Getting Started

Like we learned in the introduction lesson, Node.js is really just JavaScript. So a basic understanding of JavaScript is necessary in order to understand Node. For this reason, it is highly recommended that you take our prerequisite JavaScript course before continuing with this course.

This lesson will take you through a tutorial that will teach you the basic modules and functions that you need to get up and running with Node.js. The project that comes right after this assignment will ask you to use Node to create a basic website that will include an Index, About and Contact Me page. So while learning the topics in this lesson, be on the lookout for things that might help you complete the project.

Learning Outcomes

By the end of this lesson, you should be able to do the following:

  • Explain some things that Node.js is commonly used for.
  • Create and use modules in Node.js (both built-in and user created).
  • Set up a basic webserver with Node.js using the HTTP module.
  • Read, create, update, and delete files from Node.js.
  • Use the URL module to parse a url address and split it into readable parts.
  • Understand how to use NPM.
  • Create, fire and listen for your own events.

Assignment

  • Let’s dive in and start looking at Node server-side code! We will be hopping around lessons in the NodeJS.dev docs which you should follow along.
  • Optional Extra Credit!
    • Although a bit outdated, the W3 Schools introduction to Node.js is super useful! Go to the W3 Schools node tutorial and code along with the following lessons (which should be listed on the sidebar of their site). Specifically, work from the Node.js Intro through to Node.js Events. You can look at the File Uploads and Email sections if you’re feeling particularly ambitious! NOTE: The URL module is very outdated. Refer to the earlier link if you run into issues in the Node.js URL Module from W3.

Knowledge Check

This section contains questions for you to check your understanding of this lesson. If you’re having trouble answering the questions below on your own, clicking the small arrow to the left of the question will reveal the answers.

What is a File System Module? How and why would you use it?
    • The Node.js file system module allows you to work with the file system in your computer. It's included by using the require() method and can be used to read, create, update, delete, and rename files.
What is the command for installing a package locally in with npm?
    • npm install `package-name`
What is the command for installing a package globally in with npm?
    • npm install -g `package-name`
What is the difference between a global and local package install with npm?
    • Global installs are available from anywhere on your computer, local installs are only available within a specified project.

Additional Resources

  • This crash course video from TraversyMedia is a great code-along for getting into Node.js. It may seem repetitive after completing the assignment, but practice is repetition!
  • This crash course playlist of 12 episodes from Net Ninja is a great resource to learn Node.js, There are 12 videos in playlist you can consider them all.
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