Launched in 2009, Nodejs has become very popular amongst software developers as several systems have been built using Node.js. It would not be wrong to say that Nodejs has become the favourite choice for software engineers and technocrats across the globe.
What is NPM?
Repository is like a fulfilment centre that receives different packages from authors and distributes these packages to the users of npm package. This process is facilitated by npm CLI and is assigned as personal assistants to each customer.
Along with this, scripts property is also supported by package.json. The scripts property is used to run command-line tools that are installed in the project's local context. The scripts part of an NPM projects consists of eslint, prettier, ncc, jest and other executables which are not global but installed local to your project in the node_modules/.bin/. npx allows the node_modeules command to run just like a globally installed program. The syntax includes prefixing the npx command.
The next important point to consider is that of dependencies and devDependencies. Both of them are in the form of key-value objects. The names of npm libraries are the keys and the semantic-formatted versions of these npm libraries are the values. You can look at an example of a TypeScript Action template to understand dependencies and devDependencies.
The npm install command with --save and --save-dev flags are used to install dependencies and devDependencies respectively. Dependencies are mainly used for production and devDependencies are used for development or test environments. In this blog, we will also look at the installation of these packages.
In this segment, we will discuss how one can effectively use NPM commands NPM in order to make the most of out of this technology. As mentioned earlier, there are millions of published packages and billions of downloads and hence it’s interesting to learn more about how learners, developers and technocrats can wield this powerful tool.
The first, probably the most important and the most commonly used command is ‘npm install’. The basic syntax of this command is npm install. This will invariably install the latest version of the particular package with the ^ version sign. This command within the particular npm project will download the required packages inside the project's node_modules folder.
Another crucial command is the npm ci which is optimal for local development as well as testing setup. We learned earlier that package-lock.json is generated whenever the command ‘npm install’ is called and does not exists invariably, similarly, npm ci downloads the exact version of each individual package depending on the project and hence the context of the project stays exactly the same across different machines. It’s the same whether it is developer’s local laptops used for development or Continuous Integration build environments, for example Github Actions.
The npm audit is another very useful command in the whole npm ecosystem. There are a very large number of npm packages that are published and installed and hence they are susceptible to bad authors with malicious intentions. The npm.js organisation realised that there is an issue in the ecosystem and hence came up with the npm audit. The npm audit command maintains a list of loopholes. This list can help developers as they can audit their dependencies against those loopholes using the npm audit command.
This command helps the developers to get all the information about the different types of vulnerabilities and whether there are versions with remediations to upgrade to. For example, if the remedy of the vulnerabilities is present in the next upgrade, npm audit helps in fixing the issue by automatically upgrading the version of the dependencies that are affected by vulnerabilities.
NPM for Sellers
In this segment, we will go through how to wield the NPM CLI tool as an author and how to use it effectively in order to potentially become an open source wizard someday.
We read about the command, npm install when discussing the npm commands for developers. When talking about NPM for authors, the command ‘npm publish’ is probably the most important. With npm publish, it is easy to send packages to the nmpjs.com fulfilment centre as only the command needs to be run.
However, how to determine the version of the package is not specific to npm package authors. One probable solution to this and a trick to remember is that when making incompatible API changes, use a Major version, a minor one, when adding functionality in a backward compatible manner, and a Patch version when fixing backwards compatible bugs. It’s important for authors to follow this rule when publishing their packages in order to ensure someone’s code is not affected negatively as the default version matching in npm is only the next minor version.
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