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Cover image for Part 4: Working with Node.js Modules
Dipak Ahirav
Dipak Ahirav

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Part 4: Working with Node.js Modules

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In this installment of our Node.js series, we delve into one of the building blocks of Node.js applications: modules. Modules are encapsulated pieces of code that can be exported and imported elsewhere in your Node.js application. This modular system not only keeps the code organized but also enhances reusability and maintainability. Let’s explore how to work with built-in modules, create your own custom modules, and manage dependencies using Node.js.

Understanding Node.js Modules

Node.js modules are reusable blocks of code whose existence does not inadvertently impact other code. JavaScript files are treated as modules in Node.js, where each can define its own variables, functions, or classes that are scoped to the module unless explicitly exported.

Using Built-in Modules

Node.js comes with a variety of built-in modules that you can use without any need to install them. These are part of the Node.js API. For example, the http module allows you to create a web server:

const http = require('http');

const server = http.createServer((req, res) => {
  res.statusCode = 200;
  res.setHeader('Content-Type', 'text/plain');
  res.end('Hello World\n');

const PORT = 3000;
server.listen(PORT, () => {
  console.log(`Server running at http://localhost:${PORT}/`);
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Creating Custom Modules

To create your own module, simply create a new JavaScript file. Write the functions, classes, or variables you want to use elsewhere and export them using module.exports. For example:


function add(x, y) {
  return x + y;

function subtract(x, y) {
  return x - y;

module.exports = {
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You can import and use these functions in another file:


const mathOperations = require('./lib/mathOperations');

const sum = mathOperations.add(5, 10);
const difference = mathOperations.subtract(10, 5);

console.log(`Sum: ${sum}, Difference: ${difference}`);
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Managing Dependencies

Node.js uses npm (Node Package Manager) to manage external libraries called packages. You can add any third-party package to your project using npm, which will be saved in the node_modules directory and listed in your package.json file. Here’s how you can install the popular express framework:

npm install express
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Then, you can include it in your project like any other module:

const express = require('express');
const app = express();

app.get('/', (req, res) => {
  res.send('Hello Express!');

const PORT = 3000;
app.listen(PORT, () => {
  console.log(`Server running at http://localhost:${PORT}/`);
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Understanding how to work with and manage modules is crucial in Node.js development. It helps you to organize your code better, maintain a clean codebase, and reuse code effectively. In the next part of our series, we will look into building a simple web server using the skills we’ve acquired so far.

Stay tuned for more practical insights into Node.js!

Top comments (1)

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Dipak Ahirav

Next part -> PART - 5