Writing your first Node.js module

This isn't meant to be an exhaustive guide on how to write an NPM module. This guide is meant to be a simple working example where you can see a basic working module and easily adapt this to create your own module.

You can see the basic structure is really easy to understand. We are exposing the multiply() function as a public function by returning in the module.exports. The other function aptly named nonPublic() is called by the multiply() function but cannot be called publicly. More on this below.

You can see our multiply() function takes two values, multiplies them and returns a label from our nonPublic() function, followed by our multiplied value. Easy!

File: multiply.js

// require any modules

module.exports = {  
    multiply: function (val1, val2, callback){
        var returnedValue = val1 * val2;
        callback(null, nonPublic() + returnedValue);
    }
};

function nonPublic(){  
    return 'Result: ';
}

File: test.js

Using our new module locally for testing is easy:

var mod = require('./module');

console.log(mod.nonPublic());

mod.multiply(5, 10, function(err, result){  
    console.log(result);
});

The first line requires our local module. Note: the ./ value for modules located in the same directory.

After we have required it we can go ahead and use it. First we call the nonPublic() function to show it doesn't work publicly (this outputs an error), then call the multiply() function.

We pass in 5 and 10 to be multiplied together and we write the result to the console.

To run our test.js script we simply run the following in our console and observe the output:

node test.js  

Conclusion

This is a really basic module which outlines the basic steps to get started on writing your first NPM module.

One of my slightly (hardly) more advanced (has options etc) modules metaget can be found here as further reading: https://github.com/mrvautin/metaget