Node Best Practices

Node Style Guide

  • Style
  • Example
  • Testing
  • Version Switching


  • Use four spaces for indenting your code (do not use tabs)
  • Use \n for a newline character (yes this is unix specifc, do not use the Window format \r\n)
  • No trailing white space (you should be able to configure your editor to do this automatically)
  • Use semi-colons
  • Use braces (with the exception of short/concise one line if statements – see below example)
  • Conditionals/Loops should have spacing around parenthesis
  • Functions should have single space between right side parenthesis and corresponding bracket
  • Opening braces should go on the same line (see below example)
  • Use single quotes for Strings 'my string' (NOT double quotes "my string")
  • Use strict equality ===
  • Declare one variable per var statement (NOT single var statement for multiple variables var a = 1, b = 2, c = 3; as this makes re-ordering variables more prone to error because of stray commas)
  • Don’t nest callbacks, specify an identifier instead and extract the callback into its own function declaration
  • Try to keep lines of code to eighty characters per line. This makes it easier to read and understand the code.
  • Use lowerCamelCase for variables, properties and function names
  • Use UpperCamelCase for class names
  • Use UPPERCASE for Constants
  • Only quote Object keys if your interpreter complains (see below example)
  • Use descriptive conditions/queries (e.g. a complex regex no one can understand should be placed inside a variable which describes the outcome)
  • Write small functions
  • Return early from functions (i.e. fail fast)
  • If you do use a closure then don’t nest them, and make sure to name them (this provides better stack trace information)
  • Use slashes for comments and only for side effects and edge case information (otherwise, refactor your code so it doesn’t need comments to explain itself)


var x = require('x');
var y = require('y');
var z = require('z');

function doTask(callback) {
    asyncFunction1('foo', {
        bar: 'baz',
        'needs quoting': 123
    }, onCompletion);

    function onCompletion(err, res) {
        if (err) return callback(err)

        asyncFunction2('baz', onCompletionAgain);

    function onCompletionAgain(err, res) {
        if (err) return callback(err);

        asyncFunction3('bar', onCompletionFinal);

        function onCompletionFinal(err, res) {
            if (err) return callback(err);

            if (res === 'someThing') {
                callback(null, 'data to passback to the original callback function')

req.on('end', function onEnd() {
    console.log('see we named our closure `onEnd` which will help us when debugging');


For unit testing your Node.js code we recommend a light wrapper around the built-in Assert module called NodeUnit

Version Switching

There are two popular Node version managers…

  • NVM – Node Version Manager – Simple bash script to manage multiple active node.js versions
  • Nave – Virtual Environments for Node

Also published on Medium.