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What is NPM? Definition, Functions, and Installation Method

Last updated: Jan 21, 2024

What is NPM? Definition, Functions, and Installation Method
Cover image: Illustration of NPM (Node Package Manager).

What is NPM?

NPM (Node Package Manager) is a software repository that developers can use to install, manage, and share JavaScript modules in application development.

One of the main NPM functions is to facilitate code sharing among the developers team or use code from external sources to expedite the development process.

Essentially, when developing an application or web app, the developer team will inevitably encounter a package (the code solution to help developers use features created by other developers). 

The more complex the application being built, the more the functions of NPM will be needed. Learn more about what is NPM, its functions, and its commands in the following article. 

NPM Function

As the world's largest Software Registry, NPM plays a crucial role as a package manager in application development.

According to PackageCloud, the functions of NPM include many crucial aspects such as:

  • Facilitating the creation and management of multiple code versions to determine the best one.
  • Allowing developer teams to install, remove, and update packages through commands.
  • Supporting script writing for various automation tasks.
  • Serving as dependency management that facilitates tracking and deployment processes.
  • Sharing code with other Node Package Manager users worldwide.
  • Facilitating updates without disrupting user experience.
  • Allowing updates to keep the software in optimal performance.
  • Maximizing the efficiency and accuracy of developer team performance.
  • Enhancing active participation in the global community to provide advice, shortcuts, and tutorials related to application development.

How NPM Works? 

If you're still confused about what is NPM, it means you need to understand how this repository works.

Basically, how Node Package Manager works is almost similar to storage media like Google Drive.

This means that you can use this repository to store various JavaScript packages that can be used by other developers or just for personal use.

When you decide to use a specific package, your project needs to have at least a package.json file. This file contains project metadata, including:

  • Project name
  • Description
  • Version
  • Entry point
  • Test command
  • Git repository
  • License
  • Dependency
  • Keyword
  • devDependency

Next, developers will use the NPM Command Line Interface (CLI) to interact with the repository based on the required action commands.

So, what are Node Package Manager commands? cmlabs will also discuss the NPM commands you need below.

NPM Commands

After learning what Node Package Manager is and how it works, you also need to know some NPM commands along with their respective functions. Here's the complete list.

FunctionNPM Command
To install all packages listed in package.json.npm install
To create a package.json file.npm init
To search for packages based on a keyword in NPM.npm search <kata-kunci>
To download the latest version available in node_modules.npm install <nama-package>
To cancel the download of the latest version of a package.npm uninstall <nama-package>
To download a package with a specified version in the node_modules folder.npm install <nama-package>@<version>
To uninstall a package with a specific version.npm uninstall <nama-package>@<version>
To install a package globally so that it can be used in other projects.npm install -g <nama-package>
To uninstall a global package.npm uninstall -g <nama-package>
To install a package locally (only used in a specific project) and add it as a dependency.npm install –save <nama-package>
To uninstall a package and remove it from the dependency list.npm uninstall –save <nama-package>
To install a local package and make it a devdependency.npm install –save-dev <nama-package>
To uninstall a package and remove it from the devdependency list.npm uninstall –save-dev <nama-package>
To update a specific package globally/overall.npm update -g <nama-package>
To update a specific package locally.npm update <nama-package>
To update devdependencies based on a specific package name.npm update –dev <nama-package>
To explain the command you requested.npm help <perintah>
To open the documentation for a specific package.npm docs <nama-package>
To navigate to bugs in a specific package. npm bugs <nama-package>
To open the NPM repository page based on a specific package.npm repo <nama-package>
To display the dependency list in a local installation.npm ls
To manage the cache and reduce bandwidth usage.npm cache
To check installed packages and identify potential issues.npm audit

How to Install NPM

You also need to learn how to install Node Package Manager effectively on your device. Therefore, follow the steps below. 

Installing NPM on Windows

  • Download the Node.js installer here.
  • Choose the LTS version if you want to use more stable features.
  • Click on "Current Version" to download the latest version of Node.js with the newest features.
  • Once downloaded successfully, follow the installation steps until completion.
  • To ensure NPM is installed, run the commands npm -v and node -v in the Command Prompt.

Installing NPM on Mac

  • Download the Node.js source code and click on "Download macOS Installer."
  • Run the command node -v to ensure Node.js is installed on your Mac.
  • After installing Node.js, you need to run a manual command by typing the following command code: $ sudo npm install npm --global
  • Next, install NPM modules by running the following command: npm install <module-name>.
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