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Anatomy of a JavaScript/Node project.

Directory structure for JavaScript/Node Projects

While the following structure is not an absolute requirement or enforced by the tools, it is a recommendation based on what the JavaScript and in particular Node community at large have been following by convention.

Beyond a suggested structure, no tooling recommendations, or sub-module structure is outlined here.


  • lib/ is intended for code that can run as-is
  • src/ is intended for code that needs to be manipulated before it can be used
  • build/ is for any scripts or tooling needed to build your project
  • dist/ is for compiled modules that can be used with other systems.
  • bin/ is for any executable scripts, or compiled binaries used with, or built from your module.
  • test/ is for all of your project/module's test scripts
  • unit/ is a sub-directory for unit tests
  • integration/ is a sub-directory for integration tests
  • env/ is for any environment that's needed for testing

lib & src

The difference in using lib vs src should be:

  • lib if you can use node's require() directly
  • src if you can not, or the file must otherwise be manipulated before use

If you are committing copies of module/files that are from other systems, the use of (lib|src)/vendor/(vendor-name)/(project-name)/ is suggested.


If you have scripts/tools that are needed in order to build your project, they should reside in the build directory. Examples include scripts to fetch externally sourced data as part of your build process. Another example would be using build/tasks/ as a directory for separating tasks in a project.


If your project/module is to be built for use with other platforms (either directly in the browser), or in an AMD system (such as require.js), then these outputted files should reside under the dist directory.

It is recommended to use a (module)-(version).(platform).[min].js format for the files that output into this directory. For example foo-0.1.0.browser.min.js or foo-0.1.0.amd.js.


The bin folder is for any system modules your package will use and/or generate.

  • The compiled node_gyp output for your module's binary code.
  • Pre-compiled platform binaries
  • package.json/bin scripts for your module
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