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Automatic `nvm use`

d4nyll profile image Daniel Li Updated on ・2 min read

Tired of typing nvm use when working on multiple JS projects? Then try this Bash alias!


find-up () {
    path=$(pwd)
    while [[ "$path" != "" && ! -e "$path/$1" ]]; do
        path=${path%/*}
    done
    echo "$path"
}

cdnvm(){
    cd $@;
    nvm_path=$(find-up .nvmrc | tr -d '[:space:]')

    # If there are no .nvmrc file, use the default nvm version
    if [[ ! $nvm_path = *[^[:space:]]* ]]; then

        declare default_version;
        default_version=$(nvm version default);

        # If there is no default version, set it to `node`
        # This will use the latest version on your machine
        if [[ $default_version == "N/A" ]]; then
            nvm alias default node;
            default_version=$(nvm version default);
        fi

        # If the current version is not the default version, set it to use the default version
        if [[ $(nvm current) != "$default_version" ]]; then
            nvm use default;
        fi

        elif [[ -s $nvm_path/.nvmrc && -r $nvm_path/.nvmrc ]]; then
        declare nvm_version
        nvm_version=$(<"$nvm_path"/.nvmrc)

        # Add the `v` suffix if it does not exists in the .nvmrc file
        if [[ $nvm_version != v* ]]; then
            nvm_version="v""$nvm_version"
        fi

        # If it is not already installed, install it
        if [[ $(nvm ls "$nvm_version" | tr -d '[:space:]') == "N/A" ]]; then
            nvm install "$nvm_version";
        fi

        if [[ $(nvm current) != "$nvm_version" ]]; then
            nvm use "$nvm_version";
        fi
    fi
}
alias cd='cdnvm'

This will search 'up' from your current directory in order to try and find a .nvmrc file. If it finds it, it will use that version; if not, it will use the default version.


A previous iteration of this code only looks at the current directory, which means if your project directory has many nested directories, the inner directories would use the default version rather than the project's version.

The previous iteration is documented below:

alias cd='cdnvm(){ cd $1; if [[ -f .nvmrc && -s .nvmrc && -r .nvmrc ]]; then <.nvmrc nvm install; elif [[ $(nvm current) != $(nvm version default) ]]; then nvm use default; fi; };cdnvm'

This alias would automatically detect a .nvmrc file in the directory you're cding into, and switch to that version. And when you cd back, it will automatically switch back to the default version!

Or if you prefer a one-liner:

echo 'alias cd='\''cdnvm(){ cd $1; if [[ -f .nvmrc && -s .nvmrc && -r .nvmrc ]]; then <.nvmrc nvm install; elif [[ $(nvm current) != $(nvm version default) ]]; then nvm use default; fi; };cdnvm'\''' >> ~/.bashrc

Or if you prefer a more readable format:

cdnvm(){
  cd $1
  if [[ -f .nvmrc && -s .nvmrc && -r .nvmrc ]]; then
    <.nvmrc nvm install;
  elif [[ $(nvm current) != $(nvm version default) ]]; then
    nvm use default;
  fi
}
alias cd='cdnvm'

See it in action at https://asciinema.org/a/191898

Posted on by:

d4nyll profile

Daniel Li

@d4nyll

DevOps Engineer at Nexmo. Author of Building Enterprise JavaScript Applications (BEJA)

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