Node.js v8.5.0 Documentation

About this Documentation#

The goal of this documentation is to comprehensively explain the Node.js API, both from a reference as well as a conceptual point of view. Each section describes a built-in module or high-level concept.

Where appropriate, property types, method arguments, and the arguments provided to event handlers are detailed in a list underneath the topic heading.

Every .html document has a corresponding .json document presenting the same information in a structured manner. This feature is experimental, and added for the benefit of IDEs and other utilities that wish to do programmatic things with the documentation.

Every .html and .json file is generated based on the corresponding .md file in the doc/api/ folder in Node.js's source tree. The documentation is generated using the tools/doc/generate.js program. The HTML template is located at doc/template.html.

If errors are found in this documentation, please submit an issue or see the contributing guide for directions on how to submit a patch.

Stability Index#

Throughout the documentation are indications of a section's stability. The Node.js API is still somewhat changing, and as it matures, certain parts are more reliable than others. Some are so proven, and so relied upon, that they are unlikely to ever change at all. Others are brand new and experimental, or known to be hazardous and in the process of being redesigned.

The stability indices are as follows:

Stability: 0 - Deprecated This feature is known to be problematic, and changes may be planned. Do not rely on it. Use of the feature may cause warnings to be emitted. Backwards compatibility across major versions should not be expected.
Stability: 1 - Experimental This feature is still under active development and subject to non-backwards compatible changes, or even removal, in any future version. Use of the feature is not recommended in production environments. Experimental features are not subject to the Node.js Semantic Versioning model.

Note: Caution must be used when making use of Experimental features, particularly within modules that may be used as dependencies (or dependencies of dependencies) within a Node.js application. End users may not be aware that experimental features are being used, and therefore may experience unexpected failures or behavioral changes when changes occur. To help avoid such surprises, Experimental features may require a command-line flag to explicitly enable them, or may cause a process warning to be emitted. By default, such warnings are printed to stderr and may be handled by attaching a listener to the process.on('warning') event.

Stability: 2 - Stable The API has proven satisfactory. Compatibility with the npm ecosystem is a high priority, and will not be broken unless absolutely necessary.

JSON Output#

Stability: 1 - Experimental

Every HTML file in the markdown has a corresponding JSON file with the same data.

This feature was added in Node.js v0.6.12. It is experimental.

Syscalls and man pages#

System calls like open(2) and read(2) define the interface between user programs and the underlying operating system. Node functions which simply wrap a syscall, like, will document that. The docs link to the corresponding man pages (short for manual pages) which describe how the syscalls work.

Note: some syscalls, like lchown(2), are BSD-specific. That means, for example, that fs.lchown() only works on macOS and other BSD-derived systems, and is not available on Linux.

Most Unix syscalls have Windows equivalents, but behavior may differ on Windows relative to Linux and macOS. For an example of the subtle ways in which it's sometimes impossible to replace Unix syscall semantics on Windows, see Node issue 4760.