Difference between npx and npm?

I have just started learning React, and Facebook helps in simplifying the initial setup by providing the following ready-made project.

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 in Github have npx create-react-app my-app rather than npm create-react-app my-app?

Answers 1

  • 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?

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