28.6. Compiling TypeScript

To work with TypeScript in our Node environment, we'll need to install the TypeScript module. We talked before about running JavaScript in Node. Unlike JavaScript, TypeScript cannot be run directly in Node. TypeScript files must first be transformed, or compiled, into JavaScript.

In this section, you will install the compiler and then practice compiling and running a small TypeScript program from the terminal.

To install TypeScript, in your terminal, type

$ npm install -g typescript


Mac users: You may receive a permissions error when running this install command. If you do, try running it as sudo.

Once you have TypeScript installed, you'll be able to run

$ tsc -v

tsc is the TypeScript compiler and -v is the version flag to show us that we have TypeScript and it's compiler installed.

28.6.1. hello_world.ts

In true tutorial form, let's write a quick Hello, World program so we can see this compiling in action.

In your code editor, create a new file called hello_world.ts. In it, initialize a variable called message with the string value 'Hello, World'. Print the message.

 let message: string = 'Hello, World';

Make sure to save your hello_world.ts changes before continuing forward!

In the terminal, navigate into the directory that houses your hello_world.ts file. Compile the code with the following command:

$ cd Desktop/
$ ls
$ tsc hello_world.ts
$ ls
hello_world.js hello_world.ts

If your TypeScript file is free of syntax errors, you won't see a response from the terminal directly. However, you should see that you now have a newly generated file in your working directory called hello_world.js. Open it up and take a look!

Back in the terminal, run that JavaScript file

$ node hello_world.js
Hello, World

Look at that! Your message printed. You're now running your own code straight from the terminal!


Changing your TypeScript file won't update the corresponding JavaScript file unless you re-compile.

You'll need these compiling and executing steps for the exercises in the following section, so refer back here as needed.