Hot load (hot require) for NodeJS. It's like JRebel but for NodeJS.
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Latest commit 26f8544 Jul 16, 2014 @jan-swiecki travis config update

Hotload - Hot code reload for NodeJS

Version 0.1.0


// lib.js
module.exports = {
    "key": "value"

// index.js
hotload = require("hotload");

//lib = require("lib");
lib = hotload("./lib.js");

    // normally it would print 'value' indefinitely,
    // but at runtime try to change value of "key" in lib.js
    // and save lib.js file and see that module will be reloaded
    // and new value will be printed.

}, 1000);


> npm install hotload



The purpose is to reload libraries without application shut down.

It is probably not suitable for production use.

Hotload only works on object modules. Non-object modules (E.g. module.exports = "abc") will be required normally but they cannot be hot reloaded. If you don't see why you should google about JavaScript's variable references and its pass-by-value nature. However if you know how to hack NodeJS around this and achive immutables hot reloading let me know.

// index.js
hotload = require("hotload");

// First argument is the same as for `require`. Second argument (callback) is optional.
// Callback's first argument is the module object, which is exactly the same object
// as returned by `hotload`.
lib = hotload("./lib.js", function(lib2){
    // (lib === lib2) is true first time
    console.log("lib has loaded/reloaded!");

// Callback function is called on first module load and on every module reload.

From now on if lib.js is modified it will be reloaded. How does the mechanism work? When lib.js is changed hotload replaces all properties of original lib object with new ones.

E.g. when we have old lib.js like this:

// old lib.js
module.exports = {
    "a": 10,
    "b": 11

And new lib.js like this:

// new lib.js
module.exports = {
    "b": 21,
    "c": 22

then during runtime of index.js when we save lib.js (old version to new version) lib object will become (during runtime of index.js module):

    "b": 21,
    "c": 22

So after hot reloading lib.js the lib object can still be used. You don't need to use callback method to replace your references at all, it just works.

Additional information

Hotload will look out for imported object's methods hlInit and hlUnload and execute then during start/shutdown of that module. E.g.:

module.exports = {
    hlInit: function()
        console.log("Module has been loaded/reloaded");
    hlUnload: function()
        console.log("Module is being unloaded, better take down all event listeners so they don't overlap with new ones!");

As mentioned in example's hlUnload function -- if your module has event listeners or any other long running tasks (e.g. setInterval) you should shut them down while unloading module, because if you don't when module is reloaded it will duplicate event listeners.

You could say "Hey, wait a second! After module reload old module is gone, and I don't have access to event listeners so they must be gone too!". Wrong. They are still running and worse -- you don't have access to them any more!