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Node on Federalist

Note that the features described in this document are experimental and are only available in Federalist's GovCloud environment.

Federalist supports using node and npm to build parts of your site before the build engine starts its work. This is helpful for doing things like compiling a site's assets, or employing a build tool such as Fractal.

The Federalist NPM script

Before Federalist starts the build engine, it checks for a package.json file. If it finds one, it will run npm install. Additionally, if the package.json provides a script named federalist, the build engine will run this script. This enables Federalist users to add Javascript dependencies to their site, and run a script to prepare the site for the build engine.

Here's an example package.json for a site that uses Webpack:

  "name": "Webpack example",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "An example Federalist site using webpack",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "build": "`npm bin`/webpack",
    "federalist": "npm run build",
    "start": "`npm bin`/webpack-dev-server" 
  "author": "Jonathan Hooper",
  "license": "ISC",
  "dependencies": {
    "webpack": "^1.14.0"
  "devDependencies": {
    "webpack-dev-server": "^1.16.2"

Specifying a Node version

Federalist uses Node Version Manager to track the node version your site is meant to use. Before running any npm commands, Federalist checks for a file named .nvmrc. If it finds one, it will use NVM to install and use the desired node version before continuing.