Installing & using npm with secure scuttlebutt.
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README.md doc: clarify untarring of ssb-npm-registry May 1, 2018

README.md

ssb-npm 101

status: draft

what is ssb-npm?

it's like npm, except the registry of packages (package metadata + tarballs) lives entirely on secure scuttlebutt

this means there is no central authority controlling packages!

prerequisites

  1. have npm 5 or newer (relies on package-lock.json; won't work with earlier npm versions); can do npm install -g npm@latest
  2. have scuttlebot installed, with sbot server running successfully on your machine

workaround: big blobs

ssb-npm-registry depends on sodium-native which is larger than sbot's default maximum blob size. To get around this, you can either

  1. edit your ssb config (usually ~/.ssb/config) to include {"blobs":{"max":10000000}}, or
  2. run sbot as sbot server --blobs.max 10000000

to be able to get the blob for sodium-native.

ssb-npm-registry

ssb-npm-registry is an npm registry, not unlike the one running on npmjs.org, except this registry uses secure scuttlebutt to find packages that were published to it, and installs them from there!

ssb-npm-registry itself is actually published to ssb, but without a locally running registry we'll have to install it manually. once we do that, we can use the ssb-npm command just like the regular npm command to install packages.

first, we'll pull down the blob for the latest version of ssb-npm-registry. you can find out what the latest blob is by searching npm-packages packages with sbot:

$ sbot messagesByType npm-packages | grep -C 1 ssb-npm-registry

you'll see something like this near the bottom of the output:

  "name": "npm:ssb-npm-registry:1.7.0:latest",
  "link": "&2afFvk14JEObC047kYmBLioDgMfHe2Eg5/gndSjPQ1Q=.sha256",

you can now use sbot to WANT and then GET that blob, which is the npm tarball of the package:

$ sbot blobs.want '&2afFvk14JEObC047kYmBLioDgMfHe2Eg5/gndSjPQ1Q=.sha256'
$ sbot blobs.get '&2afFvk14JEObC047kYmBLioDgMfHe2Eg5/gndSjPQ1Q=.sha256' >
ssb-npm-registry.tar.gz

$ tar xvzf ssb-npm-registry.tar.gz

$ mv package ~/.ssb/node_modules/ssb-npm-registry

you'll need to add the entry to your "plugins" section of your ~/.ssb/config file:

  "ssb-npm-registry": true

now you can restart sbot server.

ssb-npm

now we can install the ssb-npm command. what's nice is that since the registry is installed locally, we can actually use the vanilla npm command to do so:

$ npm install ssb-npm --global --registry=http://localhost:8043/

woo, now you can use ssb-npm install ... to install packages by name, just like the regular npm command!

publishing packages

let's publish one of your own npm packages to ssb-npm:

in that module's root directory, run

$ ssb-npm publish

you'll see your module published. 🎉

what about your dependencies though? unless all of your module's dependencies are already on ssb-npm (this is unlikely depending on what you're working on; the ssb registry is still very young), you'll need to publish those as well. you can publish all of your module's dependencies that aren't already on ssb using ssb-npm-migrate:

$ ssb-npm-migrate

and then republish:

$ ssb-npm publish

and you're done. now anyone that is connected to your friend graph can run ssb-npm install pkg to install your package, all without touching any oldweb services like npm!

license

CC0