Avoid global Node.js packages

Often in Node.js projects, we’re required to install global modules to run things like tests, migrations and other development processes.

This has never sat right with me because global installs aren’t explicit (with minor exception), which can lead to confusion and frustration when things don’t work right.

Instead, I opt to use local references to node packages in my applications because:

  1. It keeps dependencies explicitly defined in your package.json.
  2. It makes the application more portable because all dependencies are local.
  3. It doesn’t require any documentation or setup for developers because everything they need to run the application is installed locally.

For example, if we wanted to run a Sequelize migration, we could put the following in our package.json:

{
    "name": "my-project",
    "scripts": {
      "migrate": "sequelize db:migrate"
    },
    "dependencies": {
      "sequelize": "*",
      "sequelize-cli": "*"
    }
  }
  

Now you can run npm run migrate to run migrations but without the need for global NPM packages but with the same convenience.

Extra credit: You can also pass additional parameters to npm scripts by using a double dash (--), eg npm run test -- --watch

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