What Is NPM Scripting?


Heather Bennett

NPM Scripting is a powerful feature of NPM (Node Package Manager) that allows you to automate tasks and streamline your development workflow. With NPM Scripting, you can define custom scripts in your project’s package.json file and run them using simple commands.

Why Use NPM Scripting?

NPM Scripting offers several benefits for developers. First and foremost, it simplifies the process of running repetitive tasks. Instead of typing long commands or remembering complex scripts, you can create a simple alias for each task and execute it with ease.

Getting Started with NPM Scripting

To start using NPM Scripting, you need to have Node.js installed on your machine. Node.js comes bundled with NPM, so once you have Node.js installed, you automatically have access to NPM.

Create a new directory for your project and navigate to it using the terminal or command prompt. Initialize a new project by running the following command:

npm init

This command will prompt you to enter some information about your project, such as the name, version, description, and entry point. Once you’ve provided all the necessary details, NPM will generate a package.json file in your project directory.

Now let’s say we want to create a script that compiles our Sass files into CSS. We’ll need to install the required dependencies first:

npm install node-sass –save-dev

Once the installation is complete, open your package.json file and locate the “scripts” section. This is where we’ll define our custom scripts.

Defining Scripts

To define a script in NPM, add a key-value pair inside the “scripts” section of your package.json file. The key represents the name of the script, while the value contains the actual command or script you want to run.

Here’s an example of a script that compiles Sass files:

  • “scripts”: {

    • “compile-sass”: “node-sass src/styles/main.scss -o dist/styles”

In this example, we’ve defined a script called “compile-sass”. When executed, it runs the command “node-sass src/styles/main.scss -o dist/styles”, which compiles the main.scss file located inside the src/styles directory and outputs the compiled CSS file to the dist/styles directory.

Running Scripts

To run a script, use the following command in your terminal or command prompt:

npm run [script-name]

For example, to run our “compile-sass” script, we’d execute:

npm run compile-sass

NPM will then execute the defined command and display any output or errors in the terminal.

You can also create scripts that depend on other scripts. To do this, simply reference the desired script using the “npm run” command within another script. This way, you can chain multiple tasks together and run them sequentially.


NPM Scripting is a valuable tool for automating repetitive tasks in your development workflow. With its simple yet powerful syntax, you can define custom scripts and execute them with ease. Whether it’s compiling Sass files, running tests, or deploying your application, NPM Scripting makes it convenient to automate these tasks and improve your productivity as a developer.

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