Building Native Node.js Add-ons on z/OS

Building Native Node.js Add-ons on z/OS

Here I will show how you can build a native C++ addon for Node.js on z/OS.

Warning! It is not easy but it works.

IBM has ported Node.js to z/OS so you can run Node.js server applications on z/OS. You can download it from the IBM website: IBM SDK for Node.js — z/OS — Overview.

We see how to install it together with the provided C/C++ compiler so you will be able to build native extensions with node-gyp. We will start by building a “Hello World” native addon on Mac and then building the same extension on z/OS.

The latest ported version of Node.js on z/OS is 6.17.0. We will use the latest version on macOS. The native addon code is the same on both platforms.

Why you should be interested in Node.js? Some of the reasons are mention in Why you would you want to run it on z/OS? z/OS delivers a secure, scalable, available infrastructure for on-premises. If a lot of your data resides on z/OS, the performance of your Node.js applications will benefit from it.

When do you need to write a native add-on for Node.js on z/OS? There are two main reasons. First one is to optimize the performance sensitive code such as CPU intensive calculations. Second, is to interoperate with a native mainframe application that you have on z/OS.

Building native Node.js addon on macOS

Let’s start with a platform that is used by many developers. You can skip this section if you are already familiar with this process on macOS, Linux, or Windows.

We will build an example addon from

This example used nan — C++-based abstraction between Node and direct V8 APIs. It is very simple and it prints just:


We need to get the source code first:

git clone

Then change directory to the example:

cd node-addon-examples/1_hello_world/nan/

If you do not have Node.js yet installed, you can use Homebrew to install it:

brew install node

You need to have a C++ compiler on your system. You need to install the Command Line Tools via Xcode:

xcode-select --install

Next step is to compile the native addon:

npm install

You should get a similar output to this:

> [email protected] install /Users/petrplavjanik/workspace/node-addon-examples/1_hello_world/nan
> node-gyp rebuild
CXX(target) Release/
  SOLINK_MODULE(target) Release/hello.node
audited 2 packages in 3.677s
found 0 vulnerabilities

You are ready to issue node hello.js and get world.

Before we will be able to do the same thing on z/OS, we need to install Node.js on z/OS with all prerequisites.

Installing Node.js on z/OS

You need to have all the prerequisites listed at

  • z/OS V2R2 with PTF UI46658, z/OS V2R3, or higher
  • Integrated Cryptographic Services Facility (ICSF) must be enabled on systems where SDK for Node.js is run
  • Python 2.7.13 or higher that is provided by Rocket Software. Note that Python 3.x is not compatible with node-gyp that is used for building native add-ons
  • GNU Make 4.1 or higher that is provided by Rocket Software
  • Bash 4.3 or higher that is provided by Rocket Software and is required to install Python 2.7
  • Gzip 1.9 or higher that is provided by Rocket Software and is required to unpackage other software provided by Rocket Software

The Rocket Software open-source downloads are available at

If you are using the z/OS trial version of Node.js from instead of the SMP/E installed version then you need Perl 5.24.0 or higher that is provided by Rocket Software as well.

Since there is a lot of steps to do and they are described in multiple guides on different places, we will cover all of them here.

We will use Zowe CLI to simplify the interaction with z/OS. You can install Zowe CLI by following the instructions on including setting up the z/OSMF profile. If you do not have Zowe CLI or z/OSMF then you can do all steps manually.

Downloading Rocket Software open-source

We will download all the archives first before installing them. Download all of them to the same directory.

  1. Go to
  2. Log in or sign up to the Rocket Community
  3. Search for make and download make-4.1_b0002.160426.tar.gz
  4. Search for python and download python-2017–04–12-py27.tar.gz
  5. Search for perl and download perl-5.24.0_b007.180202.tar.gz
  6. Search for bash and download bash-4.3_b018.170518.tar.gz
  7. Search for gzip and download gzip-1.9-edc_b002.180703.tar

Create zFS Filesystem for Rocket Software open-source and Node.js

You will need about 4 GB of space. It is recommended to allocate new zFS filesystem for it. You can use the following job template and replace ${jobcard} and ${prefix} variables with your job card and the prefix for the data sets with the zFS file system.

TRACKS(80000 80000) -
// PARM=('format -aggregate ${prefix}.ZFS')

JCL that creates a zFS filesystem on z/OS

You can submit this JCL easily using Zowe CLI:

curl -O

Edit the file in your favorite text editor and replace the variables. Then you can submit it:

zowe zos-jobs submit local-file create_zfs.jcl

Give Zowe CLI a try! It allows you to interact with z/OS jobs, data sets, z/OS UNIX files and much more from your workstation:

Submitting a job via Zowe CLI

Recorded by

After the job completes, you need to mount the filesystem. Login to your z/OS system via ssh or Putty. Issue following command (you need to replace ${rocket_home} and ${prefix} variables):

export ROCKET_HOME=${rocket_home}
mkdir ${ROCKET_HOME}
/usr/sbin/mount -f ${prefix}.ZFS ${ROCKET_HOME}
mkdir download

Now, you need to get back to your workstation terminal and copy the packages to zFS:

zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss --binary gzip-1.9-edc_b002.180703.tar ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/gzip-1.9-edc_b002.180703.tar
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss --binary perl-5.24.0_b007.180202.tar.gz ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/perl-5.24.0_b007.180202.tar.gz
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss --binary python-2017-04-12-py27.tar.gz ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/python-2017-04-12-py27.tar.gz
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss --binary make-4.1_b0002.160426.tar.gz ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/make-4.1_b0002.160426.tar.gz

Go back to the z/OS shell session and unpack these packages:

tar -C ${ROCKET_HOME} -xovf ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/gzip-1.9-edc_b002.180703.tar
${ROCKET_HOME}/bin/gunzip --stdout {ROCKET_HOME}/download/perl-5.24.0_b007.180202.tar.gz | tar xoUXf -
${ROCKET_HOME}/bin/gunzip --stdout ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/python-2017-04-12-py27.tar.gz | tar xoUXf -
${ROCKET_HOME}/bin/gunzip --stdout ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/bash-4.3_b018.170518.tar.gz | tar xoUXf -
${ROCKET_HOME}/bin/gunzip --stdout ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/make-4.1_b0002.160426.tar.gz | tar xoUXf -
${ROCKET_HOME}/bin/gunzip --stdout ${ROCKET_HOME}/download/python-2017-04-12-py27.tar.gz | tar xoUXf -

Now is the time to assign correct access rights:

chmod -R 755 ${ROCKET_HOME}/bin/*
find ${ROCKET_HOME}/lib -type f -exec chmod 644 {} \\;
find ${ROCKET_HOME}/lib -type f -name '*.so' -exec chmod 755 {} \\;

We need to set the environment variables before these tools can be read. They require auto conversion to be on.

These are the recommended settings:

Recommended .profile settings

# Runtime options require by Rocket open-source:
export _TAG_REDIR_ERR=txt
export _TAG_REDIR_IN=txt
export _TAG_REDIR_OUT=txt
export ROCKET_HOME=${rocket_home}
# Perl:
export PERL5LIB=$ROCKET_HOME/lib/perl5:$PERL5LIB
export LIBPATH=$ROCKET_HOME/lib/perl5/5.24.0/os390/CORE:$LIBPATH
# Python 2.7:
export PY_RELEASE_NAME=python-2017-04-12
export PY_RELEASE_TYPE=py27
export PYTHON_ENV=python27
export FFI_LIB=$PYTHON_HOME/lib/ffi
export TERMINFO=$PYTHON_HOME/share/terminfo
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=$PYTHON_HOME/lib/pkgconfig:$PYTHON_HOME/share/pkgconfig
export CURL_CA_BUNDLE=$PYTHON_HOME/etc/ssl/cacert.pem
# Rocket Ported Tools:

You need to put them to a directory in zFS:

curl -O
# edit and replace ${rocket_home}
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss ${rocket_home}/

Then you can make it active in the z/OS shell by:


You can put this line to your ~/.profile if you want to have it activate for each session.

The last step is to complete the installation of Python:

export RELEASE_NAME=python-2017-04-12
export RELEASE_TYPE=py27
export PKGS_BASE=${RELEASE_DIR}/pkgs
cd ${PY_RELEASE_DIR}/python27; bin/install_all_packages

If everything is fine, delete the packages:

rm -Rf download

Download and install Node.js for z/OS

Now we are ready to install Node.js for z/OS. Download the PAX file from

Upload the PAX file ibm- to zFS.

zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss --binary ibm- ${rocket_home}/ibm-

In the z/OS shell:

pax -rf ibm- -x pax

Node.js installed to run applications but we need to make the Node.js SDK C/C++ compiler working. This can be done by script but that script needs manual updates in order to be working properly.

You can download it from the following link:

curl >
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss ${rocket_home}/node-v6.17.0-os390-s390x/

On z/OS:

cd ${ROCKET_HOME}/node-v6.17.0-os390-s390x
ln -s bin/njsc++ bin/g++
chmod a+x *.pl

For example:


This will take a while and in the end, you should see the following message:

Hello C++ World!
<INFO> installation complete!

If you do not see the message, check two jobs that were submitted by this script.The C/C++ environment comes pre-configured when using npm to build native add-ons. However, if you invoke node-gyp directly to build native code, the following C/C++ compiler environment variables need to be set:

export _C89_CCMODE=1
export _CC_CCMODE=1
export _CXX_CCMODE=1

You should add the following lines to the activation shell script

# Node.js:
export NODE_HOME=${ROCKET_HOME}/node-${NODE_VERSION}-os390-s390x
export PATH=${NODE_HOME}/bin:$PATH
export _C89_CCMODE=1
export _CC_CCMODE=1
export _CXX_CCMODE=1

And activate it:

mkdir -p 1_hello_world/nan

Verify that is working by issuing node --version which should return v6.17.0.

Building the native add-on on z/OS

Go to the directory with the sample add-on on your workstation:

cd node-addon-examples/1_hello_world/nan/

Copy the source files to the z/OS:

zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss binding.gyp ${rocket_home}/1_hello_world/nan/binding.gyp
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss ${rocket_home}/1_hello_world/nan/
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss hello.js ${rocket_home}/1_hello_world/nan/hello.js
zowe zos-files upload file-to-uss package.json ${rocket_home}/1_hello_world/nan/package.json

We are ready to build it on z/OS:

cd ${ROCKET_HOME}/1_hello_world/nan
npm install --nodedir=${NODE_HOME}

The option --nodedir=${NODE_HOME} is important because it makes node-gyp to use C++ headers from Node.js on z/OS instead of downloading not-z/OS version from the internet.

Then you can issue node hello.js.

The output should be world!

In the future, we will work with VSAM datasets from Node.js application and we will create simple API service on z/OS that reads and stores data in a VSAM dataset vsam.js and Express. My mate Dan Kelosky will show you how to use NestJS with TypeScript on z/OS.

You are ready to take advantages of the Node.js and npm ecosystem: 😊


Thanks for reading ❤

If you liked this post, share it with all of your programming buddies!

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Node.js is an open-source, cross-platform, runtime environment that allows developers to run JavaScript outside of a browser.

One of the main advantages of Node is that it enables developers to use JavaScript on both the front-end and the back-end of an application. This not only makes the source code of any app cleaner and more consistent, but it significantly speeds up app development too, as developers only need to use one language.

Node is fast, scalable, and easy to get started with. Its default package manager is npm, which means it also sports the largest ecosystem of open-source libraries. Node is used by companies such as NASA, Uber, Netflix, and Walmart.

But Node doesn't come alone. It comes with a plethora of frameworks. A Node framework can be pictured as the external scaffolding that you can build your app in. These frameworks are built on top of Node and extend the technology's functionality, mostly by making apps easier to prototype and develop, while also making them faster and more scalable.

Below are 7of the most popular Node frameworks at this point in time (ranked from high to low by GitHub stars).


With over 43,000 GitHub stars, Express is the most popular Node framework. It brands itself as a fast, unopinionated, and minimalist framework. Express acts as middleware: it helps set up and configure routes to send and receive requests between the front-end and the database of an app.

Express provides lightweight, powerful tools for HTTP servers. It's a great framework for single-page apps, websites, hybrids, or public HTTP APIs. It supports over fourteen different template engines, so developers aren't forced into any specific ORM.


Meteor is a full-stack JavaScript platform. It allows developers to build real-time web apps, i.e. apps where code changes are pushed to all browsers and devices in real-time. Additionally, servers send data over the wire, instead of HTML. The client renders the data.

The project has over 41,000 GitHub stars and is built to power large projects. Meteor is used by companies such as Mazda, Honeywell, Qualcomm, and IKEA. It has excellent documentation and a strong community behind it.


Koa is built by the same team that built Express. It uses ES6 methods that allow developers to work without callbacks. Developers also have more control over error-handling. Koa has no middleware within its core, which means that developers have more control over configuration, but which means that traditional Node middleware (e.g. req, res, next) won't work with Koa.

Koa already has over 26,000 GitHub stars. The Express developers built Koa because they wanted a lighter framework that was more expressive and more robust than Express. You can find out more about the differences between Koa and Express here.


Sails is a real-time, MVC framework for Node that's built on Express. It supports auto-generated REST APIs and comes with an easy WebSocket integration.

The project has over 20,000 stars on GitHub and is compatible with almost all databases (MySQL, MongoDB, PostgreSQL, Redis). It's also compatible with most front-end technologies (Angular, iOS, Android, React, and even Windows Phone).


Nest has over 15,000 GitHub stars. It uses progressive JavaScript and is built with TypeScript, which means it comes with strong typing. It combines elements of object-oriented programming, functional programming, and functional reactive programming.

Nest is packaged in such a way it serves as a complete development kit for writing enterprise-level apps. The framework uses Express, but is compatible with a wide range of other libraries.


LoopBack is a framework that allows developers to quickly create REST APIs. It has an easy-to-use CLI wizard and allows developers to create models either on their schema or dynamically. It also has a built-in API explorer.

LoopBack has over 12,000 GitHub stars and is used by companies such as GoDaddy, Symantec, and the Bank of America. It's compatible with many REST services and a wide variety of databases (MongoDB, Oracle, MySQL, PostgreSQL).


Similar to Express, hapi serves data by intermediating between server-side and client-side. As such, it's can serve as a substitute for Express. Hapi allows developers to focus on writing reusable app logic in a modular and prescriptive fashion.

The project has over 11,000 GitHub stars. It has built-in support for input validation, caching, authentication, and more. Hapi was originally developed to handle all of Walmart's mobile traffic during Black Friday.

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Node.js for Beginners - Learn Node.js from Scratch (Step by Step) - Learn the basics of Node.js. This Node.js tutorial will guide you step by step so that you will learn basics and theory of every part. Learn to use Node.js like a professional. You’ll learn: Basic Of Node, Modules, NPM In Node, Event, Email, Uploading File, Advance Of Node.

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How to Use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js

How to Use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js

In this post, I will show you how to use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js. We will be creating a very simple Node application, that will allow users to input data that they want to store in a MongoDB database. It will also show all items that have been entered into the database.

In this post, I will show you how to use Express.js, Node.js and MongoDB.js. We will be creating a very simple Node application, that will allow users to input data that they want to store in a MongoDB database. It will also show all items that have been entered into the database.

Creating a Node Application

To get started I would recommend creating a new database that will contain our application. For this demo I am creating a directory called node-demo. After creating the directory you will need to change into that directory.

mkdir node-demo
cd node-demo

Once we are in the directory we will need to create an application and we can do this by running the command
npm init

This will ask you a series of questions. Here are the answers I gave to the prompts.

The first step is to create a file that will contain our code for our Node.js server.

touch app.js

In our app.js we are going to add the following code to build a very simple Node.js Application.

var express = require("express");
var app = express();
var port = 3000;
app.get("/", (req, res) => {
&nbsp;&nbsp;res.send("Hello World");
app.listen(port, () => {
  console.log("Server listening on port " + port);

What the code does is require the express.js application. It then creates app by calling express. We define our port to be 3000.

The app.use line will listen to requests from the browser and will return the text “Hello World” back to the browser.

The last line actually starts the server and tells it to listen on port 3000.

Installing Express

Our app.js required the Express.js module. We need to install express in order for this to work properly. Go to your terminal and enter this command.

npm install express --save

This command will install the express module into our package.json. The module is installed as a dependency in our package.json as shown below.

To test our application you can go to the terminal and enter the command

node app.js

Open up a browser and navigate to the url http://localhost:3000

You will see the following in your browser

Creating Website to Save Data to MongoDB Database

Instead of showing the text “Hello World” when people view your application, what we want to do is to show a place for user to save data to the database.

We are going to allow users to enter a first name and a last name that we will be saving in the database.

To do this we will need to create a basic HTML file. In your terminal enter the following command to create an index.html file.

touch index.html

In our index.html file we will be creating an input filed where users can input data that they want to have stored in the database. We will also need a button for users to click on that will add the data to the database.

Here is what our index.html file looks like.

<!DOCTYPE html>
    <title>Intro to Node and MongoDB<title>

    <h1>Into to Node and MongoDB<&#47;h1>
    <form method="post" action="/addname">
      <label>Enter Your Name<&#47;label><br>
      <input type="text" name="firstName" placeholder="Enter first name..." required>
      <input type="text" name="lastName" placeholder="Enter last name..." required>
      <input type="submit" value="Add Name">

If you are familiar with HTML, you will not find anything unusual in our code for our index.html file. We are creating a form where users can input their first name and last name and then click an “Add Name” button.

The form will do a post call to the /addname endpoint. We will be talking about endpoints and post later in this tutorial.

Displaying our Website to Users

We were previously displaying the text “Hello World” to users when they visited our website. Now we want to display our html file that we created. To do this we will need to change the app.use line our our app.js file.

We will be using the sendFile command to show the index.html file. We will need to tell the server exactly where to find the index.html file. We can do that by using a node global call __dirname. The __dirname will provide the current directly where the command was run. We will then append the path to our index.html file.

The app.use lines will need to be changed to
app.use("/", (req, res) => {   res.sendFile(__dirname + "/index.html"); });

Once you have saved your app.js file, we can test it by going to terminal and running node app.js

Open your browser and navigate to “http://localhost:3000”. You will see the following

Connecting to the Database

Now we need to add our database to the application. We will be connecting to a MongoDB database. I am assuming that you already have MongoDB installed and running on your computer.

To connect to the MongoDB database we are going to use a module called Mongoose. We will need to install mongoose module just like we did with express. Go to your terminal and enter the following command.
npm install mongoose --save

This will install the mongoose model and add it as a dependency in our package.json.

Connecting to the Database

Now that we have the mongoose module installed, we need to connect to the database in our app.js file. MongoDB, by default, runs on port 27017. You connect to the database by telling it the location of the database and the name of the database.

In our app.js file after the line for the port and before the app.use line, enter the following two lines to get access to mongoose and to connect to the database. For the database, I am going to use “node-demo”.

var mongoose = require("mongoose"); mongoose.Promise = global.Promise; mongoose.connect("mongodb://localhost:27017/node-demo");

Creating a Database Schema

Once the user enters data in the input field and clicks the add button, we want the contents of the input field to be stored in the database. In order to know the format of the data in the database, we need to have a Schema.

For this tutorial, we will need a very simple Schema that has only two fields. I am going to call the field firstName and lastName. The data stored in both fields will be a String.

After connecting to the database in our app.js we need to define our Schema. Here are the lines you need to add to the app.js.
var nameSchema = new mongoose.Schema({   firstName: String,   lastNameName: String });

Once we have built our Schema, we need to create a model from it. I am going to call my model “DataInput”. Here is the line you will add next to create our mode.
var User = mongoose.model("User", nameSchema);

Creating RESTful API

Now that we have a connection to our database, we need to create the mechanism by which data will be added to the database. This is done through our REST API. We will need to create an endpoint that will be used to send data to our server. Once the server receives this data then it will store the data in the database.

An endpoint is a route that our server will be listening to to get data from the browser. We already have one route that we have created already in the application and that is the route that is listening at the endpoint “/” which is the homepage of our application.

HTTP Verbs in a REST API

The communication between the client(the browser) and the server is done through an HTTP verb. The most common HTTP verbs are

The following table explains what each HTTP verb does.

HTTP Verb Operation
GET Read
POST Create
PUT Update

As you can see from these verbs, they form the basis of CRUD operations that I talked about previously.

Building a CRUD endpoint

If you remember, the form in our index.html file used a post method to call this endpoint. We will now create this endpoint.

In our previous endpoint we used a “GET” http verb to display the index.html file. We are going to do something very similar but instead of using “GET”, we are going to use “POST”. To get started this is what the framework of our endpoint will look like."/addname", (req, res) => {
Express Middleware

To fill out the contents of our endpoint, we want to store the firstName and lastName entered by the user into the database. The values for firstName and lastName are in the body of the request that we send to the server. We want to capture that data, convert it to JSON and store it into the database.

Express.js version 4 removed all middleware. To parse the data in the body we will need to add middleware into our application to provide this functionality. We will be using the body-parser module. We need to install it, so in your terminal window enter the following command.

npm install body-parser --save

Once it is installed, we will need to require this module and configure it. The configuration will allow us to pass the data for firstName and lastName in the body to the server. It can also convert that data into JSON format. This will be handy because we can take this formatted data and save it directly into our database.

To add the body-parser middleware to our application and configure it, we can add the following lines directly after the line that sets our port.

var bodyParser = require('body-parser');
app.use(bodyParser.urlencoded({ extended: true }));
Saving data to database

Mongoose provides a save function that will take a JSON object and store it in the database. Our body-parser middleware, will convert the user’s input into the JSON format for us.

To save the data into the database, we need to create a new instance of our model that we created early. We will pass into this instance the user’s input. Once we have it then we just need to enter the command “save”.

Mongoose will return a promise on a save to the database. A promise is what is returned when the save to the database completes. This save will either finish successfully or it will fail. A promise provides two methods that will handle both of these scenarios.

If this save to the database was successful it will return to the .then segment of the promise. In this case we want to send text back the user to let them know the data was saved to the database.

If it fails it will return to the .catch segment of the promise. In this case, we want to send text back to the user telling them the data was not saved to the database. It is best practice to also change the statusCode that is returned from the default 200 to a 400. A 400 statusCode signifies that the operation failed.

Now putting all of this together here is what our final endpoint will look like."/addname", (req, res) => {
  var myData = new User(req.body);
    .then(item => {
      res.send("item saved to database");
    .catch(err => {
      res.status(400).send("unable to save to database");
Testing our code

Save your code. Go to your terminal and enter the command node app.js to start our server. Open up your browser and navigate to the URL “http://localhost:3000”. You will see our index.html file displayed to you.

Make sure you have mongo running.

Enter your first name and last name in the input fields and then click the “Add Name” button. You should get back text that says the name has been saved to the database like below.

Access to Code

The final version of the code is available in my Github repo. To access the code click here. Thank you for reading !