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2.0.0-rc.34 • Public • Published

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npm i nexe -g

Nexe is a command-line utility that compiles your Node.js application into a single executable file.

Motivation and Features

  • Self contained applications
  • Ability to run multiple applications with different node.js runtimes.
  • Distribute binaries without needing node / npm.
  • Idempotent builds
  • Start and deploy faster.
  • Lockdown specific application versions, and easily rollback.
  • Flexible build pipeline
  • Cross platform builds


  • Application entrypoint:

    nexe my-app.js

  • stdin interface

    rollup -c | nexe --resource "./public/**/*" -o my-app.exe

For more CLI options see: nexe --help


  • nexe server.js -r public/**/*.html
  • nexe my-bundle.js --no-bundle -o app.exe
  • nexe --build
  • nexe -t x86-8.0.0


Additional files or resources can be added to the binary by passing -r "glob/pattern/**/*". These included files can be read in the application by using fs.readFile or fs.readFileSync.

Compiling Node

By default nexe will attempt to download a pre-built executable. However, It may be unavailable (github releases) or you may want to customize what is built. See nexe --help for a list of options available when passing the --build option. You will also need to ensure your environment is setup to build node. Note: the python binary in your path should be an acceptable version of python 2. eg. Systems that have python2 will need to create a symlink.

Node.js API


const { compile } = require('nexe')
  input: './my-app.js',
  build: true, //required to use patches
  patches: [
    async (compiler, next) => {
      await compiler.setFileContentsAsync(
        'module.exports = 42'
      return next()
}).then(() => {


options: object

  • #### input: string
    • Input bundle file path
    • default: stdin or the current directory's main file (package.json)
  • #### output: string
    • Output executable file path
    • default: same as name with an OS specific extension.
  • #### target: string | object
    • An object or string describing platform-arch-version. e.g. 'windows-ia32-6.10.3'
      • each segment is optional, and will be merged with the current environment

      • Examples: (full list)

        • 'win32-x86-8.6.0
        • { platform: 'alpine' }
        • darwin-8.6.0
        • linux-x64
        • macos-8.4.0

        See test/target.spec.ts

    • If the build flag is set, the platform portion of the target is ignored.
    • default: process
  • #### bundle: string | boolean
    • If a string is provided it must be a valid relative module path and should provide an export with the following signature:
    export function createBundle (options: NexeOptions): Promise<string>
    • default: true
  • #### name: string
    • Module friendly name of the application
    • default: basename of the input file, or nexe_${}
  • #### cwd: string
    • Directory nexe will operate on as though it is the cwd
    • default: process.cwd()
  • #### build: boolean
    • Build node from source, passing this flag tells nexe to download and build from source. Subsequently using this flag will cause nexe to use the previously built binary. To rebuild, first add --clean
  • #### python: string
    • On Linux this is the path pointing to your python2 executable
    • On Windows this is the directory where python can be accessed
    • default: null
  • #### flags: string[]
    • Array of node runtime flags to build node with.
    • Example: ['--expose-gc']
    • default: []
  • #### configure: string[]
    • Array of arguments for the node build configure step
    • Example: ['--with-dtrace', '--dest-cpu=x64']
    • default: []
  • #### make: string[]
    • Array of arguments for the node build make step, on windows this step recieves options for vcBuild.bat
    • default: [] or ['nosign', 'release'] for non windows systems
  • #### vcBuild: string[]
    • Alias for make option
  • #### snapshot: string
    • path to a file to be used as the warmup snapshot for the build
    • default: null
  • #### resources: string[]
    • Array of globs with files to include in the build
    • Example: ['./public/**/*']
    • default: []
  • #### temp: string
    • Path to use for storing nexe's build files
    • Override in the env with NEXE_TEMP
    • default: ./.nexe in the cwd
  • #### ico: string
    • Path to a user provided icon to be used (Windows only). Requires --build to be set.
  • #### rc: object
    • Settings for patching the node.rc configuration file (Windows only).
    • Example:
          CompanyName: "ACME Corp",
          PRODUCTVERSION: "17,3,0,0",
          FILEVERSION: "1,2,3,4"
    • default: {}
  • #### clean: boolean
    • If included, nexe will remove temporary files for the accompanying configuration and exit
  • #### enableNodeCli: boolean
    • Enable the original Node CLI (will prevent application cli from working).
    • Node CLI arguments passed via the NODE_OPTIONS environment variable will still be processed. NODE_OPTIONS support can be disabled with the --without-node-options configure flag.
    • default: false
  • #### fakeArgv: boolean
    • fake the entry point file name (process.argv[1]). If nexe was used with stdin this will be '[stdin]'.
  • #### ghToken: string
    • Provide a Github Token for accessing nexe releases
    • This is usually needed in CI environments
    • default: process.env.GITHUB_TOKEN
  • #### sourceUrl: string
    • Provide an alternate url for the node source code
    • Note: temporary files will still be created for this under the specified version
  • #### loglevel: string
    • Set the loglevel, info, silent, or verbose
    • default: 'info'
  • #### patches: NexePatch[]
    • Userland patches for patching or modifying node source
    • default: []
  • #### plugins: NexePatch[]
    • Userland plugins for modifying nexe executable behavior
    • default: []

NexePatch: (compiler: NexeCompiler, next: () => Promise<void>) => Promise<void>

Patches and Plugins are just a middleware functions that take two arguments, the compiler, and next. The compiler is described below, and next ensures that the pipeline continues. Its invocation should always be awaited or returned to ensure correct behavior. Patches also require that --build be set, while plugins do not.

For examples, see the built in patches: src/patches.


  • setFileContentsAsync(filename: string, contents: string): Promise<void>
    • Quickly set a file's contents within the downloaded Node.js source.
  • replaceInFileAsync(filename: string, ...replaceArgs): Promise<void>
    • Quickly perform a replace in a file within the downloaded Node.js source. The rest arguments are passed along to String.prototype.replace
  • readFileAsync(filename: string): Promise<NexeFile>
    • Access (or create) a file within the downloaded Node.js source.
  • addResource(filename: string, contents: Buffer): void
    • Add a resource to the nexe bundle
  • files: NexeFile[]
    • The cache of the currently read, modified, or created files within the downloaded Node.js source.


  • contents: string
  • absPath: string
  • filename: string

Any modifications made to NexeFile#contents will be maintained in the cache without the need to explicitly write them back out, e.g. using NexeCompiler#setFileContentsAsync.

Native Modules

Any .node binding can be used with nexe. These library files will be bundled and written alongside the resulting binary at runtime. Currently, nexe supports modules loaded directly (.node files) and those loaded with the 'bindings' module. It does not yet support modules using node-pre-gyp#find.

Its important to note: unless your native module conditionally loads each platform binary. Nexe builds with native modules will be platform specific. Eg. You will no longer be able to use cross platform builds.

Nexe builds with native modules will need to target the same version, platform and architecture as the platform hosting the module. At least until N-API is fully propegated


  • Implement support for node-pre-gyp#find.



$ git clone
$ cd nexe
$ yarn


$ npm test


Jared Allard Caleb Boyd Christopher Karper Dustin Greif
Jared Allard Caleb Boyd Christopher Karper Dustin Greif





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