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Installing JSLint For Command Line Use On Ubuntu


In adding JavaScript static analysis in addition to HTML and CSS validation to the set of full-site tests you can run, I need to run JSLint from the command line.

Since I need to do this on a number of Ubuntu servers, and since this may be of use to others running Ubuntu or Debian systems, here’s how to do it.

We’re going to use the jslint package for Node.js because:

  • it produces predictable, easy-to-parse output, which is essential if you need to programmatically interpret what jslint tells us
  • Node.js uses the V8 JavaScript engine which is used in Chrome; if it’s good enough for Chrome, it’s a good JavaScript engine
  • Node.js is easy to install via apt-get
  • node-jslint is available through the Node Package Manager, making it easy to install

Prerequisites: Installing Node.js and npm

First, install Node.js and the Node Package Manager (npm):

sudo apt-get install nodejs npm

Good, that was quick and easy.

Note: if you’re running Quantal (12.10) or later, the node binary is now at /usr/bin/nodejs instead of the previous (and more common) /usr/bin/node. A symlink can be useful: sudo ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node.

Installing the node-jslint package

It’s most common to use NPM to install dependencies for a specific application and any packages will be installed relative to the directory you are in when running NPM.

We need to pick a common location to install the node-jslint package so that it can be used by many test task workers.

I’ve opted for /usr/share/node-jslint.

cd /usr/share/node-jslint && sudo npm install jslint

That’s everything installed. Let’s now see how to use it.

Testing your installation: using node-jslint

Using nodejs-lint is straightforward: pass to node.js first the path to jslint.js and second the path to the file containing the JavaScript to lint.

Let’s see a full example:

/usr/bin/node /usr/share/node-jslint/node_modules/jslint/bin/jslint.js /home/jon/www/

 #1 Unexpected '(space)'.
application.progress.testController = function () { // Line 4, Pos 52
 #2 Missing 'use strict' statement.
var latestTestData = {}; // Line 5, Pos 5
 #3 Unexpected '(space)'.
 // Line 6, Pos 1
 #4 Combine this with the previous 'var' statement.
var setCompletionPercentValue = function () { // Line 7, Pos 9
 #5 '$' was used before it was defined.
var completionPercentValue = $('#completion-percent-value'); // Line 8, Pos 38
 #6 Unexpected '(space)'.
 // Line 9, Pos 1
 #7 Stopping.  (4% scanned).
// Line 52, Pos 14

There we go, the output from linting a local JS file.

If the output is not quite as you expect, call node-jslint without passing the path to a JavaScript file to see the options you can use.

And if, like us, you want to read in the lint output programmatically and take some action in a program based on the lint output, take a look at our open source node-jslint output parser.