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Working with CommonJS

CommonJS is the JavaScript module system using require() and module.exports statements.

Knip works well with CommonJS. You don’t need to use ES Modules or a tsconfig.json to use Knip.

The dynamic nature of CommonJS leaves room for ambiguity: it’s sometimes unclear whether an export is a default or a named export (and thus how it should be imported). So we’ll have to agree on a few conventions to prevent false positives. Those conventions are designed to minimize impact on existing codebases, improve consistency, and ease migration to ES Modules or TypeScript.

For named exports, the recommendation is to assign keys to module.exports:

const B = function () {};
module.exports.A = { option: true };
module.exports.B = B;

Alternatively, assign an object with ONLY shorthand property assignments to module.exports:

const A = function () {};
const B = { option: true };
module.exports = { A, B };

Anything else assigned to module.exports is considered a default export, and should be imported as such.

The following default import of the named exports above will result in all those exports reported as unused, even when referenced like below:

const DefaultImport = require('./common.js');
const runtime = [DefaultImport.A, DefaultImport.B];

Instead, do this:

const { A, B } = require('./common.js');
const runtime = [A, B];

Not recommended per se, but the following import syntax also results in the named export A being used:

const runtime = [require('./common.js').A];

Add a non-shorthand property to turn the named object notation into a single default export:

const A = function () {};
const B = { option: true };
module.exports = { __esModule: true, A, B };

ISC License © 2024 Lars Kappert