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Always interested in offers/projects/new ideas. Eclectic experience in fields like: numerical computing; Python web; Java enterprise; functional languages; GPGPU; SQL databases; etc. Based in Santiago, Chile; telecommute worldwide. CV; email.

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Javascript Development on the Command Line

From: andrew cooke <andrew@...>

Date: Fri, 17 Feb 2012 20:19:21 -0300

I am trying to get started with Javascript on the command line.  I want to
write a "significant" amount of code, and so thought maybe I should be trying
to develop using nodejs to run tests etc (even though the code will finally
run in a browser).

But I am having a hard time finding good, introductory information on how to
do this, so decided to write some notes here in case they might help others.

This is where I am: I can define modules and run tests.  In addition, I am
using requirejs to load modules, which I believe will carry across to working
in the browser -

This is what I did:

 - Add the nodejs plugin to Intellij Idea (most of what is described here is
   independent of using Intellij Idea, but if you use it, you need this).

 - Install nodejs and npm (for OpenSuse the nodejs package installs both).

 - npm is the node package manager and works something like easy_install for
   Python.  You can install files globally, but it seems more sensible to run
   it locally in the project directory).  If you do that (as I do here) you
   need to add the file node_modules/.bin to your path (where node_modules is
   a directory that will appear when you run npm below).

 - Create you project directory.

 - In that directoryUsing npm install the libraries you want:
     npm install underscore
     npm install requirejs
     npm install benchmark
     npm install nodeunit
     npm install amdefine
     npm install assert

 - Also create src and test subdirectories.

 - In the src directory create a file called utils.js (for example).  This is
   your first module.  The contents are (for example):

     if (typeof define !== 'function') {
	 var define = require('amdefine')(module);

     define(['underscore'], function () {

	 "use strict";

	 if ('function' !== typeof Object.beget) {
	     Object.beget = function (o) {
		 var f = function () {
		 f.prototype = o;
		 return new f();


   where the first three lines are described at and the next block defines
   your module (which unusually doesn't have any contents, but does make
   global changes to Javascript).

 - In the test directory create file called utils.js (for example) with your

     if (typeof define !== 'function') {
	 var define = require('amdefine')(module);

     define(['underscore'], function () {

	 "use strict";

	 return {
	     test1: function(test) {


   where I am using nodeunit because it is supported by Intellij.
   Alternatively, you could use mocha.  For that case see my question here

 - With that you can now test from the command line (don't forget to cmodify
   PATH as described above:

     > nodeunit test

     / test1

     OK: 1 assertions (14ms)

   where I've replace a cute tick mark with a "/" that is more likely to
   display on my antique blog.

 - Alternatively, you can run the tests in Intellij.  Go to "Edit
   configurations" and add a nodeunit config.  Note that there is a strange
   bug - if you select the files from the file selector then you need to make
   the path in the last textbox relative (delete the leftmost part of the
   path).  See

OK, that's as far as I have got.


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