Get started with node.js

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Using Ractive.js with node is straightforward once node.js is installed:

$ npm install ractive

Using Ractive within a node app

Here's a simple "hello world" example that covers the basics of getting started with ractive and node:

$ mkdir mynodeapp
$ cd mynodeapp
$ npm install ractive
$ touch test.js
$ open test.js

In test.js:

var Ractive = require('ractive');
var ractive = new Ractive({
    template: 'hello from {{who}}'
ractive.set('who', 'node');

Running the file using node:

$ node test.js
hello from node

Limitations of using Ractive in node

There is no two-way binding in node as there is no DOM.

Data manipulation can be done in node. Use methods like ractive.set() to modify data, and ractive.toHTML() to output the current template state as HTML.

Precompiling templates with node

Use ractive.parse() to precompile templates in node. Here is an example grunt task:

var Ractive = require('ractive'),
    path = require('path');

module.exports = function(grunt){

    var desc = 'Compile ractive.js templates';
    grunt.registerMultiTask('compile', desc, make);

    function make(){
            var templates =;
                'var templates = {\n' + templates.join(',\n') + '\n}');

    function parse(template){
        var name = path.basename(template, '.mustache'),
            html =,
            parsed = Ractive.parse(html);

        return  '\t' + name + ': ' + JSON.stringify(parsed);


If the above file was in folder /tasks/, it could be used like:

module.exports = function(grunt) {

    pkg: grunt.file.readJSON('package.json'),
    compile: {
      ractive: {
        src: 'templates/*.mustache',
        dest: 'templates/templates.js'


  grunt.registerTask('default', ['compile']);


Debugging on node

Check out node-inspector for information on debugging node modules from the Chrome Web Inspector.

$ npm install -g node-inspector
$ node-debug test.js