NVM for Nodeists. Managing your Node.js install

Based on Giles Fabio’s post, if you are in the new Node.js train, here is a guide on building a lean Node.js development environment.


First, install git in your environment. Since I’m on a Mac, I use the fantastic homebrew package manager. It’s just a brew install git away.

Download nvm (Node Version Manager): git clone git://github.com/creationix/nvm.git ~/.nvm

… and source it in your $HOME/.bashrc: . ~/.nvm/nvm.sh

Reload your session or source . ~/.nvm/nvm.sh.

Managing multiple interpreters

NVM keeps all Node.js interpreters in it’s own dir ($HOME/.nvm).

First sync nvm so it can ‘check’ all Node.js versions: nvm sync

To download, compile and install Node.js version 0.4.6 for example, run: nvm install v0.4.6

or to install the latest version, run: nvm install latest

Then, when finished installing, use the installed version: nvm use v0.4.6

To check all installed and available versions, run: nvm ls

And then, set the version as default (so there is no need to ‘nvm use’ it everytime) nvm alias default v0.4.6

Managing project dependencies

NVM installs NPM, Node Package Manager, used to install Node.js modules.

NPM was recently updated to version 1.0. In this new version, it installs the package deps in a node_modules dir in the same project where you ran it.

To manage dependencies, create a package.json for your project:

      "name": "Project Name",
      "description": "Project Description.",
      "version": "0.0.1",
      "homepage": "http://#",
      "author": "You",
      "private": true,
      "dependencies": {
        "express": "2.x",
        "connect": ">= 1.4",
        "log4js": ">= 0.2.5"
      "engines": { "node": ">= 0.4.6" }

and to install the modules, use: npm install .

in the project dir.

To install a module globally, use the command: npm install module -g

and it will be available anywhere.


It seems a little too much work to have a nice environment but this is trivial to avoid package conflicts and version problems between different projects.

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