Node.js is easy: 4 steps to a REST API

28 Jun 2020 / Mihai Nueleanu

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Javascript is a great scripting language. It's easy to learn the basics, it's vastly popular, has a huge ecosystem of frameworks, plugins, packages... And it runs everywhere, including server-side.

In this post I'll show you how easy it is to get started from zero to a REST API.

Let's go do it!

Step 1: Install Node.js

Takes a minute to do. You go to, download and install it. Done!

Step 2: Initiate project

In a terminal, navigate to a location of your choice.

cd C:/workspace       # for Windows
cd ~/workspace # for Mac & Linux

And execute this command with npm (the nodejs package manager):

npm init

Enter the project information as you wish

Step 3: Create a js file

Your entire web-app could technically run from as little as one javascript file. So start simple, start from 1 file: index.js

const express = require("express");
const app = express();
const port = 3000;

app.get("/", (req, res) => res.send("Hello World!"));

app.listen(port, () =>
console.log(`Server listening at http://localhost:${port}`)

You'll notice on the first line, the name express, as an external dependancy. This is a good time to install it. In the terminal:

npm install express

Step 4: Run it

Again, in the terminal, run:

node index.js

Now open a browser and navigate to http://localhost:3000

That's it, you're basically done. You can expand this API by adding new endpoints such as:

app.get("/user", (req, res) => {
res.send({ message: "json body" });

From here you get the point... Expand the service, grow it, add your business logic, etc. There's more to say about it, but this should get you started with Node.js for now.

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I'm Mihai, the founder of dotmethod - a software development company based in 🇩🇰 Copenhagen.

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