Getting up and running


Nodejs >= 8.x is required for Indium to work.

Installing a recent version of NodeJS

If your distribution ships an old version of NodeJS, you can install a more recent version using nvm:

$ curl -o- | bash

Once nvm is install, you can easily install and use the version of NodeJS you want:

$ nvm install v8
$ nvm alias default v8
$ node --version

If you install NodeJS using nvm, chances are that Emacs won’t have it in its exec path. A simple solution is to use the excellent exec-path-from-shell package.

Executing NodeJS from Emacs

Indium can start NodeJS processes and connect to them automatically. This is the preferred way of using Indium with NodeJS.

Start a process with M-x indium-run-node. Once the process is ready, Indium will connect to it and open a REPL buffer.

The output from the NodeJS process is appended to the *nodejs process* buffer.

When a nodejs process has been started with indium-run-node, it can be restarted with indium-restart-node.


Indium will append the --inspect flag to the command-line arguments automatically, so you do not need to provide them.

If you wish to break the execution at the first statement, set indium-nodejs-inspect-break to t.

Connecting to a Nodejs process

To connect to an existing NodeJS process, make sure that process was started with the --inspect flag:

node --inspect myfile.js

If you wish to break on the first line of the application code, start node using:

node --inspect --debug-brk myfile.js

Node will tell you to open an URL in Chrome:


Evaluate M-x indium-connect-to-nodejs RET RET PORT RET PATH, PORT and PATH are the ones from the ws parameter of the above URL.

Connecting Indium to the node process will open a debugger on the first line of the application code if you passed the CLI argument --debug-brk.


Chrome/Chromium >= 60.0 is required for Indium to properly work (debugging protocol v1.2).

Start Chrome/Chromium with the --remote-debugging-port flag like the following:

chromium --remote-debugging-port=9222 https://localhost:3000

Make sure that no instance of Chrome is already running, otherwise Chrome will simply open a new tab on the existing Chrome instance, and the remote-debugging-port will not be set.

To connect to a tab, run from Emacs:

M-x indium-connect-to-chrome

Using local files when debugging

Indium can use local files when debugging, or to set breakpoints.


When using NodeJS, or when the connected tab uses the file:// URL, Indium will by itself use local files from disk. In this case there is nothing to setup.

If the Chrome connection uses the http:// or https:// protocol, you will have to tell Indium where to find the corresponding JavaScript files on disk by setting up a workspace.

To do that, place an empty .indium marker file in the root folder where your web server serves static files.

The root folder where the .indium file should be put is not always the directory that contains your JavaScript files. It should be the root folder containing static files. Most of the time, it is at least one level above.

Given the following project structure:

project/ (current directory)

Indium will lookup the file www/js/app.js for the URL “http://localhost:3000/js/app.js”.


In order for this setup to work, make sure to call indium-connect-to-chrome from somewhere within the workspace directory!