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npm – The Node Package Manager

npm is a little package manager for the Node javascript library.

5-Second(ish) Install

You should already have node installed and working. If you don't, go do that first.

Then, come back here, and run:


and it'll install itself and its requirements.


You can get more details on any of these by doing npm <command> --help. Here are the basics.

All flags with two hyphens can be abbreviated to a single hyphen with the first letter, so you can also do npm <command> -h to get its info.

All commands return 0 if they succeed, and usually 1 if they don't. Normal output is on stdout, and oddness goes to stderr. Use the --verbose flag with any command to send extra debugging output to stderr.

Managing Sources

npm learns all it knows about packages by looking at the JSON files specified in its catalog list. Manage this catalog list via the npm source commands.

Source URLs can contain {tokens} which are expanded based on what's being installed. Currently only {name} is supported, but {version} and {branch} are planned.

Update Package Metadata

Fetch the latest info from every source by doing npm refresh. Throw a --force on there if you want to clear the cache first.

It's a good idea to update every so often, maybe even put it on a weekly cron or something.

@TODO: Keep track of which packages were updated, and then
add them to an "outdated" list.  Then, `npm update` could
be an alias to `npm refresh && npm install --force --outdated`

Update Package Code

Version numbers aren't yet supported, so npm can't tell when a package has new code for you. If you know that it does, you can do npm install --force <package> to force-install the latest version.

Find a Package

Find a package in the list by doing npm search <string>. If you only want to search through installed packages, then do npm search --installed <string>. If you only want to search through activated packages, then do npm search --active <string>.

Activating/Deactivating Packages

Use npm activate <package>. Note that installing a package activates it by default, and uninstalling it deactivates it first.

Starting/stopping Packages

Some packages are servers and the like that must be activated after being installed. To do this, do npm start <package>. To stop it, do npm stop <package>.

Remove a Package

You can uninstall a package by doing npm remove <package>. This will first stop it if it's running, then remove its files from your system.

Setting Defaults and Aliases via $HOME/.npmrc

Gee, it'd sure be nice to be able to have a $HOME/.npmrc file that could maybe pre-fix some of these options, dotcha think?

Write it, and send me a pull request, kthx.