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Why developers should use npm ci instead of npm install and its benefits

As a developer, you may already be familiar with using npm install to install dependencies for your Node.js projects. However, there's another command you should consider using: npm ci . In this article, we'll explain why developers should use npm ci instead of npm install and its benefits.


What is npm ci ?

Oficial docs: https://docs.npmjs.com/cli/v9/commands/npm-ci

npm ci is a command that stands for "clean install." Unlike npm install , which can install packages from the node_modules cache, npm ci installs packages from the package-lock.json file. This means that npm ci always installs a project with a clean slate, ensuring that you have the exact dependencies and versions listed in the package-lock.json file.


Why use npm ci ?

Here are a few reasons why developers should use npm ci instead of npm install :

  1. Consistency: npm ci ensures that all developers working on a project have the same exact dependencies and versions installed. This helps to eliminate inconsistencies in the development environment, making it easier to reproduce and debug issues.
  2. Speed: Since npm ci always installs packages from the package-lock.json file, it doesn't need to check the node_modules cache. This means that npm ci can be much faster than npm install , especially for large projects with many dependencies.
  3. Predictability: npm ci installs packages exactly as they are listed in the package-lock.json file, without any additional updates or modifications. This ensures that you always have a predictable and stable development environment, without unexpected changes in dependency versions.
  4. Automation: npm ci is designed to be used in automated environments such as continuous integration and deployment pipelines. By using npm ci , you can ensure that your project is always built with a consistent and predictable set of dependencies, regardless of the environment.

How to use npm ci ?

To use npm ci , simply run the following command in your project directory: 

npm ci

This will install all of the dependencies listed in the package-lock.json file, ensuring a clean and consistent installation.

Conclusion

In conclusion, npm ci is a command that developers should consider using instead of npm install for their Node.js projects. It provides consistency, speed, predictability, and automation benefits, making it a valuable tool for any development team. So, if you haven't already, give npm ci a try and see how it can improve your workflow.


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