Useful NPM Tips and Tricks for Developers to Boost Productivity
This is a collection of useful npm tips and tricks that every developer should know. Learn how to automate tasks, check for vulnerabilities, manage dependencies, and more, to increase your productivity and efficiency.
npm Commands You Should Know
This is not a tutorial for learning npm, the official docs are a good place to get started, but a collection of tips and tricks that will help you do more with the
npm utility. Whether you’re a seasoned developer or just starting out, these tips can help you be more efficient and productive in your work with npm.
Instantly run packages without installing
The NPM registry is a treasure trove for finding packages that do useful stuff and they aren’t just for programmers.
For instance, the
speed-test package shows the speed of your internet connection. The
emoj package helps you search for emojis from the terminal. And the
wifi-passwords package can help you find the password of your current WiFi network.
You can run these utility packages directly from the command line using the npx command.
npx speed-test npx emoj unicorn npx public-ip-cli npx wifi-password-cli
Get package details
npm view command to get details of any npm package, including the repository URL, the dependencies and the date when the package was last updated.
npm view eslint
Install npm packages faster
You’ve probably used
npm install to install packages, and dependencies, in the local
node_modules folder of a project. Replace this command with npm-ci and you’ll be able to install packages significantly faster.
If a node_modules folder is already present, it will be automatically removed before
npm ci begins to install packages.
If you have been working with npm packages for some time, the various
node_modules folders on the disks could be consuming several gigabytes of space. The very useful npkill finds all node_modules folders on your system and lets you delete them interactively.
Quickly download a Git repository
Most developers use the
git clone command to download a Git repository. However, this also downloads the entire git history making the process slower. The degit package can download the latest commit to the master branch locally and you need not specify the full Github URL.
npx degit username/repo npx degit labnol/apps-script-starter
List installed packages
Generate a list of all npm packages that are installed on the system with global scope. Remove the
-g flag to list only packages installed in the current project directory.
npm ls --depth=0 npm ls -g
Find unused dependencies
The depcheck command will list all the npm packages that are not used in the project based on the dependencies in
Use the command
npm uninstall <package-name> to uninstall any unused package.
Find unused source files
Find outdated dependencies
Get a list of all outdated packages in your current project. This command checks every single module listed in the
package.json file and compares it with the latest version available in the NPM registry.
-g flag to get all outdated packages that are installed globally on the system.
npm outdated npm outdated -g
Update the package versions
npm outdated command will list all packages in your current project that are outdated and a newer version is available. Add the
-g flag to list outdated packages that are installed in the global scope.
The ncu command will update the
package.json file with the latest version of the packages listed in the
Or use the
npm-check -u command to update packages to their latest version in interactive mode.
npm outdated npm outdated -g npm-check npm-check -u ncu -u
Remove extra packages
Use the prune command to remove all packages that are installed locally but not listed in the
package.json file. If the —dry-run flag is used then no changes will be made.
Alternatively, you can remove the
node_modules folder and run
npm ci again.
Find vulnerable packages
audit command to check for vulnerabilities in the packages listed in the
devDependencies sections. Add the
fix flag to automatically apply the fixes, if any.
npm audit npm audit fix
Useful NPM Package Websites
- bundlephobia.com - Upload your
package.jsonfile and get an idea of how much it would cost (size-wise) to install the dependencies.
- diff.intrinsic.com - Compare any two versions of a npm package and know which files have changed in the update.
- npmtrends.com - Compare the relative popularity of packages across the npm registry based on the number of downloads.
Google Developer Expert, Google Cloud Champion
Amit Agarwal is a Google Developer Expert in Google Workspace and Google Apps Script. He holds an engineering degree in Computer Science (I.I.T.) and is the first professional blogger in India.
Amit has developed several popular Google add-ons including Mail Merge for Gmail and Document Studio. Read more on Lifehacker and YourStory