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Beginning node.js with a sandbox on Windows

What’s this about?

I want to have a node.js environment on my notebook so I can try out some ideas or gain understanding of new modules before integrating into a bigger project.

Why?

Inspired by Open SAP courses like “SAP Cloud Platform Essentials (Update Q2/2019)” and “Software Development on SAP HANA (Update Q1/2019)” I decided to look into developing with node.js. Besides the advantages of SAP Web IDE I need an environment which runs on my notebook and can be used as standalone sandbox. When you’re travelling a lot by train your belief in cloud technologies is not as strong as it might be, by the way. I also like the blog “Developing with HANA Deployment Infrastructure (HDI) without XSA/CF or Web IDE” by Thomas Jung but I wanted something with an even smaller footprint.

What’s not?

Note: This is NOT a tutorial for any of those tools nor in developing. It just shows how to set up a playground for node.js. I use it e.g. to figure out how regular expression work if I need it, or some other packages which I never used before.

Of course you can find a lot of useful tutorials, samples and other stuff on the net.

Let’s do it

So I decided about the tools and the directory structure. To me it’s important that everything can run without administrator privileges on my Windows PC. That’s why all tools are below C:\Users\student\dev and these are my choices (you can search Google for the key words):

 

When building the directory structure I omit version numbers and suffixes like win32x86. I don’t need it and updates will be applied in-place. After downloading and unzipping it looks like this:

I recommend setting up and running the first test when you’re enjoying a fast internet connection.

Double-clicking dev.bat sets up the environment by adding the tools the path. Let’s check it:

@echo off
set HOME=C:\Users\student
set PATH=%PATH%;%HOME%\dev\node;%HOME%\dev\VSCode;%HOME%\dev\PortableGit\bin
set HOMEDRIVE=C:
cmd

From the opened command processor check the versions and commands like this:

Now let’s get a project with git, the project is from an opensap course:

cd projects
git clone https://github.com/SAP/cloud-sample-node-chat

Let’s edit the project:

code cloud-sample-node-chat

Now we open a terminal inside code:

Let’s fetch the dependencies:

npm update

And run it:

node app

Great, it just runs. But when we open app.js within VS Code then we suddenly see an error message (right-down corner marked in yellow).

The reason is we miss something, clicking on “Go to output” provides the necessary hint:

We can copy the suggested command, switch to the TERMINAL tab and run it (maybe you must stop your running node.js by pressing CTRL-C).

To initialize ESLint just type “eslint –init”

Great! Errors resolved, looks good.

What’s next?

Of course you can check if everything is running fine with a “Hello World” app as found e.g. in https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/nodejs/nodejs-tutorial. There are also some nice extensions described in https://code.visualstudio.com/docs/nodejs/extensions.

Or just follow your own ideas.

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