NodeSource and Canonical Announce Node.js as a Snap for Linux
March 22, 2018

NodeSource and Canonical announced the availability of a Node.js snap in the Snap Store.

Snaps bundle everything an application needs to run into a single file, allowing developers to quickly publish applications that install and behave the same everywhere. They work natively on most popular Linux distributions, making them easily accessible to tens of millions of Linux users worldwide. As snaps are designed to work across cloud, desktop and IoT devices, they offer increased efficiency and greater flexibility for developers. Their auto-updating and transactional nature is making snaps a popular choice for the delivery of desktop applications in particular.

Specific to Node.js, developers can choose from one of the currently supported releases and get regular automatic updates directly from NodeSource. Node.js versions 6, 8 and 9 are currently available, with the Snap Store being updated within hours, or minutes of a Node.js release.

“This new snap built by my colleague Rod Vagg and leveraging a delivery method already familiar to Linux users exemplifies how NodeSource gives back to the Node.js community,” said NodeSource CEO Joe McCann. “The value to developers is that they only need a single command to be up and running with their chosen Node.js version and tools. There’s no need for external repos or PPAs.”

With snap support enabled, the preferred version of Node can be installed with a single command such as “sudo snap install node --classic --channel 8/stable”. Users can switch between versions at any time without needing to involve additional tools like nvm (Node Version Manager), for example "snap refresh --channel=6/stable". Adventurous users and those willing to test bleeding-edge versions of Node.js can install from the latest edge channel which is currently tracking Node.js version 10 development work by switching with “sudo snap switch node --edge”. This has an element of risk, however, as it’s a direct pipeline from the upstream Node.js Git repository to the store. This approach is only recommended for those users who are willing to participate in testing and bug reporting upstream.

“There is no better organization to create the Node.js snap than NodeSource,” said Jamie Bennett, Canonical’s VP of Engineering, Devices and IoT. "Node.js is one of the fastest-growing open source projects and NodeSource is the only commercial provider specializing in Node.js for the enterprise. We are excited to work with them to make this resource readily available to Node.js developers worldwide as a Snap.”

The Node.js snap was built by Rod Vagg, NodeSource’s Chief Node Officer.

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