JavaScript Answers

What’s the difference between npx and npm?

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npx and npm are both command-line tools used in the Node.js ecosystem, but they serve different purposes:

npm (Node Package Manager)

npm is the default package manager for Node.js, used for installing, managing, and publishing packages/modules (also known as dependencies) for Node.js projects.

It is primarily used for installing packages locally within a project or globally on your system.

npm provides commands such as npm install, npm uninstall, npm update, npm init, etc.

It manages the dependencies listed in a project’s package.json file and installs them in the node_modules directory.

npx (Node Package eXecute):

npx is a tool that comes bundled with npm (version 5.2.0 and higher) and is used for executing Node.js packages directly, without having to install them globally or locally.

It allows you to run binaries (executable files) from npm packages without having to install those packages globally or cluttering your local project’s dependencies.

npx downloads the package (if not already available locally) and runs the specified command from that package temporarily.

npx also helps in executing binaries from locally installed packages or from a different version of a package than the one specified in your project’s dependencies.

In summary, while npm is primarily focused on package management (installing, uninstalling, updating), npx is focused on executing commands from npm packages without the need for manual installation.

They complement each other and serve different needs within the Node.js development workflow.

By John Au-Yeung

Web developer specializing in React, Vue, and front end development.

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