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An alternative for tricky Node.js installations

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Ever had a super difficult time getting a Node version to install? Especially on an Apple Silicon-powered device?

I use asdf with the node plugin and couldn't get a few older versions of Node to install.

For example:

asdf install nodejs 13.9.0

The failed install angered me further when I realized that installing with NVM did not have this issue.

While this knowledge angered me, I had no intention of utilizing two version managers. That's when I noticed that asdf tries to install the node version with node-build while nvm downloaded a version from nodejs.org.

So I looked at the NVM version, and the folder structure looked the same as I was used to seeing in asdf's installed folder (~/.asdf/installs/nodejs), which gave me an idea.

What would happen if I just placed the contents where asdf would expect them to be? It works!

You can 'url hack' your way to the version you need via https://nodejs.org/dist/v{VERSION_NUMBER}/. That URL will take you to a listing of all the compiled entries for that Node version.

Listing of compiled node entries for version 13.9.0

Being on an M1, I chose the Darwin compiled entry, node-v13.9.0-darwin-x64.tar.gz.

Just uncompress the file and place it inside the folder asdf expects installs to be, like so: ~/.asdf/installs/nodejs/13.9.0

After that, I saw that the new Node version was already available and ready for use.

Listing of installed NodeJS versions

If you are having difficulties installing a particular NodeJS version, this method could save you considerable time.

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