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A simple module used to symlink node and Browserify module dependencies together.
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slinker

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A simple package used to symlink Browserify dependencies as well as node.js submodule dependencies. At a high level, slinker takes a list of local node.js submodules (directories) and adds a symlink for each submodule to the node_modules (or equivalent) folder.

Why??

Symlinking your submodules in the node_modules directory allows you to avoid relative path hell that you experience on larger node projects. It eliminates the unmaintainable references to submodules similar to:

var MyObject = require('../../../models/myObject');

Instead, with the use of Slinker, you can simply use a submodule depedency with the follow:

var MyObject = require('@models/myObject');

Isn't That What npm link Does?

Not quite. npm link is used to link separate node.js modules/packages together. With npm link, each module is considered to be a separate dependency by npm. Instead of treating everything like a separate dependency, Slinker allows you to link submodules within your application without having to break them out into separate npm module dependencies. If you're trying to keep your node.js application simple, Slinker reduces the complexity.

Use It With Browserify!

Slinker also works in conjuction with Browserify. It can be used to remove your relative paths. See here for additional details.

Installation

$ npm install slinker

Usage

Slinker is ideally used as a build-time tool. It should be invoked through a npm postInstall node application hook.

package.json Configuration

In your package.json, you can configure a postInstall hook that invokes a simple node application:

"scripts": {
    "postinstall": "node postinstall.js"
  },

postInstall.js Implementation

Your postInstall.js application can invoke Slinker via the #link() function:

var slinker = require('slinker'),
    path = require('path');

slinker.link({
	modules: ['models', 'views'],
	modulesBasePath: __dirname,
	symlinkPrefix: '@',
	nodeModulesPath: path.join(__dirname, 'node_modules'),
	onComplete: function() {
		console.log('Yay, my modules are linked!');
	},
	onError: function(error) {
		console.log('Oh no, my modules aren\'t linked!');
	}
});

Configuration

Slinker contains a number of configuration parameters that can be used to customize its use. Each parameter can be specified in the Object passed to the #link() function.

modules

An Array of submodule names that can be found within the modulesBasePath.

Relative Paths

A submodule name can also be a path to a subdirectory, relative to the modulesBasePath directory. The inner-most subdirectory name is used for the name of the symlink. For example:

slinker.link({
	modules: ['path/to/models'],
	modulesBasePath: __dirname,
	symlinkPrefix: '@',
	nodeModulesPath: path.join(__dirname, 'node_modules'),
	// other configs below
});

This will result in a symlink named @models, linked to __dirname/path/to/models, under the __dirname/node_modules directory.

module Definition Object

A submodule name can also be aliased if you prefer that the symlink is a name other than the actual submodule name. To utilize the aliasing, an Object that contains the module and the alias properties. The module property is the name/path of the submodule while the alias property is the alias name of the the symlink to be used. For example:

slinker.link({
	modules: [{ module: 'models', alias: 'awesome_models'}],
	modulesBasePath: __dirname,
	symlinkPrefix: '@',
	nodeModulesPath: path.join(__dirname, 'node_modules'),
	// other configs below
});

This will create a symlink in the nodeModulesPath directory named @awesome_models that points to the __dirname/models directory. The module property must still be a valid module name or relative path that is relative to the modulesBasePath directory.

modulesBasePath

The String path under which all submodules will be searched for. By default, the directory under which slinker is being invoked will be used. If you want the base path to be the current directory of Slinker's invocation, you can use __dirname.

symlinkPrefix

The String prefix used when creating the symlink. By default, the @ symbol is used.

nodeModulesPath

The String path of the node_modules folder under which the symlinks will be created. By default, the ./node_modules path is used.

onComplete

The Function that is invoked when the symlinking has completed. The function is passed no parameters. By default, no function is specified.

onError

The Function that is invoked when the an error occurs during symlinking. The function is passed a single error String arg that specifies the error that occurred.

Tests

To run the tests, install the node dependencies and then invoke mocha:

$ npm install
$ mocha test/indexTest.js

Notes

This has only been tested in OSX so far.

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