Neutrino preset for building Node.js projects
Last updated a month ago by edmorley .
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$ cnpm install @neutrinojs/node 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.

Neutrino Node.js Preset

@neutrinojs/node is a Neutrino preset that supports building Node.js applications.

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  • Zero upfront configuration necessary to start developing and building a Node.js project
  • Modern Babel compilation supporting ES modules, async functions, and dynamic imports
  • By default targets the version of Node.js used to run webpack
  • Supports automatically-wired sourcemaps
  • Tree-shaking to create smaller bundles
  • Hot Module Replacement with source-watching during development
  • Chunking of external dependencies apart from application code
  • Easily extensible to customize your project as needed

Important! If you need polyfills in your code, consider including core-js in your package.json. This is will configure @babel/present-env to automatically include polyfills based on usage. More details here.


  • Node.js 10+
  • Yarn v1.2.1+, or npm v5.4+
  • Neutrino 9
  • webpack 4
  • webpack-cli 3


The fastest way to get started is by using the create-project scaffolding tool. Don’t want to use the CLI helper? No worries, we have you covered with the manual installation.


Run the following command to start the process. Substitute <directory-name> with the directory name you wish to create for this project.


❯ yarn create @neutrinojs/project <directory-name>

Note: The create command is a shorthand that helps you do two things at once. See the Yarn create docs for more details.


npx comes pre-installed with npm. If you’re running an older version of npm, then npm install -g npm to update to the latest version.

❯ npx @neutrinojs/create-project <directory-name>

The CLI helper will prompt for the project to scaffold, and will offer to set up a test runner as well as linting to your project. Refer to the Create new project section for details on all available options.

Manual Installation

@neutrinojs/node can be installed via the Yarn or npm clients. Inside your project, make sure that the dependencies below are installed as development dependencies.


❯ yarn add --dev neutrino @neutrinojs/node webpack webpack-cli


❯ npm install --save-dev neutrino @neutrinojs/node webpack webpack-cli

If you want to have automatically wired sourcemaps added to your project, add source-map-support:


❯ yarn add source-map-support


❯ npm install --save source-map-support

After that, add a new directory named src in the root of the project, with a single JS file named index.js in it.

❯ mkdir src && touch src/index.js

Edit your src/index.js file with the following:

import { createServer } from 'http';

const delay = (ms) => new Promise((resolve) => setTimeout(resolve, ms));
const port = process.env.PORT || 3000;

createServer(async (req, res) => {
  await delay(500);
}).listen(port, () => console.log(`Server running on port ${port}`));

Now edit your project's package.json to add commands for starting and building the application:

  "scripts": {
    "start": "webpack --watch --mode development",
    "build": "webpack --mode production"

Then create a .neutrinorc.js file alongside package.json, which contains your Neutrino configuration:

const node = require('@neutrinojs/node');

module.exports = {
  use: [node()],

And create a webpack.config.js file, that uses the Neutrino API to access the generated webpack config:

const neutrino = require('neutrino');

module.exports = neutrino().webpack();

Start the app, then either open a browser to the address in the console, or use curl from another terminal window:


❯ yarn start
Server running on port 3000
❯ curl http://localhost:3000


❯ npm start
Server running on port 3000
❯ curl http://localhost:3000

Project Layout

@neutrinojs/node follows the standard project layout specified by Neutrino. This means that by default all project source code should live in a directory named src in the root of the project. This includes JavaScript files that would be available to your compiled project.


@neutrinojs/node builds assets to the build directory by default when running yarn build. You can either serve or deploy the contents of this build directory as a Node.js module, server, or tool. For Node.js this usually means adding a main property to package.json pointing to the primary main built entry point. Also when publishing your project to npm, consider excluding your src directory by using the files property to whitelist build, or via .npmignore to blacklist src.

  "main": "build/index.js",
  "files": ["build"]

Note: While this preset works well for many types of Node.js applications, it's important to make the distinction between applications and libraries. This preset will not work optimally out of the box for creating distributable libraries, and will take a little extra customization to make them suitable for that purpose.

Hot Module Replacement

While @neutrinojs/node supports Hot Module Replacement for your app, it does require some application-specific changes in order to operate. Your application should define split points for which to accept modules to reload using module.hot:

For example:

import { createServer } from 'http';
import app from './app';

if (module.hot) {

createServer((req, res) => {
}).listen(/* */);

Or for all paths:

import { createServer } from 'http';
import app from './app';

if (module.hot) {

createServer((req, res) => {
}).listen(/* */);

Using dynamic imports with import() will automatically create split points and hot replace those modules upon modification during development.


You can start the Node.js server in inspect mode to debug the process by setting neutrino.options.debug to true.

Preset options

You can provide custom options and have them merged with this preset's default options to easily affect how this preset builds. You can modify Node.js preset settings from .neutrinorc.js by overriding with an options object. The following shows how you can pass an options object to the Node.js preset and override its options, showing the defaults:

const node = require('@neutrinojs/node');

module.exports = {
  use: [
      // Enables Hot Module Replacement. Set to false to disable
      hot: true,

      // Targets the version of Node.js used to run webpack.
      targets: {
        node: 'current',

      // Disable cleaning the output build directory
      clean: false,

      // Add additional Babel plugins, presets, or env options
      babel: {
        // Override options for @babel/preset-env, showing defaults:
        presets: [
              // Targets the version of Node.js used to run webpack.
              targets: { node: 'current' },
              useBuiltIns: 'usage',

Example: Override the Node.js Babel compilation target to Node.js v6:

const node = require('@neutrinojs/node');

module.exports = {
  use: [
      // Target specific versions via @babel/preset-env
      targets: {
        node: '6.0',


To override the build configuration, start with the documentation on customization. @neutrinojs/node creates some conventions to make overriding the configuration easier once you are ready to make changes.

By default Neutrino, and therefore this preset, creates a single main index entry point to your application, and this maps to the index.* file in the src directory. This means that this preset is optimized toward a single main entry to your application. Code not imported in the hierarchy of the index entry will not be output to the bundle. To overcome this you must either define more mains via options.mains, import the code path somewhere along the index hierarchy, or define multiple configurations in your .neutrinorc.js.

If the need arises, you can also compile node_modules by referring to the relevant compile-loader documentation.


This preset automatically vendors all external dependencies into a separate chunk based on their inclusion in your package.json. No extra work is required to make this work.

Source minification

By default script sources are minified in production only, using webpack's default of terser-webpack-plugin. To customise the options passed to TerserPlugin or even use a different minifier, override optimization.minimizer.

Example: Adjust the terser minification settings:

const node = require('@neutrinojs/node');

module.exports = {
  use: [
    (neutrino) => {
      // Whilst the minimizer is only used when the separate `minimize` option is true
      // (ie in production), the conditional avoids the expensive require() in development.
      if (process.env.NODE_ENV === 'production') {
          .use(require.resolve('terser-webpack-plugin'), [
              // Default options used by webpack:
              // https://github.com/webpack/webpack/blob/v4.26.0/lib/WebpackOptionsDefaulter.js#L308-L315
              cache: true,
              parallel: true,
                neutrino.config.devtool &&
              // Pass custom options here.
              // https://github.com/webpack-contrib/terser-webpack-plugin#terseroptions
              // https://github.com/terser-js/terser#minify-options
              terserOptions: {
                // eg disable mangling of names
                mangle: false,


The following is a list of rules and their identifiers which can be overridden:

Name Description NODE_ENV
compile Compiles JS files from the src directory using Babel. Contains a single loader named babel all


The following is a list of plugins and their identifiers which can be overridden:

Note: Some plugins are only available in certain environments. To override them, they should be modified conditionally.

Name Description NODE_ENV
banner Injects source-map-support into the mains (entry points) of your application if detected in dependencies or devDependencies of your package.json. Only when source-map-support is installed
clean Clean or remove the build directory prior to building. From @neutrinojs/clean. 'production'
start-server Start a Node.js for the first configured main entry point. 'development'
hot Enables Hot Module Replacement. 'development'

Override configuration

By following the customization guide and knowing the rule, loader, and plugin IDs above, you can override and augment the build by by providing a function to your .neutrinorc.js use array. You can also make these changes from the Neutrino API in custom middleware.

Example: Allow importing modules with a .esm extension.

const node = require('@neutrinojs/node');

module.exports = {
  use: [
    (neutrino) => {


This preset is part of the neutrino repository, a monorepo containing all resources for developing Neutrino and its core presets and middleware. Follow the contributing guide for details.

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