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bashpacker packs a nodejs project into a single bash file that can be executed without the need to install nodejs or anything else It will include the nodejs binary to be executed

Build Status


$ npm install -g bashpack

CLI options

Create init file

$ ./bin/bashpack init --help

Usage: init [options] <projectdir>


  -h, --help   output usage information
  -f, --force  Force overwrite

Build a bashpack

$ ./bin/bashpack  build --help

  Usage: build [options] <projectdir>,<startscript>


    -h, --help                           output usage information
    --log-level <loglevel>               Set loglevel [info]
    --log-timestamp                      Enable timestamps in log-output
    --no-log-colorize                    Disable colors in log-output
    --no-log-pretty-print                Disable pretty-print log-output
    -m, --log-mute                       Disable log-output
    -d, --debug                          Enable debug level
    -o, --output-file <outputfile>       Outputfile []
    -f, --force                          Force overwrite
    -e, --exclude <patterns>             Pattern to exclude ['.git/*']
    -l, --libs <pattern>                 Shared libraries to include []
    -X, --exclude-file <excludefile>     File that contains the patterns to exclude [auto-detect from $projectdir/{.gitignore, .npmignore, .bashpackignore}]
    -s, --skip-node-include              Don't include a node binary in the bashpack
    -b, --node-binary <node-filename>    File path to node binary
    --node-version <node-version>        Node version to include. Use system|latest|va.b.c [system]
    --node-platform <node-platform>      Node platform to download. darwin|linux|sunos [darwin]
    --node-arch <node-arch>              Node arch to download. x86|x64 [x64]
    -c, --config-file <config-filename>  JSON File containing bashpack settings [auto-detect from $projectdir/bashpack.json]

By default it includes your 'system' node-binary in your file. If you specify a node-version it will download the node-binary from

If you want to avoid the inclusion of a node-binary use the --skip-node-include option

Sample CLI usage

This is how we would create a bashpack from the statsd project

# Get a fresh repo
$ git clone
$ cd statsd

# Install all dependencies (--production will limit the ones needed for production)
$ npm install --production

# Dedupe the node_modules used by dependencies
$ npm dedupe

# Create a bashpack config
$ bashpack init .

# Create a bash script '' from 'current dir' and launch 'bin/statsd' on run
$ bashpack . bin/statsd -o

# Now run the bashpack
$ ./ exampleConfig.js

Sample code usage

var BashPack = require('bashpack');
var bashPack = new BashPack();
var projectDir = '.';
var startScript = 'bin/statsd';
var options = {
  outputFile: ''
};, startScript, options, function(err, filename) {
  if (err) {
    console.log('error happened:'+ err.message);
  } else {
    console.log('created bashpack '+ filename);

Build Options/Defaults

  var _defaults = {
    logMute: true, // no output by default 
    logLevel: 'info',
    logTimestamp: false,
    logPrettyPrint: false,
    includeNode: true,
    exclude: [ '.git/*','doc/*','test/*' ],
    name: 'the anonymous module',
    outputFile: ['bashpack' , process.platform , process.arch].join('-') + '.run',
    configName: 'bashpack.json',
    libs: undefined,          // Array of native libs to add and load 
    force: false,             // overwrite Bashpack outputFile 
    excludeFile: undefined ,  // no exclude file speficied 
    nodePlatform: process.platform, // darwin, linux, sunos 
    nodeArch: process.arch,         // x86 | x64 
    nodeVersion: 'system',           // system, latest, 0.10.x.. 
    nodeBinary: undefined     // Override node file used 

ignore files

Bashpack reads packIgnores from: .gitignore, .npmignore, .bashpackignore The file override the ignores, they do NOT merge

bashpack run files options

A bashpack file, is a shell script, with a payload. As the payload is bzip2-ed, they are small compared to the node-binary size.

Running a bashpack is simple ./ All arguments specified will be directly passed to the node startScript

In addition to that, the bashpack also responds to some internal commands (prefixed with --bashpack)

# Show bashpack help
./ --bashpack-help

# List all included files
./ --bashpack-list

# Check integrity of bashpack
./ --check

# Info on creation
./ --bashpack-info

# Don't run the script
./ --bashpack-noexec

# Extract in a directory
./ --bashpack-target /opt/somedir

# Treat the bashpack as a tar file
./ --bashpack-tar -tvf


  • if you like to create a '.deb', '.rpm' etc.. package - consider using fpm
  • to speed up execution of your file, you need trim down the files that are included. You can do this by adding paths/patterns to the exclude
  • also if you do this from your working directory and you did not specify --production to your npm install, your node_modules will be larger than necessary. Consider running this on a clean projectdir with --production



  • the file uses uuencode, bzip2 , tar . These need to be in your path when running the file

Native modules

When the bashpack is created, it will include the '.node' (native modules) for the architecture it is created on. There is currently no good way of providing multi-architecture node/native modules.

If your module does not have native module dependencies, you can specify a node file from another architecture to be included

Also it can not guess the additional shared libs your application was compiled against, so you have to manually specify them.


  • any unix-alike , or macosx should work
  • windows is currently not supported


  • build a bashpack from a GIT repo or NPM Tarball

  • ability to pass nodejs options

  • include DYLIBS in bashpack

  • multi architecture bashpacks : by including multiple nodejs binaries in the bashpack and selecting the correct one

Inspired by

Makeself -

Tweaks made:

  • fix for md5 to work
  • prefix the archive options (info, list, check) with --bashpack-
  • pass all arguments directly to script that is started