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node-gyp

Node.js native addon build tool

node-gyp is a cross-platform command-line tool written in Node.js for compiling native addon modules for Node.js. It bundles the gyp project used by the Chromium team and takes away the pain of dealing with the various differences in build platforms. It is the replacement to the node-waf program which is removed for node v0.8. If you have a native addon for node that still has a wscript file, then you should definitely add a binding.gyp file to support the latest versions of node.

Multiple target versions of node are supported (i.e. 0.8, 0.9, 0.10, ..., 1.0, etc.), regardless of what version of node is actually installed on your system (node-gyp downloads the necessary development files for the target version).

Features:

  • Easy to use, consistent interface
  • Same commands to build your module on every platform
  • Supports multiple target versions of Node

Installation

You can install with npm:

$ npm install -g node-gyp

You will also need to install:

  • On Unix:
    • python (v2.7 recommended, v3.x.x is not supported)
    • make
    • A proper C/C++ compiler toolchain, like GCC
  • On Mac OS X:
    • python (v2.7 recommended, v3.x.x is not supported) (already installed on Mac OS X)
    • Xcode
      • You also need to install the Command Line Tools via Xcode. You can find this under the menu Xcode -> Preferences -> Downloads
      • This step will install gcc and the related toolchain containing make
  • On Windows:
    • Python (v2.7.3 recommended, v3.x.x is not supported)
      • Make sure that you have a PYTHON environment variable, and it is set to drive:\path\to\python.exe not to a folder
    • Windows XP/Vista/7:
      • Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2013 (Express version works well)
        • If the install fails, try uninstalling any C++ 2010 x64&x86 Redistributable that you have installed first
        • If you get errors that the 64-bit compilers are not installed you may also need the compiler update for the Windows SDK 7.1
    • Windows 7/8:
      • Microsoft Visual Studio C++ 2013 for Windows Desktop (Express version works well)
    • All Windows Versions
      • For 64-bit builds of node and native modules you will also need the Windows 7 64-bit SDK
      • You may need to run one of the following commands if your build complains about WindowsSDKDir not being set, and you are sure you have already installed the SDK:
call "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.1\bin\Setenv.cmd" /Release /x86
call "C:\Program Files\Microsoft SDKs\Windows\v7.1\bin\Setenv.cmd" /Release /x64

If you have multiple Python versions installed, you can identify which Python version node-gyp uses by setting the '--python' variable:

$ node-gyp --python /path/to/python2.7

If node-gyp is called by way of npm and you have multiple versions of Python installed, then you can set npm's 'python' config key to the appropriate value:

$ npm config set python /path/to/executable/python2.7

Note that OS X is just a flavour of Unix and so needs python, make, and C/C++. An easy way to obtain these is to install XCode from Apple, and then use it to install the command line tools (under Preferences -> Downloads).

How to Use

To compile your native addon, first go to its root directory:

$ cd my_node_addon

The next step is to generate the appropriate project build files for the current platform. Use configure for that:

$ node-gyp configure

Note: The configure step looks for the binding.gyp file in the current directory to process. See below for instructions on creating the binding.gyp file.

Now you will have either a Makefile (on Unix platforms) or a vcxproj file (on Windows) in the build/ directory. Next invoke the build command:

$ node-gyp build

Now you have your compiled .node bindings file! The compiled bindings end up in build/Debug/ or build/Release/, depending on the build mode. At this point you can require the .node file with Node and run your tests!

Note: To create a Debug build of the bindings file, pass the --debug (or -d) switch when running either the configure, build or rebuild command.

The "binding.gyp" file

Previously when node had node-waf you had to write a wscript file. The replacement for that is the binding.gyp file, which describes the configuration to build your module in a JSON-like format. This file gets placed in the root of your package, alongside the package.json file.

A barebones gyp file appropriate for building a node addon looks like:

{
  "targets": [
    {
      "target_name": "binding",
      "sources": [ "src/binding.cc" ]
    }
  ]
}

Some additional resources for addons and writing gyp files:

Commands

node-gyp responds to the following commands:

Command Description
build Invokes make/msbuild.exe and builds the native addon
clean Removes the build directory if it exists
configure Generates project build files for the current platform
rebuild Runs clean, configure and build all in a row
install Installs node development header files for the given version
list Lists the currently installed node development file versions
remove Removes the node development header files for the given version

License

(The MIT License)

Copyright (c) 2012 Nathan Rajlich <nathan@tootallnate.net>

Permission is hereby granted, free of charge, to any person obtaining a copy of this software and associated documentation files (the 'Software'), to deal in the Software without restriction, including without limitation the rights to use, copy, modify, merge, publish, distribute, sublicense, and/or sell copies of the Software, and to permit persons to whom the Software is furnished to do so, subject to the following conditions:

The above copyright notice and this permission notice shall be included in all copies or substantial portions of the Software.

THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED 'AS IS', WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.

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