node package manager



Join the chat at Dependency Status Stories in Ready Circle CI

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

screen shot 2014-02-28 at 10 32 54 am


  • Ability to run multiple applications with different node.js runtimes.
  • Distributable binaries without needing node / npm.
  • Starts faster.
  • Lockdown specific application versions, and easily rollback.
  • Faster deployments.

Building Requirements

  • Linux / Mac / BSD / Windows
  • Python 2.6 or 2.7 (use --python if not in PATH)
  • Windows: Visual Studio 2010+


Doesn't support native modules

  • Use the techniques below for working around dynamic require statements to exclude the module from the bundling, and deploy along side the executable in a node_module folder so your app can find it. Note: On windows you may need to have your app be named node.exe if .node file depends on node.

Doesn't support dynamic require statements

Such As:

var x = require(someVar);

In this case nexe won't bundle the file

    var x;
    if (someCheck) {
        x = require("./ver1.js");
    } else {
        x = require("./var2.js");

In this case nexe will bundle both files.


  1. for dynamic requires that you want bundled add the following into your project
    var dummyToForceIncludeForBundle = false;
    if (dummyToForceIncludeForBundle) {
        // ... 

this will trick the bundler into including them.

  1. for dynamic files getting included that you don't want to be
    var moduleName = "./ver2.js";
    if (someCheck) {
        moduleName = "./ver1.js";
    var x = require(moduleName);

Note: neither file will be bundled.

Using these two techniques you can change your application code so modules are not bundles, and generate a includes.js file as part of your build process so that the right files get bundled for your build configuration.


Once the module is bundled it is part of the executable. __dirname is therefore the executable dir (process.execPath). Thus if you put resources on a relative path from the the executable your app will be able to access them.

If you had a data file at /dev/myNodeApp/stateManager/handler/data/some.csv and a file at /dev/myNodeApp/stateManager/handler/loader.js

    module.exports = fw.readFileSync(path.join(__dirname, "./data/some.csv"));

You would need to deploy some.csv in a sub dir data/ along side your executable

There are potential use cases for __dirname where the executable path is not the correct substitution, and could result in a silent error (possibly even in a dependency that you are unaware of).

Note: __filename will be 'undefined'


child_process.spawn works is unmodified, but child_process.fork will make an attempt to launch a new instance of your executable and run the bundled module.


Via NPM:

    npm install nexe [-g]

Or git:

    git clone

CLI Usage

Usage: nexe -i [sources] -o [binary] [options]
    -i, --input    The entry javascript files         [default: cwd]
    -o, --output   The output binary                  [default: out.nex]
    -r, --runtime  The node.js runtime to use         [default: "latest"]
    -t, --temp     The path to store node.js sources  [default: ./tmp/nexe]
    -f, --flags    Don't parse node and v8 flags, pass through app flags  [default: false]
    -v, --version  Display version number
    -p, --python   Set path of python to use.         [default: "python"]
    -F, --framework Set the framework to use.          [default: "nodejs"]

Code Usage

var nexe = require('nexe');
    input: 'input.js', // where the input file is 
    output: 'path/to/bin', // where to output the compiled binary 
    nodeVersion: '5.5.0', // node version 
    nodeTempDir: 'src', // where to store node source. 
    nodeConfigureArgs: ['opt', 'val'], // for all your configure arg needs. 
    nodeMakeArgs: ["-j", "4"], // when you want to control the make process. 
    python: 'path/to/python', // for non-standard python setups. Or python 3.x forced ones. 
    resourceFiles: [ 'path/to/a/file' ], // array of files to embed. 
    resourceRoot: [ 'path/' ], // where to embed the resourceFiles. 
    flags: true, // use this for applications that need command line flags. 
    jsFlags: "--use_strict", // v8 flags 
    framework: "node" // node, nodejs, or iojs 
}, function(err) {
    if(err) {
        return console.log(err);
     // do whatever 

package.json inclusion

As of 0.4.0 you can now embed nexe options into package.json. Note that this Format is still in works, so it is likely to change.

    "input": "./bin/nexe",
    "output": "nexe^$",
    "temp": "src",
    "browserify": {
        "requires": [],
        "excludes": [],
        "paths": []
    "runtime": {
        "framework": "node",
        "version": "5.6.0",
        "js-flags": "--use_strict",
        "ignoreFlags": true


  • output: can use ^$ for platform specific file extension
  • js-flags: this is also known as v8 flags, and supports all v8 flags.

Browserify Require Issues

If you have requires that aren't resolving well, you can do two things.

Try adding it to nexe.browserify.requires in your package.json

    "browserify": {
        "requires": [
                "file": "myfile.js",
                "expose": "mymodule"
        "excludes": [],
        "paths": []

Or, if that doesn't work (it tends to not work sometimes), you can try altering browserify.paths like so:

    "browserify": {
        "requires": []
        "excludes": [],
        "paths": ["/path/to/my/loc"]

If it still doesn't work, file a bug with what you tried! (also try using nexe@0.4.2)