building-node-with-ninja.md

2020-01-31

Building Node.js with Ninja

The purpose of this guide is to show how to build Node.js using Ninja, as doing so can be significantly quicker than using make. Please see Ninja's site for installation instructions (Unix only).

To build Node.js with ninja, there are 3 steps that must be taken:

  1. Configure the project's OS-based build rules via ./configure --ninja.
  2. Run ninja -C out/Release to produce a compiled release binary.
  3. Lastly, make symlink to ./node using ln -fs out/Release/node node.

When running ninja -C out/Release you will see output similar to the following if the build has succeeded:

ninja: Entering directory `out/Release`
[4/4] LINK node, POSTBUILDS

The bottom line will change while building, showing the progress as [finished/total] build steps. This is useful output that make does not produce and is one of the benefits of using Ninja. Also, Ninja will likely compile much faster than even make -j4 (or -j<number of processor threads on your machine>).

Considerations

Ninja builds vary slightly from make builds. If you wish to run make test after, make will likely still need to rebuild some amount of Node.js.

As such, if you wish to run the tests, it can be helpful to invoke the test runner directly, like so: tools/test.py --mode=release message parallel sequential -J

Alias

alias nnode='./configure --ninja && ninja -C out/Release && ln -fs out/Release/node node'

Producing a debug build

The above alias can be modified slightly to produce a debug build, rather than a release build as shown below: alias nnodedebug='./configure --ninja && ninja -C out/Debug && ln -fs out/Debug/node node_g'