How to Import Native Modules using the new ES6 Module Syntax

By David Fekke
February 19th, 2021

I came across an use case of using the newer import/export syntax in JavaScript where I was not able to import a native module in Node.js. Node.js recently enabled the ability to have your project use import/export syntax rather than the Common.js require method. Unfortunately the import/export will not work with native modules, but there is a workaround if you look closely enough in the docs.

Native modules

Node.js has always allowed developers to write code or use libraries that are written in C/C++. This allows developers to take advantage of libraries and code that are already optimized to run natively, like the talib stock analysis library. Here is an example of this library being imported into a node application using the older Common.js syntax;

const talib = require('talib');
console.log("TALib Version: " + talib.version);

ES6/ES2015 import/export Syntax

The newer import\export syntax is turned off by default in Node, but you can use these newer style modules by either giving your files a .ejs file extention, or by setting the type setting in your project.json file to 'module'. If you do not set the type setting it defaults to 'commonjs'.

Normally you would be able to import the module using the following syntax in Node.js;

import axios from 'axios';

In order to use the native module you will have to import the createRequire function from the 'module' module. Here is an example of how to use the createRequire method to import the TAlib modile;

import { createRequire } from 'module';
const require = createRequire(import.meta.url);
const talib = require('talib');
console.log("TALib Version: " + talib.version);

As you can see from the previous example once you import the createRequire function it will work like the older Common.js syntax. Hopefully this will solve your problems with using native modules.

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