Node Nx Tutorial - Step 1: Create Application

In this tutorial you use Nx to build a server application out of common libraries using modern technologies.

This tutorial uses several Nx plugins to provide a rich dev experience. All the plugins are optional. Read about using Nx Core without plugins.

Create a New Workspace

Start by creating a new workspace.

npx create-nx-workspace@latest

You then receive the following prompts in your command line:

Workspace name (e.g., org name)         myorg
What to create in the new workspace     nest
Application name                        todos

You can also choose to add Nx Cloud, but its not required for the tutorial.

├── apps/
│   └── todos/
│       ├── jest.config.js
│       ├── src/
│       │   ├── app/
│       │   │   ├── app.controller.spec.ts
│       │   │   ├── app.controller.ts
│       │   │   ├── app.module.ts
│       │   │   ├── app.service.spec.ts
│       │   │   └── app.service.ts
│       │   ├── assets/
│       │   ├── environments/
│       │   │   ├──
│       │   │   └── environment.ts
│       │   └── main.ts
│       ├──
│       ├── tsconfig.json
│       └── tsconfig.spec.json
├── libs/
├── tools/
├── .eslintrc.json
├── .prettierrc
├── jest.config.js
├── jest.preset.js
├── nx.json
├── package.json
├── tsconfig.base.json
└── workspace.json

The generate command added one project to our workspace:

  • A Nest application

Note on the Nx CLI

Depending on how your dev env is set up, the command above might result in Command 'nx' not found.

To fix it, you can either install the nx cli globally by running:

npm install -g nx


yarn global add nx

Or you can prepend every command with npm run:

npx nx serve todos


yarn nx serve todos

Project.json, Targets, Executors

You configure your projects in project.json files. These files contains the workspace projects with their command targets. For instance, todos has the build, serve, lint, and test targets. This means that you can run nx build todos, nx serve todos, etc..

Every target uses an executor which actually runs this target. So targets are analogous to typed npm scripts, and executors are analogous to typed shell scripts.

Why not use shell scripts and npm scripts directly?

There are a lot of advantages to providing additional metadata to the build tool. For instance, you can introspect targets. nx serve todos --help results in:

nx run todos:serve [options,...]

  --buildTarget           The target to run to build you the app
  --waitUntilTargets      The targets to run to before starting the node app (default: )
  --host                  The host to inspect the process on (default: localhost)
  --port                  The port to inspect the process on. Setting port to 0 will assign random free ports to all forked processes.
  --watch                 Run build when files change (default: true)
  --inspect               Ensures the app is starting with debugging (default: inspect)
  --runtimeArgs           Extra args passed to the node process (default: )
  --args                  Extra args when starting the app (default: )
  --help                  Show available options for project target.

It helps with good editor integration (see VSCode Support).

But, most importantly, it provides a holistic dev experience regardless of the tools used, and enables advanced build features like distributed computation caching and distributed builds).

Serve the newly created application

Now that the application is set up, run it locally via:

nx serve todos

What's Next