Bare is a small and modular JavaScript runtime for desktop and mobile. Like Node.js, it provides an asynchronous, event-driven architecture for writing applications in the lingua franca of modern software. Unlike Node.js, it makes embedding and cross-device support core use cases, aiming to run well on any system whether that is a phone or desktop. The result is a runtime ideal for networked, peer-to-peer applications that can run on a wide selection of hardware.


Prebuilt binaries are provided by Bare Runtime and can be installed using npm:

npm i -g bare-runtime


bare [-e, --eval <script>] [-p, --print <script>] [<filename>]

The specified <script> or <filename> is run using Module.load(). For more information on the module system and the supported formats, see Bare Modules.


Bare is built on top of libjs, which provides low-level bindings to V8, and libuv, which provides an asynchronous I/O event loop. Bare itself only adds a few missing pieces on top to support a wider ecosystem of modules:

  1. A module system supporting both CJS and ESM with bidirectional interoperability between the two.

  2. A native addon system supporting both statically and dynamically linked addons.

  3. Light-weight thread support with synchronous joins and shared array buffer support.

Everything else if left to userland modules to be implemented using these primitives, keeping the runtime itself succinct and bare.


Bare makes it easy to craft applications that can run effectively across a broad spectrum of devices. To get started, find the Bare API specs here.


Bare provides no standard library beyond the core JavaScript API available through the Bare namespace. Instead, there is a comprehensive collection of external modules built specifically for Bare, see Bare Modules


Bare can easily be embedded using the C API defined in include/bare.h:

#include <bare.h>
#include <uv.h>

bare_t *bare;
bare_setup(uv_default_loop(), platform, &env, argc, argv, options, &bare);

bare_run(bare, filename, source);

int exit_code;
bare_teardown(bare, &exit_code);

If source is NULL, the contents of filename will instead be read at runtime. For examples of how to embed Bare on mobile platforms, see Bare Android and Bare iOS.


Bare provides a mechanism for implementing process suspension, which is needed for platforms with strict application lifecycle constraints, such as mobile platforms. When suspended, a suspend event will be emitted on the Bare namespace. Then, when the loop has no work left and would otherwise exit, an idle event will be emitted and the loop blocked, keeping it from exiting. When the process is later resumed, a resume event will be emitted and the loop unblocked, allowing it to exit when no work is left.

The suspension API is available through bare_suspend() and bare_resume() from C and Bare.suspend() and Bare.resume() from JavaScript. See example/suspend.js for an example of using the suspension API from JavaScript.


The bare-dev toolkit, which we'll be invoking with npx, is used for building Bare and acts as a convenient wrapper around CMake and other tools. After cloning the repository, start by synchronizing the vendored dependencies such as git submodules:

npx bare-dev vendor sync

Then, configure the build tree before performing the first build:

npx bare-dev configure [--debug]

Finally, perform the build:

npx bare-dev build

When completed, the bare binary will be available in the build/bin directory and the libbare.(a|lib) and (lib)bare.(dylib|dll) libraries will be available in the root of the build directory.


When linking against the static libbare.(a|lib) library, make sure to use whole archive linking as Bare relies on constructor functions for registering native addons. Without whole archive linking, the linker will remove the constructor functions as they aren't referenced by anything.

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