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Using ES modules in AVA

Translations: Français

As of Node.js 13, ECMAScript Modules are natively supported in Node.js itself. AVA 3.3 supports ESM test files, however support is incomplete. The ESM support project tracks our progress.

ESM support in Node.js is experimental, though enabled by default in Node.js 13. You will see messages like ExperimentalWarning: The ESM module loader is experimental in AVA's output. These are emitted by Node.js, not AVA.

Enabling experimental ESM support in Node.js 12

In Node.js 12 you need to enable ESM support. You can do so via AVA by configuring nodeArguments in your package.json or ava.config.* file:


	"ava": {
		"nodeArguments": [

Or on the command line:

npx ava --node-arguments '--experimental-modules' test.mjs

Using the esm package

If you want to use the ESM syntax, without relying on Node.js' implementation, your best bet is to use the esm package. Make sure to use the .js extension and do not set "type": "module" in package.json.

Here's how you get it working with AVA.

First, install esm:

$ npm install esm

Configure it in your package.json or ava.config.* file, and add it to AVA's "require" option as well. Make sure to add it as the first item.


	"ava": {
		"require": [

You can now use native ES modules with AVA:

// sum.js
export default function sum(a, b) {
	return a + b;
// test.js
import test from 'ava';
import sum from './sum';

test('2 + 2 = 4', t => {, 2), 4);
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