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What is a difference between npm command and npm script?

Experience Level: Junior
Tags: npm


npm command

npm has inbuilt actions that do something. Each action has an identifier using which it can be executed.The identifier is called a command.

An example of npm command is:

  • list - a command that displys all installed modules
  • install - a command that installs all modules mentioned in a file package.json in a property dependencies and devDependencies
  • update - a command that updates all modules that have more recent version than the one youhave installed before
  • outdated - a command that displays a list of outdated modules that your package is using

A command is executed from the command-line by typing:

npm <yourcommand>

If you wanted to run the commands above, you would run

npm list
npm install
npm update
npm outdated

npm script

A npm script is a set of user-defined command-line commands that can be executed using a shortcut that is called an alias.

Imagine you want to do a backup of your project directory from time to time.

How would you do it?

You could always execute a command-line command similar to "copy c:\yourproject v:\backup". But typing this repeatedly would take too much time. 

To become more efficient you could create a npm script with alias called my-backup and value "copy c:\yourproject v:\backup". After you define the script, you can the execute it by running the following npm command:

npm run my-backup


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