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npm link together local modules && npm install remaining dependencies


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  • Manage lots of node modules?
  • Do you npm link multiple modules together to ensure they all work with latest while developing?
  • Find the process of linking together multiple modules tedious?

If you answered YES to all the above, then this module is for you.


Install, then give it a set of directories containing packages that you would like to link together (will parse all immediate subdirectories containing a package.json).

npm install -g symlink symlink repoDir # prints a list of commands that CAN be executed


To execute these commands in series run symlink by either piping to sh if pipes are convenient for your use case, or use the --execute flag which also gives you one log per command.

symlink repoDir --execute


Linking together the related tournament modules from clux's repositories, to ensure they all work together, and all get the same test frameworks (though that's mostly just convenience):

NB: for readability the full paths have been shortened

clux@kjttks ~/trn $ symlink . -g nodeunit -g jscoverage -g nodeunit cd tournament && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls cd tournament && npm install interlude cd tournament && npm link cd duel && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tournament cd duel && npm install interlude cd duel && npm link cd ffa && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tournament cd ffa && npm install interlude group cd ffa && npm link cd groupstage && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tournament cd groupstage && npm install interlude roundrobin group cd groupstage && npm link cd masters && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tournament ffa cd masters && npm install interlude cd masters && npm link cd tiebreaker && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tournament groupstage ffa cd tiebreaker && npm install interlude cd tiebreaker && npm link cd tourney && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tournament cd tourney && npm install interlude cd tourney && npm link cd ffa-tb && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tourney tiebreaker ffa cd ffa-tb && npm install autonomy cd ffa-tb && npm link cd groupstage-tb && npm link nodeunit jscoverage coveralls tiebreaker groupstage tourney cd groupstage-tb && npm link cd groupstage-tb-duel && npm link nodeunit jscoverage duel groupstage-tb tourney groupstage cd groupstage-tb-duel && npm install autonomy cd groupstage-tb-duel && npm link # all looks sane - execute: $ kjttks@clux ~/repos $ !! | sh

The most independent modules (tournament) gets their missing dependencies installed first, then gets npm linked so the more requiring modules (specific implementations) can npm link in these.

If you have a local/chowned install of node (such that creating links to globally installed modules can be done sans-sudo) then symlink can execute sudo free too.

What it does

  • reads the package.json of each module founds in the given directory and collects their dependencies and devDependencies
  • figures out which deps are local (present on one of the repoDirs)
  • figures out which deps are external (complement)
  • orders the modules so that linking can be in a safe order without having to query more than necessary

Once everything has been ordered, a bunch of commands are generated for each module from the order of least inclusion;

  • npm link (localDeps) ∪ ((globals ∩ externalDeps))
  • npm install (externalDeps ∖ globals)
  • npm link

I.e. link in all locally available dependencies + extenal globals that were requested explicitly, install the rest, then link the module itself so the modules with more inclusions can safely link the module in.

Globally linked modules

Test dependencies are often the same everywhere, and, to save querying npmjs, you could just give them the version you have installed (provided it is compatible, and installed globally):

In the example above, every module that uses jscoverage, nodeunit or coveralls will get the relevant modules linked in.


MIT-Licensed. See LICENSE file for details.



Last updated on 15 Nov 2015

Did you know?

Socket installs a Github app to automatically flag issues on every pull request and report the health of your dependencies. Find out what is inside your node modules and prevent malicious activity before you update the dependencies.

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