FAQ: Learn Node.js - Introduction


This community-built FAQ covers the “Introduction” exercise from the lesson “Learn Node.js”.

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This exercise can be found in the following Codecademy content:

Learn Node.js

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I downloaded it but it still wont work. where is the command line video at that he talks about in the video?

something about gitBash?

In layman’s terms (this is a beginner course, after all!), what is Node.js? I went to the Node.js About page but could not make heads or tails of it, and the course seems to be just using it without explaining what it is.


JavaScript is a front-end language used to build the part of the website, which we can see in our browser (along with HTML & CSS). Node.js is essentially the back-end version of JavaScript.

I’m wondering this too. And “the back-end version of javascript” doesn’t seem to cut it when you get further into the lesson. It’s not actually a different language, is it? Or is it? Is it a library? Some sort of software?

This intro says that it is a “runtime” and that, “A ‘runtime’ converts code written in a high-level, human-readable, programming language and compiles it down to code the computer can execute.” But what does that mean? It’s a converter? From what to what exactly? Javascript to another language? If so, which language? Or are they just saying that it makes the language work as a language, which… I guess is software? Like I install a browser and can use javascript. But node.js still seems to be something other than “support for javascript” because there’s all these new terms and commands and I’m not following where they came from or what they do.

I am confused. I’ve stalled out halfway through the unit, not because I can’t imitate like a monkey and technically pass the lessons but because I don’t understand what I’m doing or why anymore. It’s not really explained well at all.