Create an npm package

Ok, you ❤ Node! but, how to create an npm package?

Get an account

Do you have an npm account? If not, create it on npm site, then run

npm login

insert your authentication credentials, and you are ready to start!

Start with a GitHub repository

This is your choice, but, if you want to follow what seems to be a de facto standard in Node community, use GitHub!

About the package name

I assume the repo and the package have the same name.

Note that npm will not accept uppercase letters in package names.

I use only letters, numbers, and hyphens. No -js suffix.

Create your repo on GitHub first

Create a new repository, for instance tris3d

create repo

Ok, this is the next level. Use git hub to

  1. Create report from command line
  2. Add a description
  3. Add an homepage
git hub repo-new tris3d
git hub repo-edit tris3d description "is a cool package"
git hub repo-edit tris3d homepage ""

Create your npm package locally

Now clone your repo locally, for instance

git clone
cd tris3d

and create an npm package.

Create a package.json

From your repo folder, just run

npm init

This will create a package.json file. You can also just hit enter and accept defaults, since you can edit the package.json file later. Anyway it is a good idea to edit at least the following entries

can be almost the same as the GitHub repo description
make it easy to find your package on npm site
use your npm nick

See npm’s package.json specifics to know about what’s required in your package.json file, and the meaning of every attribute.

Do you want to be public?

One important bit you should aware of, is that if you want to be sure that your package will not be published on the npm registry, you should add this to your package.json file.

"private": true,

Edit the test command

I use to edit the package.json file to use mocha for running tests, so I remove the default

"scripts": {
    "test": "echo \"Error: no test specified\" && exit 1"

and I add the following content

"scripts": {
    "test": "mocha --bail --require should --reporter nyan"

so the command

$ npm test

will run tests using mocha and the nyan cat, that makes me very happy :^)

Specify a license

I use to edit the package.json file to specify my own license, so I remove the default

"license": "BSD",

and I add the following content

"license": [ {
  "type": "MIT",
  "url": ""
} ],

Add an homepage

It is also a good idea to add a link to your project homepage, so it will showed by npm site.

"homepage": "",

Do your first commit

Ok, now that your package.json is ready, you can do your first git commit and start coding!

git add package.json
git commit -m 'npm init'
git push origin master

Add a .npmignore file

You can tell npm which files to ignore adding a .npmignore file, the syntax is the same as the .gitignore.

I use to start with this content


See also