Node.js is used for many different purposes, but with Drupal, it is most often used as part of a toolset for Front End development or certain CI tasks.

Drupal VM includes built-in support for Node.js—all you need to do is make sure nodejs is listed in the list of installed_extras inside config.yml before your provision Drupal VM.

Choosing a version of Node.js

You can choose a version of Node.js to install using the nodejs_version variable in config.yml. See the geerlingguy.nodejs Ansible role's README for all the currently-available versions for your OS.

nodejs_version: "0.12"

Installing global packages via NPM

To install packages globally, you can add them to the list of nodejs_npm_global_packages in config.yml. As an example, many developers use phantomjs as a ghost web driver for Behat tests inside Drupal VM. To install it globally, add it to the list:

nodejs_npm_global_packages:
  - name: phantomjs

For a list of available role variables, see the geerlingguy.nodejs Ansible role's README.