Document installing and using npm modules in client dir #287

pygy opened this Issue Aug 25, 2012 · 8 comments


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pygy commented Aug 25, 2012

This is a very handy feature of browserify that SS does not support at the moment.

I tried to make a node_modules symlink to the system directory. The libs install as expected, but the direcoty hierarchy is flatened and all .js files are provided as-is. For example, if you install node-uuid, require("node-uuid") fails, but require("uuid.js") does. I also get a slew of errors 500 for non-js files included in the node-uuid directory.

This isn't a problem for the uuid module, since it is comprised of just one file, but more complex modules, or modules relying on other npm modules won't work at all.

There are a lot of pure JS npm packages that can be useful client side too...

pygy commented Aug 26, 2012

I built a quick workaround.

Put this as ss-npmclient.js at the root of your project, add the relevant module names in the modules array, and run it.

It will compile everything and put it in client/code/system/npm.js. From your client code, you can then

npm = require("npm");
uuid = npm["node-uuid"];

All modules referenced in the script below end up in the npm namespace.

As it is now, it picks the modules from the node_modules directory at the root of your project. It could be easily adapted to use a custom set.
It requires browserify to be installed system-wide, and will require some modifications to run on Windows.

TODO: morph it into a full-fledged npm module that extracts info from package.json.


#! /usr/bin/env node

modules = ["node-uuid"];
dest = "client/code/system/npm.js";
brfcmd = "browserify"
tmpfile = "________ss_npmclient.tmp";

fs = require("fs");
cp = require("child_process");

exp = [];

for (_i = 0, _len = modules.length; _i < _len; _i++) {
  m = modules[_i];
  exp.push("exports[\"" + m + "\"] = require (\"" + m + "\");");

fs.writeFileSync(tmpfile, exp.join("\n"));

br = cp.execFile(brfcmd, [tmpfile]);
src = [];
br.stdout.on("data", function(data) {

br.on("exit", function(code) {
  src = src.join("");
  pattern = /require\(\"________ss_npmclient\.tmp\"\);\n\}\)\(\);/;
  fs.writeFileSync(dest, src.replace(pattern, "module.exports = $&"));

I think that this is definitely worth doing, and will therefore suggest it goes into 0.4

@paulbjensen paulbjensen added this to the 0.4 milestone Feb 1, 2015

Referencing ticket #465 as there are overlapping considerations.

kulicuu commented Feb 3, 2015

I want to work on this feature and the whole client bundling module devvs, after doing the connect stuff, which I'm working on this week.


@kulicuu cool, please do. Thanks.

thepian commented Feb 6, 2015

I'm adding a minor modification as part of #465 which allows referencing any code relative to the client folder. That takes care of bower if you include it in client. Not sure about npm if node_modules remain in the project root.

thepian commented Mar 11, 2015

You can now do that with what is in the next branch. We just need an example/documentation.

@thepian thepian changed the title from Feature request: support for client-side npm-installed modules to Document installing and using npm modules in client dir Mar 11, 2015
@thepian thepian closed this Mar 15, 2015
@thepian thepian referenced this issue Mar 15, 2015

Make 0.4.x ready for release #507

19 of 32 tasks complete
thepian commented Mar 15, 2015

@kulicuu If you want to work on this you should pick up #455

It would be really neat, but I think it could easily be left for past 0.4, perhaps 0.4.2, assuming 0.4.1 are fixes based on feedback

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