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This post is part of my Today I learned series in which I share all my web development learnings.

I came across this tweet by Jess Telford. He shared you can reference values defined in your package.json inside your npm/yarn script definitions.

Let's have a look at an example.

{
  "name": "my-package",
  "scripts": {
    "lint": "eslint ./src/*",
    "test": "jest ./src/*"
  }
}

Looking closely, there's a duplicated definition of ./src/* in the two scripts. It might not be a big deal, but repeated values can be way harder to discover and change in larger projects.

I worked on projects coming with very complex and hard to maintain scripts. In these cases, fewer repitition leads to fewer headaches.

npm and yarn provide a feature to get around this problem. You can reference all the package.json values in the scripts section of your package.json.

For example, the name property is available at npm_package_name so that you can reuse defined values. 🎉

{
  "name": "my-package",
  "config": {
    "src": "./src/*"
  },
  "scripts": {
    "lint": "eslint $npm_package_config_src",
    "test": "jest $npm_package_config_src"
  }
}

Michael Kühnel pointed out that when you run Node.js files via npm/yarn scripts, some package.json values will be available via process.env, too.

If you have the following package.json...

{
  "name": "my-name",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "config": {
    "foo": "bar"
  },
  "scripts": {
    "start": "node index.js"
  }
}

... run the npm script npm start and access package.json values in your script via process.env.

// index.js

console.log(process.env.npm_package_version); // '1.0.0'
console.log(process.env.npm_package_name); // 'my-name'
console.log(process.env.npm_package_config_foo); // 'bar'

Read more about this feature in the npm documentation.

That's all cool stuff!

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About Stefan Judis

Frontend nerd with over ten years of experience, freelance dev, "Today I Learned" blogger, conference speaker, and Open Source maintainer.

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