Thomas Step

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19 June 2021

I Published My First npm Package

by Thomas

I recently published my first npm package and it was easier than I thought it would be. I had a quick and dirty idea of a package that I wanted to exist but couldn’t find so I wrote some code to handle what I needed. I was my first customer before my package was even published. To test out my package locally I ran npm link my-package in another Node project that would be consuming my package. From there I was able to test my code and make sure everything functioned as intended.

The next step was to publish. After two commands my package was live in the npm repository: npm login and npm publish. That’s it.

There are some final words I wanted to say regarding my package’s package.json. There are four keys that I needed to pay attention to before I published my package and they were main, keywords, files, and version.

main

main represents the file path to the main Javascript code that is the package’s entry point. Running npm init defaults this to index.js, but my main file was in another folder and named file. The value for this key is a string representing a path from the root of the project to the entry point file.

keywords

keywords is solely for discoverability. It’s like SEO for npm. I found some other packages similar to mine and added some of their keywords so I would be grouped with their packages. The value for this key is an array of strings.

files

I used files because I hosted other code in my package’s repo that I used to test it out. Using files tells npm specifically which files and paths should be included in the package. This helps keep the size in check. Dependency bloat is something that most Javascript developers know too much about. The value for files is an array of strings that represent files and paths that should be included.

version

version is incredibly important for publishing packages. To publish new changes for a package, I first needed to increment the version following semantic versioning. The value for this key is a string representing the version as major.minor.patch.

If you would like to see my package, it is hosted on npm as crow-api and the code is on GitHub.

Categories: dev | javascript | meta