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Installing Node and Ember CLI

Last reviewed on October 14, 2017

Node.js is a JavaScript runtime commonly used for command line utilities and server-side applications written in JavaScript.

One way to install Node.js is through the main site. This has a few drawbacks as sometimes you’ll run into permission issues when installing global Node modules like Ember CLI (if you’re on a Mac) or switching versions of Node can be a bit of a challenge. A popular alternative is to install Node using Node Version Manager, or NVM for short. NVM makes installing multiple versions of Node on your computer simple.

I don’t use Windows myself, but you can install Node via the Windows Installer without any issues (so I’ve heard) from If you’d like to install NVM, skip to the NVM on Windows section below.

NVM on Mac

On a Mac, we can install NVM via Open up Terminal and run the following:

curl -o- | bash

Then run:

# go to the home directory
cd ~

# list all files in the home directory
ls -a

Do you have a file called .bash_profile? If not, create it by running:

touch ~/.bash_profile

Lastly, add the following to your .bash_profile:

export NVM_DIR="$HOME/.nvm"
[ -s "$NVM_DIR/" ] && . "$NVM_DIR/" # This loads nvm

If you’re experienced with vim, emacs, or nano, go ahead and use that to edit .bash_profile. If not, you can open that file with your regular text editor with something like:

open -a "Atom" ~/.bash_profile

This command will open .bash_profile with Atom. Swap “Atom” with your text editor application name.

Restart Terminal and you should be able to type nvm in Terminal and see a list of available commands.

Once you have NVM installed, you’re ready to install a specific Node version. Let’s install version 6.11.4.

nvm install 6.11.4

If you type nvm ls, you can see all the Node versions you’ve installed. You should see an arrow pointing to your Node version.

nvm ls screenshot

An arrow will be pointing to your default Node version. If you don’t see an arrow next to a specific version, run:

nvm alias default v6.11.4

Rerun nvm ls and hopefully you see an arrow pointing to a Node version.

NVM on Windows

On Windows, you can install NVM via I haven’t used it myself since I don’t use Windows, but the documentation seems to be fairly straightforward. Install it using the installer and use the nvm install command to install 6.11.4.

Installing Ember CLI

Ember CLI is a command line application for working with Ember.js, a popular JavaScript framework. Ember CLI is packaged as a global Node module. To install it, run the following:

npm install -g ember-cli

Try typing ember --version in Terminal and you should see some versions output to the screen.

Let’s generate a new Ember application via Ember CLI. cd to where you’d like your application created on your computer, and then run:

ember new reddit-clone

This will create a folder called reddit-clone with a lot of files inside.

Next, let’s run the application:

cd reddit-clone
ember serve

Navigate to http://localhost:4200 and you should see a welcome page.

Ember welcome page screenshot

You’re all set!

If you came across an error when running ember serve, try the following:

  1. Delete the reddit-clone folder
  2. Install Ember CLI version 2.15.1 via npm install -g [email protected]
  3. cd reddit-clone; ember serve

Hopefully everything works! If not, message me and I’ll do my best to help!

Disclaimer: Any viewpoints and opinions expressed in this article are those of David Tang and do not reflect those of my employer or any of my colleagues.