The tools you’ll need
The easiest way to install Node on your system is to download the appropriate installer from here. The LTS (Long Term Support) version is the most stable version and is most likely the one you want. The Current version is the latest available and includes experimental features. The Windows, macOS, and Linux installers also include a relatively recent copy of npm, which is covered next.
Note that Node-API was first supported experimentally in Node 8.0.0. You will need a copy of Node that supports Node-API in order to develop and run Node-API code. To see which versions of Node support Node-API, refer to the Node-API Version Matrix.
For most Node-API users, the objective is to publish an npm module containing their C/C++ code and the Node-API code
npm is typically installed alongside Node. There is more information here about installing npm and keeping it up-to-date.
Although not strictly required for Node-API work, Git is a widely used distributed version control system used in many software development projects. Git is beyond the scope of this site.
C/C++ and Python
Besides Node and npm, you’ll need a set of C and C++ development tools and Python.
It is not necessary to install the entire Visual Studio IDE in order to develop and run Node-API modules on Windows. There is an npm module,
windows-build-tools, that has everything you need.
Open PowerShell or
cmd.exe as Administrator and enter:
npm install --global --production windows-build-tools
This module also installs Python.
Assuming you haven’t yet installed Apple’s Xcode IDE, the most direct route for installing the C/C++ tools you need for Node-API is to run this command in the Terminal program:
If this fails for some reason, you will need to install the complete Xcode IDE which will also installs the necessary C/C++ command line tools.
Python comes installed on all versions of macOS prior to macOS Catalina. This command will verify if Python is installed on your system:
If needed, installers for Python can be found here.
The necessary C/C++ toolchain and Python are typically already installed on most current Linux distributions. If they are missing on your system, the best way to install the tools is determined by the particular Linux distribution you are using.
Information about installing the LLVM C/C++ toolchain can be found here. Installers for Python can be found here.
Verifying your tools
After installing all of the above tools, each of the commands shown below should return useful information.
Mac and Linux
node --version npm --version python --version git --version cc --version make --version
node --version npm --version python --version (TBD) git --version cc --version (TBD) make --version (TBD)
You’ll need your favorite shell program which typically comes pre-installed on macOS and Linux. For Windows, you may want to consider PowerShell.
And you’ll need your favorite code editor.
There are also powerful IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) that are popular in the developer community. Among these are Visual Studio Code and WebStorm. Depending upon your level of involvement with this work, these tools can quickly pay for themselves in increased productivity.