The module system

sjs uses a CommonJS compliant module system, also inspired by the Node module system.

Loading modules

Modules are loaded using the require() function. Given a module id, it returns the module exported data.

The module id can be a relative path or a non-relative path, in which case the module is loaded from the system search directories. See Module search paths.

Module context

When a module is being loaded the following module globals are available:


Path to the file being executed. In the global scope it constains the filename which is currently being executed, <repl> if running in the REPL, <stdin> if code is being read from stdin, or <eval> if evaluating code straight from the CLI. Inside a module, it contains the absolute path to the module file.


Directory where the file being evaluated is, obtained by applying dirname(3) over __filename.


The current Module() object instance.


The current module exports. It’s a reference to module.exports.


Loads the requested module and returns the module’s exports.

Example, assuming some foo.js file with the following content:

function foo() {
    return 42;
} = foo;

It can be loaded and used as follows:

const mod = require('./foo');

// prints 42

The Module object

class Module()

Object representing a JavaScript module (for the lack of a better term).


Fully resolved filename of the module.

Same as filename.


Boolean attribute indicated if the module was loaded or if it’s in the process of being loaded.


Object containing the functions and attributes to be exported.

The “main” module

The require() function has a main attribute, referencing the current module only for the “main” module. Otherwise it’s undefined.

The following construct can be used in order to differentiate if a module was require()-d or directly run:

if (require.main === module) {
    // module was directly run

Module search paths

Modules are located by their module id. This module id can be one of:

  • a relative path: ex. ./foo or ../foo
  • a regular module id: ex. system

Absolute paths are not supported.

Relative paths are resolved relative to the calling module, or the module which contains the call to require().

Regular module ids are resolved by looking into the system paths in system.path. The list of paths to search for modules is dynamic and can be modified at runtime. The following are the builtin system paths:

  • /usr/lib/sjs/modules
  • /usr/local/lib/sjs/modules
  • ~/.local/sjs/modules