Install a subset of npm dependencies based on given contexts
Last updated 8 months ago by fketchakeu .
MIT · Original npm · Tarball · package.json
$ cnpm install @goldenbrick/install-subset 
SYNC missed versions from official npm registry.

Stop installing npm devDependencies that you don't need.

npm version npm downloads per month License: MIT

You can exclude some npm devDependencies with install-subset when you don't need them.


  • A CI server for your builds: you may not need your linting or testing tools. With a busy or shared server, you can save precious time.
  • A data generation library you only need once.
  • Toolsets that only a certain team member needs or uses, depending on their job, IDE or preferences.

Even with npm 5 and yarn, installing node modules can be a long and painful task. Sometimes you have to build a native bindings like node-sass or couchbase, and sometimes you just have 100,000 dependencies. You are at the mercy of:

  • your connection speed & latency
  • your computer's willingness to cooperate
  • the number of dependencies
  • the disk space available
  • your patience


npm install -g install-subset


Add something like to your package.json:

"subsets": {
  "build": {
    "include": [
  "test": {
    "exclude": [

In your terminal: $ subset install test

This installs your normal dependencies, minus eslint and prettier.

Case Study

fakeit is an amazing fake data generation library with support for couchbase, complicated related data models, multiple export options and more. However, its dependency tree is large, and has a dependency on a native Couchbase binary. In an example React Native project, just excluding this one rarely used devDependency cuts install time by around 29 seconds.

Warm cache, yarn v1.5.1, fresh install, without install-subset

rm -rf node_modules && yarn
real    0m40.496s
user    0m32.451s
sys     0m11.309s

Warm cache, yarn v1.5.1, fresh install With install-subset excluding fakeit

rm -rf node_modules && subset install "development"
real    0m11.157s
user    0m9.261s
sys     0m6.134s

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