It is extremely configurable to support a wide variety of use cases. Most commonly, it is used to publish, discover, install, and develop node programs.
npm help to get a list of available commands.
You probably got npm because you want to install stuff.
npm install blerg to install the latest version of "blerg". Check out
npm-install(1) for more info. It can do a lot of stuff.
npm search command to show everything that's available.
npm ls to show everything you've installed.
If a package references to another package with a git URL, npm depends on a preinstalled git.
If one of the packages npm tries to install is a native node module and requires compiling of C++ Code, npm will use node-gyp for that task. For a Unix system, node-gyp needs Python, make and a buildchain like GCC. On Windows, Python and Microsoft Visual Studio C++ is needed. Python 3 is not supported by node-gyp. For more information visit the node-gyp repository and the node-gyp Wiki.
npm-folders(5) to learn about where npm puts stuff.
In particular, npm has two modes of operation:
- global mode:
npm installs packages into the install prefix at
prefix/lib/node_modulesand bins are installed in
- local mode:
npm installs packages into the current project directory, which defaults to the current working directory. Packages are installed to
./node_modules, and bins are installed to
Local mode is the default. Use
-g on any command to
operate in global mode instead.
If you're using npm to develop and publish your code, check out the following help topics:
Make a package.json file. See
For linking your current working code into Node's path, so that you
don't have to reinstall every time you make a change. Use
npm linkto do this.
It's a good idea to install things if you don't need the symbolic link.
Especially, installing other peoples code from the registry is done via
- adduser: Create an account or log in. Credentials are stored in the user config file.
npm publishcommand to upload your code to the registry.
npm is extremely configurable. It reads its configuration options from 5 places.
- Command line switches:
Set a config with
--key val. All keys take a value, even if they are booleans (the config parser doesn't know what the options are at the time of parsing.) If no value is provided, then the option is set to boolean
- Environment Variables:
Set any config by prefixing the name in an environment variable with
npm_config_. For example,
- User Configs:
The file at $HOME/.npmrc is an ini-formatted list of configs. If present, it is parsed. If the
userconfigoption is set in the cli or env, then that will be used instead.
- Global Configs:
The file found at ../etc/npmrc (from the node executable, by default this resolves to /usr/local/etc/npmrc) will be parsed if it is found. If the
globalconfigoption is set in the cli, env, or user config, then that file is parsed instead.
npm's default configuration options are defined in lib/utils/config-defs.js. These must not be changed.
npm-config(7) for much much more information.
npm-coding-style(7)if you plan to submit code. You don't have to agree with it, but you do have to follow it.
- docs: If you find an error in the documentation, edit the appropriate markdown file in the "doc" folder. (Don't worry about generating the man page.)
Contributors are listed in npm's
package.json file. You can view them
easily by doing
npm view npm contributors.
If you would like to contribute, but don't know what to work on, check the issues list or ask on the mailing list.
When you find issues, please report them:
Be sure to include all of the output from the npm command that didn't work
as expected. The
npm-debug.log file is also helpful to provide.
You can also look for isaacs in #node.js on irc://irc.freenode.net. He will no doubt tell you to put the output in a gist or email.