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Table of contents
1.
Introduction
2.
What is NPM?
3.
What is NPX?
4.
Execution via NPM and NPX
4.1.
Using NPM:
4.2.
Using NPX:
5.
Difference between NPM vs NPX
6.
Frequently Asked Questions
6.1.
What exactly is NPX?
6.2.
What is the advantage of NPX?
6.3.
What is the difference between NPX and NPM medium?
6.4.
Does NPX install locally?
7.
Conclusion
Last Updated: Mar 27, 2024
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Difference between NPM and NPX

Author Gunjeev Singh
9 upvotes
Master Python: Predicting weather forecasts
Speaker
Ashwin Goyal
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npx vs npm

Introduction

Despite being two very different tools, there exists a lot of confusion between NPM and NPX. Often, users do not even know why they are using one of these at a particular instance. Understanding the difference between these two tools is imperative to make our development environment more efficient and productive. 

NPM and NPX are both associated with the environment and make our work with Javascript packages easier. While NPM is used as a package manager, NPX, on the other hand, is used to execute Javascript packages. 

You can read more about the two most prominent package managers, npx vs npm, here.

What is NPM?

NPM stands for Node Package Manager. It is a Javascript package manager and the default package manager for Node projects. NPM is installed when NodeJS is installed on a machine. It comes with a command-line interface (CLI) used to interact with the online database of NPM. , and it hosts public and private 'packages.' To add or update packages, we use the NPM CLI to interact with this database. 

Isaac Z. Schlueter developed NPM purely in Javascript. It was first released in November 2010. Ever since, NPM has had a lot of updates and has improved in terms of efficiency, speed and security. 

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What is NPX?

NPX stands for Node Package eXecute. It is simply an NPM package runner. It allows developers to execute any Javascript Package available on the NPM registry without even installing it. NPX is installed automatically with NPM version 5.2.0 and above.

To check whether or not NPX is installed on your machine, you can run the following command on the terminal:

// This command checks for the version of NPX installed on your computer.
npx -v 

 

npm vs npx

Output

In case this throws an error and does not show the version; you can install NPX using NPM like this:

// This command uses NPM to install npx globally.
npm install -g npx  //Output for NPX

 

The primary use case of NPX  is when we need to use a particular package just once. In such cases, first installing it and then executing it becomes a very redundant task. This is why NPX is a powerful tool. 

 

Also see, Difference Between Controller and Restcontroller

Execution via NPM and NPX

This section will look into how we can execute the various Javascript packages using both NPM and NPX. 

Using NPM:

If we need to execute a package using NPM, we first need to install it, and then we can execute it. 

Installing a Package:

To install a package, we run the following command:

npm install package_name

 

          We then type out the local path of that package:

./node_modules/.bin/package_name

 

          Another way of executing the packages would be to enlist them as a script in the package.json file and then execute them.

Enlisting as a script: Your package.json file should look like this:

{
    "name": "Project-Name",
    "version":  "x.y.z",
    "scripts":  {
            "package-name":  "package-name"
    }
}

 

Then we use the run command to execute this package:

npm run package-name

Using NPX:

This is where you will notice how using NPX is a better option to execute packages. We do not need to install the package or manually make scripts for them. All that needs to be done is run the following command: 

npx your-package-name

Difference between NPM vs NPX

Parameters

NPM

NPX

Definition: NPM is a package manager used to install, delete, and update Javascript packages on your machine. NPX is a package executer, and it is used to execute javascript packages directly, without installing them. 
Installation of packages: NPM installs packages globally, which means that your machine may be polluted by packages that are not required anymore in the long run.  NPX does not install packages, so package pollution on the machine is not a concern.
Application: To use create-react-app using NPM, we would first have to install it globally, and then run it, which makes using NPM in such cases redundant. The most common application of NPX is the create-react-app command. Since we only need to use it once, i.e., while initializing the project, we do not install it. 

Recommended Topic, loop and while loop

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is NPX?

The npx stands for Node Package Execute and is included with npm; if you install npm above 5.2.0, npx will be installed automatically. It's a npm package runner that can execute any package from the npm registry without ever installing it.

What is the advantage of NPX?

NPX allows you to run and use packages without having to install them locally or globally. If a package is installed while using NPX to run NPM executables, NPX will search for the package binaries (locally or globally) and then run the package.

What is the difference between NPX and NPM medium?

NPM is a package management that is used to install, uninstall, and update Javascript packages on your workstation, whereas NPX is a package executer that is used to directly execute Javascript packages without installing them.

Does NPX install locally?

No, NPX does not locally install software. It enables you to run packages straight from the npm registry without installing them globally or locally, maintaining a clean and segregated execution environment.

Conclusion

Now you must have gained familiarity with the tools of NPM and NPX. NPM is a package manager used to install, update or remove packages and dependencies your project requires. NPX is an NPM package used to execute any package on the NPM registry directly without installing it. 

Recommended Reading: 

gzip command in linux

AMD vs Intel

This is just a starting point in the world of Javascript and NodeJS. You can start your Javascript journey here.

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