Difference between npx and npm?

04/16/2020 13:00:01

I have just started Learning React and facebook helps in simplifying the initial setup by providing the following ready-made project.
Link to Facebook account on Github: https://github.com/facebook/create-react-app
If I have to install the skeleton project I have to type npx create-react-app my-app in command-line.
I was wondering why does the facebook account in Github have npx create-react-app my-app rather than npm create-react-app my-app?

Verified Answer (587 Votes)

08/25/2018 20:43:15

Introducing npx: an npm package runner

NPM - Manages packages but doesn't make life easy executing any.
NPX - A tool for executing Node packages.

NPX comes bundled with NPM version 5.2+

NPM by itself does not simply run any package. it doesn't run any package in a matter of fact. If you want to run a package using NPM, you must specify that package in your package.json file.

When executables are installed via NPM packages, NPM links to them:

  1. local installs have "links" created at ./node_modules/.bin/ directory.
  2. global installs have "links" created from the global bin/ directory (e.g. /usr/local/bin) on Linux or at %AppData%/npm on Windows.

Documentation you should read


NPM:

One might install a package locally on a certain project:

npm install some-package

Now let's say you want NodeJS to execute that package from the command line:

$ some-package

The above will fail. Only globally installed packages can be executed by typing their name only.

To fix this, and have it run, you must type the local path:

$ ./node_modules/.bin/some-package

You can technically run a locally installed package by editing your packages.json file and adding that package in the scripts section:

{
  "name": "whatever",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "scripts": {
    "some-package": "some-package"
  }
}

Then run the script using npm run-script (or npm run):

npm run some-package

NPX:

npx will check whether <command> exists in $PATH, or in the local project binaries, and execute it. So, for the above example, if you wish to execute the locally-installed package some-package all you need to do is type:

npx some-package

Another major advantage of npx is the ability to execute a package which wasn't previously installed:

$ npx create-react-app my-app

The above example will generate a react app boilerplate within the path the command had run in, and ensures that you always use the latest version of a generator or build tool without having to upgrade each time you’re about to use it.


Related questions:

  1. How to use package installed locally in node_modules?
  2. NPM: how to source ./node_modules/.bin folder?
  3. How do you run a js file using npm scripts?
587

Answer #2 (74 Votes)

07/06/2018 17:06:06

npx is a npm package runner (x probably stands for eXecute). The typical use is to download and run a package temporarily or for trials.

create-react-app is an npm package that is expected to be run only once in a project's lifecycle. Hence, it is preferred to use npx to install and run it in a single step.

As mentioned in the man page https://www.npmjs.com/package/npx, npx can run commands in the PATH or from node_modules/.bin by default.

Note: With some digging, we can find that create-react-app points to a Javascript file (possibly to /usr/lib/node_modules/create-react-app/index.js on Linux systems) that is executed within the node environment. This is simply a global tool that does some checks. The actual setup is done by react-scripts, whose latest version is installed in the project. Refer https://github.com/facebook/create-react-app for more info.

74

Answer #3 (65 Votes)

05/12/2019 03:42:39

NPM is a package manager, you can install node.js packages using NPM

NPX is a tool to execute node.js packages.

It doesn't matter whether you installed that package globally or locally. NPX will temporarily install it and run it. NPM also can run packages if you configure a package.json file and include it in the script section.

So remember this, if you want to check/run a node package quickly without installing locally or globally use NPX.

npM - Manager

npX - Execute - easy to remember

65
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