Fetching contributors…
Cannot retrieve contributors at this time
318 lines (223 sloc) 13.8 KB

Guidelines for JavaScript projects

These guidelines reflect our shared consensus on protocol and etiquette from what we've built so far. Every single item that is presented here is the result of lots of experimentation. However, that doesn't mean that there isn't a better way to do things. What we have below is simply what we've found to work best for us. In this document you will find notes about:

  • Project structure.
  • Code style.
  • Continuous integration.
  • Tests.
  • Tasks (asset pipeline, transpiling, releasing, etc).
  • Dependency management.

Our toolkit for each of these is not set in stone, and we don't plan to halt our constant search for better tools. Get in touch if you've got ideas.

Also, remember:

Barbossa's warning

Table of Contents


For the majority of our JavaScript projects, our goals are to:

  • Ensure browser compatibility, with the possible exceptions being:
    • Access to the file system.
    • Native bindings.
    • Network transports (uTP, udt, curveCP, etc) that are not available in the browser.
  • Don't break CommonJS's require. This means that if someone requires a JavaScript module from the IPFS ecosystem, they should be able to require it and use browserify, webpack or other bundlers without having to worry about adding special shims for module internals.
  • Encourage contribution.
  • Have great UX for everyone involved.


Please follow the conventions described in this document.

When reporting a bug, if possible, provide a way for us to reproduce it (or even better, write a test that fails with your case).

Always run tests before pushing and PR'ing your code.

Captains and Maintainers

For each JavaScript repository in the IPFS, libp2p, IPLD, or related GitHub orgs, there should be a single Captain specified in the Maintainers section of the README for that repository. The Captain is in charge of merging PRs, keeping issues up to date, and overall quality of a repository.

Sometimes, a Captain may elect to have other maintainers that also have merge ability and commit access to the main repo. These maintainers can help out, but defer to the Captain as the person in charge of maintaining quality across the repo. It is important that this distinction is explicit; if there are long-standing PRs or issues, it is ultimately up to the Captain to gather information about the issue or PR. A Captain only makes a decision if he needs to and all methods of discussion are exhausted. Our community strives to trust the Captain as someone who ultimately has the most knowledge of a repo (even if they are also opinionated, and even if they have to spend effort to source that knowledge). This may change in the future, if we go with more non-hierarchical model.

Repositories which do not have Captains will show up in red on Project Repos. Please open an issue in the repository asking for a captain to be nominated if none is provided.

If you would like to become a maintainer (or lieutenant, or first mate, or whatever nautical metaphor you prefer), please open an issue about it! Chances are that we would love to have more help.


Linting & Code Style

IPFS JavaScript projects default to standard code style. It is a clean codestyle, and its adoption is increasing significantly, making the code that we write familiar to the majority of the developers.

However, we've added an extra linting rule: Enforce the use of strict mode. This avoids issues we had when using ES2015 features outside of strict mode. We enforce this rule by using eslint and extending standard module with the eslint-config-standard.


Since js-ipfs is meant to be both a Node.js and Browser app, we strongly recommend having tests that run in both platforms, always. For most cases, we use mocha to run write the tests and karma to automate the test execution in the browser. This solution has been extremely convenient.


In most IPFS JavaScript projects, we use webpack for bundling the JavaScript. It adds a greater overhead when it comes to configuration, but this configuration can be reused since most projects share the same needs.

Where ES2015 is used, we managed to ensure that the code continues to run in every platform by transpiling it, if necessary, with babel.

To make sure users can use the modules without having to transpile and shim the modules themselves, we've made the following available in most modules:

  • Raw ES2015 version, ready to be consumed by platforms that understand Node.js based require and most of ES2015.
  • Raw ES5 version, ready to be consumed by platforms that understand Node.js based require and ES5.
  • Concatenated ES5 version, ready to be consumed by browsers through a script tag, where size does not matter.
  • Concatenated and minified ES5 version, ready to be consumed by browsers through a script tag, where size matters.


Each time a new release happens, these are the steps we follow to make sure nothing gets left out:

  1. Run linting
  2. Run all tests
  3. Build all three different versions described on the build
  4. Bump the version in package.json
  5. Commit the version bump
  6. Create a git tag
  7. Push to GitHub
  8. Publish to npm


We've created a module to help us achieve all of the above with minimal effort. Feel free to also use it for your projects. Feedback is appreciated!

...for maintainers

Setting up aegir

There are a couple of binaries that aegir provides for you to use

$ aegir-lint
$ aegir-test
$ aegir-test browser
$ aegir-test node
$ aegir-build
$ aegir-release major
$ aegir-release minor
$ aegir-release

If you prefer using npm scripts, you can set them up in your package.json:

  "scripts": {
    "lint": "aegir-lint",
    "build": "aegir-build",
    "test": "aegir-test",
    "test:node": "aegir-test node",
    "test:browser": "aegir-test browser",
    "release": "aegir-release",
    "coverage": "aegir-coverage",
    "coverage-publish": "aegir-coverage publish"

You also need to add it your devDependencies by running:

$ npm install --save-dev aegir
Directory Structure

To reduce the amount of configuration, aegir expects your source code to be in src and your test files in test.

├── dist # auto-generated by the transpile and minification task.
│   ├── index.js
│   └── index.min.js
├── lib  # auto-generated source tree, transpiled using babel. Makes the code es5 compatible
│   ├── index.js
│   └── ...
├── src  # source code. Can use the latest features (ES2015) in JavaScript.
│   ├── index.js
│   └── ...
├── test # tests folder
│   ├── node.js    # Node specific test setup
│   ├── browser.js # Browser specific test setup
│   ├── mytest.spec.js # All files ending in .spec.js are considered test files to be run
│   └── ...
├── package.json
├── circle.yml
├── .travis.yml
├── .npmignore
├── .gitignore
└── node_modules
Default require

Inside package.json, the main file exported is the one from the auto-generated source tree, transpiled using babel. The original should be pointed to by the jsnext:main key.

"main": "lib/index.js",
"jsnext:main": "src/index.js",
Continuous integration

You can find samples for Travis and circle in the examples folder.

We also use to automatically publish coverage reports. This is done from travis using this:

  - npm run coverage
  - npm run coverage-publish

To avoid checking in unwanted files, the .gitignore file should follow the example. This is if you are using aegir - smaller projects can use smaller .gitignore files.


Npm uses the .gitignore by default, so we have to add a .npmignore file to ensure we actually ship lib and dist files. You can use this example to get started.

Dependency management

We suggest either of these:


precommit helps us check code style run the tests on every commit. In your package.json:

"pre-commit": [

...for consumers

For use in the browser through script tags, there are regular and minified versions in the npm release.

You can use unpkg to include those:

<script src=""></script>
<script src=""></script>

If you install the module through npm and require it, you receive the ES5 version ready to be used in Node.js or a module bundler like browserify.

var API = require('ipfs-api')

If you use a module bundler that understands ES2015 like webpack@2 or rollup you can use this syntax to get the original ES2015 source.

const API = require('ipfs-api/src')


Why are you not using XYZ?

There are two possibilities: either it didn’t work out for us, or we don’t know about it. If you think we might have missed it please tell us, but please believe us if we say we tried and it didn’t work for us.

Why not use simple npm scripts instead of gulp?

Gulp is not a hard dependency. It’s just a simple way to structure our tasks at the moment. Usually projects only depend on the aegir binaries completely hiding the fact that we are using gulp under the hood. So we are free if we want to switch it out without any issues. We all enjoy npm scripts, and are using them to call the aegir binaries, but there is no nice way of sharing them yet.

Where are all the semicolons?

Our linting rules are compatible with standard, which has many examples on documentation on this. Please go there and read it if you're still curious.

Why are you bothering with ES2015 and all this build setup?

We want to see the web move forward, and some of us enjoy writing their JavaScript with things like const and arrow functions.

Do I have to use ES2015 and Babel and aegir in my project?


Do I have to bundle everything with webpack?

No. But other people might ask you to at some point, so it may be better to be prepared.

Why are you doing this?

Because it saves us hours every single day. This tooling is the result of a lot of effort, thought, and hard learning. Its goal is to minimize process road bumps and provide a unified low-friction workflow for contributors.

Code of Conduct

Any IPFS JavaScript project follows the same Code of Conduct applied to the whole IPFS ecosystem.

References - Resources and good reads


This project would not be possible without the hard work of many many people. So a big shout out to all contributors to these projects: