various APIs. These APIs should be treated as opaque, introspectable only with other N-API calls.

napi_status#

Integral status code indicating the success or failure of a N-API call. Currently, the following status codes are supported.

typedef enum {
  napi_ok,
  napi_invalid_arg,
  napi_object_expected,
  napi_string_expected,
  napi_name_expected,
  napi_function_expected,
  napi_number_expected,
  napi_boolean_expected,
  napi_array_expected,
  napi_generic_failure,
  napi_pending_exception,
  napi_cancelled,
  napi_status_last
} napi_status;

If additional information is required upon an API returning a failed status, it can be obtained by calling napi_get_last_error_info.

napi_extended_error_info#

typedef struct {
  const char* error_message;
  void* engine_reserved;
  uint32_t engine_error_code;
  napi_status error_code;
} napi_extended_error_info;
  • error_message: UTF8-encoded string containing a VM-neutral description of the error.
  • engine_reserved: Reserved for VM-specific error details. This is currently not implemented for any VM.
  • engine_error_code: VM-specific error code. This is currently not implemented for any VM.
  • error_code: The N-API status code that originated with the last error.

See the Error Handling section for additional information.

napi_env#

napi_env is used to represent a context that the underlying N-API implementation can use to persist VM-specific state. This structure is passed to native functions when they're invoked, and it must be passed back when making N-API calls. Specifically, the same napi_env that was passed in when the initial native function was called must be passed to any subsequent nested N-API calls. Caching the napi_env for the purpose of general reuse is not allowed.

napi_value#

This is an opaque pointer that is used to represent a JavaScript value.

N-API Memory Management types#

napi_handle_scope#

This is an abstraction used to control and modify the lifetime of objects created within a particular scope. In general, N-API values are created within the context of a handle scope. When a native method is called from JavaScript, a default handle scope will exist. If the user does not explicitly create a new handle scope, N-API values will be created in the default handle scope. For any invocations of code outside the execution of a native method (for instance, during a libuv callback invocation), the module is required to create a scope before invoking any functions that can result in the creation of JavaScript values.

Handle scopes are created using napi_open_handle_scope and are destroyed using napi_close_handle_scope. Closing the scope can indicate to the GC that all napi_values created during the lifetime of the handle scope are no longer referenced from the current stack frame.

For more details, review the Object Lifetime Management.

napi_escapable_handle_scope#

Escapable handle scopes are a special type of handle scope to return values created within a particular handle scope to a parent scope.

napi_ref#

This is the abstraction to use to reference a napi_value. This allows for users to manage the lifetimes of JavaScript values, including defining their minimum lifetimes explicitly.

For more details, review the Object Lifetime Management.

N-API Callback types#

napi_callback_info#

Opaque datatype that is passed to a callback function. It can be used for getting additional information about the context in which the callback was invoked.

napi_callback#

Function pointer type for user-provided native functions which are to be exposed to JavaScript via N-API. Callback functions should satisfy the following signature:

typedef napi_value (*napi_callback)(napi_env, napi_callback_info);

napi_finalize#

Function pointer type for add-on provided functions that allow the user to be notified when externally-owned data is ready to be cleaned up because the object with which it was associated with, has been garbage-collected. The user must provide a function satisfying the following signature which would get called upon the object's collection. Currently, napi_finalize can be used for finding out when objects that have external data are collected.

typedef void (*napi_finalize)(napi_env env,
                              void* finalize_data,
                              void* finalize_hint);

napi_async_execute_callback#

Function pointer used with functions that support asynchronous operations. Callback functions must statisfy the following signature:

typedef void (*napi_async_execute_callback)(napi_env env, void* data);

napi_async_complete_callback#

Function pointer used with functions that support asynchronous operations. Callback functions must statisfy the following signature:

typedef void (*napi_async_complete_callback)(napi_env env,
                                             napi_status status,
                                             void* data);

Error Handling#

N-API uses both return values and Javascript exceptions for error handling. The following sections explain the approach for each case.

Return values#

All of the N-API functions share the same error handling pattern. The return type of all API functions is napi_status.

The return value will be napi_ok if the request was successful and no uncaught JavaScript exception was thrown. If an error occurred AND an exception was thrown, the napi_status value for the error will be returned. If an exception was thrown, and no error occurred, napi_pending_exception will be returned.

In cases where a return value other than napi_ok or napi_pending_exception is returned, napi_is_exception_pending must be called to check if an exception is pending. See the section on exceptions for more details.

The full set of possible napi_status values is defined in napi_api_types.h.

The napi_status return value provides a VM-independent representation of the error which occurred. In some cases it is useful to be able to get more detailed information, including a string representing the error as well as VM (engine)-specific information.

In order to retrieve this information napi_get_last_error_info is provided which returns a napi_extended_error_info structure. The format of the napi_extended_error_info structure is as follows:

typedef struct napi_extended_error_info {
  const char* error_message;
  void* engine_reserved;
  uint32_t engine_error_code;
  napi_status error_code;
};
  • error_message: Textual representation of the error that occurred.
  • engine_reserved: Opaque handle reserved for engine use only.
  • engine_error_code: VM specific error code.
  • error_code: n-api status code for the last error.

napi_get_last_error_info returns the information for the last N-API call that was made.

Note: Do not rely on the content or format of any of the extended information as it is not subject to SemVer and may change at any time. It is intended only for logging purposes.

napi_get_last_error_info#

napi_status
napi_get_last_error_info(napi_env env,
                         const napi_extended_error_info** result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: The napi_extended_error_info structure with more information about the error.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API retrieves a napi_extended_error_info structure with information about the last error that occurred.

Note: The content of the napi_extended_error_info returned is only valid up until an n-api function is called on the same env.

Note: Do not rely on the content or format of any of the extended information as it is not subject to SemVer and may change at any time. It is intended only for logging purposes.

Exceptions#

Any N-API function call may result in a pending JavaScript exception. This is obviously the case for any function that may cause the execution of JavaScript, but N-API specifies that an exception may be pending on return from any of the API functions.

If the napi_status returned by a function is napi_ok then no exception is pending and no additional action is required. If the napi_status returned is anything other than napi_ok or napi_pending_exception, in order to try to recover and continue instead of simply returning immediately, napi_is_exception_pending must be called in order to determine if an exception is pending or not.

When an exception is pending one of two approaches can be employed.

The first approach is to do any appropriate cleanup and then return so that execution will return to JavaScript. As part of the transition back to JavaScript the exception will be thrown at the point in the JavaScript code where the native method was invoked. The behavior of most N-API calls is unspecified while an exception is pending, and many will simply return napi_pending_exception, so it is important to do as little as possible and then return to JavaScript where the exception can be handled.

The second approach is to try to handle the exception. There will be cases where the native code can catch the exception, take the appropriate action, and then continue. This is only recommended in specific cases where it is known that the exception can be safely handled. In these cases napi_get_and_clear_last_exception can be used to get and clear the exception. On success, result will contain the handle to the last JavaScript Object thrown. If it is determined, after retrieving the exception, the exception cannot be handled after all it can be re-thrown it with napi_throw where error is the JavaScript Error object to be thrown.

The following utility functions are also available in case native code needs to throw an exception or determine if a napi_value is an instance of a JavaScript Error object: napi_throw_error, napi_throw_type_error, napi_throw_range_error and napi_is_error.

The following utility functions are also available in case native code needs to create an Error object: napi_create_error, napi_create_type_error, and napi_create_range_error. where result is the napi_value that refers to the newly created JavaScript Error object.

The Node.js project is adding error codes to all of the errors generated internally. The goal is for applications to use these error codes for all error checking. The associated error messages will remain, but will only be meant to be used for logging and display with the expectation that the message can change without SemVer applying. In order to support this model with N-API, both in internal functionality and for module specific functionality (as its good practice), the throw_ and create_ functions take an optional code parameter which is the string for the code to be added to the error object. If the optional parameter is NULL then no code will be associated with the error. If a code is provided, the name associated with the error is also updated to be:

originalName [code]

where originalName is the original name associated with the error and code is the code that was provided. For example if the code is 'ERR_ERROR_1' and a TypeError is being created the name will be:

TypeError [ERR_ERROR_1]

napi_throw#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_throw(napi_env env, napi_value error);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] error: The napi_value for the Error to be thrown.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API throws the JavaScript Error provided.

napi_throw_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_throw_error(napi_env env,
                                         const char* code,
                                         const char* msg);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] code: Optional error code to be set on the error.
  • [in] msg: C string representing the text to be associated with the error.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API throws a JavaScript Error with the text provided.

napi_throw_type_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_throw_type_error(napi_env env,
                                              const char* code,
                                              const char* msg);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] code: Optional error code to be set on the error.
  • [in] msg: C string representing the text to be associated with the error.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API throws a JavaScript TypeError with the text provided.

napi_throw_range_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_throw_range_error(napi_env env,
                                               const char* code,
                                               const char* msg);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] code: Optional error code to be set on the error.
  • [in] msg: C string representing the text to be associated with the error.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API throws a JavaScript RangeError with the text provided.

napi_is_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_is_error(napi_env env,
                                      napi_value value,
                                      bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] msg: The napi_value to be checked.
  • [out] result: Boolean value that is set to true if napi_value represents an error, false otherwise.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API queries a napi_value to check if it represents an error object.

napi_create_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_create_error(napi_env env,
                                          napi_value code,
                                          napi_value msg,
                                          napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] code: Optional napi_value with the string for the error code to
             be associated with the error.
    
  • [in] msg: napi_value that references a JavaScript String to be used as the message for the Error.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the error created.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns a JavaScript Error with the text provided.

napi_create_type_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_create_type_error(napi_env env,
                                               napi_value code,
                                               napi_value msg,
                                               napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] code: Optional napi_value with the string for the error code to
             be associated with the error.
    
  • [in] msg: napi_value that references a JavaScript String to be used as the message for the Error.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the error created.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns a JavaScript TypeError with the text provided.

napi_create_range_error#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_create_range_error(napi_env env,
                                                napi_value code,
                                                const char* msg,
                                                napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] code: Optional napi_value with the string for the error code to
             be associated with the error.
    
  • [in] msg: napi_value that references a JavaScript String to be used as the message for the Error.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the error created.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns a JavaScript RangeError with the text provided.

napi_get_and_clear_last_exception#

napi_status napi_get_and_clear_last_exception(napi_env env,
                                              napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: The exception if one is pending, NULL otherwise.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns true if an exception is pending.

napi_is_exception_pending#

napi_status napi_is_exception_pending(napi_env env, bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: Boolean value that is set to true if an exception is pending.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns true if an exception is pending.

Fatal Errors#

In the event of an unrecoverable error in a native module, a fatal error can be thrown to immediately terminate the process.

napi_fatal_error#

NAPI_NO_RETURN void napi_fatal_error(const char* location,
                                                 size_t location_len,
                                                 const char* message,
                                                 size_t message_len);
  • [in] location: Optional location at which the error occurred.
  • [in] location_len: The length of the location in bytes, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.
  • [in] message: The message associated with the error.
  • [in] message_len: The length of the message in bytes, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.

The function call does not return, the process will be terminated.

Object Lifetime management#

As N-API calls are made, handles to objects in the heap for the underlying VM may be returned as napi_values. These handles must hold the objects 'live' until they are no longer required by the native code, otherwise the objects could be collected before the native code was finished using them.

As object handles are returned they are associated with a 'scope'. The lifespan for the default scope is tied to the lifespan of the native method call. The result is that, by default, handles remain valid and the objects associated with these handles will be held live for the lifespan of the native method call.

In many cases, however, it is necessary that the handles remain valid for either a shorter or longer lifespan than that of the native method. The sections which follow describe the N-API functions than can be used to change the handle lifespan from the default.

Making handle lifespan shorter than that of the native method#

It is often necessary to make the lifespan of handles shorter than the lifespan of a native method. For example, consider a native method that has a loop which iterates through the elements in a large array:

for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; i++) {
  napi_value result;
  napi_status status = napi_get_element(e object, i, &result);
  if (status != napi_ok) {
    break;
  }
  // do something with element
}

This would result in a large number of handles being created, consuming substantial resources. In addition, even though the native code could only use the most recent handle, all of the associated objects would also be kept alive since they all share the same scope.

To handle this case, N-API provides the ability to establish a new 'scope' to which newly created handles will be associated. Once those handles are no longer required, the scope can be 'closed' and any handles associated with the scope are invalidated. The methods available to open/close scopes are napi_open_handle_scope and napi_close_handle_scope.

N-API only supports a single nested hiearchy of scopes. There is only one active scope at any time, and all new handles will be associated with that scope while it is active. Scopes must be closed in the reverse order from which they are opened. In addition, all scopes created within a native method must be closed before returning from that method.

Taking the earlier example, adding calls to napi_open_handle_scope and napi_close_handle_scope would ensure that at most a single handle is valid throughout the execution of the loop:

for (int i = 0; i < 1000000; i++) {
  napi_handle_scope scope;
  napi_status status = napi_open_handle_scope(env, &scope);
  if (status != napi_ok) {
    break;
  }
  napi_value result;
  status = napi_get_element(e object, i, &result);
  if (status != napi_ok) {
    break;
  }
  // do something with element
  status = napi_close_handle_scope(env, scope);
  if (status != napi_ok) {
    break;
  }
}

When nesting scopes, there are cases where a handle from an inner scope needs to live beyond the lifespan of that scope. N-API supports an 'escapable scope' in order to support this case. An escapable scope allows one handle to be 'promoted' so that it 'escapes' the current scope and the lifespan of the handle changes from the current scope to that of the outer scope.

The methods available to open/close escapable scopes are napi_open_escapable_handle_scope and napi_close_escapable_handle_scope.

The request to promote a handle is made through napi_escape_handle which can only be called once.

napi_open_handle_scope#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_open_handle_scope(napi_env env,
                                               napi_handle_scope* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the new scope.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API open a new scope.

napi_close_handle_scope#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_close_handle_scope(napi_env env,
                                                napi_handle_scope scope);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] scope: napi_value representing the scope to be closed.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API closes the scope passed in. Scopes must be closed in the reverse order from which they were created.

napi_open_escapable_handle_scope#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status
    napi_open_escapable_handle_scope(napi_env env,
                                     napi_handle_scope* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the new scope.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API open a new scope from which one object can be promoted to the outer scope.

napi_close_escapable_handle_scope#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status
    napi_close_escapable_handle_scope(napi_env env,
                                      napi_handle_scope scope);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] scope: napi_value representing the scope to be closed.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API closes the scope passed in. Scopes must be closed in the reverse order from which they were created.

napi_escape_handle#

napi_status napi_escape_handle(napi_env env,
                               napi_escapable_handle_scope scope,
                               napi_value escapee,
                               napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] scope: napi_value representing the current scope.
  • [in] escapee: napi_value representing the JavaScript Object to be escaped.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the handle to the escaped Object in the outer scope.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API promotes the handle to the JavaScript object so that it is valid for the lifetime of the outer scope. It can only be called once per scope. If it is called more than once an error will be returned.

References to objects with a lifespan longer than that of the native method#

In some cases an addon will need to be able to create and reference objects with a lifespan longer than that of a single native method invocation. For example, to create a constructor and later use that constructor in a request to creates instances, it must be possible to reference the constructor object across many different instance creation requests. This would not be possible with a normal handle returned as a napi_value as described in the earlier section. The lifespan of a normal handle is managed by scopes and all scopes must be closed before the end of a native method.

N-API provides methods to create persistent references to an object. Each persistent reference has an associated count with a value of 0 or higher. The count determines if the reference will keep the corresponding object live. References with a count of 0 do not prevent the object from being collected and are often called 'weak' references. Any count greater than 0 will prevent the object from being collected.

References can be created with an initial reference count. The count can then be modified through napi_reference_ref and napi_reference_unref. If an object is collected while the count for a reference is 0, all subsequent calls to get the object associated with the reference napi_get_reference_value will return NULL for the returned napi_value. An attempt to call napi_reference_ref for a reference whose object has been collected will result in an error.

References must be deleted once they are no longer required by the addon. When a reference is deleted it will no longer prevent the corresponding object from being collected. Failure to delete a persistent reference will result in a 'memory leak' with both the native memory for the persistent reference and the corresponding object on the heap being retained forever.

There can be multiple persistent references created which refer to the same object, each of which will either keep the object live or not based on its individual count.

napi_create_reference#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_create_reference(napi_env env,
                                              napi_value value,
                                              int initial_refcount,
                                              napi_ref* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing the Object to which we want a reference.
  • [in] initial_refcount: Initial reference count for the new reference.
  • [out] result: napi_ref pointing to the new reference.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API create a new reference with the specified reference count to the Object passed in.

napi_delete_reference#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_delete_reference(napi_env env, napi_ref ref);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] ref: napi_ref to be deleted.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API deletes the reference passed in.

napi_reference_ref#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_reference_ref(napi_env env,
                                           napi_ref ref,
                                           int* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] ref: napi_ref for which the reference count will be incremented.
  • [out] result: The new reference count.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API increments the reference count for the reference passed in and returns the resulting reference count.

napi_reference_unref#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_reference_unref(napi_env env,
                                             napi_ref ref,
                                             int* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] ref: napi_ref for which the reference count will be decremented.
  • [out] result: The new reference count.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API decrements the reference count for the reference passed in and returns the resulting reference count.

napi_get_reference_value#

NODE_EXTERN napi_status napi_get_reference_value(napi_env env,
                                                 napi_ref ref,
                                                 napi_value* result);

the napi_value passed in or out of these methods is a handle to the object to which the reference is related.

  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] ref: napi_ref for which we requesting the corresponding Object.
  • [out] result: The napi_value for the Object referenced by the napi_ref.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

If still valid, this API returns the napi_value representing the JavaScript Object associated with the napi_ref. Otherise, result will be NULL.

Module registration#

N-API modules are registered in a manner similar to other modules except that instead of using the NODE_MODULE macro the following is used:

NAPI_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Init)

The next difference is the signature for the Init method. For a N-API module it is as follows:

napi_value Init(napi_env env, napi_value exports);

The return value from Init is treated as the exports object for the module. The Init method is passed an empty object via the exports parameter as a convenience. If Init returns NULL, the parameter passed as exports is exported by the module. N-API modules cannot modify the module object but can specify anything as the exports property of the module.

For example, to add the method hello as a function so that it can be called as a method provided by the addon:

napi_value Init(napi_env env, napi_value exports) {
  napi_status status;
  napi_property_descriptor desc =
    {"hello", Method, 0, 0, 0, napi_default, 0};
  if (status != napi_ok) return nullptr;
  status = napi_define_properties(env, exports, 1, &desc);
  if (status != napi_ok) return nullptr;
  return exports;
}

For example, to set a function to be returned by the require() for the addon:

napi_value Init(napi_env env, napi_value exports) {
  napi_value method;
  napi_status status;
  status = napi_create_function(env, "exports", Method, NULL, &method));
  if (status != napi_ok) return nullptr;
  return method;
}

For example, to define a class so that new instances can be created (often used with Object Wrap):

// NOTE: partial example, not all referenced code is included
napi_value Init(napi_env env, napi_value exports) {
  napi_status status;
  napi_property_descriptor properties[] = {
    { "value", nullptr, GetValue, SetValue, 0, napi_default, 0 },
    DECLARE_NAPI_METHOD("plusOne", PlusOne),
    DECLARE_NAPI_METHOD("multiply", Multiply),
  };

  napi_value cons;
  status =
      napi_define_class(env, "MyObject", New, nullptr, 3, properties, &cons);
  if (status != napi_ok) return nullptr;

  status = napi_create_reference(env, cons, 1, &constructor);
  if (status != napi_ok) return nullptr;

  status = napi_set_named_property(env, exports, "MyObject", cons);
  if (status != napi_ok) return nullptr;

  return exports;
}

For more details on setting properties on objects, see the section on Working with JavaScript Properties.

For more details on building addon modules in general, refer to the existing API

Working with JavaScript Values#

N-API exposes a set of APIs to create all types of JavaScript values. Some of these types are documented under Section 6 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

Fundamentally, these APIs are used to do one of the following:

  1. Create a new JavaScript object
  2. Convert from a primitive C type to an N-API value
  3. Convert from N-API value to a primitive C type
  4. Get global instances including undefined and null

N-API values are represented by the type napi_value. Any N-API call that requires a JavaScript value takes in a napi_value. In some cases, the API does check the type of the napi_value up-front. However, for better performance, it's better for the caller to make sure that the napi_value in question is of the JavaScript type expected by the API.

Enum types#

napi_valuetype#

typedef enum {
  // ES6 types (corresponds to typeof)
  napi_undefined,
  napi_null,
  napi_boolean,
  napi_number,
  napi_string,
  napi_symbol,
  napi_object,
  napi_function,
  napi_external,
} napi_valuetype;

Describes the type of a napi_value. This generally corresponds to the types described in Section 6.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. In addition to types in that section, napi_valuetype can also represent Functions and Objects with external data.

napi_typedarray_type#

typedef enum {
  napi_int8_array,
  napi_uint8_array,
  napi_uint8_clamped_array,
  napi_int16_array,
  napi_uint16_array,
  napi_int32_array,
  napi_uint32_array,
  napi_float32_array,
  napi_float64_array,
} napi_typedarray_type;

This represents the underlying binary scalar datatype of the TypedArray. Elements of this enum correspond to Section 22.2 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

Object Creation Functions#

napi_create_array#

napi_status napi_create_array(napi_env env, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Array.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns an N-API value corresponding to a JavaScript Array type. JavaScript arrays are described in Section 22.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_array_with_length#

napi_status napi_create_array_with_length(napi_env env,
                                          size_t length,
                                          napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] length: The initial length of the Array.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Array.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns an N-API value corresponding to a JavaScript Array type. The Array's length property is set to the passed-in length parameter. However, the underlying buffer is not guaranteed to be pre-allocated by the VM when the array is created - that behavior is left to the underlying VM implementation. If the buffer must be a contiguous block of memory that can be directly read and/or written via C, consider using napi_create_external_arraybuffer.

JavaScript arrays are described in Section 22.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_arraybuffer#

napi_status napi_create_arraybuffer(napi_env env,
                                    size_t byte_length,
                                    void** data,
                                    napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] length: The length in bytes of the array buffer to create.
  • [out] data: Pointer to the underlying byte buffer of the ArrayBuffer.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript ArrayBuffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns an N-API value corresponding to a JavaScript ArrayBuffer. ArrayBuffers are used to represent fixed-length binary data buffers. They are normally used as a backing-buffer for TypedArray objects. The ArrayBuffer allocated will have an underlying byte buffer whose size is determined by the length parameter that's passed in. The underlying buffer is optionally returned back to the caller in case the caller wants to directly manipulate the buffer. This buffer can only be written to directly from native code. To write to this buffer from JavaScript, a typed array or DataView object would need to be created.

JavaScript ArrayBuffer objects are described in Section 24.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_buffer#

napi_status napi_create_buffer(napi_env env,
                               size_t size,
                               void** data,
                               napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] size: Size in bytes of the underlying buffer.
  • [out] data: Raw pointer to the underlying buffer.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a node::Buffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allocates a node::Buffer object. While this is still a fully-supported data structure, in most cases using a TypedArray will suffice.

napi_create_buffer_copy#

napi_status napi_create_buffer_copy(napi_env env,
                                    size_t length,
                                    const void* data,
                                    void** result_data,
                                    napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] size: Size in bytes of the input buffer (should be the same as the size of the new buffer).
  • [in] data: Raw pointer to the underlying buffer to copy from.
  • [out] result_data: Pointer to the new Buffer's underlying data buffer.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a node::Buffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allocates a node::Buffer object and initializes it with data copied from the passed-in buffer. While this is still a fully-supported data structure, in most cases using a TypedArray will suffice.

napi_create_external#

napi_status napi_create_external(napi_env env,
                                 void* data,
                                 napi_finalize finalize_cb,
                                 void* finalize_hint,
                                 napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] data: Raw pointer to the external data.
  • [in] finalize_cb: Optional callback to call when the external value is being collected.
  • [in] finalize_hint: Optional hint to pass to the finalize callback during collection.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing an external value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allocates a JavaScript value with external data attached to it. This is used to pass external data through JavaScript code, so it can be retrieved later by native code. The API allows the caller to pass in a finalize callback, in case the underlying native resource needs to be cleaned up when the external JavaScript value gets collected.

Note: The created value is not an object, and therefore does not support additional properties. It is considered a distinct value type: calling napi_typeof() with an external value yields napi_external.

napi_create_external_arraybuffer#

napi_status
napi_create_external_arraybuffer(napi_env env,
                                 void* external_data,
                                 size_t byte_length,
                                 napi_finalize finalize_cb,
                                 void* finalize_hint,
                                 napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] external_data: Pointer to the underlying byte buffer of the ArrayBuffer.
  • [in] byte_length: The length in bytes of the underlying buffer.
  • [in] finalize_cb: Optional callback to call when the ArrayBuffer is being collected.
  • [in] finalize_hint: Optional hint to pass to the finalize callback during collection.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript ArrayBuffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns an N-API value corresponding to a JavaScript ArrayBuffer. The underlying byte buffer of the ArrayBuffer is externally allocated and managed. The caller must ensure that the byte buffer remains valid until the finalize callback is called.

JavaScript ArrayBuffers are described in Section 24.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_external_buffer#

napi_status napi_create_external_buffer(napi_env env,
                                        size_t length,
                                        void* data,
                                        napi_finalize finalize_cb,
                                        void* finalize_hint,
                                        napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] length: Size in bytes of the input buffer (should be the same as the size of the new buffer).
  • [in] data: Raw pointer to the underlying buffer to copy from.
  • [in] finalize_cb: Optional callback to call when the ArrayBuffer is being collected.
  • [in] finalize_hint: Optional hint to pass to the finalize callback during collection.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a node::Buffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allocates a node::Buffer object and initializes it with data backed by the passed in buffer. While this is still a fully-supported data structure, in most cases using a TypedArray will suffice.

Note: For Node.js >=4 Buffers are Uint8Arrays.

napi_create_function#

napi_status napi_create_function(napi_env env,
                                 const char* utf8name,
                                 size_t length,
                                 napi_callback cb,
                                 void* data,
                                 napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] utf8name: A string representing the name of the function encoded as UTF8.
  • [in] length: The length of the utf8name in bytes, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.
  • [in] cb: A function pointer to the native function to be invoked when the created function is invoked from JavaScript.
  • [in] data: Optional arbitrary context data to be passed into the native function when it is invoked.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript function.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns an N-API value corresponding to a JavaScript Function object. It's used to wrap native functions so that they can be invoked from JavaScript.

JavaScript Functions are described in Section 19.2 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_object#

napi_status napi_create_object(napi_env env, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allocates a default JavaScript Object. It is the equivalent of doing new Object() in JavaScript.

The JavaScript Object type is described in Section 6.1.7 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_symbol#

napi_status napi_create_symbol(napi_env env,
                               napi_value description,
                               napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] description: Optional napi_value which refers to a JavaScript String to be set as the description for the symbol.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Symbol.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a JavaScript Symbol object from a UTF8-encoded C string

The JavaScript Symbol type is described in Section 19.4 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_typedarray#

napi_status napi_create_typedarray(napi_env env,
                                   napi_typedarray_type type,
                                   size_t length,
                                   napi_value arraybuffer,
                                   size_t byte_offset,
                                   napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] type: Scalar datatype of the elements within the TypedArray.
  • [in] length: Number of elements in the TypedArray.
  • [in] arraybuffer: ArrayBuffer underlying the typed array.
  • [in] byte_offset: The byte offset within the ArrayBuffer from which to start projecting the TypedArray.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript TypedArray.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a JavaScript TypedArray object over an existing ArrayBuffer. TypedArray objects provide an array-like view over an underlying data buffer where each element has the same underlying binary scalar datatype.

It's required that (length * size_of_element) + byte_offset should be <= the size in bytes of the array passed in. If not, a RangeError exception is raised.

JavaScript TypedArray Objects are described in Section 22.2 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_dataview#

napi_status napi_create_dataview(napi_env env,
                                 size_t byte_length,
                                 napi_value arraybuffer,
                                 size_t byte_offset,
                                 napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] length: Number of elements in the DataView.
  • [in] arraybuffer: ArrayBuffer underlying the DataView.
  • [in] byte_offset: The byte offset within the ArrayBuffer from which to start projecting the DataView.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript DataView.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a JavaScript DataView object over an existing ArrayBuffer. DataView objects provide an array-like view over an underlying data buffer, but one which allows items of different size and type in the ArrayBuffer.

It is required that byte_length + byte_offset is less than or equal to the size in bytes of the array passed in. If not, a RangeError exception is raised.

JavaScript DataView Objects are described in Section 24.3 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

Functions to convert from C types to N-API#

napi_create_int32#

napi_status napi_create_int32(napi_env env, int32_t value, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: Integer value to be represented in JavaScript.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to convert from the C int32_t type to the JavaScript Number type.

The JavaScript Number type is described in Section 6.1.6 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_uint32#

napi_status napi_create_uint32(napi_env env, uint32_t value, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: Unsigned integer value to be represented in JavaScript.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to convert from the C uint32_t type to the JavaScript Number type.

The JavaScript Number type is described in Section 6.1.6 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_int64#

napi_status napi_create_int64(napi_env env, int64_t value, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: Integer value to be represented in JavaScript.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to convert from the C int64_t type to the JavaScript Number type.

The JavaScript Number type is described in Section 6.1.6 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. Note the complete range of int64_t cannot be represented with full precision in JavaScript. Integer values outside the range of Number.MIN_SAFE_INTEGER -(2^53 - 1) - Number.MAX_SAFE_INTEGER (2^53 - 1) will lose precision.

napi_create_double#

napi_status napi_create_double(napi_env env, double value, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: Double-precision value to be represented in JavaScript.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to convert from the C double type to the JavaScript Number type.

The JavaScript Number type is described in Section 6.1.6 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_string_latin1#

napi_status napi_create_string_latin1(napi_env env,
                                      const char* str,
                                      size_t length,
                                      napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] str: Character buffer representing a ISO-8859-1-encoded string.
  • [in] length: The length of the string in bytes, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript String.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a JavaScript String object from a ISO-8859-1-encoded C string.

The JavaScript String type is described in Section 6.1.4 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_string_utf16#

napi_status napi_create_string_utf16(napi_env env,
                                     const char16_t* str,
                                     size_t length,
                                     napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] str: Character buffer representing a UTF16-LE-encoded string.
  • [in] length: The length of the string in two-byte code units, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript String.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a JavaScript String object from a UTF16-LE-encoded C string

The JavaScript String type is described in Section 6.1.4 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_create_string_utf8#

napi_status napi_create_string_utf8(napi_env env,
                                    const char* str,
                                    size_t length,
                                    napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] str: Character buffer representing a UTF8-encoded string.
  • [in] length: The length of the string in bytes, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing a JavaScript String.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a JavaScript String object from a UTF8-encoded C string

The JavaScript String type is described in Section 6.1.4 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

Functions to convert from N-API to C types#

napi_get_array_length#

napi_status napi_get_array_length(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value value,
                                  uint32_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing the JavaScript Array whose length is being queried.
  • [out] result: uint32 representing length of the array.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the length of an array.

Array length is described in Section 22.1.4.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_get_arraybuffer_info#

napi_status napi_get_arraybuffer_info(napi_env env,
                                      napi_value arraybuffer,
                                      void** data,
                                      size_t* byte_length)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] arraybuffer: napi_value representing the ArrayBuffer being queried.
  • [out] data: The underlying data buffer of the ArrayBuffer.
  • [out] byte_length: Length in bytes of the underlying data buffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to retrieve the underlying data buffer of an ArrayBuffer and its length.

WARNING: Use caution while using this API. The lifetime of the underlying data buffer is managed by the ArrayBuffer even after it's returned. A possible safe way to use this API is in conjunction with napi_create_reference, which can be used to guarantee control over the lifetime of the ArrayBuffer. It's also safe to use the returned data buffer within the same callback as long as there are no calls to other APIs that might trigger a GC.

napi_get_buffer_info#

napi_status napi_get_buffer_info(napi_env env,
                                 napi_value value,
                                 void** data,
                                 size_t* length)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing the node::Buffer being queried.
  • [out] data: The underlying data buffer of the node::Buffer.
  • [out] length: Length in bytes of the underlying data buffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to retrieve the underlying data buffer of a node::Buffer and it's length.

Warning: Use caution while using this API since the underlying data buffer's lifetime is not guaranteed if it's managed by the VM.

napi_get_prototype#

napi_status napi_get_prototype(napi_env env,
                               napi_value object,
                               napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] object: napi_value representing JavaScript Object whose prototype to return. This returns the equivalent of Object.getPrototypeOf (which is not the same as the function's prototype property).
  • [out] result: napi_value representing prototype of the given object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

napi_get_typedarray_info#

napi_status napi_get_typedarray_info(napi_env env,
                                     napi_value typedarray,
                                     napi_typedarray_type* type,
                                     size_t* length,
                                     void** data,
                                     napi_value* arraybuffer,
                                     size_t* byte_offset)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] typedarray: napi_value representing the TypedArray whose properties to query.
  • [out] type: Scalar datatype of the elements within the TypedArray.
  • [out] length: Number of elements in the TypedArray.
  • [out] data: The data buffer underlying the typed array.
  • [out] byte_offset: The byte offset within the data buffer from which to start projecting the TypedArray.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns various properties of a typed array.

Warning: Use caution while using this API since the underlying data buffer is managed by the VM

napi_get_dataview_info#

napi_status napi_get_dataview_info(napi_env env,
                                   napi_value dataview,
                                   size_t* byte_length,
                                   void** data,
                                   napi_value* arraybuffer,
                                   size_t* byte_offset)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] dataview: napi_value representing the DataView whose properties to query.
  • [out] byte_length: Number of bytes in the DataView.
  • [out] data: The data buffer underlying the DataView.
  • [out] arraybuffer: ArrayBuffer underlying the DataView.
  • [out] byte_offset: The byte offset within the data buffer from which to start projecting the DataView.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns various properties of a DataView.

napi_get_value_bool#

napi_status napi_get_value_bool(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript Boolean.
  • [out] result: C boolean primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Boolean.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-boolean napi_value is passed in it returns napi_boolean_expected.

This API returns the C boolean primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Boolean.

napi_get_value_double#

napi_status napi_get_value_double(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value value,
                                  double* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript Number.
  • [out] result: C double primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-number napi_value is passed in it returns napi_number_expected.

This API returns the C double primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Number.

napi_get_value_external#

napi_status napi_get_value_external(napi_env env,
                                    napi_value value,
                                    void** result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript external value.
  • [out] result: Pointer to the data wrapped by the JavaScript external value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-external napi_value is passed in it returns napi_invalid_arg.

This API retrieves the external data pointer that was previously passed to napi_create_external().

napi_get_value_int32#

napi_status napi_get_value_int32(napi_env env,
                                 napi_value value,
                                 int32_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript Number.
  • [out] result: C int32 primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-number napi_value is passed in `napi_number_expected .

This API returns the C int32 primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Number. If the number exceeds the range of the 32 bit integer, then the result is truncated to the equivalent of the bottom 32 bits. This can result in a large positive number becoming a negative number if the value is > 2^31 -1.

napi_get_value_int64#

napi_status napi_get_value_int64(napi_env env,
                                 napi_value value,
                                 int64_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript Number.
  • [out] result: C int64 primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-number napi_value is passed in it returns napi_number_expected.

This API returns the C int64 primitive equivalent of the given JavaScript Number

napi_get_value_string_latin1#

napi_status napi_get_value_string_latin1(napi_env env,
                                         napi_value value,
                                         char* buf,
                                         size_t bufsize,
                                         size_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript string.
  • [in] buf: Buffer to write the ISO-8859-1-encoded string into. If NULL is passed in, the length of the string (in bytes) is returned.
  • [in] bufsize: Size of the destination buffer. When this value is insufficient, the returned string will be truncated.
  • [out] result: Number of bytes copied into the buffer, excluding the null terminator.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-String napi_value is passed in it returns napi_string_expected.

This API returns the ISO-8859-1-encoded string corresponding the value passed in.

napi_get_value_string_utf8#

napi_status napi_get_value_string_utf8(napi_env env,
                                       napi_value value,
                                       char* buf,
                                       size_t bufsize,
                                       size_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript string.
  • [in] buf: Buffer to write the UTF8-encoded string into. If NULL is passed in, the length of the string (in bytes) is returned.
  • [in] bufsize: Size of the destination buffer. When this value is insufficient, the returned string will be truncated.
  • [out] result: Number of bytes copied into the buffer, excluding the null terminator.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-String napi_value is passed in it returns napi_string_expected.

This API returns the UTF8-encoded string corresponding the value passed in.

napi_get_value_string_utf16#

napi_status napi_get_value_string_utf16(napi_env env,
                                        napi_value value,
                                        char16_t* buf,
                                        size_t bufsize,
                                        size_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript string.
  • [in] buf: Buffer to write the UTF16-LE-encoded string into. If NULL is passed in, the length of the string (in 2-byte code units) is returned.
  • [in] bufsize: Size of the destination buffer. When this value is insufficient, the returned string will be truncated.
  • [out] result: Number of 2-byte code units copied into the buffer, excluding the null terminator.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-String napi_value is passed in it returns napi_string_expected.

This API returns the UTF16-encoded string corresponding the value passed in.

napi_get_value_uint32#

napi_status napi_get_value_uint32(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value value,
                                  uint32_t* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: napi_value representing JavaScript Number.
  • [out] result: C primitive equivalent of the given napi_value as a uint32_t.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded. If a non-number napi_value is passed in it returns napi_number_expected.

This API returns the C primitive equivalent of the given napi_value as a uint32_t.

Functions to get global instances#

napi_get_boolean#

napi_status napi_get_boolean(napi_env env, bool value, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The value of the boolean to retrieve.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing JavaScript Boolean singleton to retrieve.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API is used to return the JavaScript singleton object that is used to represent the given boolean value

napi_get_global#

napi_status napi_get_global(napi_env env, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing JavaScript Global Object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the global Object.

napi_get_null#

napi_status napi_get_null(napi_env env, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing JavaScript Null Object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the null Object.

napi_get_undefined#

napi_status napi_get_undefined(napi_env env, napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing JavaScript Undefined value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the Undefined object.

Working with JavaScript Values - Abstract Operations#

N-API exposes a set of APIs to perform some abstract operations on JavaScript values. Some of these operations are documented under Section 7 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

These APIs support doing one of the following:

  1. Coerce JavaScript values to specific JavaScript types (such as Number or String)
  2. Check the type of a JavaScript value
  3. Check for equality between two JavaScript values

napi_coerce_to_bool#

napi_status napi_coerce_to_bool(napi_env env,
                                napi_value value,
                                napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to coerce.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the coerced JavaScript Boolean.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API implements the abstract operation ToBoolean as defined in Section 7.1.2 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. This API can be re-entrant if getters are defined on the passed-in Object.

napi_coerce_to_number#

napi_status napi_coerce_to_number(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value value,
                                  napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to coerce.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the coerced JavaScript Number.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API implements the abstract operation ToNumber as defined in Section 7.1.3 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. This API can be re-entrant if getters are defined on the passed-in Object.

napi_coerce_to_object#

napi_status napi_coerce_to_object(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value value,
                                  napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to coerce.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the coerced JavaScript Object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API implements the abstract operation ToObject as defined in Section 7.1.13 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. This API can be re-entrant if getters are defined on the passed-in Object.

napi_coerce_to_string#

napi_status napi_coerce_to_string(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value value,
                                  napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to coerce.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the coerced JavaScript String.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API implements the abstract operation ToString as defined in Section 7.1.13 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. This API can be re-entrant if getters are defined on the passed-in Object.

napi_typeof#

napi_status napi_typeof(napi_env env, napi_value value, napi_valuetype* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value whose type to query.
  • [out] result: The type of the JavaScript value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

  • napi_invalid_arg if the type of value is not a known ECMAScript type and value is not an External value.

This API represents behavior similar to invoking the typeof Operator on the object as defined in Section 12.5.5 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. However, it has support for detecting an External value. If value has a type that is invalid, an error is returned.

napi_instanceof#

napi_status napi_instanceof(napi_env env,
                            napi_value object,
                            napi_value constructor,
                            bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [in] constructor: The JavaScript function object of the constructor function to check against.
  • [out] result: Boolean that is set to true if object instanceof constructor is true.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API represents invoking the instanceof Operator on the object as defined in Section 12.10.4 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_is_array#

napi_status napi_is_array(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the given object is an array.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API represents invoking the IsArray operation on the object as defined in Section 7.2.2 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

napi_is_arraybuffer#

napi_status napi_is_arraybuffer(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the given object is an ArrayBuffer.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passsed in is an array buffer.

napi_is_buffer#

napi_status napi_is_buffer(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the given napi_value represents a node::Buffer object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passsed in is a buffer.

napi_is_error#

napi_status napi_is_error(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the given napi_value represents an Error object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passsed in is an Error.

napi_is_typedarray#

napi_status napi_is_typedarray(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the given napi_value represents a TypedArray.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passsed in is a typed array.

napi_is_dataview#

napi_status napi_is_dataview(napi_env env, napi_value value, bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] value: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the given napi_value represents a DataView.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passed in is a DataView.

napi_strict_equals#

napi_status napi_strict_equals(napi_env env,
                               napi_value lhs,
                               napi_value rhs,
                               bool* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] lhs: The JavaScript value to check.
  • [in] rhs: The JavaScript value to check against.
  • [out] result: Whether the two napi_value objects are equal.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API represents the invocation of the Strict Equality algorithm as defined in Section 7.2.14 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

Working with JavaScript Properties#

N-API exposes a set of APIs to get and set properties on JavaScript objects. Some of these types are documented under Section 7 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.

Properties in JavaScript are represented as a tuple of a key and a value. Fundamentally, all property keys in N-API can be represented in one of the following forms:

  • Named: a simple UTF8-encoded string
  • Integer-Indexed: an index value represented by uint32_t
  • JavaScript value: these are represented in N-API by napi_value. This can be a napi_value representing a String, Number or Symbol.

N-API values are represented by the type napi_value. Any N-API call that requires a JavaScript value takes in a napi_value. However, it's the caller's responsibility to make sure that the napi_value in question is of the JavaScript type expected by the API.

The APIs documented in this section provide a simple interface to get and set properties on arbitrary JavaScript objects represented by napi_value.

For instance, consider the following JavaScript code snippet:

const obj = {};
obj.myProp = 123;

The equivalent can be done using N-API values with the following snippet:

napi_status status = napi_generic_failure;

// const obj = {}
napi_value obj, value;
status = napi_create_object(env, &obj);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// Create a napi_value for 123
status = napi_create_int32(env, 123, &value);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// obj.myProp = 123
status = napi_set_named_property(env, obj, "myProp", value);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

Indexed properties can be set in a similar manner. Consider the following JavaScript snippet:

const arr = [];
arr[123] = 'hello';

The equivalent can be done using N-API values with the following snippet:

napi_status status = napi_generic_failure;

// const arr = [];
napi_value arr, value;
status = napi_create_array(env, &arr);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// Create a napi_value for 'hello'
status = napi_create_string_utf8(env, "hello", NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH, &value);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// arr[123] = 'hello';
status = napi_set_element(env, arr, 123, value);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

Properties can be retrieved using the APIs described in this section. Consider the following JavaScript snippet:

const arr = [];
const value = arr[123];

The following is the approximate equivalent of the N-API counterpart:

napi_status status = napi_generic_failure;

// const arr = []
napi_value arr, value;
status = napi_create_array(env, &arr);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// const value = arr[123]
status = napi_get_element(env, arr, 123, &value);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

Finally, multiple properties can also be defined on an object for performance reasons. Consider the following JavaScript:

const obj = {};
Object.defineProperties(obj, {
  'foo': { value: 123, writable: true, configurable: true, enumerable: true },
  'bar': { value: 456, writable: true, configurable: true, enumerable: true }
});

The following is the approximate equivalent of the N-API counterpart:

napi_status status = napi_status_generic_failure;

// const obj = {};
napi_value obj;
status = napi_create_object(env, &obj);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// Create napi_values for 123 and 456
napi_value fooValue, barValue;
status = napi_create_int32(env, 123, &fooValue);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;
status = napi_create_int32(env, 456, &barValue);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

// Set the properties
napi_property_descriptor descriptors[] = {
  { "foo", nullptr, 0, 0, 0, fooValue, napi_default, 0 },
  { "bar", nullptr, 0, 0, 0, barValue, napi_default, 0 }
}
status = napi_define_properties(env,
                                obj,
                                sizeof(descriptors) / sizeof(descriptors[0]),
                                descriptors);
if (status != napi_ok) return status;

Structures#

napi_property_attributes#

typedef enum {
  napi_default = 0,
  napi_writable = 1 << 0,
  napi_enumerable = 1 << 1,
  napi_configurable = 1 << 2,

  // Used with napi_define_class to distinguish static properties
  // from instance properties. Ignored by napi_define_properties.
  napi_static = 1 << 10,
} napi_property_attributes;

napi_property_attributes are flags used to control the behavior of properties set on a JavaScript object. Other than napi_static they correspond to the attributes listed in Section 6.1.7.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification. They can be one or more of the following bitflags:

  • napi_default - Used to indicate that no explicit attributes are set on the given property. By default, a property is read only, not enumerable and not configurable.
  • napi_writable - Used to indicate that a given property is writable.
  • napi_enumerable - Used to indicate that a given property is enumerable.
  • napi_configurable - Used to indicate that a given property is configurable, as defined in Section 6.1.7.1 of the ECMAScript Language Specification.
  • napi_static - Used to indicate that the property will be defined as a static property on a class as opposed to an instance property, which is the default. This is used only by napi_define_class. It is ignored by napi_define_properties.

napi_property_descriptor#

typedef struct {
  // One of utf8name or name should be NULL.
  const char* utf8name;
  napi_value name;

  napi_callback method;
  napi_callback getter;
  napi_callback setter;
  napi_value value;

  napi_property_attributes attributes;
  void* data;
} napi_property_descriptor;
  • utf8name: Optional String describing the key for the property, encoded as UTF8. One of utf8name or name must be provided for the property.
  • name: Optional napi_value that points to a JavaScript string or symbol to be used as the key for the property. One of utf8name or name must be provided for the property.
  • value: The value that's retrieved by a get access of the property if the property is a data property. If this is passed in, set getter, setter, method and data to NULL (since these members won't be used).
  • getter: A function to call when a get access of the property is performed. If this is passed in, set value and method to NULL (since these members won't be used). The given function is called implicitly by the runtime when the property is accessed from JavaScript code (or if a get on the property is performed using a N-API call).
  • setter: A function to call when a set access of the property is performed. If this is passed in, set value and method to NULL (since these members won't be used). The given function is called implicitly by the runtime when the property is set from JavaScript code (or if a set on the property is performed using a N-API call).
  • method: Set this to make the property descriptor object's value property to be a JavaScript function represented by method. If this is passed in, set value, getter and setter to NULL (since these members won't be used).
  • data: The callback data passed into method, getter and setter if this function is invoked.
  • attributes: The attributes associated with the particular property. See napi_property_attributes.

Functions#

napi_get_property_names#

napi_status napi_get_property_names(napi_env env,
                                    napi_value object,
                                    napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object from which to retrieve the properties.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing an array of JavaScript values that represent the property names of the object. The API can be used to iterate over result using napi_get_array_length and napi_get_element.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the array of propertys for the Object passed in

napi_set_property#

napi_status napi_set_property(napi_env env,
                              napi_value object,
                              napi_value key,
                              napi_value value);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object on which to set the property.
  • [in] key: The name of the property to set.
  • [in] value: The property value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API set a property on the Object passed in.

napi_get_property#

napi_status napi_get_property(napi_env env,
                              napi_value object,
                              napi_value key,
                              napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object from which to retrieve the property.
  • [in] key: The name of the property to retrieve.
  • [out] result: The value of the property.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API gets the requested property from the Object passed in.

napi_has_property#

napi_status napi_has_property(napi_env env,
                              napi_value object,
                              napi_value key,
                              bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object to query.
  • [in] key: The name of the property whose existence to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the property exists on the object or not.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passed in has the named property.

napi_delete_property#

napi_status napi_delete_property(napi_env env,
                                 napi_value object,
                                 napi_value key,
                                 bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object to query.
  • [in] key: The name of the property to delete.
  • [out] result: Whether the property deletion succeeded or not. result can optionally be ignored by passing NULL.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API attempts to delete the key own property from object.

napi_has_own_property#

napi_status napi_has_own_property(napi_env env,
                                  napi_value object,
                                  napi_value key,
                                  bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object to query.
  • [in] key: The name of the own property whose existence to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the own property exists on the object or not.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API checks if the Object passed in has the named own property. key must be a string or a Symbol, or an error will be thrown. N-API will not perform any conversion between data types.

napi_set_named_property#

napi_status napi_set_named_property(napi_env env,
                                    napi_value object,
                                    const char* utf8Name,
                                    napi_value value);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object on which to set the property.
  • [in] utf8Name: The name of the property to set.
  • [in] value: The property value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method is equivalent to calling napi_set_property with a napi_value created from the string passed in as utf8Name

napi_get_named_property#

napi_status napi_get_named_property(napi_env env,
                                    napi_value object,
                                    const char* utf8Name,
                                    napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object from which to retrieve the property.
  • [in] utf8Name: The name of the property to get.
  • [out] result: The value of the property.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method is equivalent to calling napi_get_property with a napi_value created from the string passed in as utf8Name

napi_has_named_property#

napi_status napi_has_named_property(napi_env env,
                                    napi_value object,
                                    const char* utf8Name,
                                    bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object to query.
  • [in] utf8Name: The name of the property whose existence to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the property exists on the object or not.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method is equivalent to calling napi_has_property with a napi_value created from the string passed in as utf8Name

napi_set_element#

napi_status napi_set_element(napi_env env,
                             napi_value object,
                             uint32_t index,
                             napi_value value);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object from which to set the properties.
  • [in] index: The index of the property to set.
  • [in] value: The property value.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API sets and element on the Object passed in.

napi_get_element#

napi_status napi_get_element(napi_env env,
                             napi_value object,
                             uint32_t index,
                             napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object from which to retrieve the property.
  • [in] index: The index of the property to get.
  • [out] result: The value of the property.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API gets the element at the requested index.

napi_has_element#

napi_status napi_has_element(napi_env env,
                             napi_value object,
                             uint32_t index,
                             bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object to query.
  • [in] index: The index of the property whose existence to check.
  • [out] result: Whether the property exists on the object or not.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns if the Object passed in has an element at the requested index.

napi_delete_element#

napi_status napi_delete_element(napi_env env,
                                napi_value object,
                                uint32_t index,
                                bool* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object to query.
  • [in] index: The index of the property to delete.
  • [out] result: Whether the element deletion succeeded or not. result can optionally be ignored by passing NULL.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API attempts to delete the specified index from object.

napi_define_properties#

napi_status napi_define_properties(napi_env env,
                                   napi_value object,
                                   size_t property_count,
                                   const napi_property_descriptor* properties);
  • [in] env: The environment that the N-API call is invoked under.
  • [in] object: The object from which to retrieve the properties.
  • [in] property_count: The number of elements in the properties array.
  • [in] properties: The array of property descriptors.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method allows the efficient definition of multiple properties on a given object. The properties are defined using property descriptors (See napi_property_descriptor). Given an array of such property descriptors, this API will set the properties on the object one at a time, as defined by DefineOwnProperty (described in Section 9.1.6 of the ECMA262 specification).

Working with JavaScript Functions#

N-API provides a set of APIs that allow JavaScript code to call back into native code. N-API APIs that support calling back into native code take in a callback functions represented by the napi_callback type. When the JavaScript VM calls back to native code, the napi_callback function provided is invoked. The APIs documented in this section allow the callback function to do the following:

  • Get information about the context in which the callback was invoked.
  • Get the arguments passed into the callback.
  • Return a napi_value back from the callback.

Additionally, N-API provides a set of functions which allow calling JavaScript functions from native code. One can either call a function like a regular JavaScript function call, or as a constructor function.

napi_call_function#

napi_status napi_call_function(napi_env env,
                               napi_value recv,
                               napi_value func,
                               int argc,
                               const napi_value* argv,
                               napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] recv: The this object passed to the called function.
  • [in] func: napi_value representing the JavaScript function to be invoked.
  • [in] argc: The count of elements in the argv array.
  • [in] argv: Array of napi_values representing JavaScript values passed in as arguments to the function.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the JavaScript object returned.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method allows a JavaScript function object to be called from a native add-on. This is the primary mechanism of calling back from the add-on's native code into JavaScript. For the special case of calling into JavaScript after an async operation, see napi_make_callback.

A sample use case might look as follows. Consider the following JavaScript snippet:

function AddTwo(num) {
  return num + 2;
}

Then, the above function can be invoked from a native add-on using the following code:

// Get the function named "AddTwo" on the global object
napi_value global, add_two, arg;
napi_status status = napi_get_global(env, &global);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

status = napi_get_named_property(env, global, "AddTwo", &add_two);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

// const arg = 1337
status = napi_create_int32(env, 1337, &arg);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

napi_value* argv = &arg;
size_t argc = 1;

// AddTwo(arg);
napi_value return_val;
status = napi_call_function(env, global, add_two, argc, argv, &return_val);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

// Convert the result back to a native type
int32_t result;
status = napi_get_value_int32(env, return_val, &result);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

napi_create_function#

napi_status napi_create_function(napi_env env,
                                 const char* utf8name,
                                 napi_callback cb,
                                 void* data,
                                 napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] utf8Name: The name of the function encoded as UTF8. This is visible within JavaScript as the new function object's name property.
  • [in] cb: The native function which should be called when this function object is invoked.
  • [in] data: User-provided data context. This will be passed back into the function when invoked later.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the JavaScript function object for the newly created function.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allows an add-on author to create a function object in native code. This is the primary mechanism to allow calling into the add-on's native code from Javascript.

Note: The newly created function is not automatically visible from script after this call. Instead, a property must be explicitly set on any object that is visible to JavaScript, in order for the function to be accessible from script.

In order to expose a function as part of the add-on's module exports, set the newly created function on the exports object. A sample module might look as follows:

napi_value SayHello(napi_env env, napi_callback_info info) {
  printf("Hello\n");
  return nullptr;
}

void Init(napi_env env, napi_value exports, napi_value module, void* priv) {
  napi_status status;

  napi_value fn;
  status =  napi_create_function(env, NULL, SayHello, NULL, &fn);
  if (status != napi_ok) return;

  status = napi_set_named_property(env, exports, "sayHello", fn);
  if (status != napi_ok) return;
}

NAPI_MODULE(NODE_GYP_MODULE_NAME, Init)

Given the above code, the add-on can be used from JavaScript as follows:

const myaddon = require('./addon');
myaddon.sayHello();

Note: The string passed to require is not necessarily the name passed into NAPI_MODULE in the earlier snippet but the name of the target in binding.gyp responsible for creating the .node file.

napi_get_cb_info#

napi_status napi_get_cb_info(napi_env env,
                             napi_callback_info cbinfo,
                             size_t* argc,
                             napi_value* argv,
                             napi_value* thisArg,
                             void** data)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] cbinfo: The callback info passed into the callback function.
  • [in-out] argc: Specifies the size of the provided argv array and receives the actual count of arguments.
  • [out] argv: Buffer to which the napi_value representing the arguments are copied. If there are more arguments than the provided count, only the requested number of arguments are copied. If there are fewer arguments provided than claimed, the rest of argv is filled with napi_value values that represent undefined.
  • [out] this: Receives the JavaScript this argument for the call.
  • [out] data: Receives the data pointer for the callback.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method is used within a callback function to retrieve details about the call like the arguments and the this pointer from a given callback info.

napi_get_new_target#

napi_status napi_get_new_target(napi_env env,
                                napi_callback_info cbinfo,
                                napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] cbinfo: The callback info passed into the callback function.
  • [out] result: The new.target of the constructor call.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the new.target of the constructor call. If the current callback is not a constructor call, the result is nullptr.

napi_new_instance#

napi_status napi_new_instance(napi_env env,
                              napi_value cons,
                              size_t argc,
                              napi_value* argv,
                              napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] cons: napi_value representing the JavaScript function to be invoked as a constructor.
  • [in] argc: The count of elements in the argv array.
  • [in] argv: Array of JavaScript values as napi_value representing the arguments to the constructor.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the JavaScript object returned, which in this case is the constructed object.

This method is used to instantiate a new JavaScript value using a given napi_value that represents the constructor for the object. For example, consider the following snippet:

function MyObject(param) {
  this.param = param;
}

const arg = 'hello';
const value = new MyObject(arg);

The following can be approximated in N-API using the following snippet:

// Get the constructor function MyObject
napi_value global, constructor, arg, value;
napi_status status = napi_get_global(env, &global);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

status = napi_get_named_property(env, global, "MyObject", &constructor);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

// const arg = "hello"
status = napi_create_string_utf8(env, "hello", NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH, &arg);
if (status != napi_ok) return;

napi_value* argv = &arg;
size_t argc = 1;

// const value = new MyObject(arg)
status = napi_new_instance(env, constructor, argc, argv, &value);

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

Object Wrap#

N-API offers a way to "wrap" C++ classes and instances so that the class constructor and methods can be called from JavaScript.

  1. The napi_define_class API defines a JavaScript class with constructor, static properties and methods, and instance properties and methods that correspond to the C++ class.
  2. When JavaScript code invokes the constructor, the constructor callback uses napi_wrap to wrap a new C++ instance in a JavaScript object, then returns the wrapper object.
  3. When JavaScript code invokes a method or property accessor on the class, the corresponding napi_callback C++ function is invoked. For an instance callback, napi_unwrap obtains the C++ instance that is the target of the call.

napi_define_class#

napi_status napi_define_class(napi_env env,
                              const char* utf8name,
                              size_t length,
                              napi_callback constructor,
                              void* data,
                              size_t property_count,
                              const napi_property_descriptor* properties,
                              napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] utf8name: Name of the JavaScript constructor function; this is not required to be the same as the C++ class name, though it is recommended for clarity.
  • [in] length: The length of the utf8name in bytes, or NAPI_AUTO_LENGTH if it is null-terminated.
  • [in] constructor: Callback function that handles constructing instances of the class. (This should be a static method on the class, not an actual C++ constructor function.)
  • [in] data: Optional data to be passed to the constructor callback as the data property of the callback info.
  • [in] property_count: Number of items in the properties array argument.
  • [in] properties: Array of property descriptors describing static and instance data properties, accessors, and methods on the class See napi_property_descriptor.
  • [out] result: A napi_value representing the constructor function for the class.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

Defines a JavaScript class that corresponds to a C++ class, including:

  • A JavaScript constructor function that has the class name and invokes the provided C++ constructor callback.
  • Properties on the constructor function corresponding to static data properties, accessors, and methods of the C++ class (defined by property descriptors with the napi_static attribute).
  • Properties on the constructor function's prototype object corresponding to non-static data properties, accessors, and methods of the C++ class (defined by property descriptors without the napi_static attribute).

The C++ constructor callback should be a static method on the class that calls the actual class constructor, then wraps the new C++ instance in a JavaScript object, and returns the wrapper object. See napi_wrap() for details.

The JavaScript constructor function returned from napi_define_class is often saved and used later, to construct new instances of the class from native code, and/or check whether provided values are instances of the class. In that case, to prevent the function value from being garbage-collected, create a persistent reference to it using napi_create_reference and ensure the reference count is kept >= 1.

napi_wrap#

napi_status napi_wrap(napi_env env,
                      napi_value js_object,
                      void* native_object,
                      napi_finalize finalize_cb,
                      void* finalize_hint,
                      napi_ref* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] js_object: The JavaScript object that will be the wrapper for the native object. This object must have been created from the prototype of a constructor that was created using napi_define_class().
  • [in] native_object: The native instance that will be wrapped in the JavaScript object.
  • [in] finalize_cb: Optional native callback that can be used to free the native instance when the JavaScript object is ready for garbage-collection.
  • [in] finalize_hint: Optional contextual hint that is passed to the finalize callback.
  • [out] result: Optional reference to the wrapped object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

Wraps a native instance in a JavaScript object. The native instance can be retrieved later using napi_unwrap().

When JavaScript code invokes a constructor for a class that was defined using napi_define_class(), the napi_callback for the constructor is invoked. After constructing an instance of the native class, the callback must then call napi_wrap() to wrap the newly constructed instance in the already-created JavaScript object that is the this argument to the constructor callback. (That this object was created from the constructor function's prototype, so it already has definitions of all the instance properties and methods.)

Typically when wrapping a class instance, a finalize callback should be provided that simply deletes the native instance that is received as the data argument to the finalize callback.

The optional returned reference is initially a weak reference, meaning it has a reference count of 0. Typically this reference count would be incremented temporarily during async operations that require the instance to remain valid.

Caution: The optional returned reference (if obtained) should be deleted via napi_delete_reference ONLY in response to the finalize callback invocation. (If it is deleted before then, then the finalize callback may never be invoked.) Therefore, when obtaining a reference a finalize callback is also required in order to enable correct proper of the reference.

Note: This API may modify the prototype chain of the wrapper object. Afterward, additional manipulation of the wrapper's prototype chain may cause napi_unwrap() to fail.

Note: Calling napi_wrap() a second time on an object that already has a native instance associated with it by virtue of a previous call to napi_wrap() will cause an error to be returned. If you wish to associate another native instance with the given object, call napi_remove_wrap() on it first.

napi_unwrap#

napi_status napi_unwrap(napi_env env,
                        napi_value js_object,
                        void** result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] js_object: The object associated with the native instance.
  • [out] result: Pointer to the wrapped native instance.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

Retrieves a native instance that was previously wrapped in a JavaScript object using napi_wrap().

When JavaScript code invokes a method or property accessor on the class, the corresponding napi_callback is invoked. If the callback is for an instance method or accessor, then the this argument to the callback is the wrapper object; the wrapped C++ instance that is the target of the call can be obtained then by calling napi_unwrap() on the wrapper object.

napi_remove_wrap#

napi_status napi_remove_wrap(napi_env env,
                             napi_value js_object,
                             void** result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] js_object: The object associated with the native instance.
  • [out] result: Pointer to the wrapped native instance.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

Retrieves a native instance that was previously wrapped in the JavaScript object js_object using napi_wrap() and removes the wrapping, thereby restoring the JavaScript object's prototype chain. If a finalize callback was associated with the wrapping, it will no longer be called when the JavaScript object becomes garbage-collected.

Simple Asynchronous Operations#

Addon modules often need to leverage async helpers from libuv as part of their implementation. This allows them to schedule work to be executed asynchronously so that their methods can return in advance of the work being completed. This is important in order to allow them to avoid blocking overall execution of the Node.js application.

N-API provides an ABI-stable interface for these supporting functions which covers the most common asynchronous use cases.

N-API defines the napi_work structure which is used to manage asynchronous workers. Instances are created/deleted with napi_create_async_work and napi_delete_async_work.

The execute and complete callbacks are functions that will be invoked when the executor is ready to execute and when it completes its task respectively. These functions implement the following interfaces:

typedef void (*napi_async_execute_callback)(napi_env env,
                                            void* data);
typedef void (*napi_async_complete_callback)(napi_env env,
                                             napi_status status,
                                             void* data);

When these methods are invoked, the data parameter passed will be the addon-provided void* data that was passed into the napi_create_async_work call.

Once created the async worker can be queued for execution using the napi_queue_async_work function:

napi_status napi_queue_async_work(napi_env env,
                                  napi_async_work work);

napi_cancel_async_work can be used if the work needs to be cancelled before the work has started execution.

After calling napi_cancel_async_work, the complete callback will be invoked with a status value of napi_cancelled. The work should not be deleted before the complete callback invocation, even when it was cancelled.

napi_create_async_work#

napi_status napi_create_async_work(napi_env env,
                                   napi_value async_resource,
                                   napi_value async_resource_name,
                                   napi_async_execute_callback execute,
                                   napi_async_complete_callback complete,
                                   void* data,
                                   napi_async_work* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] async_resource: An optional object associated with the async work that will be passed to possible async_hooks init hooks.
  • [in] async_resource_name: An identifier for the kind of resource that is being provided for diagnostic information exposed by the async_hooks API.
  • [in] execute: The native function which should be called to excute the logic asynchronously.
  • [in] complete: The native function which will be called when the asynchronous logic is comple or is cancelled.
  • [in] data: User-provided data context. This will be passed back into the execute and complete functions.
  • [out] result: napi_async_work* which is the handle to the newly created async work.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API allocates a work object that is used to execute logic asynchronously. It should be freed using napi_delete_async_work once the work is no longer required.

async_resource_name should be a null-terminated, UTF-8-encoded string.

Note: The async_resource_name identifier is provided by the user and should be representative of the type of async work being performed. It is also recommended to apply namespacing to the identifier, e.g. by including the module name. See the async_hooks documentation for more information.

napi_delete_async_work#

napi_status napi_delete_async_work(napi_env env,
                                   napi_async_work work);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] work: The handle returned by the call to napi_create_async_work.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API frees a previously allocated work object.

napi_queue_async_work#

napi_status napi_queue_async_work(napi_env env,
                                  napi_async_work work);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] work: The handle returned by the call to napi_create_async_work.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API requests that the previously allocated work be scheduled for execution.

napi_cancel_async_work#

napi_status napi_cancel_async_work(napi_env env,
                                   napi_async_work work);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] work: The handle returned by the call to napi_create_async_work.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API cancels queued work if it has not yet been started. If it has already started executing, it cannot be cancelled and napi_generic_failure will be returned. If successful, the complete callback will be invoked with a status value of napi_cancelled. The work should not be deleted before the complete callback invocation, even if it has been successfully cancelled.

Custom Asynchronous Operations#

The simple asynchronous work APIs above may not be appropriate for every scenario, because with those the async execution still happens on the main event loop. When using any other async mechanism, the following APIs are necessary to ensure an async operation is properly tracked by the runtime.

napi_async_init*#

napi_status napi_async_init(napi_env env,
                            napi_value async_resource,
                            napi_value async_resource_name,
                            napi_async_context* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] async_resource: An optional object associated with the async work that will be passed to possible async_hooks init hooks.
  • [in] async_resource_name: Required identifier for the kind of resource that is being provided for diagnostic information exposed by the async_hooks API.
  • [out] result: The initialized async context.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

napi_async_destroy*#

napi_status napi_async_destroy(napi_env env,
                               napi_async_context async_context);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] async_context: The async context to be destroyed.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

napi_make_callback#

napi_status napi_make_callback(napi_env env,
                               napi_async_context async_context,
                               napi_value recv,
                               napi_value func,
                               int argc,
                               const napi_value* argv,
                               napi_value* result)
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] async_context: Context for the async operation that is invoking the callback. This should normally be a value previously obtained from napi_async_init. However NULL is also allowed, which indicates the current async context (if any) is to be used for the callback.
  • [in] recv: The this object passed to the called function.
  • [in] func: napi_value representing the JavaScript function to be invoked.
  • [in] argc: The count of elements in the argv array.
  • [in] argv: Array of JavaScript values as napi_value representing the arguments to the function.
  • [out] result: napi_value representing the JavaScript object returned.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This method allows a JavaScript function object to be called from a native add-on. This API is similar to napi_call_function. However, it is used to call from native code back into JavaScript after returning from an async operation (when there is no other script on the stack). It is a fairly simple wrapper around node::MakeCallback.

Note it is not necessary to use napi_make_callback from within a napi_async_complete_callback; in that situation the callback's async context has already been set up, so a direct call to napi_call_function is sufficient and appropriate. Use of the napi_make_callback function may be required when implementing custom async behavior that does not use napi_create_async_work.

Version Management#

napi_get_node_version#

typedef struct {
  uint32_t major;
  uint32_t minor;
  uint32_t patch;
  const char* release;
} napi_node_version;

napi_status napi_get_node_version(napi_env env,
                                  const napi_node_version** version);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] version: A pointer to version information for Node itself.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This function fills the version struct with the major, minor and patch version of Node that is currently running, and the release field with the value of process.release.name.

The returned buffer is statically allocated and does not need to be freed.

napi_get_version#

napi_status napi_get_version(napi_env env,
                             uint32_t* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] result: The highest version of N-API supported.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API returns the highest N-API version supported by the Node.js runtime. N-API is planned to be additive such that newer releases of Node.js may support additional API functions. In order to allow an addon to use a newer function when running with versions of Node.js that support it, while providing fallback behavior when running with Node.js versions that don't support it:

  • Call napi_get_version() to determine if the API is available.
  • If available, dynamically load a pointer to the function using uv_dlsym().
  • Use the dynamically loaded pointer to invoke the function.
  • If the function is not available, provide an alternate implementation that does not use the function.

Memory Management#

napi_adjust_external_memory#

NAPI_EXTERN napi_status napi_adjust_external_memory(napi_env env,
                                                    int64_t change_in_bytes,
                                                    int64_t* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] change_in_bytes: The change in externally allocated memory that is kept alive by JavaScript objects.
  • [out] result: The adjusted value

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This function gives V8 an indication of the amount of externally allocated memory that is kept alive by JavaScript objects (i.e. a JavaScript object that points to its own memory allocated by a native module). Registering externally allocated memory will trigger global garbage collections more often than it would otherwise.

Promises#

N-API provides facilities for creating Promise objects as described in Section 25.4 of the ECMA specification. It implements promises as a pair of objects. When a promise is created by napi_create_promise(), a "deferred" object is created and returned alongside the Promise. The deferred object is bound to the created Promise and is the only means to resolve or reject the Promise using napi_resolve_deferred() or napi_reject_deferred(). The deferred object that is created by napi_create_promise() is freed by napi_resolve_deferred() or napi_reject_deferred(). The Promise object may be returned to JavaScript where it can be used in the usual fashion.

For example, to create a promise and pass it to an asynchronous worker:

napi_deferred deferred;
napi_value promise;
napi_status status;

// Create the promise.
status = napi_create_promise(env, &deferred, &promise);
if (status != napi_ok) return NULL;

// Pass the deferred to a function that performs an asynchronous action.
do_something_asynchronous(deferred);

// Return the promise to JS
return promise;

The above function do_something_asynchronous() would perform its asynchronous action and then it would resolve or reject the deferred, thereby concluding the promise and freeing the deferred:

napi_deferred deferred;
napi_value undefined;
napi_status status;

// Create a value with which to conclude the deferred.
status = napi_get_undefined(env, &undefined);
if (status != napi_ok) return NULL;

// Resolve or reject the promise associated with the deferred depending on
// whether the asynchronous action succeeded.
if (asynchronous_action_succeeded) {
  status = napi_resolve_deferred(env, deferred, undefined);
} else {
  status = napi_reject_deferred(env, deferred, undefined);
}
if (status != napi_ok) return NULL;

// At this point the deferred has been freed, so we should assign NULL to it.
deferred = NULL;

napi_create_promise#

napi_status napi_create_promise(napi_env env,
                                napi_deferred* deferred,
                                napi_value* promise);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [out] deferred: A newly created deferred object which can later be passed to napi_resolve_deferred() or napi_reject_deferred() to resolve resp. reject the associated promise.
  • [out] promise: The JavaScript promise associated with the deferred object.

Returns napi_ok if the API succeeded.

This API creates a deferred object and a JavaScript promise.

napi_resolve_deferred#

napi_status napi_resolve_deferred(napi_env env,
                                  napi_deferred deferred,
                                  napi_value resolution);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] deferred: The deferred object whose associated promise to resolve.
  • [in] resolution: The value with which to resolve the promise.

This API resolves a JavaScript promise by way of the deferred object with which it is associated. Thus, it can only be used to resolve JavaScript promises for which the corresponding deferred object is available. This effectively means that the promise must have been created using napi_create_promise() and the deferred object returned from that call must have been retained in order to be passed to this API.

The deferred object is freed upon successful completion.

napi_reject_deferred#

napi_status napi_reject_deferred(napi_env env,
                                 napi_deferred deferred,
                                 napi_value rejection);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] deferred: The deferred object whose associated promise to resolve.
  • [in] rejection: The value with which to reject the promise.

This API rejects a JavaScript promise by way of the deferred object with which it is associated. Thus, it can only be used to reject JavaScript promises for which the corresponding deferred object is available. This effectively means that the promise must have been created using napi_create_promise() and the deferred object returned from that call must have been retained in order to be passed to this API.

The deferred object is freed upon successful completion.

napi_is_promise#

napi_status napi_is_promise(napi_env env,
                            napi_value promise,
                            bool* is_promise);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] promise: The promise to examine
  • [out] is_promise: Flag indicating whether promise is a native promise object - that is, a promise object created by the underlying engine.

Script execution#

N-API provides an API for executing a string containing JavaScript using the underlying JavaScript engine.

napi_run_script#

NAPI_EXTERN napi_status napi_run_script(napi_env env,
                                        napi_value script,
                                        napi_value* result);
  • [in] env: The environment that the API is invoked under.
  • [in] script: A JavaScript string containing the script to execute.
  • [out] result: The value resulting from having executed the script.

Child Process#

Stability: 2 - Stable

The child_process module provides the ability to spawn child processes in a manner that is similar, but not identical, to popen(3). This capability is primarily provided by the child_process.spawn() function:

const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const ls = spawn('ls', ['-lh', '/usr']);

ls.stdout.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(`stdout: ${data}`);
});

ls.stderr.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(`stderr: ${data}`);
});

ls.on('close', (code) => {
  console.log(`child process exited with code ${code}`);
});

By default, pipes for stdin, stdout and stderr are established between the parent Node.js process and the spawned child. It is possible to stream data through these pipes in a non-blocking way. Note, however, that some programs use line-buffered I/O internally. While that does not affect Node.js, it can mean that data sent to the child process may not be immediately consumed.

The child_process.spawn() method spawns the child process asynchronously, without blocking the Node.js event loop. The child_process.spawnSync() function provides equivalent functionality in a synchronous manner that blocks the event loop until the spawned process either exits or is terminated.

For convenience, the child_process module provides a handful of synchronous and asynchronous alternatives to child_process.spawn() and child_process.spawnSync(). Note that each of these alternatives are implemented on top of child_process.spawn() or child_process.spawnSync().

For certain use cases, such as automating shell scripts, the synchronous counterparts may be more convenient. In many cases, however, the synchronous methods can have significant impact on performance due to stalling the event loop while spawned processes complete.

Asynchronous Process Creation#

The child_process.spawn(), child_process.fork(), child_process.exec(), and child_process.execFile() methods all follow the idiomatic asynchronous programming pattern typical of other Node.js APIs.

Each of the methods returns a ChildProcess instance. These objects implement the Node.js EventEmitter API, allowing the parent process to register listener functions that are called when certain events occur during the life cycle of the child process.

The child_process.exec() and child_process.execFile() methods additionally allow for an optional callback function to be specified that is invoked when the child process terminates.

Spawning .bat and .cmd files on Windows#

The importance of the distinction between child_process.exec() and child_process.execFile() can vary based on platform. On Unix-type operating systems (Unix, Linux, macOS) child_process.execFile() can be more efficient because it does not spawn a shell. On Windows, however, .bat and .cmd files are not executable on their own without a terminal, and therefore cannot be launched using child_process.execFile(). When running on Windows, .bat and .cmd files can be invoked using child_process.spawn() with the shell option set, with child_process.exec(), or by spawning cmd.exe and passing the .bat or .cmd file as an argument (which is what the shell option and child_process.exec() do). In any case, if the script filename contains spaces it needs to be quoted.

// On Windows Only ...
const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const bat = spawn('cmd.exe', ['/c', 'my.bat']);

bat.stdout.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(data.toString());
});

bat.stderr.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(data.toString());
});

bat.on('exit', (code) => {
  console.log(`Child exited with code ${code}`);
});
// OR...
const { exec } = require('child_process');
exec('my.bat', (err, stdout, stderr) => {
  if (err) {
    console.error(err);
    return;
  }
  console.log(stdout);
});

// Script with spaces in the filename:
const bat = spawn('"my script.cmd"', ['a', 'b'], { shell: true });
// or:
exec('"my script.cmd" a b', (err, stdout, stderr) => {
  // ...
});

child_process.exec(command[, options][, callback])#

Spawns a shell then executes the command within that shell, buffering any generated output. The command string passed to the exec function is processed directly by the shell and special characters (vary based on shell) need to be dealt with accordingly:

exec('"/path/to/test file/test.sh" arg1 arg2');
//Double quotes are used so that the space in the path is not interpreted as
//multiple arguments

exec('echo "The \\$HOME variable is $HOME"');
//The $HOME variable is escaped in the first instance, but not in the second

Note: Never pass unsanitised user input to this function. Any input containing shell metacharacters may be used to trigger arbitrary command execution.

const { exec } = require('child_process');
exec('cat *.js bad_file | wc -l', (error, stdout, stderr) => {
  if (error) {
    console.error(`exec error: ${error}`);
    return;
  }
  console.log(`stdout: ${stdout}`);
  console.log(`stderr: ${stderr}`);
});

If a callback function is provided, it is called with the arguments (error, stdout, stderr). On success, error will be null. On error, error will be an instance of Error. The error.code property will be the exit code of the child process while error.signal will be set to the signal that terminated the process. Any exit code other than 0 is considered to be an error.

The stdout and stderr arguments passed to the callback will contain the stdout and stderr output of the child process. By default, Node.js will decode the output as UTF-8 and pass strings to the callback. The encoding option can be used to specify the character encoding used to decode the stdout and stderr output. If encoding is 'buffer', or an unrecognized character encoding, Buffer objects will be passed to the callback instead.

The options argument may be passed as the second argument to customize how the process is spawned. The default options are:

const defaults = {
  encoding: 'utf8',
  timeout: 0,
  maxBuffer: 200 * 1024,
  killSignal: 'SIGTERM',
  cwd: null,
  env: null
};

If timeout is greater than 0, the parent will send the signal identified by the killSignal property (the default is 'SIGTERM') if the child runs longer than timeout milliseconds.

Note: Unlike the exec(3) POSIX system call, child_process.exec() does not replace the existing process and uses a shell to execute the command.

If this method is invoked as its util.promisify()ed version, it returns a Promise for an object with stdout and stderr properties. In case of an error, a rejected promise is returned, with the same error object given in the callback, but with an additional two properties stdout and stderr.

For example:

const util = require('util');
const exec = util.promisify(require('child_process').exec);

async function lsExample() {
  const { stdout, stderr } = await exec('ls');
  console.log('stdout:', stdout);
  console.log('stderr:', stderr);
}
lsExample();

child_process.execFile(file[, args][, options][, callback])#

The child_process.execFile() function is similar to child_process.exec() except that it does not spawn a shell. Rather, the specified executable file is spawned directly as a new process making it slightly more efficient than child_process.exec().

The same options as child_process.exec() are supported. Since a shell is not spawned, behaviors such as I/O redirection and file globbing are not supported.

const { execFile } = require('child_process');
const child = execFile('node', ['--version'], (error, stdout, stderr) => {
  if (error) {
    throw error;
  }
  console.log(stdout);
});

The stdout and stderr arguments passed to the callback will contain the stdout and stderr output of the child process. By default, Node.js will decode the output as UTF-8 and pass strings to the callback. The encoding option can be used to specify the character encoding used to decode the stdout and stderr output. If encoding is 'buffer', or an unrecognized character encoding, Buffer objects will be passed to the callback instead.

If this method is invoked as its util.promisify()ed version, it returns a Promise for an object with stdout and stderr properties. In case of an error, a rejected promise is returned, with the same error object given in the callback, but with an additional two properties stdout and stderr.

const util = require('util');
const execFile = util.promisify(require('child_process').execFile);
async function getVersion() {
  const { stdout } = await execFile('node', ['--version']);
  console.log(stdout);
}
getVersion();

child_process.fork(modulePath[, args][, options])#

  • modulePath <string> The module to run in the child.
  • args <Array> List of string arguments.
  • options <Object>
    • cwd <string> Current working directory of the child process.
    • env <Object> Environment key-value pairs.
    • execPath <string> Executable used to create the child process.
    • execArgv <Array> List of string arguments passed to the executable. Default: process.execArgv
    • silent <boolean> If true, stdin, stdout, and stderr of the child will be piped to the parent, otherwise they will be inherited from the parent, see the 'pipe' and 'inherit' options for child_process.spawn()'s stdio for more details. Default: false
    • stdio <Array> | <string> See child_process.spawn()'s stdio. When this option is provided, it overrides silent. If the array variant is used, it must contain exactly one item with value 'ipc' or an error will be thrown. For instance [0, 1, 2, 'ipc'].
    • windowsVerbatimArguments <boolean> No quoting or escaping of arguments is done on Windows. Ignored on Unix. Default: false.
    • uid <number> Sets the user identity of the process (see setuid(2)).
    • gid <number> Sets the group identity of the process (see setgid(2)).
  • Returns: <ChildProcess>

The child_process.fork() method is a special case of child_process.spawn() used specifically to spawn new Node.js processes. Like child_process.spawn(), a ChildProcess object is returned. The returned ChildProcess will have an additional communication channel built-in that allows messages to be passed back and forth between the parent and child. See subprocess.send() for details.

It is important to keep in mind that spawned Node.js child processes are independent of the parent with exception of the IPC communication channel that is established between the two. Each process has its own memory, with their own V8 instances. Because of the additional resource allocations required, spawning a large number of child Node.js processes is not recommended.

By default, child_process.fork() will spawn new Node.js instances using the process.execPath of the parent process. The execPath property in the options object allows for an alternative execution path to be used.

Node.js processes launched with a custom execPath will communicate with the parent process using the file descriptor (fd) identified using the environment variable NODE_CHANNEL_FD on the child process. The input and output on this fd is expected to be line delimited JSON objects.

Note: Unlike the fork(2) POSIX system call, child_process.fork() does not clone the current process.

Note: The shell option available in child_process.spawn() is not supported by child_process.fork() and will be ignored if set.

child_process.spawn(command[, args][, options])#

  • command <string> The command to run.
  • args <Array> List of string arguments.
  • options <Object>
    • cwd <string> Current working directory of the child process.
    • env <Object> Environment key-value pairs.
    • argv0 <string> Explicitly set the value of argv[0] sent to the child process. This will be set to command if not specified.
    • stdio <Array> | <string> Child's stdio configuration (see options.stdio).
    • detached <boolean> Prepare child to run independently of its parent process. Specific behavior depends on the platform, see options.detached).
    • uid <number> Sets the user identity of the process (see setuid(2)).
    • gid <number> Sets the group identity of the process (see setgid(2)).
    • shell <boolean> | <string> If true, runs command inside of a shell. Uses '/bin/sh' on UNIX, and process.env.ComSpec on Windows. A different shell can be specified as a string. See Shell Requirements and Default Windows Shell. Default: false (no shell).
    • windowsVerbatimArguments <boolean> No quoting or escaping of arguments is done on Windows. Ignored on Unix. This is set to true automatically when shell is specified. Default: false.
    • windowsHide <boolean> Hide the subprocess console window that would normally be created on Windows systems. Default: false.
  • Returns: <ChildProcess>

The child_process.spawn() method spawns a new process using the given command, with command line arguments in args. If omitted, args defaults to an empty array.

Note: If the shell option is enabled, do not pass unsanitised user input to this function. Any input containing shell metacharacters may be used to trigger arbitrary command execution.

A third argument may be used to specify additional options, with these defaults:

const defaults = {
  cwd: undefined,
  env: process.env
};

Use cwd to specify the working directory from which the process is spawned. If not given, the default is to inherit the current working directory.

Use env to specify environment variables that will be visible to the new process, the default is process.env.

Example of running ls -lh /usr, capturing stdout, stderr, and the exit code:

const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const ls = spawn('ls', ['-lh', '/usr']);

ls.stdout.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(`stdout: ${data}`);
});

ls.stderr.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(`stderr: ${data}`);
});

ls.on('close', (code) => {
  console.log(`child process exited with code ${code}`);
});

Example: A very elaborate way to run ps ax | grep ssh

const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const ps = spawn('ps', ['ax']);
const grep = spawn('grep', ['ssh']);

ps.stdout.on('data', (data) => {
  grep.stdin.write(data);
});

ps.stderr.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(`ps stderr: ${data}`);
});

ps.on('close', (code) => {
  if (code !== 0) {
    console.log(`ps process exited with code ${code}`);
  }
  grep.stdin.end();
});

grep.stdout.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(data.toString());
});

grep.stderr.on('data', (data) => {
  console.log(`grep stderr: ${data}`);
});

grep.on('close', (code) => {
  if (code !== 0) {
    console.log(`grep process exited with code ${code}`);
  }
});

Example of checking for failed spawn:

const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const subprocess = spawn('bad_command');

subprocess.on('error', (err) => {
  console.log('Failed to start subprocess.');
});

Note: Certain platforms (macOS, Linux) will use the value of argv[0] for the process title while others (Windows, SunOS) will use command.

Note: Node.js currently overwrites argv[0] with process.execPath on startup, so process.argv[0] in a Node.js child process will not match the argv0 parameter passed to spawn from the parent, retrieve it with the process.argv0 property instead.

options.detached#

On Windows, setting options.detached to true makes it possible for the child process to continue running after the parent exits. The child will have its own console window. Once enabled for a child process, it cannot be disabled.

On non-Windows platforms, if options.detached is set to true, the child process will be made the leader of a new process group and session. Note that child processes may continue running after the parent exits regardless of whether they are detached or not. See setsid(2) for more information.

By default, the parent will wait for the detached child to exit. To prevent the parent from waiting for a given subprocess, use the subprocess.unref() method. Doing so will cause the parent's event loop to not include the child in its reference count, allowing the parent to exit independently of the child, unless there is an established IPC channel between the child and parent.

When using the detached option to start a long-running process, the process will not stay running in the background after the parent exits unless it is provided with a stdio configuration that is not connected to the parent. If the parent's stdio is inherited, the child will remain attached to the controlling terminal.

Example of a long-running process, by detaching and also ignoring its parent stdio file descriptors, in order to ignore the parent's termination:

const { spawn } = require('child_process');

const subprocess = spawn(process.argv[0], ['child_program.js'], {
  detached: true,
  stdio: 'ignore'
});

subprocess.unref();

Alternatively one can redirect the child process' output into files:

const fs = require('fs');
const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const out = fs.openSync('./out.log', 'a');
const err = fs.openSync('./out.log', 'a');

const subprocess = spawn('prg', [], {
  detached: true,
  stdio: [ 'ignore', out, err ]
});

subprocess.unref();

options.stdio#

The options.stdio option is used to configure the pipes that are established between the parent and child process. By default, the child's stdin, stdout, and stderr are redirected to corresponding subprocess.stdin, subprocess.stdout, and subprocess.stderr streams on the ChildProcess object. This is equivalent to setting the options.stdio equal to ['pipe', 'pipe', 'pipe'].

For convenience, options.stdio may be one of the following strings:

  • 'pipe' - equivalent to ['pipe', 'pipe', 'pipe'] (the default)
  • 'ignore' - equivalent to ['ignore', 'ignore', 'ignore']
  • 'inherit' - equivalent to [process.stdin, process.stdout, process.stderr] or [0,1,2]

Otherwise, the value of options.stdio is an array where each index corresponds to an fd in the child. The fds 0, 1, and 2 correspond to stdin, stdout, and stderr, respectively. Additional fds can be specified to create additional pipes between the parent and child. The value is one of the following:

  1. 'pipe' - Create a pipe between the child process and the parent process. The parent end of the pipe is exposed to the parent as a property on the child_process object as subprocess.stdio[fd]. Pipes created for fds 0 - 2 are also available as subprocess.stdin, subprocess.stdout and subprocess.stderr, respectively.
  2. 'ipc' - Create an IPC channel for passing messages/file descriptors between parent and child. A ChildProcess may have at most one IPC stdio file descriptor. Setting this option enables the subprocess.send() method. If the child writes JSON messages to this file descriptor, the subprocess.on('message') event handler will be triggered in the parent. If the child is a Node.js process, the presence of an IPC channel will enable process.send(), process.disconnect(), process.on('disconnect'), and process.on('message') within the child.
  3. 'ignore' - Instructs Node.js to ignore the fd in the child. While Node.js will always open fds 0 - 2 for the processes it spawns, setting the fd to 'ignore' will cause Node.js to open /dev/null and attach it to the child's fd.
  4. <Stream> object - Share a readable or writable stream that refers to a tty, file, socket, or a pipe with the child process. The stream's underlying file descriptor is duplicated in the child process to the fd that corresponds to the index in the stdio array. Note that the stream must have an underlying descriptor (file streams do not until the 'open' event has occurred).
  5. Positive integer - The integer value is interpreted as a file descriptor that is is currently open in the parent process. It is shared with the child process, similar to how <Stream> objects can be shared.
  6. null, undefined - Use default value. For stdio fds 0, 1 and 2 (in other words, stdin, stdout, and stderr) a pipe is created. For fd 3 and up, the default is 'ignore'.

Example:

const { spawn } = require('child_process');

// Child will use parent's stdios
spawn('prg', [], { stdio: 'inherit' });

// Spawn child sharing only stderr
spawn('prg', [], { stdio: ['pipe', 'pipe', process.stderr] });

// Open an extra fd=4, to interact with programs presenting a
// startd-style interface.
spawn('prg', [], { stdio: ['pipe', null, null, null, 'pipe'] });

It is worth noting that when an IPC channel is established between the parent and child processes, and the child is a Node.js process, the child is launched with the IPC channel unreferenced (using unref()) until the child registers an event handler for the process.on('disconnect') event or the process.on('message') event. This allows the child to exit normally without the process being held open by the open IPC channel.

See also: child_process.exec() and child_process.fork()

Synchronous Process Creation#

The child_process.spawnSync(), child_process.execSync(), and child_process.execFileSync() methods are synchronous and WILL block the Node.js event loop, pausing execution of any additional code until the spawned process exits.

Blocking calls like these are mostly useful for simplifying general purpose scripting tasks and for simplifying the loading/processing of application configuration at startup.

child_process.execFileSync(file[, args][, options])#

  • file <string> The name or path of the executable file to run.
  • args <string[]> List of string arguments.
  • options <Object>
    • cwd <string> Current working directory of the child process.
    • input <string> | <Buffer> | <Uint8Array> The value which will be passed as stdin to the spawned process.
      • supplying this value will override stdio[0]
    • stdio <string> | <Array> Child's stdio configuration. Default: 'pipe'
      • stderr by default will be output to the parent process' stderr unless stdio is specified
    • env <Object> Environment key-value pairs.
    • uid <number> Sets the user identity of the process (see setuid(2)).
    • gid <number> Sets the group identity of the process (see setgid(2)).
    • timeout <number> In milliseconds the maximum amount of time the process is allowed to run. Default: undefined
    • killSignal <string> | <integer> The signal value to be used when the spawned process will be killed. Default: 'SIGTERM'
    • maxBuffer <number> Largest amount of data in bytes allowed on stdout or stderr. Default: 200*1024 If exceeded, the child process is terminated. See caveat at maxBuffer and Unicode.
    • encoding <string> The encoding used for all stdio inputs and outputs. Default: 'buffer'
    • windowsHide <boolean> Hide the subprocess console window that would normally be created on Windows systems. Default: false.
  • Returns: <Buffer> | <string> The stdout from the command.

The child_process.execFileSync() method is generally identical to child_process.execFile() with the exception that the method will not return until the child process has fully closed. When a timeout has been encountered and killSignal is sent, the method won't return until the process has completely exited.

Note: If the child process intercepts and handles the SIGTERM signal and does not exit, the parent process will still wait until the child process has exited.

If the process times out, or has a non-zero exit code, this method will throw an Error that will include the full result of the underlying child_process.spawnSync().

child_process.execSync(command[, options])#

  • command <string> The command to run.
  • options <Object>
    • cwd <string> Current working directory of the child process.
    • input <string> | <Buffer> | <Uint8Array> The value which will be passed as stdin to the spawned process.
      • supplying this value will override stdio[0].
    • stdio <string> | <Array> Child's stdio configuration. Default: 'pipe'
      • stderr by default will be output to the parent process' stderr unless stdio is specified
    • env <Object> Environment key-value pairs.
    • shell <string> Shell to execute the command with. Default: '/bin/sh' on UNIX, process.env.ComSpec on Windows. See Shell Requirements and Default Windows Shell.
    • uid <number> Sets the user identity of the process. (See setuid(2)).
    • gid <number> Sets the group identity of the process. (See setgid(2)).
    • timeout <number> In milliseconds the maximum amount of time the process is allowed to run. Default: undefined
    • killSignal <string> | <integer> The signal value to be used when the spawned process will be killed. Default: 'SIGTERM'
    • maxBuffer <number> Largest amount of data in bytes allowed on stdout or stderr. Default: 200*1024 If exceeded, the child process is terminated. See caveat at maxBuffer and Unicode.
    • encoding <string> The encoding used for all stdio inputs and outputs. Default: 'buffer'
    • windowsHide <boolean> Hide the subprocess console window that would normally be created on Windows systems. Default: false.
  • Returns: <Buffer> | <string> The stdout from the command.

The child_process.execSync() method is generally identical to child_process.exec() with the exception that the method will not return until the child process has fully closed. When a timeout has been encountered and killSignal is sent, the method won't return until the process has completely exited. Note that if the child process intercepts and handles the SIGTERM signal and doesn't exit, the parent process will wait until the child process has exited.

If the process times out, or has a non-zero exit code, this method will throw. The Error object will contain the entire result from child_process.spawnSync()

Note: Never pass unsanitised user input to this function. Any input containing shell metacharacters may be used to trigger arbitrary command execution.

child_process.spawnSync(command[, args][, options])#

  • command <string> The command to run.
  • args <Array> List of string arguments.
  • options <Object>
    • cwd <string> Current working directory of the child process.
    • input <string> | <Buffer> | <Uint8Array> The value which will be passed as stdin to the spawned process.
      • supplying this value will override stdio[0].
    • stdio <string> | <Array> Child's stdio configuration.
    • env <Object> Environment key-value pairs.
    • uid <number> Sets the user identity of the process (see setuid(2)).
    • gid <number> Sets the group identity of the process (see setgid(2)).
    • timeout <number> In milliseconds the maximum amount of time the process is allowed to run. Default: undefined
    • killSignal <string> | <integer> The signal value to be used when the spawned process will be killed. Default: 'SIGTERM'
    • maxBuffer <number> Largest amount of data in bytes allowed on stdout or stderr. Default: 200*1024 If exceeded, the child process is terminated. See caveat at maxBuffer and Unicode.
    • encoding <string> The encoding used for all stdio inputs and outputs. Default: 'buffer'
    • shell <boolean> | <string> If true, runs command inside of a shell. Uses '/bin/sh' on UNIX, and process.env.ComSpec on Windows. A different shell can be specified as a string. See Shell Requirements and Default Windows Shell. Default: false (no shell).
    • windowsVerbatimArguments <boolean> No quoting or escaping of arguments is done on Windows. Ignored on Unix. This is set to true automatically when shell is specified. Default: false.
    • windowsHide <boolean> Hide the subprocess console window that would normally be created on Windows systems. Default: false.
  • Returns: <Object>
    • pid <number> Pid of the child process.
    • output <Array> Array of results from stdio output.
    • stdout <Buffer> | <string> The contents of output[1].
    • stderr <Buffer> | <string> The contents of output[2].
    • status <number> The exit code of the child process.
    • signal <string> The signal used to kill the child process.
    • error <Error> The error object if the child process failed or timed out.

The child_process.spawnSync() method is generally identical to child_process.spawn() with the exception that the function will not return until the child process has fully closed. When a timeout has been encountered and killSignal is sent, the method won't return until the process has completely exited. Note that if the process intercepts and handles the SIGTERM signal and doesn't exit, the parent process will wait until the child process has exited.

Note: If the shell option is enabled, do not pass unsanitised user input to this function. Any input containing shell metacharacters may be used to trigger arbitrary command execution.

Class: ChildProcess#

Instances of the ChildProcess class are EventEmitters that represent spawned child processes.

Instances of ChildProcess are not intended to be created directly. Rather, use the child_process.spawn(), child_process.exec(), child_process.execFile(), or child_process.fork() methods to create instances of ChildProcess.

Event: 'close'#

  • code <number> The exit code if the child exited on its own.
  • signal <string> The signal by which the child process was terminated.

The 'close' event is emitted when the stdio streams of a child process have been closed. This is distinct from the 'exit' event, since multiple processes might share the same stdio streams.

Event: 'disconnect'#

The 'disconnect' event is emitted after calling the subprocess.disconnect() method in parent process or process.disconnect() in child process. After disconnecting it is no longer possible to send or receive messages, and the subprocess.connected property is false.

Event: 'error'#

The 'error' event is emitted whenever:

  1. The process could not be spawned, or
  2. The process could not be killed, or
  3. Sending a message to the child process failed.

Note: The 'exit' event may or may not fire after an error has occurred. When listening to both the 'exit' and 'error' events, it is important to guard against accidentally invoking handler functions multiple times.

See also subprocess.kill() and subprocess.send().

Event: 'exit'#

  • code <number> The exit code if the child exited on its own.
  • signal <string> The signal by which the child process was terminated.

The 'exit' event is emitted after the child process ends. If the process exited, code is the final exit code of the process, otherwise null. If the process terminated due to receipt of a signal, signal is the string name of the signal, otherwise null. One of the two will always be non-null.

Note that when the 'exit' event is triggered, child process stdio streams might still be open.

Also, note that Node.js establishes signal handlers for SIGINT and SIGTERM and Node.js processes will not terminate immediately due to receipt of those signals. Rather, Node.js will perform a sequence of cleanup actions and then will re-raise the handled signal.

See waitpid(2).

Event: 'message'#

The 'message' event is triggered when a child process uses process.send() to send messages.

Note: The message goes through JSON serialization and parsing. The resulting message might not be the same as what is originally sent. See notes in the JSON.stringify() specification.

subprocess.channel#

  • <Object> A pipe representing the IPC channel to the child process.

The subprocess.channel property is a reference to the child's IPC channel. If no IPC channel currently exists, this property is undefined.

subprocess.connected#

  • <boolean> Set to false after subprocess.disconnect() is called.

The subprocess.connected property indicates whether it is still possible to send and receive messages from a child process. When subprocess.connected is false, it is no longer possible to send or receive messages.

subprocess.disconnect()#

Closes the IPC channel between parent and child, allowing the child to exit gracefully once there are no other connections keeping it alive. After calling this method the subprocess.connected and process.connected properties in both the parent and child (respectively) will be set to false, and it will be no longer possible to pass messages between the processes.

The 'disconnect' event will be emitted when there are no messages in the process of being received. This will most often be triggered immediately after calling subprocess.disconnect().

Note that when the child process is a Node.js instance (e.g. spawned using child_process.fork()), the process.disconnect() method can be invoked within the child process to close the IPC channel as well.

subprocess.kill([signal])#

The subprocess.kill() methods sends a signal to the child process. If no argument is given, the process will be sent the 'SIGTERM' signal. See signal(7) for a list of available signals.

const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const grep = spawn('grep', ['ssh']);

grep.on('close', (code, signal) => {
  console.log(
    `child process terminated due to receipt of signal ${signal}`);
});

// Send SIGHUP to process
grep.kill('SIGHUP');

The ChildProcess object may emit an 'error' event if the signal cannot be delivered. Sending a signal to a child process that has already exited is not an error but may have unforeseen consequences. Specifically, if the process identifier (PID) has been reassigned to another process, the signal will be delivered to that process instead which can have unexpected results.

Note that while the function is called kill, the signal delivered to the child process may not actually terminate the process.

See kill(2) for reference.

Also note: on Linux, child processes of child processes will not be terminated when attempting to kill their parent. This is likely to happen when running a new process in a shell or with use of the shell option of ChildProcess, such as in this example:

'use strict';
const { spawn } = require('child_process');

const subprocess = spawn(
  'sh',
  [
    '-c',
    `node -e "setInterval(() => {
      console.log(process.pid, 'is alive')
    }, 500);"`
  ], {
    stdio: ['inherit', 'inherit', 'inherit']
  }
);

setTimeout(() => {
  subprocess.kill(); // does not terminate the node process in the shell
}, 2000);

subprocess.killed#

  • <boolean> Set to true after subprocess.kill() is used to successfully send a signal to the child process.

The subprocess.killed property indicates whether the child process successfully received a signal from subprocess.kill(). The killed property does not indicate that the child process has been terminated.

subprocess.pid#

Returns the process identifier (PID) of the child process.

Example:

const { spawn } = require('child_process');
const grep = spawn('grep', ['ssh']);

console.log(`Spawned child pid: ${grep.pid}`);
grep.stdin.end();

subprocess.send(message[, sendHandle[, options]][, callback])#

When an IPC channel has been established between the parent and child ( i.e. when using child_process.fork()), the subprocess.send() method can be used to send messages to the child process. When the child process is a Node.js instance, these messages can be received via the process.on('message') event.

Note: The message goes through JSON serialization and parsing. The resulting message might not be the same as what is originally sent. See notes in the JSON.stringify() specification.

For example, in the parent script:

const cp = require('child_process');
const n = cp.fork(`${__dirname}/sub.js`);

n.on('message', (m) => {
  console.log('PARENT got message:', m);
});

// Causes the child to print: CHILD got message: { hello: 'world' }
n.send({ hello: 'world' });

And then the child script, 'sub.js' might look like this:

process.on('message', (m) => {
  console.log('CHILD got message:', m);
});

// Causes the parent to print: PARENT got message: { foo: 'bar', baz: null }
process.send({ foo: 'bar', baz: NaN });

Child Node.js processes will have a process.send() method of their own that allows the child to send messages back to the parent.

There is a special case when sending a {cmd: 'NODE_foo'} message. All messages containing a NODE_ prefix in its cmd property are considered to be reserved for use within Node.js core and will not be emitted in the child's process.on('message') event. Rather, such messages are emitted using the process.on('internalMessage') event and are consumed internally by Node.js. Applications should avoid using such messages or listening for 'internalMessage' events as it is subject to change without notice.

The optional sendHandle argument that may be passed to subprocess.send() is for passing a TCP server or socket object to the child process. The child will receive the object as the second argument passed to the callback function registered on the process.on('message') event. Any data that is received and buffered in the socket will not be sent to the child.

The options argument, if present, is an object used to parameterize the sending of certain types of handles. options supports the following properties:

  • keepOpen - A Boolean value that can be used when passing instances of net.Socket. When true, the socket is kept open in the sending process. Defaults to false.

The optional callback is a function that is invoked after the message is sent but before the child may have received it. The function is called with a single argument: null on success, or an Error object on failure.

If no callback function is provided and the message cannot be sent, an 'error' event will be emitted by the ChildProcess object. This can happen, for instance, when the child process has already exited.

subprocess.send() will return false if the channel has closed or when the backlog of unsent messages exceeds a threshold that makes it unwise to send more. Otherwise, the method returns true. The callback function can be used to implement flow control.

Example: sending a server object#

The sendHandle argument can be used, for instance, to pass the handle of a TCP server object to the child process as illustrated in the example below:

const subprocess = require('child_process').fork('subprocess.js');

// Open up the server object and send the handle.
const server = require('net').createServer();
server.on('connection', (socket) => {
  socket.end('handled by parent');
});
server.listen(1337, () => {
  subprocess.send('server', server);
});

The child would then receive the server object as:

process.on('message', (m, server) => {
  if (m === 'server') {
    server.on('connection', (socket) => {
      socket.end('handled by child');
    });
  }
});

Once the server is now shared between the parent and child, some connections can be handled by the parent and some by the child.

While the example above uses a server created using the net module, dgram module servers use exactly the same workflow with the exceptions of listening on a 'message' event instead of 'connection' and using server.bind() instead of server.listen(). This is, however, currently only supported on UNIX platforms.

Example: sending a socket object#

Similarly, the sendHandler argument can be used to pass the handle of a socket to the child process. The example below spawns two children that each handle connections with "normal" or "special" priority:

const { fork } = require('child_process');
const normal = fork('subprocess.js', ['normal']);
const special = fork('subprocess.js', ['special']);

// Open up the server and send sockets to child. Use pauseOnConnect to prevent
// the sockets from being read before they are sent to the child process.
const server = require('net').createServer({ pauseOnConnect: true });
server.on('connection', (socket) => {

  // If this is special priority
  if (socket.remoteAddress === '74.125.127.100') {
    special.send('socket', socket);
    return;
  }
  // This is normal priority
  normal.send('socket', socket);
});
server.listen(1337);

The subprocess.js would receive the socket handle as the second argument passed to the event callback function:

process.on('message', (m, socket) => {
  if (m === 'socket') {
    if (socket) {
      // Check that the client socket exists.
      // It is possible for the socket to be closed between the time it is
      // sent and the time it is received in the child process.
      socket.end(`Request handled with ${process.argv[2]} priority`);
    }
  }
});

Once a socket has been passed to a child, the parent is no longer capable of tracking when the socket is destroyed. To indicate this, the .connections property becomes null. It is recommended not to use .maxConnections when this occurs.

It is also recommended that any 'message' handlers in the child process verify that socket exists, as the connection may have been closed during the time it takes to send the connection to the child.

subprocess.stderr#

A Readable Stream that represents the child process's stderr.

If the child was spawned with stdio[2] set to anything other than 'pipe', then this will be null.

subprocess.stderr is an alias for subprocess.stdio[2]. Both properties will refer to the same value.

subprocess.stdin#

A Writable Stream that represents the child process's stdin.

Note that if a child process waits to read all of its input, the child will not continue until this stream has been closed via end().

If the child was spawned with stdio[0] set to anything other than 'pipe', then this will be null.

subprocess.stdin is an alias for subprocess.stdio[0]. Both properties will refer to the same value.

subprocess.stdio#

A sparse array of pipes to the child process, corresponding with positions in the stdio option passed to child_process.spawn() that have been set to the value 'pipe'. Note that subprocess.stdio[0], subprocess.stdio[1], and subprocess.stdio[2] are also available as subprocess.stdin, subprocess.stdout, and subprocess.stderr, respectively.

In the following example, only the child's fd 1 (stdout) is configured as a pipe, so only the parent's subprocess.stdio[1] is a stream, all other values in the array are null.

const assert = require('assert');
const fs = require('fs');
const child_process = require('child_process');

const subprocess = child_process.spawn('ls', {
  stdio: [
    0, // Use parent's stdin for child
    'pipe', // Pipe child's stdout to parent
    fs.openSync('err.out', 'w') // Direct child's stderr to a file
  ]
});

assert.strictEqual(subprocess.stdio[0], null);
assert.strictEqual(subprocess.stdio[0], subprocess.stdin);

assert(subprocess.stdout);
assert.strictEqual(subprocess.stdio[1], subprocess.stdout);

assert.strictEqual(subprocess.stdio[2], null);
assert.strictEqual(subprocess.stdio[2], subprocess.stderr);

subprocess.stdout#

A Readable Stream that represents the child process's stdout.

If the child was spawned with stdio[1] set to anything other than 'pipe', then this will be null.

subprocess.stdout is an alias for subprocess.stdio[1]. Both properties will refer to the same value.

maxBuffer and Unicode#

The maxBuffer option specifies the largest number of bytes allowed on stdout or stderr. If this value is exceeded, then the child process is terminated. This impacts output that includes multibyte character encodings such as UTF-8 or UTF-16. For instance, console.log('中文测试') will send 13 UTF-8 encoded bytes to stdout although there are only 4 characters.

Shell Requirements#

The shell should understand the -c switch on UNIX or /d /s /c on Windows. On Windows, command line parsing should be compatible with 'cmd.exe'.

Default Windows Shell#

Although Microsoft specifies %COMSPEC% must contain the path to 'cmd.exe' in the root environment, child processes are not always subject to the same requirement. Thus, in child_process functions where a shell can be spawned, 'cmd.exe' is used as a fallback if process.env.ComSpec is unavailable.

Cluster#

Stability: 2 - Stable

A single instance of Node.js runs in a single thread. To take advantage of multi-core systems, the user will sometimes want to launch a cluster of Node.js processes to handle the load.

The cluster module allows easy creation of child processes that all share server ports.

const cluster = require('cluster');
const http = require('http');
const numCPUs = require('os').cpus().length;

if (cluster.isMaster) {
  console.log(`Master ${process.pid} is running`);

  // Fork workers.
  for (let i = 0; i < numCPUs; i++) {
    cluster.fork();
  }

  cluster.on('exit', (worker, code, signal) => {
    console.log(`worker ${worker.process.pid} died`);
  });
} else {
  // Workers can share any TCP connection
  // In this case it is an HTTP server
  http.createServer((req, res) => {
    res.writeHead(200);
    res.end('hello world\n');
  }).listen(8000);

  console.log(`Worker ${process.pid} started`);
}

Running Node.js will now share port 8000 between the workers:

$ node server.js
Master 3596 is running
Worker 4324 started
Worker 4520 started
Worker 6056 started
Worker 5644 started

Please note that on Windows, it is not yet possible to set up a named pipe server in a worker.

How It Works#

The worker processes are spawned using the child_process.fork() method, so that they can communicate with the parent via IPC and pass server handles back and forth.

The cluster module supports two methods of distributing incoming connections.

The first one (and the default one on all platforms except Windows), is the round-robin approach, where the master process listens on a port, accepts new connections and distributes them across the workers in a round-robin fashion, with some built-in smarts to avoid overloading a worker process.

The second approach is where the master process creates the listen socket and sends it to interested workers. The workers then accept incoming connections directly.

The second approach should, in theory, give the best performance. In practice however, distribution tends to be very unbalanced due to operating system scheduler vagaries. Loads have been observed where over 70% of all connections ended up in just two processes, out of a total of eight.

Because server.listen() hands off most of the work to the master process, there are three cases where the behavior between a normal Node.js process and a cluster worker differs:

  1. server.listen({fd: 7}) Because the message is passed to the master, file descriptor 7 in the parent will be listened on, and the handle passed to the worker, rather than listening to the worker's idea of what the number 7 file descriptor references.
  2. server.listen(handle) Listening on handles explicitly will cause the worker to use the supplied handle, rather than talk to the master process.
  3. server.listen(0) Normally, this will cause servers to listen on a random port. However, in a cluster, each worker will receive the same "random" port each time they do listen(0). In essence, the port is random the first time, but predictable thereafter. To listen on a unique port, generate a port number based on the cluster worker ID.

Note: Node.js does not provide routing logic. It is, therefore important to design an application such that it does not rely too heavily on in-memory data objects for things like sessions and login.

Because workers are all separate processes, they can be killed or re-spawned depending on a program's needs, without affecting other workers. As long as there are some workers still alive, the server will continue to accept connections. If no workers are alive, existing connections will be dropped and new connections will be refused. Node.js does not automatically manage the number of workers, however. It is the application's responsibility to manage the worker pool based on its own needs.

Class: Worker#

A Worker object contains all public information and method about a worker. In the master it can be obtained using cluster.workers. In a worker it can be obtained using cluster.worker.

Event: 'disconnect'#

Similar to the cluster.on('disconnect') event, but specific to this worker.

cluster.fork().on('disconnect', () => {
  // Worker has disconnected
});

Event: 'error'#

This event is the same as the one provided by child_process.fork().

Within a worker, process.on('error') may also be used.

Event: 'exit'#

  • code <number> The exit code, if it exited normally.
  • signal <string> The name of the signal (e.g. 'SIGHUP') that caused the process to be killed.

Similar to the cluster.on('exit') event, but specific to this worker.

const worker = cluster.fork();
worker.on('exit', (code, signal) => {
  if (signal) {
    console.log(`worker was killed by signal: ${signal}`);
  } else if (code !== 0) {
    console.log(`worker exited with error code: ${code}`);
  } else {
    console.log('worker success!');
  }
});

Event: 'listening'#

Similar to the cluster.on('listening') event, but specific to this worker.

cluster.fork().on('listening', (address) => {
  // Worker is listening
});

It is not emitted in the worker.

Event: 'message'#

Similar to the cluster.on('message') event, but specific to this worker.

Within a worker, process.on('message') may also be used.

See process event: 'message'.

As an example, here is a cluster that keeps count of the number of requests in the master process using the message system:

const cluster = require('cluster');
const http = require('http');

if (cluster.isMaster) {

  // Keep track of http requests
  let numReqs = 0;
  setInterval(() => {
    console.log(`numReqs = ${numReqs}`);
  }, 1000);

  // Count requests
  function messageHandler(msg) {
    if (msg.cmd && msg.cmd === 'notifyRequest') {
      numReqs += 1;
    }
  }

  // Start workers and listen for messages containing notifyRequest
  const numCPUs = require('os').cpus().length;
  for (let i = 0; i < numCPUs; i++) {
    cluster.fork();
  }

  for (const id in cluster.workers) {
    cluster.workers[id].on('message', messageHandler);
  }

} else {

  // Worker processes have a http server.
  http.Server((req, res) => {
    res.writeHead(200);
    res.end('hello world\n');

    // notify master about the request
    process.send({ cmd: 'notifyRequest' });
  }).listen(8000);
}

Event: 'online'#

Similar to the cluster.on('online') event, but specific to this worker.

cluster.fork().on('online', () => {
  // Worker is online
});

It is not emitted in the worker.

worker.disconnect()#

  • Returns: <Worker> A reference to worker.

In a worker, this function will close all servers, wait for the 'close' event on those servers, and then disconnect the IPC channel.

In the master, an internal message is sent to the worker causing it to call .disconnect() on itself.

Causes .exitedAfterDisconnect to be set.

Note that after a server is closed, it will no longer accept new connections, but connections may be accepted by any other listening worker. Existing connections will be allowed to close as usual. When no more connections exist, see server.close(), the IPC channel to the worker will close allowing it to die gracefully.

The above applies only to server connections, client connections are not automatically closed by workers, and disconnect does not wait for them to close before exiting.

Note that in a worker, process.disconnect exists, but it is not this function, it is disconnect.

Because long living server connections may block workers from disconnecting, it may be useful to send a message, so application specific actions may be taken to close them. It also may be useful to implement a timeout, killing a worker if the 'disconnect' event has not been emitted after some time.

if (cluster.isMaster) {
  const worker = cluster.fork();
  let timeout;

  worker.on('listening', (address) => {
    worker.send('shutdown');
    worker.disconnect();
    timeout = setTimeout(() => {
      worker.kill();
    }, 2000);
  });

  worker.on('disconnect', () => {
    clearTimeout(timeout);
  });

} else if (cluster.isWorker) {
  const net = require('net');
  const server = net.createServer((socket) => {
    // connections never end
  });

  server.listen(8000);

  process.on('message', (msg) => {
    if (msg === 'shutdown') {
      // initiate graceful close of any connections to server
    }
  });
}

worker.exitedAfterDisconnect#

Set by calling .kill() or .disconnect(). Until then, it is undefined.

The boolean worker.exitedAfterDisconnect allows distinguishing between voluntary and accidental exit, the master may choose not to respawn a worker based on this value.

cluster.on('exit', (worker, code, signal) => {
  if (worker.exitedAfterDisconnect === true) {
    console.log('Oh, it was just voluntary – no need to worry');
  }
});

// kill worker
worker.kill();

worker.id#

Each new worker is given its own unique id, this id is stored in the id.

While a worker is alive, this is the key that indexes it in cluster.workers

worker.isConnected()#

This function returns true if the worker is connected to its master via its IPC channel, false otherwise. A worker is connected to its master after it has been created. It is disconnected after the 'disconnect' event is emitted.

worker.isDead()#

This function returns true if the worker's process has terminated (either because of exiting or being signaled). Otherwise, it returns false.

worker.kill([signal='SIGTERM'])#

  • signal <string> Name of the kill signal to send to the worker process.

This function will kill the worker. In the master, it does this by disconnecting the worker.process, and once disconnected, killing with signal. In the worker, it does it by disconnecting the channel, and then exiting with code 0.

Causes .exitedAfterDisconnect to be set.

This method is aliased as worker.destroy() for backwards compatibility.

Note that in a worker, process.kill() exists, but it is not this function, it is kill.

worker.process#

All workers are created using child_process.fork(), the returned object from this function is stored as .process. In a worker, the global process is stored.

See: Child Process module

Note that workers will call process.exit(0) if the 'disconnect' event occurs on process and .exitedAfterDisconnect is not true. This protects against accidental disconnection.

worker.send(message[, sendHandle][, callback])#

Send a message to a worker or master, optionally with a handle.

In the master this sends a message to a specific worker. It is identical to ChildProcess.send().

In a worker this sends a message to the master. It is identical to process.send().

This example will echo back all messages from the master:

if (cluster.isMaster) {
  const worker = cluster.fork();
  worker.send('hi there');

} else if (cluster.isWorker) {
  process.on('message', (msg) => {
    process.send(msg);
  });
}

Event: 'disconnect'#

Emitted after the worker IPC channel has disconnected. This can occur when a worker exits gracefully, is killed, or is disconnected manually (such as with worker.disconnect()).

There may be a delay between the 'disconnect' and 'exit' events. These events can be used to detect if the process is stuck in a cleanup or if there are long-living connections.

cluster.on('disconnect', (worker) => {
  console.log(`The worker #${worker.id} has disconnected`);
});

Event: 'exit'#

  • worker <cluster.Worker>
  • code <number> The exit code, if it exited normally.
  • signal <string> The name of the signal (e.g. 'SIGHUP') that caused the process to be killed.

When any of the workers die the cluster module will emit the 'exit' event.

This can be used to restart the worker by calling .fork() again.

cluster.on('exit', (worker, code, signal) => {
  console.log('worker %d died (%s). restarting...',
              worker.process.pid, signal || code);
  cluster.fork();
});

See child_process event: 'exit'.

Event: 'fork'#

When a new worker is forked the cluster module will emit a 'fork' event. This can be used to log worker activity, and create a custom timeout.

const timeouts = [];
function errorMsg() {
  console.error('Something must be wrong with the connection ...');
}

cluster.on('fork', (worker) => {
  timeouts[worker.id] = setTimeout(errorMsg, 2000);
});
cluster.on('listening', (worker, address) => {
  clearTimeout(timeouts[worker.id]);
});
cluster.on('exit', (worker, code, signal) => {
  clearTimeout(timeouts[worker.id]);
  errorMsg();
});

Event: 'listening'#

After calling listen() from a worker, when the 'listening' event is emitted on the server a 'listening' event will also be emitted on cluster in the master.

The event handler is executed with two arguments, the worker contains the worker object and the address object contains the following connection properties: address, port and addressType. This is very useful if the worker is listening on more than one address.

cluster.on('listening', (worker, address) => {
  console.log(
    `A worker is now connected to ${address.address}:${address.port}`);
});

The addressType is one of:

  • 4 (TCPv4)
  • 6 (TCPv6)
  • -1 (unix domain socket)
  • "udp4" or "udp6" (UDP v4 or v6)

Event: 'message'#

Emitted when the cluster master receives a message from any worker.

See child_process event: 'message'.

Before Node.js v6.0, this event emitted only the message and the handle, but not the worker object, contrary to what the documentation stated.

If support for older versions is required but a worker object is not required, it is possible to work around the discrepancy by checking the number of arguments:

cluster.on('message', (worker, message, handle) => {
  if (arguments.length === 2) {
    handle = message;
    message = worker;
    worker = undefined;
  }
  // ...
});

Event: 'online'#

After forking a new worker, the worker should respond with an online message. When the master receives an online message it will emit this event. The difference between 'fork' and 'online' is that fork is emitted when the master forks a worker, and 'online' is emitted when the worker is running.

cluster.on('online', (worker) => {
  console.log('Yay, the worker responded after it was forked');
});

Event: 'setup'#

Emitted every time .setupMaster() is called.

The settings object is the cluster.settings object at the time .setupMaster() was called and is advisory only, since multiple calls to .setupMaster() can be made in a single tick.

If accuracy is important, use cluster.settings.

cluster.disconnect([callback])#

  • callback <Function> Called when all workers are disconnected and handles are closed.

Calls .disconnect() on each worker in cluster.workers.

When they are disconnected all internal handles will be closed, allowing the master process to die gracefully if no other event is waiting.

The method takes an optional callback argument which will be called when finished.

This can only be called from the master process.

cluster.fork([env])#

Spawn a new worker process.

This can only be called from the master process.

cluster.isMaster#

True if the process is a master. This is determined by the process.env.NODE_UNIQUE_ID. If process.env.NODE_UNIQUE_ID is undefined, then isMaster is true.

cluster.isWorker#

True if the process is not a master (it is the negation of cluster.isMaster).

cluster.schedulingPolicy#

The scheduling policy, either cluster.SCHED_RR for round-robin or cluster.SCHED_NONE to leave it to the operating system. This is a global setting and effectively frozen once either the first worker is spawned, or cluster.setupMaster() is called, whichever comes first.

SCHED_RR is the default on all operating systems except Windows. Windows will change to SCHED_RR once libuv is able to effectively distribute IOCP handles without incurring a large performance hit.

cluster.schedulingPolicy can also be set through the NODE_CLUSTER_SCHED_POLICY environment variable. Valid values are "rr" and "none".

cluster.settings#

  • <Object>
    • execArgv <Array> List of string arguments passed to the Node.js executable. Default: process.execArgv
    • exec <string> File path to worker file. Default: process.argv[1]
    • args <Array> String arguments passed to worker. Default: process.argv.slice(2)
    • silent <boolean> Whether or not to send output to parent's stdio. Default: false
    • stdio <Array> Configures the stdio of forked processes. Because the cluster module relies on IPC to function, this configuration must contain an 'ipc' entry. When this option is provided, it overrides silent.
    • uid <number> Sets the user identity of the process. (See setuid(2).)
    • gid <number> Sets the group identity of the process. (See setgid(2).)
    • inspectPort <number> | <function> Sets inspector port of worker. This can be a number, or a function that takes no arguments and returns a number. By default each worker gets its own port, incremented from the master's process.debugPort.

After calling .setupMaster() (or .fork()) this settings object will contain the settings, including the default values.

This object is not intended to be changed or set manually.

cluster.setupMaster([settings])#

setupMaster is used to change the default 'fork' behavior. Once called, the settings will be present in cluster.settings.

Note that:

  • Any settings changes only affect future calls to .fork() and have no effect on workers that are already running.
  • The only attribute of a worker that cannot be set via .setupMaster() is the env passed to .fork().
  • The defaults above apply to the first call only, the defaults for later calls is the current value at the time of cluster.setupMaster() is called.

Example:

const cluster = require('cluster');
cluster.setupMaster({
  exec: 'worker.js',
  args: ['--use', 'https'],
  silent: true
});
cluster.fork(); // https worker
cluster.setupMaster({
  exec: 'worker.js',
  args: ['--use', 'http']
});
cluster.fork(); // http worker

This can only be called from the master process.

cluster.worker#

A reference to the current worker object. Not available in the master process.

const cluster = require('cluster');

if (cluster.isMaster) {
  console.log('I am master');
  cluster.fork();
  cluster.fork();
} else if (cluster.isWorker) {
  console.log(`I am worker #${cluster.worker.id}`);
}

cluster.workers#

A hash that stores the active worker objects, keyed by id field. Makes it easy to loop through all the workers. It is only available in the master process.

A worker is removed from cluster.workers after the worker has disconnected and exited. The order between these two events cannot be determined in advance. However, it is guaranteed that the removal from the cluster.workers list happens before last 'disconnect' or 'exit' event is emitted.

// Go through all workers
function eachWorker(callback) {
  for (const id in cluster.workers) {
    callback(cluster.workers[id]);
  }
}
eachWorker((worker) => {
  worker.send('big announcement to all workers');
});

Using the worker's unique id is the easiest way to locate the worker.

socket.on('data', (id) => {
  const worker = cluster.workers[id];
});

Command Line Options#

Node.js comes with a variety of CLI options. These options expose built-in debugging, multiple ways to execute scripts, and other helpful runtime options.

To view this documentation as a manual page in a terminal, run man node.

Synopsis#

node [options] [v8 options] [script.js | -e "script" | -] [--] [arguments]

node debug [script.js | -e "script" | <host>:<port>] …

node --v8-options

Execute without arguments to start the REPL.

For more info about node debug, please see the debugger documentation.

Options#

-v, --version#

Print node's version.

-h, --help#

Print node command line options. The output of this option is less detailed than this document.

-e, --eval "script"#

Evaluate the following argument as JavaScript. The modules which are predefined in the REPL can also be used in script.

Note: 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.

-p, --print "script"#

Identical to -e but prints the result.

-c, --check#

Syntax check the script without executing.

-i, --interactive#

Opens the REPL even if stdin does not appear to be a terminal.

-r, --require module#

Preload the specified module at startup.

Follows require()'s module resolution rules. module may be either a path to a file, or a node module name.

--inspect[=[host:]port]#

Activate inspector on host:port. Default is 127.0.0.1:9229.

V8 inspector integration allows tools such as Chrome DevTools and IDEs to debug and profile Node.js instances. The tools attach to Node.js instances via a tcp port and communicate using the Chrome Debugging Protocol.

--inspect-brk[=[host:]port]#

Activate inspector on host:port and break at start of user script. Default host:port is 127.0.0.1:9229.

--inspect-port=[host:]port#

Set the host:port to be used when the inspector is activated. Useful when activating the inspector by sending the SIGUSR1 signal.

Default host is 127.0.0.1.

--no-deprecation#

Silence deprecation warnings.

--trace-deprecation#

Print stack traces for deprecations.

--throw-deprecation#

Throw errors for deprecations.

--pending-deprecation#

Emit pending deprecation warnings.

Note: Pending deprecations are generally identical to a runtime deprecation with the notable exception that they are turned off by default and will not be emitted unless either the --pending-deprecation command line flag, or the NODE_PENDING_DEPRECATION=1 environment variable, is set. Pending deprecations are used to provide a kind of selective "early warning" mechanism that developers may leverage to detect deprecated API usage.

--no-warnings#

Silence all process warnings (including deprecations).

--abort-on-uncaught-exception#

Aborting instead of exiting causes a core file to be generated for post-mortem analysis using a debugger (such as lldb, gdb, and mdb).

--trace-warnings#

Print stack traces for process warnings (including deprecations).

--redirect-warnings=file#

Write process warnings to the given file instead of printing to stderr. The file will be created if it does not exist, and will be appended to if it does. If an error occurs while attempting to write the warning to the file, the warning will be written to stderr instead.

--trace-sync-io#

Prints a stack trace whenever synchronous I/O is detected after the first turn of the event loop.

--no-force-async-hooks-checks#

Disables runtime checks for async_hooks. These will still be enabled dynamically when async_hooks is enabled.

--trace-events-enabled#

Enables the collection of trace event tracing information.

--trace-event-categories#

A comma separated list of categories that should be traced when trace event tracing is enabled using --trace-events-enabled.

--zero-fill-buffers#

Automatically zero-fills all newly allocated Buffer and SlowBuffer instances.

--preserve-symlinks#

Instructs the module loader to preserve symbolic links when resolving and caching modules.

By default, when Node.js loads a module from a path that is symbolically linked to a different on-disk location, Node.js will dereference the link and use the actual on-disk "real path" of the module as both an identifier and as a root path to locate other dependency modules. In most cases, this default behavior is acceptable. However, when using symbolically linked peer dependencies, as illustrated in the example below, the default behavior causes an exception to be thrown if moduleA attempts to require moduleB as a peer dependency:

{appDir}
 ├── app
 │   ├── index.js
 │   └── node_modules
 │       ├── moduleA -> {appDir}/moduleA
 │       └── moduleB
 │           ├── index.js
 │           └── package.json
 └── moduleA
     ├── index.js
     └── package.json

The --preserve-symlinks command line flag instructs Node.js to use the symlink path for modules as opposed to the real path, allowing symbolically linked peer dependencies to be found.

Note, however, that using --preserve-symlinks can have other side effects. Specifically, symbolically linked native modules can fail to load if those are linked from more than one location in the dependency tree (Node.js would see those as two separate modules and would attempt to load the module multiple times, causing an exception to be thrown).

--track-heap-objects#

Track heap object allocations for heap snapshots.

--prof-process#

Process v8 profiler output generated using the v8 option --prof.

--v8-options#

Print v8 command line options.

Note: V8 options allow words to be separated by both dashes (-) or underscores (_).

For example, --stack-trace-limit is equivalent to --stack_trace_limit.

--tls-cipher-list=list#

Specify an alternative default TLS cipher list. (Requires Node.js to be built with crypto support. (Default))

--enable-fips#

Enable FIPS-compliant crypto at startup. (Requires Node.js to be built with ./configure --openssl-fips)

--force-fips#

Force FIPS-compliant crypto on startup. (Cannot be disabled from script code.) (Same requirements as --enable-fips)

--openssl-config=file#

Load an OpenSSL configuration file on startup. Among other uses, this can be used to enable FIPS-compliant crypto if Node.js is built with ./configure --openssl-fips.

--use-openssl-ca, --use-bundled-ca#

Use OpenSSL's default CA store or use bundled Mozilla CA store as supplied by current Node.js version. The default store is selectable at build-time.

Using OpenSSL store allows for external modifications of the store. For most Linux and BSD distributions, this store is maintained by the distribution maintainers and system administrators. OpenSSL CA store location is dependent on configuration of the OpenSSL library but this can be altered at runtime using environment variables.

The bundled CA store, as supplied by Node.js, is a snapshot of Mozilla CA store that is fixed at release time. It is identical on all supported platforms.

See SSL_CERT_DIR and SSL_CERT_FILE.

--icu-data-dir=file#

Specify ICU data load path. (overrides NODE_ICU_DATA)

-#

Alias for stdin, analogous to the use of - in other command line utilities, meaning that the script will be read from stdin, and the rest of the options are passed to that script.

--#

Indicate the end of node options. Pass the rest of the arguments to the script. If no script filename or eval/print script is supplied prior to this, then the next argument will be used as a script filename.

Environment Variables#

NODE_DEBUG=module[,…]#

','-separated list of core modules that should print debug information.

NODE_PATH=path[:…]#

':'-separated list of directories prefixed to the module search path.

Note: On Windows, this is a ';'-separated list instead.

NODE_DISABLE_COLORS=1#

When set to 1 colors will not be used in the REPL.

NODE_ICU_DATA=file#

Data path for ICU (Intl object) data. Will extend linked-in data when compiled with small-icu support.

NODE_NO_WARNINGS=1#

When set to 1, process warnings are silenced.

NODE_OPTIONS=options...#

A space-separated list of command line options. options... are interpreted as if they had been specified on the command line before the actual command line (so they can be overridden). Node will exit with an error if an option that is not allowed in the environment is used, such as -p or a script file.

Node options that are allowed are:

  • --enable-fips
  • --force-fips
  • --icu-data-dir
  • --inspect-brk
  • --inspect-port
  • --inspect
  • --no-deprecation
  • --no-warnings
  • --openssl-config
  • --redirect-warnings
  • --require, -r
  • --throw-deprecation
  • --tls-cipher-list
  • --trace-deprecation
  • --trace-events-categories
  • --trace-events-enabled
  • --trace-sync-io
  • --trace-warnings
  • --track-heap-objects
  • --use-bundled-ca
  • --use-openssl-ca
  • --v8-pool-size
  • --zero-fill-buffers

V8 options that are allowed are:

  • --abort-on-uncaught-exception
  • --max-old-space-size
  • --stack-trace-limit

NODE_PENDING_DEPRECATION=1#

When set to 1, emit pending deprecation warnings.

Note: Pending deprecations are generally identical to a runtime deprecation with the notable exception that they are turned off by default and will not be emitted unless either the --pending-deprecation command line flag, or the NODE_PENDING_DEPRECATION=1 environment variable, is set. Pending deprecations are used to provide a kind of selective "early warning" mechanism that developers may leverage to detect deprecated API usage.

NODE_PRESERVE_SYMLINKS=1#

When set to 1, instructs the module loader to preserve symbolic links when resolving and caching modules.

NODE_REPL_HISTORY=file#

Path to the file used to store the persistent REPL history. The default path is ~/.node_repl_history, which is overridden by this variable. Setting the value to an empty string ("" or " ") disables persistent REPL history.

NODE_EXTRA_CA_CERTS=file#

When set, the well known "root" CAs (like VeriSign) will be extended with the extra certificates in file. The file should consist of one or more trusted certificates in PEM format. A message will be emitted (once) with process.emitWarning() if the file is missing or malformed, but any errors are otherwise ignored.

Note that neither the well known nor extra certificates are used when the ca options property is explicitly specified for a TLS or HTTPS client or server.

OPENSSL_CONF=file#

Load an OpenSSL configuration file on startup. Among other uses, this can be used to enable FIPS-compliant crypto if Node.js is built with ./configure --openssl-fips.

If the --openssl-config command line option is used, the environment variable is ignored.

SSL_CERT_DIR=dir#

If --use-openssl-ca is enabled, this overrides and sets OpenSSL's directory containing trusted certificates.

Note: Be aware that unless the child environment is explicitly set, this environment variable will be inherited by any child processes, and if they use OpenSSL, it may cause them to trust the same CAs as node.

SSL_CERT_FILE=file#

If --use-openssl-ca is enabled, this overrides and sets OpenSSL's file containing trusted certificates.

Note: Be aware that unless the child environment is explicitly set, this environment variable will be inherited by any child processes, and if they use OpenSSL, it may cause them to trust the same CAs as node.

NODE_REDIRECT_WARNINGS=file#

When set, process warnings will be emitted to the given file instead of printing to stderr. The file will be created if it does not exist, and will be appended to if it does. If an error occurs while attempting to write the warning to the file, the warning will be written to stderr instead. This is equivalent to using the --redirect-warnings=file command-line flag.

UV_THREADPOOL_SIZE=size#

Set the number of threads used in libuv's threadpool to size threads.

Asynchronous system APIs are used by Node.js whenever possible, but where they do not exist, libuv's threadpool is used to create asynchronous node APIs based on synchronous system APIs. Node.js APIs that use the threadpool are:

  • all fs APIs, other than the file watcher APIs and those that are explicitly synchronous
  • crypto.pbkdf2()
  • crypto.randomBytes(), unless it is used without a callback
  • crypto.randomFill()
  • dns.lookup()
  • all zlib APIs, other than those that are explicitly synchronous

Because libuv's threadpool has a fixed size, it means that if for whatever reason any of these APIs takes a long time, other (seemingly unrelated) APIs that run in libuv's threadpool will experience degraded performance. In order to mitigate this issue, one potential solution is to increase the size of libuv's threadpool by setting the 'UV_THREADPOOL_SIZE' environment variable to a value greater than 4 (its current default value). For more information, see the libuv threadpool documentation.

Console#

Stability: 2 - Stable

The console module provides a simple debugging console that is similar to the JavaScript console mechanism provided by web browsers.

The module exports two specific components:

  • A Console class with methods such as console.log(), console.error() and console.warn() that can be used to write to any Node.js stream.
  • A global console instance configured to write to process.stdout and process.stderr. The global console can be used without calling require('console').

Warning: The global console object's methods are neither consistently synchronous like the browser APIs they resemble, nor are they consistently asynchronous like all other Node.js streams. See the note on process I/O for more information.

Example using the global console:

console.log('hello world');
// Prints: hello world, to stdout
console.log('hello %s', 'world');
// Prints: hello world, to stdout
console.error(new Error('Whoops, something bad happened'));
// Prints: [Error: Whoops, something bad happened], to stderr

const name = 'Will Robinson';
console.warn(`Danger ${name}! Danger!`);
// Prints: Danger Will Robinson! Danger!, to stderr

Example using the Console class:

const out = getStreamSomehow();
const err = getStreamSomehow();
const myConsole = new console.Console(out, err);

myConsole.log('hello world');
// Prints: hello world, to out
myConsole.log('hello %s', 'world');
// Prints: hello world, to out
myConsole.error(new Error('Whoops, something bad happened'));
// Prints: [Error: Whoops, something bad happened], to err

const name = 'Will Robinson';
myConsole.warn(`Danger ${name}! Danger!`);
// Prints: Danger Will Robinson! Danger!, to err

Class: Console#

The Console class can be used to create a simple logger with configurable output streams and can be accessed using either require('console').Console or console.Console (or their destructured counterparts):

const { Console } = require('console');
const { Console } = console;

new Console(stdout[, stderr])#

  • stdout <Writable>
  • stderr <Writable>

Creates a new Console by passing one or two writable stream instances. stdout is a writable stream to print log or info output. stderr is used for warning or error output. If stderr is not passed, warning and error output will be sent to stdout.

const output = fs.createWriteStream('./stdout.log');
const errorOutput = fs.createWriteStream('./stderr.log');
// custom simple logger
const logger = new Console(output, errorOutput);
// use it like console
const count = 5;
logger.log('count: %d', count);
// in stdout.log: count 5

The global console is a special Console whose output is sent to process.stdout and process.stderr. It is equivalent to calling:

new Console(process.stdout, process.stderr);

console.assert(value[, message][, ...args])#

  • value <any>
  • message <any>
  • ...args <any>

A simple assertion test that verifies whether value is truthy. If it is not, an AssertionError is thrown. If provided, the error message is formatted using util.format() and used as the error message.

console.assert(true, 'does nothing');
// OK
console.assert(false, 'Whoops %s', 'didn\'t work');
// AssertionError: Whoops didn't work

Note: The console.assert() method is implemented differently in Node.js than the console.assert() method available in browsers.

Specifically, in browsers, calling console.assert() with a falsy assertion will cause the message to be printed to the console without interrupting execution of subsequent code. In Node.js, however, a falsy assertion will cause an AssertionError to be thrown.

Functionality approximating that implemented by browsers can be implemented by extending Node.js' console and overriding the console.assert() method.

In the following example, a simple module is created that extends and overrides the default behavior of console in Node.js.

'use strict';

// Creates a simple extension of console with a
// new impl for assert without monkey-patching.
const myConsole = Object.create(console, {
  assert: {
    value: function assert(assertion, message, ...args) {
      try {
        console.assert(assertion, message, ...args);
      } catch (err) {
        console.error(err.stack);
      }
    },
    configurable: true,
    enumerable: true,
    writable: true,
  },
});

module.exports = myConsole;

This can then be used as a direct replacement for the built in console:

const console = require('./myConsole');
console.assert(false, 'this message will print, but no error thrown');
console.log('this will also print');

console.clear()#

When stdout is a TTY, calling console.clear() will attempt to clear the TTY. When stdout is not a TTY, this method does nothing.

Note: The specific operation of console.clear() can vary across operating systems and terminal types. For most Linux operating systems, console.clear() operates similarly to the clear shell command. On Windows, console.clear() will clear only the output in the current terminal viewport for the Node.js binary.

console.count([label])#

  • label <string> The display label for the counter. Defaults to 'default'.

Maintains an internal counter specific to label and outputs to stdout the number of times console.count() has been called with the given label.

> console.count()
default: 1
undefined
> console.count('default')
default: 2
undefined
> console.count('abc')
abc: 1
undefined
> console.count('xyz')
xyz: 1
undefined
> console.count('abc')
abc: 2
undefined
> console.count()
default: 3
undefined
>

console.countReset([label='default'])#

  • label <string> The display label for the counter. Defaults to 'default'.

Resets the internal counter specific to label.

> console.count('abc');
abc: 1
undefined
> console.countReset('abc');
undefined
> console.count('abc');
abc: 1
undefined
>

console.dir(obj[, options])#

Uses util.inspect() on obj and prints the resulting string to stdout. This function bypasses any custom inspect() function defined on obj. An optional options object may be passed to alter certain aspects of the formatted string:

  • showHidden - if true then the object's non-enumerable and symbol properties will be shown too. Defaults to false.

  • depth - tells util.inspect() how many times to recurse while formatting the object. This is useful for inspecting large complicated objects. Defaults to 2. To make it recurse indefinitely, pass null.

  • colors - if true, then the output will be styled with ANSI color codes. Defaults to false. Colors are customizable; see customizing util.inspect() colors.

console.error([data][, ...args])#

  • data <any>
  • ...args <any>

Prints to stderr with newline. Multiple arguments can be passed, with the first used as the primary message and all additional used as substitution values similar to printf(3) (the arguments are all passed to util.format()).

const code = 5;
console.error('error #%d', code);
// Prints: error #5, to stderr
console.error('error', code);
// Prints: error 5, to stderr

If formatting elements (e.g. %d) are not found in the first string then util.inspect() is called on each argument and the resulting string values are concatenated. See util.format() for more information.

console.group([...label])#

  • ...label <any>

Increases indentation of subsequent lines by two spaces.

If one or more labels are provided, those are printed first without the additional indentation.

console.groupCollapsed()#

An alias for console.group().

console.groupEnd()#

Decreases indentation of subsequent lines by two spaces.

console.info([data][, ...args])#

  • data <any>
  • ...args <any>

The console.info() function is an alias for console.log().

console.log([data][, ...args])#

  • data <any>
  • ...args <any>

Prints to stdout with newline. Multiple arguments can be passed, with the first used as the primary message and all additional used as substitution values similar to printf(3) (the arguments are all passed to util.format()).

const count = 5;
console.log('count: %d', count);
// Prints: count: 5, to stdout
console.log('count:', count);
// Prints: count: 5, to stdout

See util.format() for more information.

console.time(label)#

Starts a timer that can be used to compute the duration of an operation. Timers are identified by a unique label. Use the same label when calling console.timeEnd() to stop the timer and output the elapsed time in milliseconds to stdout. Timer durations are accurate to the sub-millisecond.

console.timeEnd(label)#

Stops a timer that was previously started by calling console.time() and prints the result to stdout:

console.time('100-elements');
for (let i = 0; i < 100; i++) {}
console.timeEnd('100-elements');
// prints 100-elements: 225.438ms

Note: As of Node.js v6.0.0, console.timeEnd() deletes the timer to avoid leaking it. On older versions, the timer persisted. This allowed console.timeEnd() to be called multiple times for the same label. This functionality was unintended and is no longer supported.

console.trace([message][, ...args])#

  • message <any>
  • ...args <any>

Prints to stderr the string 'Trace :', followed by the util.format() formatted message and stack trace to the current position in the code.

console.trace('Show me');
// Prints: (stack trace will vary based on where trace is called)
//  Trace: Show me
//    at repl:2:9
//    at REPLServer.defaultEval (repl.js:248:27)
//    at bound (domain.js:287:14)
//    at REPLServer.runBound [as eval] (domain.js:300:12)
//    at REPLServer.<anonymous> (repl.js:412:12)
//    at emitOne (events.js:82:20)
//    at REPLServer.emit (events.js:169:7)
//    at REPLServer.Interface._onLine (readline.js:210:10)
//    at REPLServer.Interface._line (readline.js:549:8)
//    at REPLServer.Interface._ttyWrite (readline.js:826:14)

console.warn([data][, ...args])#

  • data <any>
  • ...args <any>

The console.warn() function is an alias for console.error().

Crypto#

Stability: 2 - Stable

The crypto module provides cryptographic functionality that includes a set of wrappers for OpenSSL's hash, HMAC, cipher, decipher, sign and verify functions.

Use require('crypto') to access this module.

const crypto = require('crypto');

const secret = 'abcdefg';
const hash = crypto.createHmac('sha256', secret)
                   .update('I love cupcakes')
                   .digest('hex');
console.log(hash);
// Prints:
//   c0fa1bc00531bd78ef38c628449c5102aeabd49b5dc3a2a516ea6ea959d6658e

Determining if crypto support is unavailable#

It is possible for Node.js to be built without including support for the crypto module. In such cases, calling require('crypto') will result in an error being thrown.

let crypto;
try {
  crypto = require('crypto');
} catch (err) {
  console.log('crypto support is disabled!');
}

Class: Certificate#

SPKAC is a Certificate Signing Request mechanism originally implemented by Netscape and now specified formally as part of HTML5's keygen element.

The crypto module provides the Certificate class for working with SPKAC data. The most common usage is handling output generated by the HTML5 <keygen> element. Node.js uses OpenSSL's SPKAC implementation internally.

Certificate.exportChallenge(spkac)#

const { Certificate } = require('crypto');
const spkac = getSpkacSomehow();
const challenge = Certificate.exportChallenge(spkac);
console.log(challenge.toString('utf8'));
// Prints: the challenge as a UTF8 string

Certificate.exportPublicKey(spkac[, encoding])#

const { Certificate } = require('crypto');
const spkac = getSpkacSomehow();
const publicKey = Certificate.exportPublicKey(spkac);
console.log(publicKey);
// Prints: the public key as <Buffer ...>

Certificate.verifySpkac(spkac)#

const { Certificate } = require('crypto');
const spkac = getSpkacSomehow();
console.log(Certificate.verifySpkac(Buffer.from(spkac)));
// Prints: true or false

Legacy API#

As a still supported legacy interface, it is possible (but not recommended) to create new instances of the crypto.Certificate class as illustrated in the examples below.

new crypto.Certificate()#

Instances of the Certificate class can be created using the new keyword or by calling crypto.Certificate() as a function:

const crypto = require('crypto');

const cert1 = new crypto.Certificate();
const cert2 = crypto.Certificate();

certificate.exportChallenge(spkac)#

const cert = require('crypto').Certificate();
const spkac = getSpkacSomehow();
const challenge = cert.exportChallenge(spkac);
console.log(challenge.toString('utf8'));
// Prints: the challenge as a UTF8 string

certificate.exportPublicKey(spkac)#

const cert = require('crypto').Certificate();
const spkac = getSpkacSomehow();
const publicKey = cert.exportPublicKey(spkac);
console.log(publicKey);
// Prints: the public key as <Buffer ...>

certificate.verifySpkac(spkac)#

const cert = require('crypto').Certificate();
const spkac = getSpkacSomehow();
console.log(cert.verifySpkac(Buffer.from(spkac)));
// Prints: true or false

Class: Cipher#

Instances of the Cipher class are used to encrypt data. The class can be used in one of two ways:

  • As a stream that is both readable and writable, where plain unencrypted data is written to produce encrypted data on the readable side, or
  • Using the cipher.update() and cipher.final() methods to produce the encrypted data.

The crypto.createCipher() or crypto.createCipheriv() methods are used to create Cipher instances. Cipher objects are not to be created directly using the new keyword.

Example: Using Cipher objects as streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const cipher = crypto.createCipher('aes192', 'a password');

let encrypted = '';
cipher.on('readable', () => {
  const data = cipher.read();
  if (data)
    encrypted += data.toString('hex');
});
cipher.on('end', () => {
  console.log(encrypted);
  // Prints: ca981be48e90867604588e75d04feabb63cc007a8f8ad89b10616ed84d815504
});

cipher.write('some clear text data');
cipher.end();

Example: Using Cipher and piped streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const fs = require('fs');
const cipher = crypto.createCipher('aes192', 'a password');

const input = fs.createReadStream('test.js');
const output = fs.createWriteStream('test.enc');

input.pipe(cipher).pipe(output);

Example: Using the cipher.update() and cipher.final() methods:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const cipher = crypto.createCipher('aes192', 'a password');

let encrypted = cipher.update('some clear text data', 'utf8', 'hex');
encrypted += cipher.final('hex');
console.log(encrypted);
// Prints: ca981be48e90867604588e75d04feabb63cc007a8f8ad89b10616ed84d815504

cipher.final([outputEncoding])#

Returns any remaining enciphered contents. If outputEncoding parameter is one of 'latin1', 'base64' or 'hex', a string is returned. If an outputEncoding is not provided, a Buffer is returned.

Once the cipher.final() method has been called, the Cipher object can no longer be used to encrypt data. Attempts to call cipher.final() more than once will result in an error being thrown.

cipher.setAAD(buffer)#

  • buffer <Buffer>
  • Returns the <Cipher> for method chaining.

When using an authenticated encryption mode (only GCM is currently supported), the cipher.setAAD() method sets the value used for the additional authenticated data (AAD) input parameter.

The cipher.setAAD() method must be called before cipher.update().

cipher.getAuthTag()#

When using an authenticated encryption mode (only GCM is currently supported), the cipher.getAuthTag() method returns a Buffer containing the authentication tag that has been computed from the given data.

The cipher.getAuthTag() method should only be called after encryption has been completed using the cipher.final() method.

cipher.setAutoPadding([autoPadding])#

  • autoPadding <boolean> Defaults to true.
  • Returns the <Cipher> for method chaining.

When using block encryption algorithms, the Cipher class will automatically add padding to the input data to the appropriate block size. To disable the default padding call cipher.setAutoPadding(false).

When autoPadding is false, the length of the entire input data must be a multiple of the cipher's block size or cipher.final() will throw an Error. Disabling automatic padding is useful for non-standard padding, for instance using 0x0 instead of PKCS padding.

The cipher.setAutoPadding() method must be called before cipher.final().

cipher.update(data[, inputEncoding][, outputEncoding])#

Updates the cipher with data. If the inputEncoding argument is given, its value must be one of 'utf8', 'ascii', or 'latin1' and the data argument is a string using the specified encoding. If the inputEncoding argument is not given, data must be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView. If data is a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView, then inputEncoding is ignored.

The outputEncoding specifies the output format of the enciphered data, and can be 'latin1', 'base64' or 'hex'. If the outputEncoding is specified, a string using the specified encoding is returned. If no outputEncoding is provided, a Buffer is returned.

The cipher.update() method can be called multiple times with new data until cipher.final() is called. Calling cipher.update() after cipher.final() will result in an error being thrown.

Class: Decipher#

Instances of the Decipher class are used to decrypt data. The class can be used in one of two ways:

  • As a stream that is both readable and writable, where plain encrypted data is written to produce unencrypted data on the readable side, or
  • Using the decipher.update() and decipher.final() methods to produce the unencrypted data.

The crypto.createDecipher() or crypto.createDecipheriv() methods are used to create Decipher instances. Decipher objects are not to be created directly using the new keyword.

Example: Using Decipher objects as streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const decipher = crypto.createDecipher('aes192', 'a password');

let decrypted = '';
decipher.on('readable', () => {
  const data = decipher.read();
  if (data)
    decrypted += data.toString('utf8');
});
decipher.on('end', () => {
  console.log(decrypted);
  // Prints: some clear text data
});

const encrypted =
    'ca981be48e90867604588e75d04feabb63cc007a8f8ad89b10616ed84d815504';
decipher.write(encrypted, 'hex');
decipher.end();

Example: Using Decipher and piped streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const fs = require('fs');
const decipher = crypto.createDecipher('aes192', 'a password');

const input = fs.createReadStream('test.enc');
const output = fs.createWriteStream('test.js');

input.pipe(decipher).pipe(output);

Example: Using the decipher.update() and decipher.final() methods:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const decipher = crypto.createDecipher('aes192', 'a password');

const encrypted =
    'ca981be48e90867604588e75d04feabb63cc007a8f8ad89b10616ed84d815504';
let decrypted = decipher.update(encrypted, 'hex', 'utf8');
decrypted += decipher.final('utf8');
console.log(decrypted);
// Prints: some clear text data

decipher.final([outputEncoding])#

Returns any remaining deciphered contents. If outputEncoding parameter is one of 'latin1', 'ascii' or 'utf8', a string is returned. If an outputEncoding is not provided, a Buffer is returned.

Once the decipher.final() method has been called, the Decipher object can no longer be used to decrypt data. Attempts to call decipher.final() more than once will result in an error being thrown.

decipher.setAAD(buffer)#

When using an authenticated encryption mode (only GCM is currently supported), the decipher.setAAD() method sets the value used for the additional authenticated data (AAD) input parameter.

The decipher.setAAD() method must be called before decipher.update().

decipher.setAuthTag(buffer)#

When using an authenticated encryption mode (only GCM is currently supported), the decipher.setAuthTag() method is used to pass in the received authentication tag. If no tag is provided, or if the cipher text has been tampered with, decipher.final() with throw, indicating that the cipher text should be discarded due to failed authentication.

The decipher.setAuthTag() method must be called before decipher.final().

decipher.setAutoPadding([autoPadding])#

  • autoPadding <boolean> Defaults to true.
  • Returns the <Cipher> for method chaining.

When data has been encrypted without standard block padding, calling decipher.setAutoPadding(false) will disable automatic padding to prevent decipher.final() from checking for and removing padding.

Turning auto padding off will only work if the input data's length is a multiple of the ciphers block size.

The decipher.setAutoPadding() method must be called before decipher.final().

decipher.update(data[, inputEncoding][, outputEncoding])#

Updates the decipher with data. If the inputEncoding argument is given, its value must be one of 'latin1', 'base64', or 'hex' and the data argument is a string using the specified encoding. If the inputEncoding argument is not given, data must be a Buffer. If data is a Buffer then inputEncoding is ignored.

The outputEncoding specifies the output format of the enciphered data, and can be 'latin1', 'ascii' or 'utf8'. If the outputEncoding is specified, a string using the specified encoding is returned. If no outputEncoding is provided, a Buffer is returned.

The decipher.update() method can be called multiple times with new data until decipher.final() is called. Calling decipher.update() after decipher.final() will result in an error being thrown.

Class: DiffieHellman#

The DiffieHellman class is a utility for creating Diffie-Hellman key exchanges.

Instances of the DiffieHellman class can be created using the crypto.createDiffieHellman() function.

const crypto = require('crypto');
const assert = require('assert');

// Generate Alice's keys...
const alice = crypto.createDiffieHellman(2048);
const aliceKey = alice.generateKeys();

// Generate Bob's keys...
const bob = crypto.createDiffieHellman(alice.getPrime(), alice.getGenerator());
const bobKey = bob.generateKeys();

// Exchange and generate the secret...
const aliceSecret = alice.computeSecret(bobKey);
const bobSecret = bob.computeSecret(aliceKey);

// OK
assert.strictEqual(aliceSecret.toString('hex'), bobSecret.toString('hex'));

diffieHellman.computeSecret(otherPublicKey[, inputEncoding][, outputEncoding])#

Computes the shared secret using otherPublicKey as the other party's public key and returns the computed shared secret. The supplied key is interpreted using the specified inputEncoding, and secret is encoded using specified outputEncoding. Encodings can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If the inputEncoding is not provided, otherPublicKey is expected to be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView.

If outputEncoding is given a string is returned; otherwise, a Buffer is returned.

diffieHellman.generateKeys([encoding])#

Generates private and public Diffie-Hellman key values, and returns the public key in the specified encoding. This key should be transferred to the other party. Encoding can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

diffieHellman.getGenerator([encoding])#

Returns the Diffie-Hellman generator in the specified encoding, which can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

diffieHellman.getPrime([encoding])#

Returns the Diffie-Hellman prime in the specified encoding, which can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

diffieHellman.getPrivateKey([encoding])#

Returns the Diffie-Hellman private key in the specified encoding, which can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

diffieHellman.getPublicKey([encoding])#

Returns the Diffie-Hellman public key in the specified encoding, which can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

diffieHellman.setPrivateKey(privateKey[, encoding])#

Sets the Diffie-Hellman private key. If the encoding argument is provided and is either 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64', privateKey is expected to be a string. If no encoding is provided, privateKey is expected to be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView.

diffieHellman.setPublicKey(publicKey[, encoding])#

Sets the Diffie-Hellman public key. If the encoding argument is provided and is either 'latin1', 'hex' or 'base64', publicKey is expected to be a string. If no encoding is provided, publicKey is expected to be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView.

diffieHellman.verifyError#

A bit field containing any warnings and/or errors resulting from a check performed during initialization of the DiffieHellman object.

The following values are valid for this property (as defined in constants module):

  • DH_CHECK_P_NOT_SAFE_PRIME
  • DH_CHECK_P_NOT_PRIME
  • DH_UNABLE_TO_CHECK_GENERATOR
  • DH_NOT_SUITABLE_GENERATOR

Class: ECDH#

The ECDH class is a utility for creating Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) key exchanges.

Instances of the ECDH class can be created using the crypto.createECDH() function.

const crypto = require('crypto');
const assert = require('assert');

// Generate Alice's keys...
const alice = crypto.createECDH('secp521r1');
const aliceKey = alice.generateKeys();

// Generate Bob's keys...
const bob = crypto.createECDH('secp521r1');
const bobKey = bob.generateKeys();

// Exchange and generate the secret...
const aliceSecret = alice.computeSecret(bobKey);
const bobSecret = bob.computeSecret(aliceKey);

assert.strictEqual(aliceSecret.toString('hex'), bobSecret.toString('hex'));
// OK

ecdh.computeSecret(otherPublicKey[, inputEncoding][, outputEncoding])#

Computes the shared secret using otherPublicKey as the other party's public key and returns the computed shared secret. The supplied key is interpreted using specified inputEncoding, and the returned secret is encoded using the specified outputEncoding. Encodings can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If the inputEncoding is not provided, otherPublicKey is expected to be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView.

If outputEncoding is given a string will be returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

ecdh.generateKeys([encoding[, format]])#

Generates private and public EC Diffie-Hellman key values, and returns the public key in the specified format and encoding. This key should be transferred to the other party.

The format argument specifies point encoding and can be 'compressed' or 'uncompressed'. If format is not specified, the point will be returned in 'uncompressed' format.

The encoding argument can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

ecdh.getPrivateKey([encoding])#

Returns the EC Diffie-Hellman private key in the specified encoding, which can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

ecdh.getPublicKey([encoding][, format])#

Returns the EC Diffie-Hellman public key in the specified encoding and format.

The format argument specifies point encoding and can be 'compressed' or 'uncompressed'. If format is not specified the point will be returned in 'uncompressed' format.

The encoding argument can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'. If encoding is specified, a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

ecdh.setPrivateKey(privateKey[, encoding])#

Sets the EC Diffie-Hellman private key. The encoding can be 'latin1', 'hex' or 'base64'. If encoding is provided, privateKey is expected to be a string; otherwise privateKey is expected to be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView.

If privateKey is not valid for the curve specified when the ECDH object was created, an error is thrown. Upon setting the private key, the associated public point (key) is also generated and set in the ECDH object.

ecdh.setPublicKey(publicKey[, encoding])#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated

Sets the EC Diffie-Hellman public key. Key encoding can be 'latin1', 'hex' or 'base64'. If encoding is provided publicKey is expected to be a string; otherwise a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView is expected.

Note that there is not normally a reason to call this method because ECDH only requires a private key and the other party's public key to compute the shared secret. Typically either ecdh.generateKeys() or ecdh.setPrivateKey() will be called. The ecdh.setPrivateKey() method attempts to generate the public point/key associated with the private key being set.

Example (obtaining a shared secret):

const crypto = require('crypto');
const alice = crypto.createECDH('secp256k1');
const bob = crypto.createECDH('secp256k1');

// Note: This is a shortcut way to specify one of Alice's previous private
// keys. It would be unwise to use such a predictable private key in a real
// application.
alice.setPrivateKey(
  crypto.createHash('sha256').update('alice', 'utf8').digest()
);

// Bob uses a newly generated cryptographically strong
// pseudorandom key pair
bob.generateKeys();

const aliceSecret = alice.computeSecret(bob.getPublicKey(), null, 'hex');
const bobSecret = bob.computeSecret(alice.getPublicKey(), null, 'hex');

// aliceSecret and bobSecret should be the same shared secret value
console.log(aliceSecret === bobSecret);

Class: Hash#

The Hash class is a utility for creating hash digests of data. It can be used in one of two ways:

  • As a stream that is both readable and writable, where data is written to produce a computed hash digest on the readable side, or
  • Using the hash.update() and hash.digest() methods to produce the computed hash.

The crypto.createHash() method is used to create Hash instances. Hash objects are not to be created directly using the new keyword.

Example: Using Hash objects as streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const hash = crypto.createHash('sha256');

hash.on('readable', () => {
  const data = hash.read();
  if (data) {
    console.log(data.toString('hex'));
    // Prints:
    //   6a2da20943931e9834fc12cfe5bb47bbd9ae43489a30726962b576f4e3993e50
  }
});

hash.write('some data to hash');
hash.end();

Example: Using Hash and piped streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const fs = require('fs');
const hash = crypto.createHash('sha256');

const input = fs.createReadStream('test.js');
input.pipe(hash).pipe(process.stdout);

Example: Using the hash.update() and hash.digest() methods:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const hash = crypto.createHash('sha256');

hash.update('some data to hash');
console.log(hash.digest('hex'));
// Prints:
//   6a2da20943931e9834fc12cfe5bb47bbd9ae43489a30726962b576f4e3993e50

hash.digest([encoding])#

Calculates the digest of all of the data passed to be hashed (using the hash.update() method). The encoding can be 'hex', 'latin1' or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string will be returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

The Hash object can not be used again after hash.digest() method has been called. Multiple calls will cause an error to be thrown.

hash.update(data[, inputEncoding])#

Updates the hash content with the given data, the encoding of which is given in inputEncoding and can be 'utf8', 'ascii' or 'latin1'. If encoding is not provided, and the data is a string, an encoding of 'utf8' is enforced. If data is a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView, then inputEncoding is ignored.

This can be called many times with new data as it is streamed.

Class: Hmac#

The Hmac Class is a utility for creating cryptographic HMAC digests. It can be used in one of two ways:

  • As a stream that is both readable and writable, where data is written to produce a computed HMAC digest on the readable side, or
  • Using the hmac.update() and hmac.digest() methods to produce the computed HMAC digest.

The crypto.createHmac() method is used to create Hmac instances. Hmac objects are not to be created directly using the new keyword.

Example: Using Hmac objects as streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const hmac = crypto.createHmac('sha256', 'a secret');

hmac.on('readable', () => {
  const data = hmac.read();
  if (data) {
    console.log(data.toString('hex'));
    // Prints:
    //   7fd04df92f636fd450bc841c9418e5825c17f33ad9c87c518115a45971f7f77e
  }
});

hmac.write('some data to hash');
hmac.end();

Example: Using Hmac and piped streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const fs = require('fs');
const hmac = crypto.createHmac('sha256', 'a secret');

const input = fs.createReadStream('test.js');
input.pipe(hmac).pipe(process.stdout);

Example: Using the hmac.update() and hmac.digest() methods:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const hmac = crypto.createHmac('sha256', 'a secret');

hmac.update('some data to hash');
console.log(hmac.digest('hex'));
// Prints:
//   7fd04df92f636fd450bc841c9418e5825c17f33ad9c87c518115a45971f7f77e

hmac.digest([encoding])#

Calculates the HMAC digest of all of the data passed using hmac.update(). The encoding can be 'hex', 'latin1' or 'base64'. If encoding is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned;

The Hmac object can not be used again after hmac.digest() has been called. Multiple calls to hmac.digest() will result in an error being thrown.

hmac.update(data[, inputEncoding])#

Updates the Hmac content with the given data, the encoding of which is given in inputEncoding and can be 'utf8', 'ascii' or 'latin1'. If encoding is not provided, and the data is a string, an encoding of 'utf8' is enforced. If data is a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView, then inputEncoding is ignored.

This can be called many times with new data as it is streamed.

Class: Sign#

The Sign Class is a utility for generating signatures. It can be used in one of two ways:

  • As a writable stream, where data to be signed is written and the sign.sign() method is used to generate and return the signature, or
  • Using the sign.update() and sign.sign() methods to produce the signature.

The crypto.createSign() method is used to create Sign instances. The argument is the string name of the hash function to use. Sign objects are not to be created directly using the new keyword.

Example: Using Sign objects as streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const sign = crypto.createSign('SHA256');

sign.write('some data to sign');
sign.end();

const privateKey = getPrivateKeySomehow();
console.log(sign.sign(privateKey, 'hex'));
// Prints: the calculated signature using the specified private key and
// SHA-256. For RSA keys, the algorithm is RSASSA-PKCS1-v1_5 (see padding
// parameter below for RSASSA-PSS). For EC keys, the algorithm is ECDSA.

Example: Using the sign.update() and sign.sign() methods:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const sign = crypto.createSign('SHA256');

sign.update('some data to sign');

const privateKey = getPrivateKeySomehow();
console.log(sign.sign(privateKey, 'hex'));
// Prints: the calculated signature

In some cases, a Sign instance can also be created by passing in a signature algorithm name, such as 'RSA-SHA256'. This will use the corresponding digest algorithm. This does not work for all signature algorithms, such as 'ecdsa-with-SHA256'. Use digest names instead.

Example: signing using legacy signature algorithm name

const crypto = require('crypto');
const sign = crypto.createSign('RSA-SHA256');

sign.update('some data to sign');

const privateKey = getPrivateKeySomehow();
console.log(sign.sign(privateKey, 'hex'));
// Prints: the calculated signature

sign.sign(privateKey[, outputFormat])#

Calculates the signature on all the data passed through using either sign.update() or sign.write().

The privateKey argument can be an object or a string. If privateKey is a string, it is treated as a raw key with no passphrase. If privateKey is an object, it must contain one or more of the following properties:

  • key: <string> - PEM encoded private key (required)
  • passphrase: <string> - passphrase for the private key
  • padding: <integer> - Optional padding value for RSA, one of the following:

    • crypto.constants.RSA_PKCS1_PADDING (default)
    • crypto.constants.RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING

    Note that RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING will use MGF1 with the same hash function used to sign the message as specified in section 3.1 of RFC 4055.

  • saltLength: <integer> - salt length for when padding is RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING. The special value crypto.constants.RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_DIGEST sets the salt length to the digest size, crypto.constants.RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_MAX_SIGN (default) sets it to the maximum permissible value.

The outputFormat can specify one of 'latin1', 'hex' or 'base64'. If outputFormat is provided a string is returned; otherwise a Buffer is returned.

The Sign object can not be again used after sign.sign() method has been called. Multiple calls to sign.sign() will result in an error being thrown.

sign.update(data[, inputEncoding])#

Updates the Sign content with the given data, the encoding of which is given in inputEncoding and can be 'utf8', 'ascii' or 'latin1'. If encoding is not provided, and the data is a string, an encoding of 'utf8' is enforced. If data is a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView, then inputEncoding is ignored.

This can be called many times with new data as it is streamed.

Class: Verify#

The Verify class is a utility for verifying signatures. It can be used in one of two ways:

The crypto.createVerify() method is used to create Verify instances. Verify objects are not to be created directly using the new keyword.

Example: Using Verify objects as streams:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const verify = crypto.createVerify('SHA256');

verify.write('some data to sign');
verify.end();

const publicKey = getPublicKeySomehow();
const signature = getSignatureToVerify();
console.log(verify.verify(publicKey, signature));
// Prints: true or false

Example: Using the verify.update() and verify.verify() methods:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const verify = crypto.createVerify('SHA256');

verify.update('some data to sign');

const publicKey = getPublicKeySomehow();
const signature = getSignatureToVerify();
console.log(verify.verify(publicKey, signature));
// Prints: true or false

verify.update(data[, inputEncoding])#

Updates the Verify content with the given data, the encoding of which is given in inputEncoding and can be 'utf8', 'ascii' or 'latin1'. If encoding is not provided, and the data is a string, an encoding of 'utf8' is enforced. If data is a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView, then inputEncoding is ignored.

This can be called many times with new data as it is streamed.

verify.verify(object, signature[, signatureFormat])#

Verifies the provided data using the given object and signature. The object argument can be either a string containing a PEM encoded object, which can be an RSA public key, a DSA public key, or an X.509 certificate, or an object with one or more of the following properties:

  • key: <string> - PEM encoded public key (required)
  • padding: <integer> - Optional padding value for RSA, one of the following:

    • crypto.constants.RSA_PKCS1_PADDING (default)
    • crypto.constants.RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING

    Note that RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING will use MGF1 with the same hash function used to verify the message as specified in section 3.1 of RFC 4055.

  • saltLength: <integer> - salt length for when padding is RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING. The special value crypto.constants.RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_DIGEST sets the salt length to the digest size, crypto.constants.RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_AUTO (default) causes it to be determined automatically.

The signature argument is the previously calculated signature for the data, in the signatureFormat which can be 'latin1', 'hex' or 'base64'. If a signatureFormat is specified, the signature is expected to be a string; otherwise signature is expected to be a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView.

Returns true or false depending on the validity of the signature for the data and public key.

The verify object can not be used again after verify.verify() has been called. Multiple calls to verify.verify() will result in an error being thrown.

crypto module methods and properties#

crypto.constants#

Returns an object containing commonly used constants for crypto and security related operations. The specific constants currently defined are described in Crypto Constants.

crypto.DEFAULT_ENCODING#

The default encoding to use for functions that can take either strings or buffers. The default value is 'buffer', which makes methods default to Buffer objects.

The crypto.DEFAULT_ENCODING mechanism is provided for backwards compatibility with legacy programs that expect 'latin1' to be the default encoding.

New applications should expect the default to be 'buffer'. This property may become deprecated in a future Node.js release.

crypto.fips#

Property for checking and controlling whether a FIPS compliant crypto provider is currently in use. Setting to true requires a FIPS build of Node.js.

crypto.createCipher(algorithm, password[, options])#

Creates and returns a Cipher object that uses the given algorithm and password. Optional options argument controls stream behavior.

The algorithm is dependent on OpenSSL, examples are 'aes192', etc. On recent OpenSSL releases, openssl list-cipher-algorithms will display the available cipher algorithms.

The password is used to derive the cipher key and initialization vector (IV). The value must be either a 'latin1' encoded string, a Buffer, a TypedArray, or a DataView.

The implementation of crypto.createCipher() derives keys using the OpenSSL function EVP_BytesToKey with the digest algorithm set to MD5, one iteration, and no salt. The lack of salt allows dictionary attacks as the same password always creates the same key. The low iteration count and non-cryptographically secure hash algorithm allow passwords to be tested very rapidly.

In line with OpenSSL's recommendation to use pbkdf2 instead of EVP_BytesToKey it is recommended that developers derive a key and IV on their own using crypto.pbkdf2() and to use crypto.createCipheriv() to create the Cipher object. Users should not use ciphers with counter mode (e.g. CTR, GCM or CCM) in crypto.createCipher(). A warning is emitted when they are used in order to avoid the risk of IV reuse that causes vulnerabilities. For the case when IV is reused in GCM, see Nonce-Disrespecting Adversaries for details.

crypto.createCipheriv(algorithm, key, iv[, options])#

Creates and returns a Cipher object, with the given algorithm, key and initialization vector (iv). Optional options argument controls stream behavior.

The algorithm is dependent on OpenSSL, examples are 'aes192', etc. On recent OpenSSL releases, openssl list-cipher-algorithms will display the available cipher algorithms.

The key is the raw key used by the algorithm and iv is an initialization vector. Both arguments must be 'utf8' encoded strings, Buffers, TypedArray, or DataViews.

crypto.createCredentials(details)#

Stability: 0 - Deprecated: Use tls.createSecureContext() instead.

The crypto.createCredentials() method is a deprecated function for creating and returning a tls.SecureContext. It should not be used. Replace it with tls.createSecureContext() which has the exact same arguments and return value.

Returns a tls.SecureContext, as-if tls.createSecureContext() had been called.

crypto.createDecipher(algorithm, password[, options])#

Creates and returns a Decipher object that uses the given algorithm and password (key). Optional options argument controls stream behavior.

The implementation of crypto.createDecipher() derives keys using the OpenSSL function EVP_BytesToKey with the digest algorithm set to MD5, one iteration, and no salt. The lack of salt allows dictionary attacks as the same password always creates the same key. The low iteration count and non-cryptographically secure hash algorithm allow passwords to be tested very rapidly.

In line with OpenSSL's recommendation to use pbkdf2 instead of EVP_BytesToKey it is recommended that developers derive a key and IV on their own using crypto.pbkdf2() and to use crypto.createDecipheriv() to create the Decipher object.

crypto.createDecipheriv(algorithm, key, iv[, options])#

Creates and returns a Decipher object that uses the given algorithm, key and initialization vector (iv). Optional options argument controls stream behavior.

The algorithm is dependent on OpenSSL, examples are 'aes192', etc. On recent OpenSSL releases, openssl list-cipher-algorithms will display the available cipher algorithms.

The key is the raw key used by the algorithm and iv is an initialization vector. Both arguments must be 'utf8' encoded strings or buffers.

crypto.createDiffieHellman(prime[, primeEncoding][, generator][, generatorEncoding])#

Creates a DiffieHellman key exchange object using the supplied prime and an optional specific generator.

The generator argument can be a number, string, or Buffer. If generator is not specified, the value 2 is used.

The primeEncoding and generatorEncoding arguments can be 'latin1', 'hex', or 'base64'.

If primeEncoding is specified, prime is expected to be a string; otherwise a Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView is expected.

If generatorEncoding is specified, generator is expected to be a string; otherwise a number, Buffer, TypedArray, or DataView is expected.

crypto.createDiffieHellman(primeLength[, generator])#

Creates a DiffieHellman key exchange object and generates a prime of primeLength bits using an optional specific numeric generator. If generator is not specified, the value 2 is used.

crypto.createECDH(curveName)#

Creates an Elliptic Curve Diffie-Hellman (ECDH) key exchange object using a predefined curve specified by the curveName string. Use crypto.getCurves() to obtain a list of available curve names. On recent OpenSSL releases, openssl ecparam -list_curves will also display the name and description of each available elliptic curve.

crypto.createHash(algorithm[, options])#

Creates and returns a Hash object that can be used to generate hash digests using the given algorithm. Optional options argument controls stream behavior.

The algorithm is dependent on the available algorithms supported by the version of OpenSSL on the platform. Examples are 'sha256', 'sha512', etc. On recent releases of OpenSSL, openssl list-message-digest-algorithms will display the available digest algorithms.

Example: generating the sha256 sum of a file

const filename = process.argv[2];
const crypto = require('crypto');
const fs = require('fs');

const hash = crypto.createHash('sha256');

const input = fs.createReadStream(filename);
input.on('readable', () => {
  const data = input.read();
  if (data)
    hash.update(data);
  else {
    console.log(`${hash.digest('hex')} ${filename}`);
  }
});

crypto.createHmac(algorithm, key[, options])#

Creates and returns an Hmac object that uses the given algorithm and key. Optional options argument controls stream behavior.

The algorithm is dependent on the available algorithms supported by the version of OpenSSL on the platform. Examples are 'sha256', 'sha512', etc. On recent releases of OpenSSL, openssl list-message-digest-algorithms will display the available digest algorithms.

The key is the HMAC key used to generate the cryptographic HMAC hash.

Example: generating the sha256 HMAC of a file

const filename = process.argv[2];
const crypto = require('crypto');
const fs = require('fs');

const hmac = crypto.createHmac('sha256', 'a secret');

const input = fs.createReadStream(filename);
input.on('readable', () => {
  const data = input.read();
  if (data)
    hmac.update(data);
  else {
    console.log(`${hmac.digest('hex')} ${filename}`);
  }
});

crypto.createSign(algorithm[, options])#

Creates and returns a Sign object that uses the given algorithm. Use crypto.getHashes() to obtain an array of names of the available signing algorithms. Optional options argument controls the stream.Writable behavior.

crypto.createVerify(algorithm[, options])#

Creates and returns a Verify object that uses the given algorithm. Use crypto.getHashes() to obtain an array of names of the available signing algorithms. Optional options argument controls the stream.Writable behavior.

crypto.getCiphers()#

Returns an array with the names of the supported cipher algorithms.

Example:

const ciphers = crypto.getCiphers();
console.log(ciphers); // ['aes-128-cbc', 'aes-128-ccm', ...]

crypto.getCurves()#

Returns an array with the names of the supported elliptic curves.

Example:

const curves = crypto.getCurves();
console.log(curves); // ['Oakley-EC2N-3', 'Oakley-EC2N-4', ...]

crypto.getDiffieHellman(groupName)#

Creates a predefined DiffieHellman key exchange object. The supported groups are: 'modp1', 'modp2', 'modp5' (defined in RFC 2412, but see Caveats) and 'modp14', 'modp15', 'modp16', 'modp17', 'modp18' (defined in RFC 3526). The returned object mimics the interface of objects created by crypto.createDiffieHellman(), but will not allow changing the keys (with diffieHellman.setPublicKey() for example). The advantage of using this method is that the parties do not have to generate nor exchange a group modulus beforehand, saving both processor and communication time.

Example (obtaining a shared secret):

const crypto = require('crypto');
const alice = crypto.getDiffieHellman('modp14');
const bob = crypto.getDiffieHellman('modp14');

alice.generateKeys();
bob.generateKeys();

const aliceSecret = alice.computeSecret(bob.getPublicKey(), null, 'hex');
const bobSecret = bob.computeSecret(alice.getPublicKey(), null, 'hex');

/* aliceSecret and bobSecret should be the same */
console.log(aliceSecret === bobSecret);

crypto.getHashes()#

Returns an array of the names of the supported hash algorithms, such as RSA-SHA256.

Example:

const hashes = crypto.getHashes();
console.log(hashes); // ['DSA', 'DSA-SHA', 'DSA-SHA1', ...]

crypto.pbkdf2(password, salt, iterations, keylen, digest, callback)#

Provides an asynchronous Password-Based Key Derivation Function 2 (PBKDF2) implementation. A selected HMAC digest algorithm specified by digest is applied to derive a key of the requested byte length (keylen) from the password, salt and iterations.

The supplied callback function is called with two arguments: err and derivedKey. If an error occurs while deriving the key, err will be set; otherwise err will be null. By default, the successfully generated derivedKey will be passed to the callback as a Buffer. An error will be thrown if any of the input arguments specify invalid values or types.

The iterations argument must be a number set as high as possible. The higher the number of iterations, the more secure the derived key will be, but will take a longer amount of time to complete.

The salt should also be as unique as possible. It is recommended that the salts are random and their lengths are greater than 16 bytes. See NIST SP 800-132 for details.

Example:

const crypto = require('crypto');
crypto.pbkdf2('secret', 'salt', 100000, 64, 'sha512', (err, derivedKey) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(derivedKey.toString('hex'));  // '3745e48...08d59ae'
});

The crypto.DEFAULT_ENCODING may be used to change the way the derivedKey is passed to the callback:

const crypto = require('crypto');
crypto.DEFAULT_ENCODING = 'hex';
crypto.pbkdf2('secret', 'salt', 100000, 512, 'sha512', (err, derivedKey) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(derivedKey);  // '3745e48...aa39b34'
});

An array of supported digest functions can be retrieved using crypto.getHashes().

Note that this API uses libuv's threadpool, which can have surprising and negative performance implications for some applications, see the UV_THREADPOOL_SIZE documentation for more information.

crypto.pbkdf2Sync(password, salt, iterations, keylen, digest)#

Provides a synchronous Password-Based Key Derivation Function 2 (PBKDF2) implementation. A selected HMAC digest algorithm specified by digest is applied to derive a key of the requested byte length (keylen) from the password, salt and iterations.

If an error occurs an Error will be thrown, otherwise the derived key will be returned as a Buffer.

The iterations argument must be a number set as high as possible. The higher the number of iterations, the more secure the derived key will be, but will take a longer amount of time to complete.

The salt should also be as unique as possible. It is recommended that the salts are random and their lengths are greater than 16 bytes. See NIST SP 800-132 for details.

Example:

const crypto = require('crypto');
const key = crypto.pbkdf2Sync('secret', 'salt', 100000, 64, 'sha512');
console.log(key.toString('hex'));  // '3745e48...08d59ae'

The crypto.DEFAULT_ENCODING may be used to change the way the derivedKey is returned:

const crypto = require('crypto');
crypto.DEFAULT_ENCODING = 'hex';
const key = crypto.pbkdf2Sync('secret', 'salt', 100000, 512, 'sha512');
console.log(key);  // '3745e48...aa39b34'

An array of supported digest functions can be retrieved using crypto.getHashes().

crypto.privateDecrypt(privateKey, buffer)#

  • privateKey <Object> | <string>
    • key <string> A PEM encoded private key.
    • passphrase <string> An optional passphrase for the private key.
    • padding <crypto.constants> An optional padding value defined in crypto.constants, which may be: crypto.constants.RSA_NO_PADDING, RSA_PKCS1_PADDING, or crypto.constants.RSA_PKCS1_OAEP_PADDING.
  • buffer <Buffer> | <TypedArray> | <DataView>
  • Returns: <Buffer> A new Buffer with the decrypted content.

Decrypts buffer with privateKey.

privateKey can be an object or a string. If privateKey is a string, it is treated as the key with no passphrase and will use RSA_PKCS1_OAEP_PADDING.

crypto.privateEncrypt(privateKey, buffer)#

  • privateKey <Object> | <string>
    • key <string> A PEM encoded private key.
    • passphrase <string> An optional passphrase for the private key.
    • padding <crypto.constants> An optional padding value defined in crypto.constants, which may be: crypto.constants.RSA_NO_PADDING or RSA_PKCS1_PADDING.
  • buffer <Buffer> | <TypedArray> | <DataView>
  • Returns: <Buffer> A new Buffer with the encrypted content.

Encrypts buffer with privateKey.

privateKey can be an object or a string. If privateKey is a string, it is treated as the key with no passphrase and will use RSA_PKCS1_PADDING.

crypto.publicDecrypt(key, buffer)#

  • key <Object> | <string>
    • key <string> A PEM encoded public or private key.
    • passphrase <string> An optional passphrase for the private key.
    • padding <crypto.constants> An optional padding value defined in crypto.constants, which may be: crypto.constants.RSA_NO_PADDING or RSA_PKCS1_PADDING.
  • buffer <Buffer> | <TypedArray> | <DataView>
  • Returns: <Buffer> A new Buffer with the decrypted content.

Decrypts buffer with key.

key can be an object or a string. If key is a string, it is treated as the key with no passphrase and will use RSA_PKCS1_PADDING.

Because RSA public keys can be derived from private keys, a private key may be passed instead of a public key.

crypto.publicEncrypt(key, buffer)#

  • key <Object> | <string>
    • key <string> A PEM encoded public or private key.
    • passphrase <string> An optional passphrase for the private key.
    • padding <crypto.constants> An optional padding value defined in crypto.constants, which may be: crypto.constants.RSA_NO_PADDING, RSA_PKCS1_PADDING, or crypto.constants.RSA_PKCS1_OAEP_PADDING.
  • buffer <Buffer> | <TypedArray> | <DataView>
  • Returns: <Buffer> A new Buffer with the encrypted content.

Encrypts the content of buffer with key and returns a new Buffer with encrypted content.

key can be an object or a string. If key is a string, it is treated as the key with no passphrase and will use RSA_PKCS1_OAEP_PADDING.

Because RSA public keys can be derived from private keys, a private key may be passed instead of a public key.

crypto.randomBytes(size[, callback])#

Generates cryptographically strong pseudo-random data. The size argument is a number indicating the number of bytes to generate.

If a callback function is provided, the bytes are generated asynchronously and the callback function is invoked with two arguments: err and buf. If an error occurs, err will be an Error object; otherwise it is null. The buf argument is a Buffer containing the generated bytes.

// Asynchronous
const crypto = require('crypto');
crypto.randomBytes(256, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(`${buf.length} bytes of random data: ${buf.toString('hex')}`);
});

If the callback function is not provided, the random bytes are generated synchronously and returned as a Buffer. An error will be thrown if there is a problem generating the bytes.

// Synchronous
const buf = crypto.randomBytes(256);
console.log(
  `${buf.length} bytes of random data: ${buf.toString('hex')}`);

The crypto.randomBytes() method will not complete until there is sufficient entropy available. This should normally never take longer than a few milliseconds. The only time when generating the random bytes may conceivably block for a longer period of time is right after boot, when the whole system is still low on entropy.

Note that this API uses libuv's threadpool, which can have surprising and negative performance implications for some applications, see the UV_THREADPOOL_SIZE documentation for more information.

crypto.randomFillSync(buffer[, offset][, size])#

Synchronous version of crypto.randomFill().

Returns buffer

const buf = Buffer.alloc(10);
console.log(crypto.randomFillSync(buf).toString('hex'));

crypto.randomFillSync(buf, 5);
console.log(buf.toString('hex'));

// The above is equivalent to the following:
crypto.randomFillSync(buf, 5, 5);
console.log(buf.toString('hex'));

Any TypedArray or DataView instance may be passed as buffer.

const a = new Uint32Array(10);
console.log(crypto.randomFillSync(a).toString('hex'));

const b = new Float64Array(10);
console.log(crypto.randomFillSync(a).toString('hex'));

const c = new DataView(new ArrayBuffer(10));
console.log(crypto.randomFillSync(a).toString('hex'));

crypto.randomFill(buffer[, offset][, size], callback)#

This function is similar to crypto.randomBytes() but requires the first argument to be a Buffer that will be filled. It also requires that a callback is passed in.

If the callback function is not provided, an error will be thrown.

const buf = Buffer.alloc(10);
crypto.randomFill(buf, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(buf.toString('hex'));
});

crypto.randomFill(buf, 5, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(buf.toString('hex'));
});

// The above is equivalent to the following:
crypto.randomFill(buf, 5, 5, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(buf.toString('hex'));
});

Any TypedArray or DataView instance may be passed as buffer.

const a = new Uint32Array(10);
crypto.randomFill(a, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(buf.toString('hex'));
});

const b = new Float64Array(10);
crypto.randomFill(b, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(buf.toString('hex'));
});

const c = new DataView(new ArrayBuffer(10));
crypto.randomFill(c, (err, buf) => {
  if (err) throw err;
  console.log(buf.toString('hex'));
});

Note that this API uses libuv's threadpool, which can have surprising and negative performance implications for some applications, see the UV_THREADPOOL_SIZE documentation for more information.

crypto.setEngine(engine[, flags])#

  • engine <string>
  • flags <crypto.constants> Defaults to crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_ALL.

Load and set the engine for some or all OpenSSL functions (selected by flags).

engine could be either an id or a path to the engine's shared library.

The optional flags argument uses ENGINE_METHOD_ALL by default. The flags is a bit field taking one of or a mix of the following flags (defined in crypto.constants):

  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_RSA
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_DSA
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_DH
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_RAND
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_ECDH
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_ECDSA
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_CIPHERS
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_DIGESTS
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_STORE
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_PKEY_METHS
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_PKEY_ASN1_METHS
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_ALL
  • crypto.constants.ENGINE_METHOD_NONE

crypto.timingSafeEqual(a, b)#

This function is based on a constant-time algorithm. Returns true if a is equal to b, without leaking timing information that would allow an attacker to guess one of the values. This is suitable for comparing HMAC digests or secret values like authentication cookies or capability urls.

a and b must both be Buffers, TypedArrays, or DataViews, and they must have the same length.

Note: Use of crypto.timingSafeEqual does not guarantee that the surrounding code is timing-safe. Care should be taken to ensure that the surrounding code does not introduce timing vulnerabilities.

Notes#

Legacy Streams API (pre Node.js v0.10)#

The Crypto module was added to Node.js before there was the concept of a unified Stream API, and before there were Buffer objects for handling binary data. As such, the many of the crypto defined classes have methods not typically found on other Node.js classes that implement the streams API (e.g. update(), final(), or digest()). Also, many methods accepted and returned 'latin1' encoded strings by default rather than Buffers. This default was changed after Node.js v0.8 to use Buffer objects by default instead.

Recent ECDH Changes#

Usage of ECDH with non-dynamically generated key pairs has been simplified. Now, ecdh.setPrivateKey() can be called with a preselected private key and the associated public point (key) will be computed and stored in the object. This allows code to only store and provide the private part of the EC key pair. ecdh.setPrivateKey() now also validates that the private key is valid for the selected curve.

The ecdh.setPublicKey() method is now deprecated as its inclusion in the API is not useful. Either a previously stored private key should be set, which automatically generates the associated public key, or ecdh.generateKeys() should be called. The main drawback of using ecdh.setPublicKey() is that it can be used to put the ECDH key pair into an inconsistent state.

Support for weak or compromised algorithms#

The crypto module still supports some algorithms which are already compromised and are not currently recommended for use. The API also allows the use of ciphers and hashes with a small key size that are considered to be too weak for safe use.

Users should take full responsibility for selecting the crypto algorithm and key size according to their security requirements.

Based on the recommendations of NIST SP 800-131A:

  • MD5 and SHA-1 are no longer acceptable where collision resistance is required such as digital signatures.
  • The key used with RSA, DSA and DH algorithms is recommended to have at least 2048 bits and that of the curve of ECDSA and ECDH at least 224 bits, to be safe to use for several years.
  • The DH groups of modp1, modp2 and modp5 have a key size smaller than 2048 bits and are not recommended.

See the reference for other recommendations and details.

Crypto Constants#

The following constants exported by crypto.constants apply to various uses of the crypto, tls, and https modules and are generally specific to OpenSSL.

OpenSSL Options#

Constant Description
SSL_OP_ALL Applies multiple bug workarounds within OpenSSL. See https://www.openssl.org/docs/man1.0.2/ssl/SSL_CTX_set_options.html for detail.
SSL_OP_ALLOW_UNSAFE_LEGACY_RENEGOTIATION Allows legacy insecure renegotiation between OpenSSL and unpatched clients or servers. See https://www.openssl.org/docs/man1.0.2/ssl/SSL_CTX_set_options.html.
SSL_OP_CIPHER_SERVER_PREFERENCE Attempts to use the server's preferences instead of the client's when selecting a cipher. Behavior depends on protocol version. See https://www.openssl.org/docs/man1.0.2/ssl/SSL_CTX_set_options.html.
SSL_OP_CISCO_ANYCONNECT Instructs OpenSSL to use Cisco's "speshul" version of DTLS_BAD_VER.
SSL_OP_COOKIE_EXCHANGE Instructs OpenSSL to turn on cookie exchange.
SSL_OP_CRYPTOPRO_TLSEXT_BUG Instructs OpenSSL to add server-hello extension from an early version of the cryptopro draft.
SSL_OP_DONT_INSERT_EMPTY_FRAGMENTS Instructs OpenSSL to disable a SSL 3.0/TLS 1.0 vulnerability workaround added in OpenSSL 0.9.6d.
SSL_OP_EPHEMERAL_RSA Instructs OpenSSL to always use the tmp_rsa key when performing RSA operations.
SSL_OP_LEGACY_SERVER_CONNECT Allows initial connection to servers that do not support RI.
SSL_OP_MICROSOFT_BIG_SSLV3_BUFFER
SSL_OP_MICROSOFT_SESS_ID_BUG
SSL_OP_MSIE_SSLV2_RSA_PADDING Instructs OpenSSL to disable the workaround for a man-in-the-middle protocol-version vulnerability in the SSL 2.0 server implementation.
SSL_OP_NETSCAPE_CA_DN_BUG
SSL_OP_NETSCAPE_CHALLENGE_BUG
SSL_OP_NETSCAPE_DEMO_CIPHER_CHANGE_BUG
SSL_OP_NETSCAPE_REUSE_CIPHER_CHANGE_BUG
SSL_OP_NO_COMPRESSION Instructs OpenSSL to disable support for SSL/TLS compression.
SSL_OP_NO_QUERY_MTU
SSL_OP_NO_SESSION_RESUMPTION_ON_RENEGOTIATION Instructs OpenSSL to always start a new session when performing renegotiation.
SSL_OP_NO_SSLv2 Instructs OpenSSL to turn off SSL v2
SSL_OP_NO_SSLv3 Instructs OpenSSL to turn off SSL v3
SSL_OP_NO_TICKET Instructs OpenSSL to disable use of RFC4507bis tickets.
SSL_OP_NO_TLSv1 Instructs OpenSSL to turn off TLS v1
SSL_OP_NO_TLSv1_1 Instructs OpenSSL to turn off TLS v1.1
SSL_OP_NO_TLSv1_2 Instructs OpenSSL to turn off TLS v1.2
SSL_OP_PKCS1_CHECK_1
SSL_OP_PKCS1_CHECK_2
SSL_OP_SINGLE_DH_USE Instructs OpenSSL to always create a new key when using temporary/ephemeral DH parameters.
SSL_OP_SINGLE_ECDH_USE Instructs OpenSSL to always create a new key when using temporary/ephemeral ECDH parameters.
SSL_OP_SSLEAY_080_CLIENT_DH_BUG
SSL_OP_SSLREF2_REUSE_CERT_TYPE_BUG
SSL_OP_TLS_BLOCK_PADDING_BUG
SSL_OP_TLS_D5_BUG
SSL_OP_TLS_ROLLBACK_BUG Instructs OpenSSL to disable version rollback attack detection.

OpenSSL Engine Constants#

Constant Description
ENGINE_METHOD_RSA Limit engine usage to RSA
ENGINE_METHOD_DSA Limit engine usage to DSA
ENGINE_METHOD_DH Limit engine usage to DH
ENGINE_METHOD_RAND Limit engine usage to RAND
ENGINE_METHOD_ECDH Limit engine usage to ECDH
ENGINE_METHOD_ECDSA Limit engine usage to ECDSA
ENGINE_METHOD_CIPHERS Limit engine usage to CIPHERS
ENGINE_METHOD_DIGESTS Limit engine usage to DIGESTS
ENGINE_METHOD_STORE Limit engine usage to STORE
ENGINE_METHOD_PKEY_METHS Limit engine usage to PKEY_METHDS
ENGINE_METHOD_PKEY_ASN1_METHS Limit engine usage to PKEY_ASN1_METHS
ENGINE_METHOD_ALL
ENGINE_METHOD_NONE

Other OpenSSL Constants#

Constant Description
DH_CHECK_P_NOT_SAFE_PRIME
DH_CHECK_P_NOT_PRIME
DH_UNABLE_TO_CHECK_GENERATOR
DH_NOT_SUITABLE_GENERATOR
NPN_ENABLED
ALPN_ENABLED
RSA_PKCS1_PADDING
RSA_SSLV23_PADDING
RSA_NO_PADDING
RSA_PKCS1_OAEP_PADDING
RSA_X931_PADDING
RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING
RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_DIGEST Sets the salt length for RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING to the digest size when signing or verifying.
RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_MAX_SIGN Sets the salt length for RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING to the maximum permissible value when signing data.
RSA_PSS_SALTLEN_AUTO Causes the salt length for RSA_PKCS1_PSS_PADDING to be determined automatically when verifying a signature.
POINT_CONVERSION_COMPRESSED
POINT_CONVERSION_UNCOMPRESSED
POINT_CONVERSION_HYBRID

Node.js Crypto Constants#

Constant Description
defaultCoreCipherList Specifies the built-in default cipher list used by Node.js.
defaultCipherList Specifies the active default cipher list used by the current Node.js process.

Debugger#

Stability: 2 - Stable

Node.js includes an out-of-process debugging utility accessible via a V8 Inspector and built-in debugging client. To use it, start Node.js with the inspect argument followed by the path to the script to debug; a prompt will be displayed indicating successful launch of the debugger:

$ node inspect myscript.js
< Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/80e7a814-7cd3-49fb-921a-2e02228cd5ba
< For help see https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
< Debugger attached.
Break on start in myscript.js:1
> 1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { global.x = 5;
  2 setTimeout(() => {
  3   console.log('world');
debug>

Node.js's debugger client is not a full-featured debugger, but simple step and inspection are possible.

Inserting the statement debugger; into the source code of a script will enable a breakpoint at that position in the code:

// myscript.js
global.x = 5;
setTimeout(() => {
  debugger;
  console.log('world');
}, 1000);
console.log('hello');

Once the debugger is run, a breakpoint will occur at line 3:

$ node inspect myscript.js
< Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/80e7a814-7cd3-49fb-921a-2e02228cd5ba
< For help see https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
< Debugger attached.
Break on start in myscript.js:1
> 1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { global.x = 5;
  2 setTimeout(() => {
  3   debugger;
debug> cont
< hello
break in myscript.js:3
  1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { global.x = 5;
  2 setTimeout(() => {
> 3   debugger;
  4   console.log('world');
  5 }, 1000);
debug> next
break in myscript.js:4
  2 setTimeout(() => {
  3   debugger;
> 4   console.log('world');
  5 }, 1000);
  6 console.log('hello');
debug> repl
Press Ctrl + C to leave debug repl
> x
5
> 2+2
4
debug> next
< world
break in myscript.js:5
  3   debugger;
  4   console.log('world');
> 5 }, 1000);
  6 console.log('hello');
  7
debug> .exit

The repl command allows code to be evaluated remotely. The next command steps to the next line. Type help to see what other commands are available.

Pressing enter without typing a command will repeat the previous debugger command.

Watchers#

It is possible to watch expression and variable values while debugging. On every breakpoint, each expression from the watchers list will be evaluated in the current context and displayed immediately before the breakpoint's source code listing.

To begin watching an expression, type watch('my_expression'). The command watchers will print the active watchers. To remove a watcher, type unwatch('my_expression').

Command reference#

Stepping#

  • cont, c - Continue execution
  • next, n - Step next
  • step, s - Step in
  • out, o - Step out
  • pause - Pause running code (like pause button in Developer Tools)

Breakpoints#

  • setBreakpoint(), sb() - Set breakpoint on current line
  • setBreakpoint(line), sb(line) - Set breakpoint on specific line
  • setBreakpoint('fn()'), sb(...) - Set breakpoint on a first statement in functions body
  • setBreakpoint('script.js', 1), sb(...) - Set breakpoint on first line of script.js
  • clearBreakpoint('script.js', 1), cb(...) - Clear breakpoint in script.js on line 1

It is also possible to set a breakpoint in a file (module) that is not loaded yet:

$ node inspect main.js
< Debugger listening on ws://127.0.0.1:9229/4e3db158-9791-4274-8909-914f7facf3bd
< For help see https://nodejs.org/en/docs/inspector
< Debugger attached.
Break on start in main.js:1
> 1 (function (exports, require, module, __filename, __dirname) { const mod = require('./mod.js');
  2 mod.hello();
  3 mod.hello();
debug> setBreakpoint('mod.js', 22)
Warning: script 'mod.js' was not loaded yet.
debug> c
break in mod.js:22
 20 // USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
 21
>22 exports.hello = function() {
 23   return 'hello from module';
 24 };
debug>

Information#

  • backtrace, bt - Print backtrace of current execution frame
  • list(5) - List scripts source code with 5 line context (5 lines before and after)
  • watch(expr) - Add expression to watch list
  • unwatch(expr) - Remove expression from watch list
  • watchers - List all watchers and their values (automatically listed on each breakpoint)
  • repl - Open debugger's repl for evaluation in debugging script's context
  • exec expr - Execute an expression in debugging script's context

Execution control#

  • run - Run script (automatically runs on debugger's start)
  • restart - Restart script
  • kill - Kill script

Various#

  • scripts - List all loaded scripts
  • version - Display V8's version

Advanced Usage#

V8 Inspector Integration for Node.js#

V8 Inspector integration allows attaching Chrome DevTools to Node.js instances for debugging and profiling. It uses the Chrome Debugging Protocol.

V8 Inspector can be enabled by passing the --inspect flag when starting a Node.js application. It is also possible to supply a custom port with that flag, e.g. --inspect=9222 will accept DevTools connections on port 9222.

To break on the first line of the application code, pass the --inspect-brk flag instead of --inspect.

$ node --inspect index.js
Debugger listening on 127.0.0.1:9229.
To start debugging, open the following URL in Chrome:
    chrome-devtools://devtools/bundled/inspector.html?experiments=true&v8only=true&ws=127.0.0.1:9229/dc9010dd-f8b8-4ac5-a510-c1a114ec7d29

(In the example above, the UUID dc9010dd-f8b8-4ac5-a510-c1a114ec7d29 at the end of the URL is generated on the fly, it varies in different debugging sessions.)

Deprecated APIs#

Node.js may deprecate APIs when either: (a) use of the API is considered to be unsafe, (b) an improved alternative API has been made available, or (c) breaking changes to the API are expected in a future major release.

Node.js utilizes three kinds of Deprecations:

  • Documentation-only
  • Runtime
  • End-of-Life

A Documentation-only deprecation is one that is expressed only within the Node.js API docs. These generate no side-effects while running Node.js.

A Runtime deprecation will, by default, generate a process warning that will be printed to stderr the first time the deprecated API is used. When the --throw-deprecation command-line flag is used, a Runtime deprecation will cause an error to be thrown.

An End-of-Life deprecation is used to identify code that either has been removed or will soon be removed from Node.js.

Un-deprecation#

From time-to-time the deprecation of an API may be reversed. Such action may happen in either a semver-minor or semver-major release. In such situations, this document will be updated with information relevant to the decision. However, the deprecation identifier will not be modified.

List of Deprecated APIs#

DEP0001: http.OutgoingMessage.prototype.flush#

Type: Runtime

The OutgoingMessage.prototype.flush() method is deprecated. Use OutgoingMessage.prototype.flushHeaders() instead.

DEP0002: require('_linklist')#

Type: Runtime

The _linklist module is deprecated. Please use a userland alternative.

DEP0003: _writableState.buffer#

Type: Runtime

The _writableState.buffer property is deprecated. Use the _writableState.getBuffer() method instead.

DEP0004: CryptoStream.prototype.readyState#

Type: Documentation-only

The CryptoStream.prototype.readyState property is deprecated and should not be used.

DEP0005: Buffer() constructor#

Type: Documentation-only

The Buffer() function and new Buffer() constructor are deprecated due to API usability issues that can potentially lead to accidental security issues.

As an alternative, use of the following methods of constructing Buffer objects is strongly recommended:

DEP0006: child_process options.customFds#

Type: Runtime

Within the child_process module's spawn(), fork(), and exec() methods, the options.customFds option is deprecated. The options.stdio option should be used instead.

DEP0007: Replace cluster worker.suicide with worker.exitedAfterDisconnect#

Type: End-of-Life

In an earlier version of the Node.js cluster, a boolean property with the name suicide was added to the Worker object. The intent of this property was to provide an indication of how and why the Worker instance exited. In Node.js 6.0.0, the old property was deprecated and replaced with a new worker.exitedAfterDisconnect property. The old property name did not precisely describe the actual semantics and was unnecessarily emotion-laden.

DEP0008: require('constants')#

Type: Documentation-only

The constants module has been deprecated. When requiring access to constants relevant to specific Node.js builtin modules, developers should instead refer to the constants property exposed by the relevant module. For instance, require('fs').constants and require('os').constants.

DEP0009: crypto.pbkdf2 without digest#

Type: End-of-life

Use of the crypto.pbkdf2() API without specifying a digest was deprecated in Node.js 6.0 because the method defaulted to using the non-recommended 'SHA1' digest. Previously, a deprecation warning was printed. Starting in Node.js 8.0.0, calling crypto.pbkdf2() or crypto.pbkdf2Sync() with an undefined digest will throw a TypeError.

DEP0010: crypto.createCredentials#

Type: Runtime

The crypto.createCredentials() API is deprecated. Please use tls.createSecureContext() instead.

DEP0011: crypto.Credentials#

Type: Runtime

The crypto.Credentials class is deprecated. Please use tls.SecureContext instead.

DEP0012: Domain.dispose#

Type: End-of-Life

Domain.dispose() is removed. Recover from failed I/O actions explicitly via error event handlers set on the domain instead.

DEP0013: fs asynchronous function without callback#

Type: Runtime

Calling an asynchronous function without a callback is deprecated.

DEP0014: fs.read legacy String interface#

Type: End-of-Life

The fs.read() legacy String interface is deprecated. Use the Buffer API as mentioned in the documentation instead.

DEP0015: fs.readSync legacy String interface#

Type: End-of-Life

The fs.readSync() legacy String interface is deprecated. Use the Buffer API as mentioned in the documentation instead.

DEP0016: GLOBAL/root#

Type: Runtime

The GLOBAL and root aliases for the global property have been deprecated and should no longer be used.

DEP0017: Intl.v8BreakIterator#

Type: End-of-Life

Intl.v8BreakIterator was a non-standard extension and has been removed. See Intl.Segmenter.

DEP0018: Unhandled promise rejections#

Type: Runtime

Unhandled promise rejections are deprecated. In the future, promise rejections that are not handled will terminate the Node.js process with a non-zero exit code.

DEP0019: require('.') resolved outside directory#

Type: Runtime

In certain cases, require('.') may resolve outside the package directory. This behavior is deprecated and will be removed in a future major Node.js release.

DEP0020: Server.connections#

Type: Runtime

The Server.connections property is deprecated. Please use the Server.getConnections() method instead.

DEP0021: Server.listenFD#

Type: Runtime

The Server.listenFD() method is deprecated. Please use Server.listen({fd: <number>}) instead.

DEP0022: os.tmpDir()#

Type: Runtime

The os.tmpDir() API is deprecated. Please use os.tmpdir() instead.

DEP0023: os.getNetworkInterfaces()#

Type: Runtime

The os.getNetworkInterfaces() method is deprecated. Please use the os.networkInterfaces property instead.

DEP0024: REPLServer.prototype.convertToContext()#

Type: End-of-Life

The REPLServer.prototype.convertToContext() API is deprecated and should not be used.

DEP0025: require('sys')#

Type: Runtime

The sys module is deprecated. Please use the util module instead.

DEP0026: util.print()#

Type: Runtime

The util.print() API is deprecated. Please use console.log() instead.

DEP0027: util.puts()#

Type: Runtime

The util.puts() API is deprecated. Please use console.log() instead.

DEP0028: util.debug()#

Type: Runtime

The util.debug() API is deprecated. Please use console.error() instead.

DEP0029: util.error()#

Type: Runtime

The util.error() API is deprecated. Please use console.error() instead.

DEP0030: SlowBuffer#

Type: Documentation-only

The SlowBuffer class has been deprecated. Please use Buffer.allocUnsafeSlow(size) instead.

DEP0031: ecdh.setPublicKey()#