What is index.js used for in node.js projects?

When you pass a folder to Node’s require(), it will check for a package.json for an endpoint. If that isn’t defined, it checks for index.js, and finally index.node (a c++ extension format). So the index.js is most likely the entry point for requiring a module.

See the official Docs here: http://nodejs.org/api/modules.html#modules_folders_as_modules.

Also, you ask how to require all the files in a directory. Usually, you require a directory with an index.js that exposes some encapsulated interface to those files; the way to do this will be different for ever module. But suppose you wanted to include a folder’s contents when you include the folder (note, this is not a best practice and comes up less often than you would think). Then, you could use an index.js that loads all the files in the directory synchronously (setting exports asynchronously is usually asking for terrible bugs) and attaches them to module.exports like so:

var path = require('path'),
    dir = require('fs').readdirSync(__dirname + path.sep);


    if(path.extname(filename) === '.js' && filename !== 'index.js'){
        var exportAsName = path.basename(filename);
        module.exports[exportAsName] = require( path.join( __dirname, filename) );


I hardly ever see people wanting to use that pattern though – most of the time you want your index.js to go something like

var part1 = require('./something-in-the-directory'),
    part2 = require('./something-else');
module.exports = myCoolInterfaceThatUsesPart1AndPart2UnderTheHood;

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