The aim of this guide is to get people getting started with Node.js and npm, while also showing some of the handy commands I use to bootstrap my projects.

Create your project directory.

mkdir npmtest

Change to the directory you just created.

cd !$

Tell git to make a repo.

git init

Pull down a preconfigured .gitignore file for node projects from github.

wget -O .gitignore

Pull down a basic Makefile I use for my projects.


This make file contains a few handy targets, these are:

  • test runs tests in the test folder using the mocha test framework.
  • jshint uses jshint to check over the code.
  • skel generates a basic structure for my project creating index.js and, lib, example and test directories and installs mocha and chai the BDD / TDD assertion library.
  • The default target which is invoked by just running make, this runs the jshint and test targets.

Note: You will need to install jshint globally using npm install -g jshint.

Now we will use the skel target to generate our project structure.

make skel

Create a project on github using hub, if your on osx you can install this with homebrew. We do this sooner rather than later so npm can pick this information up when building the package.json.

hub create

Now initialise your project.

npm init

This should ask for a bunch of information, note leave the version 0.0.0 we will change this later. For those interested this is driven by init-package-json.

name: (npmtest)
version: (0.0.0)
description: Some NPM test.
entry point: (index.js)
test command: make test
git repository: (git://
keywords: npm
author: Mark Wolfe <>
license: (ISC) MIT
About to write to /Users/markw/Code/Javascript/npmtest/package.json:

  "name": "npmtest",
  "version": "0.0.0",
  "description": "Some NPM test.",
  "main": "index.js",
  "scripts": {
    "test": "make test"
  "repository": {
    "type": "git",
    "url": "git://"
  "keywords": [
  "author": "Mark Wolfe <>",
  "license": "MIT",
  "bugs": {
    "url": ""
  "homepage": ""

Is this ok? (yes) yes

Once you have added some code to index.js and some tests of course, add and commit your code.

git add .
git commit -a 'Initial release'

Now your ready to release use npm to update the version. There are three options for this command being major, minor and patch each of which increments the version numbers in that order. In the example below we should go from 0.0.0 to 0.1.0.

npm version minor

Run your tests!

npm test

Push to github, the version command automatically tags your project so we can check it out if we need!

git push origin master --tags

Ship it.

npm publish