npm install vs npm ci Differences: Which Should You Use In Nodejs

npm install vs npm ci Differences: Which Should You Use In Nodejs

Are you confused about the differences between npm install vs npm ci? This article will break down the distinctions between these two commonly used npm commands. Understanding these differences is crucial for efficient package management, whether you’re a beginner or an experienced nodejs developer. Join us as we explore the nuances of “npm install” versus “npm ci” and discover which one best suits your project needs.

Nodejs web development has achieved such a huge acclamation all over the world just because of its large ecosystem of libraries known as NPM modules. It is the largest software package library in the world, with over 500,000+ packages.

Each time a Command Line Interface (CLI) for NPM comes as an add-on with Nodejs installation which allows developers to connect with packages locally on their machine.

The idea of NPM modules had come with some technical advancement in package management like reusable components, with easy installation via an online repository, with version and dependency management.

In general, NPM is a default package manager for every Nodejs development project. NPM eases the installing and updating dependencies processes. A dependency list on npmjs even provides you with the installation command, so that you can simply copy and paste in the terminal to initiate installation procedures.

NPM Install CI

NPM Install CI

All NPM users have an advantage of a new install command called “NPM CI (i.e. NPM continuous integration)”. These commands provide enormous improvements to both the performance and reliability of default builds for continuous integration processes. In turn, it enables a consistent and fast experience for developers using continuous integration in their workflow.

 In NPM install, it reads the package.json to generate a list of dependencies and uses package-lock.json to know the exact version of these dependencies to install. If the dependency is found in package-lock.json, it will be added by NPM install.

Whereas here, NPM CI installs dependencies from package-lock.json directly and uses up package.json just to verify that there are no mismatched versions exist. If any dependencies mismatching versions, it will show an error.

Read More: What are all the Benefits of using Node.js for Ecommerce Web Application?

NPM install vs NPM CI: When to use them?

NPM install vs NPM CI: When to use them?

Use NPM install to add a new dependency and to upgrade dependencies on a project. During the development process, developers use it to make changes that update the list of dependencies. But in this case, using NPM CI is not a good idea.

Use NPM CI, if the requirement needs a determined and repeatable build. This NPM CI used in the continuous integration for the first-time installation of dependencies, instead of choosing NPM to install.

Let’s differentiate both npm i vs npm ci:

What Is NPM install

What Is NPM install
  • It installs all the dependencies related to a package.
  • Each dependency is driven by npm-shrinkwrap.json and package-lock.json in respective order.
  • It installs local module dependencies without any disagreement.
  • Allows installing even global packages.
  • It also installs missing dependencies in node_modules.
  • When used with an argument it tends to write package.json into packages to add the dependency.
  • When used without arguments, it tends to write package-lock.json to hold the version of some dependencies.

What Is NPM CI

What Is NPM CI
  • It requires package-lock.json to be present.
  • If the dependencies of two files don’t match in package.json, it shows an error.
  • It installs all dependencies at the same time by removing node_modules
  • Writing to package.json or package-lock.json will never happen in NPM CI.
  • NPM CI will never modify your package-lock.json  like NPM install.

NPM install and NPM ci Conclusion

Thanks for reading this blog. As you can see, both commands have their valid use scenarios. I’d recommend using NPM CI for reliable builds, and use NPM install for installing any new dependencies.

Contact us to know more about the Nodejs web development with the implication of NPM install and NPM CI.

Launching Headless Ecommerce in Node.js, Powered by Microservices. npm install and npm ci

npm i vs npm ci FAQs

1. What is the difference between npm install and ci?

npm install vs npm ci – “npm install” is used to install dependencies listed in the package.json file, while “npm ci” installs dependencies based on the package-lock.json file for reproducible builds.

2. What is npm I used for?

“npm i” is shorthand for “npm install,” which is used to install dependencies required for a Node.js project.

3. Is npm I different from npm install?

No, “npm i” is simply a shorthand alias for “npm install,” and both commands serve the same purpose of installing dependencies.

4. What does npm ci command do?

“npm ci” is a command used to install dependencies for a Node.js project based on the package-lock.json file, ensuring a clean and reproducible environment for continuous integration (CI) builds.

5. How to install npm?

To install npm, you need to first install Node.js, which includes npm by default. Visit the official Node.js website, download the installer for your operating system, and follow the installation instructions.


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