This short lesson discusses the basic file and directory
structure of a typical Node.js project.
You can generally have whatever structure you want,
but there is a standard directory structure that
is common in the industry: this structure makes it
easy to modularize and organize the various files and
functionality of your Node.js projects.
If you understand how Node.js works and what kinds of things
we do with it, it should make sense that when you upload a
Node.js project to your server for deployment, you NEVER
put your source files anywhere in the /public_html
directory. Anything inside the /public_html is available to the
public (hence the name). Anyone can view any of the files that
are stored under /public_html.
You don't want Node.js projects in /public_html: this would
not only allow anyone to see your code, but a typical Node.js
source file would also have information about the names and
locations of files and data stores, classes and objects that
are part of your project, and other information that you wouldn't
want someone else to have access to.
Instead, projects should go inside a directory that's
outside of /public_html, generally in a directory that's
a sibling of /public_html (a directory that shares the
same parent directory as /public_html).
Only someone with administrator privileges on the server can
access anything outside of /public_html.
But what about stuff like your HTML and CSS files?
If those aren't public and can't be accessed, how do your
application's users access them? Via
routes. Your Node.js
app will contain lots of code that accepts requests
and then routes them to various functions that return
the appropriate resources as a response. Those resources
are part of your project's files and do not have to be
public because your response body will contain the
Node.js apps have a different directory structure than
you're used to for web applications and web sites.
Recall that many web sites have the following standard
structure, and note that the project root is somewhere
inside the /public_html directory on the server.
For Node.js applications, a project might typically have the
following directory and file structure:
app.js is your main Node.js file, the starting
point of your app
package.json contains information about the project
(this file is generated automatically
when you run npm init)
package-lock.json used by NPM to keep track of your package
installations and dependencies (locations, versions, etc)
/node_modules contains the files for any packages you
/public is where you would place any directories or
static files that are considered "public": any static
files that are ok to access by anyone, such as stylesheets,
static files are files that don't change as a result
of server-side code (e.g. .css files always stay the
same, you don't write server-side code to change them:
someone would open the file in an editor to change it;
this would also apply to .html files whose contents
don't change as a result of server-side code)
this directory usually follows the structure of a
standard web site, containing sub-directories such as
/images for images, /css for stylesheets, etc.
/routes contains all the .js files that perform
routing tasks in your application
e.g. you might have orders.js that contains all the
code that routes requests for the part of the application
that deals with orders and main.js to route all other
/views contains templates that are used to show
HTML pages to a user with dynamic data (HTML files
that are not static)
for example, you might have an HTML template that has
placeholders for a user's username and the items that are
currently in their virtual shopping cart
placeholders inside HTML templates are replaced with
actual values (via server-side code) when the page is
requested and that request is processed
Your first few Node.js projects won't have much of
that structure up above, but as you learn more, and
also start working with Express.js, you'll eventually
have several projects structured just like the