Node.js Tips

Node.js Tips — Environment Variables, Downloads, DNS, and More

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Like any kind of apps, there are difficult issues to solve when we write Node apps.

In this article, we’ll look at some solutions to common problems when writing Node apps.

Node.js Require All Files in a Folder

We can export all modules in a folder by creating a module that exports all the modules.

Then we can import them all at once.

For instance, we can write:

index.js = require("./routes/foo.js"); require("./routes/bar.js");


const routes = require("./routes");

We can also write:

const fs = require("fs");
const normalizedPath = require("path").join(__dirname, "routes");

fs.readdirSync(normalizedPath).forEach((file) => {

Stringify an Error

We can log an error by looping through the properties of an object.

For instance, we can write:

const error = new Error('error');
const propertyNames = Object.getOwnPropertyNames(error);

for (const prop of propertyNames) {
  const descriptor = Object.getOwnPropertyDescriptor(error, prop);
  console.log(prop, descriptor);

We use the Object.getOwnPropertyNames method to get the properties of the error object.

Then we get the descriptors of each property.

Difference Between “process.stdout.write” and “console.log” in Node.js

console.log calls process.stdout.write with formatted output.

The code for console.log is just:

console.log = function (d) {
  process.stdout.write(d + 'n');

They are pretty much equivalent except for the extra line break.

Set NODE_ENV to production/development in Mac OS or Windows

We can use the export command to set environment variables in Mac OS.

For instance, we can set the NODE_ENV by running:

export NODE_ENV=production

In Windows, we can use the SET command:

SET NODE_ENV=production

We can also set process.env.NODE_ENV directly:

process.env.NODE_ENV = 'production';

We can set the environment when we run the file by running:

NODE_ENV=production node app.js

It also works in the package.json scripts :

  "scripts": {
    "start": "NODE_ENV=production node ./app"

Using require in Express Templates

require is included with CommonJS.

It’s not a part of browser-side JavaScript natively.

To include JavaScript files, we can use the script tag.

Also, we can use CommonJS module.

Or we can use async modules.

Browserify, Webpack, and Rollup can bundle modules into build artifacts usable by the browser.

We can also use ES6 modules natively in browsers with the type attribute set to module .

For instance, we can write:


export const hello = () => {
  return "Hello World";

We can then include script.js by writing:

<script type="module" src="script.js"></script>

Measure the Execution Time of JavaScript Code with Callbacks

We can use the console.time and console.timeEnd methods to measure the time of a script.

For instance, if we have:

for (let i = 1; i < 10; i++) {
  const user = {
    id: i,
    name: "name"
  };, (err, saved) => {
    if(err || !saved) {
    } else {

We can call the methods by writing:


for (let i = 1; i < 10; i++) {
  const user = {
    id: i,
    name: "name"
  };, (err, saved) => {
    if(err || !saved) {
    } else {

We’ve to pass in the same string to time and timeEnd .

Download a File from NodeJS Server Using Express

We can download a file with the method in an Express route.

For instance, we can write:

const path = reqyire('path');

app.get('/download', (req, res) => {
  const file = path.join(`${__dirname}, 'folder', 'img.jpg');;

We just get the path and pass it to .

URl Encode a String in Node.js

We can URI encode a string in Node.jhs with the querystring module.

For instance, we can write:

const querystring = require("querystring");
const result = querystring.stringify({ text: "hello world"});

Then we get 'text=hello%20world’ for result .

Get Local IP Address in Node.js

We can get a local IP address in a Node app with the dns module.

For instance, we can write:

const dns = require('dns');
const os = require('os');

dns.lookup(os.hostname(), (err, addr, fam) => {

We call lookup with the hostname to get the IP address from the hostname.

Then addr has the IP address.


We can get the IP address with the dns module.

console has methods to let us measure the timing of code.

We can require files dynamically.

Environment variables can be set dynamically.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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