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Source code

Learn about the Actor's source code placement and its structure.

The Apify Actor's source code placement is defined by its Dockerfile. If you have created the Actor from one of Apify's templates then it's by convention placed in the /src directory.

It's completely up to you what language and technologies, including various binaries (Chrome browser, Selenium, Cypress, or any other dependency of your choice) you use in your project. The only requirement is that you have to define the Dockerfile that will build the image for your Actor, including all the dependencies and your source code.

Example setup‚Äč

Let's take a look at the example JavaScript Actor's source code. The following Dockerfile

FROM apify/actor-node:16

COPY package*.json ./

RUN npm --quiet set progress=false \
&& npm install --omit=dev --omit=optional \
&& echo "Installed NPM packages:" \
&& (npm list --omit=dev --all || true) \
&& echo "Node.js version:" \
&& node --version \
&& echo "NPM version:" \
&& npm --version \
&& rm -r ~/.npm

COPY . ./

CMD npm start --silent

will build the Actor from the apify/actor-node:16 image, copy the package.json and package-lock.json files to the image.

We first copy the package.json, package-lock.json , and install the dependencies before copying the rest of the source code. This way, we can take advantage of Docker's caching mechanism and only install the dependencies when the package.json or package-lock.json files change. This way, the build process is much faster.

Then it will install the NPM packages and copy the rest of the source code to the image. Finally, it will run the npm start command, which is defined in the package.json file:

"name": "getting-started-node",
"version": "0.0.1",
"type": "module",
"description": "This is an example of an Apify Actor.",
"dependencies": {
"apify": "^3.0.0"
"devDependencies": {},
"scripts": {
"start": "node src/main.js",
"test": "echo \"Error: oops, the Actor has no tests yet, sad!\" && exit 1"
"author": "It's not you; it's me",
"license": "ISC"

So once the Actor starts, the src/main.js gets executed.