Node.js usage notes

All things assume you have PATH set correctly

Choosing which major version of Node.js to use

There are two ways to install Node.js:

  1. Through the package manager (recommended for production. Note that there are different packages for different major versions. A simple yum upgrade will not upgrade any existing versions to a new major version.

  2. Using nvm

Consult the Node.js release schedule for guidance on which version of Node.js to use. Generally speaking:

  • Only even-numbered major releases should be deployed to production. The odd-numbered releases are feature releases designed to allow early access to new features. Feature releases lack both stability and a long-term support (LTS) schedule

  • Choose a version that is in “Active LTS” status for production applications. “Current” status is sometimes acceptable as well, as long as the release will be entering LTS soon.

  • NEVER run an out-of-support release

  • Ensure you have a plan to upgrade before the version’s “end of life” date.

Setting the Node.js major version

  • To switch the default version of Node.js for all users, use the /QOpenSys/pkgs/bin/nodever utility. For instance, for Node.js version 10 to be the default, run /QOpenSys/pkgs/bin/nodever 14

  • If you need to explicitly invoke a specific major version of Node.js, the executable is found at /QOpenSys/pkgs/lib/nodejs<version>/bin/node, where <version> is the major version. For instance, to run Node.js version 10, one could run /QOpenSys/pkgs/lib/nodejs10/bin/node

  • To switch the default version of Node.js for a specific user, place /QOpenSys/pkgs/lib/nodejs<version>/bin at the beginning of the user’s PATH environment variable, similar to what’s documented here. For instance, that user could run the following from the shell to set their default to version 16:

echo 'PATH=/QOpenSys/pkgs/lib/nodejs16/bin:/QOpenSys/pkgs/bin:$PATH' >> $HOME/.profile
echo 'export PATH' >> $HOME/.profile

(if using bash as the shell, the user may need to run hash -r)

Globally-installed modules

  • To use node-gyp (or other globally-installed modules) from the command line, follow the same instructions in the previous section to add the version-specific directory to your PATH

Modules for accessing Db2, RPG, CL etc

  • Be sure to use the itoolkit package from npm (npm install itoolkit) for accessing RPG, CL, etc.

  • For database access to the local system (running on IBM i), install one of the following packages from npm:

  • For remote database access (connecting from another system), install one of the following packages from npm:

Coming from 5733-OPS?

  • Any globally-installed modules must be reinstalled. Note, however, that global installations of node modules are generally considered bad practice (with a few exceptions, like node-gyp).

Using Node Version Manager (nvm)

Step 1: Install developer tools

From an SSH terminal, run:

yum group install "Development Tools"
yum install gcc10\*

Step 2: Install NVM

First, install necessary prerequisites using yum to verify that you have curl and/or wget installed. Make sure you set your PATH to utilize the new open source technology.

Then, simply follow the installation steps on the nvm project page

Step 3: Configure your $HOME/.nvmrc file

Create a file at $HOME/.nvmrc, with the following contents


Step 4: Set necessary environment variables

Set the following environment variables:


Preferrably, set these in your $HOME/.profile and/or $HOME/.bash_profile (depending on your shell settings), by adding the following lines:

export CC
export CXX

Step 5: Run nvm

NVM, like many open source commands, are best run from an SSH terminal. See the nvm project page for example usages of the command. Some examples include:

  • nvm install stable : install the latest stable version

  • nvm install --lts : install the latest LTS release

  • nvm use --lts : use the latest LTS release