Tag Archives: node.js

DerbyJs or Racer on Windows

You could argue this just isn’t meant to be … and you might be right.  Unfortunately for me, flailing around in my Ubuntu VM is just a slow way for me to develop.  I know that makes me a terrible person, but sometimes the tools you use every day belong to the dark side.

In any case, I set out to get DerbyJs and Racer working on my windows machine.

DerbyJs and Racer are created by pretty much the same group of people.  They are JavaScript frameworks that run on Node.Js and use Operational Transformation to synchronize data in real-time across clients.

The tweaks

The first smack in the face is Redis.  You’ll need to install the windows version of that here, but that’s not remotely the hard part.  The difficulty is when you try to do your npm install for the example repositories of DerbyJs or Racer  .  Then all hell breaks loose, and you run into the “we don’t support windows” contingent with npm install redis.

Turns out the lovely people at hiredis do support windows though.  So here’s the trick(s).  Install hiredis globally FIRST (npm install -g hiredis).  Then go into your global npm cache and copy everything from %appdata%\npm\node_modules\hiredis\build\Release one directory down to %appdata%\npm\node_modules\hiredis\build (because REASONS).

Now npm install type things will magically start working — if you’ve put %appdata%\npm\node_modules into your system environment variables as NODE_PATH.  NPM doesn’t do that on installation because… it’s fun to google?

System Node Environment Variable
How to set your npm cache path


Now after all this effort  (at least at the time of this writing)  nothing will work.  You’ve got a couple more tweaks to make.

For Racer

You need to go in and remove all the “release kind of like this one” stuff from your package.json. (See JSON below with red things to remove.)  This is because the current release of Racer will not work with the example code.  No idea why because the problem seems to be somewhere in the Operational Transformation code — which is fiddly stuff.

"dependencies": {
"coffeeify": "~0.6.0",
"express": "~3.4.8",
"handlebars": "^1.3.0",
"livedb-mongo": "~0.4.0",
"racer": "^0.6.0-alpha32",
"racer-browserchannel": "^0.3.0",
"racer-bundle": "~0.1.1",
"redis": "^2.4.2"

BTW, below is, I think, my favorite bit of code ever.  When running the “Pad” example of Racer, it is fired over and over by a dependency (called syntax-error) of browserfy:

module.exports = function (src, file) {
if (typeof src !== 'string') src = String(src);
try {
eval('throw "STOP"; (function () { ' + src + '})()');
catch (err) {
if (err === 'STOP') return undefined;
if (err.constructor.name !== 'SyntaxError') throw err;
return errorInfo(src, file);

I’m sure there is a good reason for it, but I can’t fathom it myself.  I had to comment it out.

 Now for DerbyJs

There is some sort of issue with how it is creating the paths for your views.  To get it to work, there is a patch you’ll need to add to your package.json.

After the patch is installed, you’ll need to go into the index.js of each of the examples and add it before the require(‘derby’):

var app = module.exports = require('derby').createApp('hello', __filename);

I think that should do it.  I was able to get things running fairly well after that.

One last thing, if you happen to be using Visual Studio, I can recommend the Node.Js Tools for Visual Studio with some confidence now.  During the beta stage they were pretty bad about crashing my IDE, but (except when running unit tests) I actually prefer them to WebStorm now .  I know… sacrilege.


Synchronization Using Interval Tree Clocks in JavaScript

As a follow up to my previous post, I’ve implemented the Interval Tree Clock code in JavaScript with tests.  I’ve also begun a synchronization framework to go with it.

Github ITC in Javascript

The framework would be for synchronizing documents in full mesh mode — so peer to peer.

Everything has tests, so you can easily see the direction and progress by just reviewing the tests.

I stab the Synchronization with big knife

Building a CouchApp using Node.js on Windows

In this post, I’d like to help out Windows users who wish to create a Node.js application on a windows box and are interested in a easy alternative to traditional web server hosting. 

I love relational database applications, and have been writing them for (literally) decades now.  Recently I’ve been trying to explore what NoSql has to offer, and I discovered an interesting use of NoSql, that is, hosting. 

CouchDB offers a capability called CouchApp which allows your Couch to host data and act as a web server simultaneously.  Evidently, this does scale surprisingly well, and because of CouchDB’s built in replication capabilities, it offers a pretty flexible solution in a dead simple package.

Quite a few of the people who pioneer and describe this tech are UNIX/Mac users.  I don’t have a UNIX or Mac development machine set up right now, so I thought I’d give it a try on Windows.

Most of the information in this post was adapted from Max Ogden’s video post.

You’ll need the following installs:

You can use NPM to install CouchApp

Create a directory for your application.  I’ve put mine in C:\Temp\MomsTattoos.

If you’ve installed Node.Js in the normal place, you should be able to open up a command prompt in your new directory and type something like this, to get CouchApp installed:

%PROGRAMFILES%\nodejs\npm install couchapp

My Node JS is in the system path, so this is what I did:


Take a look around

You can see your new couch app options by typing: node_modules\.bin\couchapp


The boiler option creates a generic version of a CouchApp, but there may be a small problem when you try it.


This can be fixed by opening the main.js file in node_modules\.bin\couchapp

and editing line 2 from

, sys = require(‘sys’)


, sys = require(‘util’)


If you attempt the boiler command again you will get:


This is because the command actually did generate the app the first time it was used (despite the error).  Your project should now look something like this:


Now you can open up the starting point of your application, App.js.  This file contains code similar to the routing constructs in MS MVC (if you are familiar with that).  Go ahead and change the _id property in the ddoc variable to match your application.  Here’s what mine looks like:

var couchapp = require('couchapp')

  , path = require('path')



ddoc =

  { _id:'_design/MomsTattoos'

  , rewrites :

    [ {from:"/", to:'index.html'}

    , {from:"/api", to:'../../'}

    , {from:"/api/*", to:'../../*'}

    , {from:"/*", to:'*'}





ddoc.views = {};


ddoc.validate_doc_update = function (newDoc, oldDoc, userCtx) {

  if (newDoc._deleted === true && userCtx.roles.indexOf('_admin') === -1) {

    throw "Only admin can delete documents on this database.";




couchapp.loadAttachments(ddoc, path.join(__dirname, 'attachments'));


module.exports = ddoc;

view rawapp.js

Open up Index.html and alter it slightly to show some content in the body.

<!DOCTYPE HTML PUBLIC "-//W3C//DTD HTML 4.01 Transitional//EN" "http://www.w3.org/TR/html4/loose.dtd">



    <meta http-equiv="Content-Type" content="text/html; charset=utf-8">

    <meta name="keywords" content="" />

    <meta name="description" content="" />


    <link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/x-icon" href="favicon.ico" />

    <link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/png" href="favicon.png" />



    <link href="layout.css" rel="stylesheet" type="text/css" />

    <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="jquery-1.4.4.min.js"></script>

    <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="sammy/sammy.js"></script>

    <script language="javascript" type="text/javascript" src="site.js"></script>




    <h1>Hello World</h1>



view rawIndex.html

You will need a database in the couch to store the application.  Open a browser and go to

Create a database and name it momstattoos (or whatever your app is called).


Now save yourself some hassle by copying the app files (app.js and attachments folder) one level down (to the first MomsTattoos directory) and delete the inner MomsTattoos directory.

Now your directory tree should look more like this:


Deploy your application

From the MomsTattoos directory, use this command: node_modules\.bin\couchapp push %CD%\app.js http://localhost:5984/momstattoos


Now you’re hosting your first CouchApp. To check it out go to

In Summary

In this post, I pulled together the basics for building a hello world CouchApp on a Windows box.  In my next post, I’ll try to get a more complete application running with the goal of accessing NoSql data from a more complex client application.