Clone and (re)install packages from remote git repos. It is meant as a temporary solution until [npm/npm#3055][3055] is resolved.
Last updated 3 years ago by arcanis .
ISC · Original npm · Tarball · package.json
$ cnpm install @arcanis/npm-git-install 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.

NPM Git Install

Clone and (re)install packages from remote git repos. It is meant as a temporary solution until npm/npm#3055 is resolved.


$> npm install --save @arcanis/npm-git-install


In your package.json, add:

  "scripts": {
    "install": "npm-git install"
  "gitDependencies": {
    "private-package-name": "git@private.git.server:user/repo.git#revision?/inner/path",
    "public-package-name": "https://github.com/user/repo.git#revision?/inner/path"

Don't forget to replace *-package-name and git URLs with values relevant to your project. URLs have to be in canonical form (i.e. one that you would provide to git clone on command line) - no fancy NPM shortcuts like user/repo or bitbucket:user/repo. If you want this, we are open for a PRs.

Once your package.json has been updated, you can now install your dependencies as usual:

$> npm install


There's a serious defect in current versions of NPM (and Yarn) regarding installation process of dependencies from git repositories. It basically prevents us from installing anything that needs a build step directly from git repos. Because of that some authors are keeping build artifacts in the repos, which I would consider a hurdle at best, and contributors are sometimes hindered from using their own forks, lowering contributions. Here isthe relevant issue, with ongoing discussion.


If you npm install ../some-local-directory/my-package then npm will run the prepare script of my-package, then install it in the current project. This is fine.

Now, one would expect that running npm install git@remote-git-server:me/my-package.git would also run prepare before installing, but for some reasons it won't. Even worse, it will apply .npmignore, which will most likely remove all your source files and make it hard to recover. Not great.


From command line

$> npm-git install

This simple script will do the following for every url inside the gitDependencies section of your package.json file:

  1. Clone the repository into a temporary directory.
  2. Run npm install in the temporary directory, which will in turn trigger the prepare hook of the package being installed
  3. Copy the generated module in your project path.

In effect you will get your dependency properly installed.

You can optionally specify different paths for package.json:

npm-git install -c git-dependencies.json

You may want to do this if you find it offensive to put non-standard section in your package.json.

Also try --help for more options.

Just like with plain NPM, on the command line you can specify a space separated list of packages to be installed:

npm-git install https://github.com/someone/awesome.git me@git.server.com/me/is-also-awesome.git#experimantal-branch

After hash you can specify a branch name, tag or a specific commit's sha. By default master branch is used.


You can also use it programmatically. Just require npm-git-install. It exposes four methods:

  • discover (path)

    Reads list of packages from file at given path (e.g. a package.json) and returns array of {url, revision} objects. You can supply this to reinstall_all method.

  • reinstall_all (options, packages)

    Executes reinstall in series for each package in packages. Options are also passed to each reinstall call.

    This function is curried, so if you provide just options argument you will get a new function that takes only one argument - packages array.

    Options are the same as for reinstall.

    Returns a Promise that resolves to report, i.e. an array of metadata objects:

    [ {
      name: "my-awesome-thing"
      sha: "ef88c40"
      url: "me@git.server.com/me/my-awesome-thing.git"
    } ]
  • reinstall (options, package)

    Most of the heavy lifting happens here:

    1. Clone the repo at package.url,
    2. Checkout package.revision,
    3. Run npm install inside the cloned repos directories,
    4. Install the package from there.

    Options are:

    • silent: Suppress child processes standard output. Boolean. Default is false.
    • verbose: Print debug messages. Boolean. Default is false.

    Returns a Promise that will resolve to a metadata object:

      name: "my-awesome-thing"
      sha: "ef88c40"
      url: "me@git.server.com/me/my-awesome-thing.git"

    You probably don't want to use it directly. Just call reinstall_all with relevant options.

If you are a Gulp user, then it should be easy enough to integrate it with your gulpfile. See [./src/cli.coffee][] for example use of the API.

Why not use dependencies and devDependencies

I tried and it's hard, because NPM supports fancy things as Git URLs. See messy-auto-discovery branch. You are welcome to take it from where I left.

There is also another reason. User may not want to reinstall all Git dependencies this way. For example I use gulp version 4, which is only available from GitHub and it is perfectly fine to install it with standard NPM. I don't want to rebuild it on my machine every time I install it. Now I can leave it in devDependencies and only use npm-git-install for stuff that needs it.

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