Node.js: Bundling your Node.js application to single executable for Windows.


In this article, we will see how to bundle Node.js application to a single executable for Windows.

What's the need?

Well recently, I had taken a work where I needed to convert pdf's(Of similar format) to excel sheet.
So I was reading the pdf's from a folder in desktop and I was storing the output excel sheet into a separate folder on the desktop.
I used Node.js for the program.
Now the client wanted it to install the program on 25 windows machine and his budget was really low. So it was also not possible for me to install node.js for 25 machines and then install the required dependency for each one.

One of the solution:

While I was searching for an easy solution I found this amazing npm module pkg.
This module can make your node.js app work like plug and play type.
No need to install Node.js on the client machine or any other dependency. 
It helps to make a commercial or trial version of your node.js application without exposing the source code.
I found this very much easy as the budget was a hell low and no need to think for security issues for my use-case.

So let's check the code and package.json,

Install the pkg module in your node.js project.

npm i pkg 

You also need to add a bin property in your package.json and pkg property for adding
any external dependency only if you have.
In my case, I had a dependency on pdf-parse module to parse pdf and json2xls for creating an excel sheet.


Package.json:

{
  "name": "textfromimage",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "index.js",
  "bin":"index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"
  },
  "pkg": {
    "assets": [
    "./node_modules/json2xls",
    "./node_modules/pdf-parse"
    ]
    },
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "json2xls": "^0.1.2",
    "pdf-parse": "^1.1.1"
  }
}


Here index.js is my entry file which runs the program.
Also, check assets where I had defined external dependencies for the project.

Now, run pkg . --target node10-win-x64 from your app directory to build an executable for Windows.
By not providing a target it will build for all three platforms Windows, Linux, and OSX.
That's it!
Your executable for Windows will be created in your app directory.
This solves my problem, Now I can easily share the exe file and can run it like any other windows application.

I hope you like this article and if any doubts or if you have anything better please let me know in the comment section.

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Written By:
Saurabh Joshi


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