[Node.js] Local dependency in package.json


It is now possible to specify local Node module installation paths in your package.json directly. From the docs:

Local Paths

As of version 2.0.0 you can provide a path to a local directory that contains a package. Local paths can be saved using npm install -S or npm install --save, using any of these forms:


in which case they will be normalized to a relative path and added to your package.json. For example:

  "name": "baz",
  "dependencies": {
    "bar": "file:../foo/bar"

This feature is helpful for local offline development and creating tests that require npm installing where you don't want to hit an external server, but should not be used when publishing packages to the public registry.


I want to do something like this, so npm install also installs the package.json of ../somelocallib or more importantly its dependencies.

"dependencies": {
    "express": "*",
    "../somelocallib": "*"

This worked for me: first, make sure the npm directories have the right user

sudo chown -R myuser ~/.npm
sudo chown -R myuser /usr/local/lib/node_modules

Then your in your package.json link the directory

"scripts": {
 "preinstall": "npm ln mylib ../../path/to/mylib"
"dependencies": {
  "mylib" : "*"

If you want to further automate this, because you are checking your module into version control, and don't want to rely upon devs remembering to npm link, you can add this to your package.json "scripts" section:

"scripts": {
    "postinstall": "npm link ../somelocallib",
    "postupdate": "npm link ../somelocallib"

This feels beyond hacky, but it seems to "work". Got the tip from this npm issue: https://github.com/isaacs/npm/issues/1558#issuecomment-12444454

Actually, as of npm 2.0, there is support now local paths (see here).