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Installing Node.js

What is Node.js

TL;DR: Node.js allows us to run Javascript code outside of a web-browser. It is available for a wide range of platforms and comes with a package manager (node package manager - npm), which gives access to over 1.3 million packages covering a range of applications. Vitaq uses this ecosystem to provide a web and mobile app testing solution built on top of the popular WebdriverIO package

Javascript is a scripting or programming language that allows the implementation of complex features on web pages. As such it usually runs within a web browser, where there is a Javascript runtime environment. However, Javascript can also be run outside of a web browser, but in that case we need to provide a Javascript Runtime Environment, Node.js is such a run time environment. Node.js makes use of the V8 Javascript engine which is at the heart of the Chrome/Chromium web browser.

When installed Node.js provides a utility called 'node package manager', referred to as npm. Node package manager gives access to over 1.3 million packages which can be found on the website. These packages cover a huge range of applications and can be easily downloaded and utilised using the npm utility.

The Vitaq web and mobile app testing is built on top of the popular WebdriverIO web testing framework.

How to install Node.js

The easiest way to install Node.js is to go to the Node.js home page. This should automatically identify the platform (Mac/Windows/Linux) you are connecting from offer an appropriate package for you to download for your platform. If it does not identify your platform (or you are downloading to install on a different platform), then you can go to the "Other Downloads" page and select the version you need. If you use a package manager to look after software on your system (e.g. Chocolatey on Windows, Homebrew on MacOS or apt on Linux), you can go to the package manager page and follow the instructions there for your package manager. On some Linux systems there is a Software Manager application that can be used for the installation.

There is always a choice to be made between the "Long Term Stable" or "LTS" version, which is a good choice for most users or the very latest version, which of course may contain unidentified bugs.

You should choose the package you wish and download it. This package should be in a format that you can install it on your platform in the normal way that you install software on your machine. You may need administrator or super-user permissions to install the package.

When this installation is complete you should then have access to the "npm" utility in a terminal or at the command prompt.