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How to Build Your Own CLI with Nodejs (and Push it to npm)

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Creating a command-line interface (CLI) application in Node.js and publishing it to npm (Node Package Manager) and Yarn can be a rewarding way to share your tools with the world.

Here's a step-by-step guide to get you started.


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Ok. Now, let's dive back into writing your own CLI.

Step 1: Set Up Your Node.js Project

Initialize a new Node.js project: Create a new directory for your project and initialize it with npm init. This step will create a package.json file for your project.

Install necessary packages: Depending on the functionality of your CLI, you might need various packages. A popular one for CLI development is commander, which simplifies command-line interfaces.

npm install commander
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Write your CLI application: Create a index.js file (or any entry file) and start scripting your CLI. Utilize the packages you've installed to handle command line arguments, execute functionality, etc.

Step 2: Prepare Your CLI for Execution

Add a shebang line: At the top of your entry file (index.js), add the shebang line:

#!/usr/bin/env node
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This line tells the system that this script should be run with Node.

Update package.json: In your package.json, add a bin field that maps commands to files.

"bin": {
    "your-cli-command": "./index.js"
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Make your script executable: Run chmod +x index.js to make your script executable.

Step 3: Test Your CLI Locally

Link your package: Before publishing, you can test your CLI locally by running npm link in your project directory. This makes your CLI command available system-wide.

Test the CLI: Try running your CLI command in the terminal to ensure it works as expected.

Step 4: Publish Your CLI to npm

Create an npm account: If you don’t have one, create an npm account at

Login to npm: In your terminal, run npm login and enter your npm credentials.

Publish your package: Once logged in, publish your CLI with:

npm publish
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Verify: Check your package on the npm website to ensure it's published.

Step 5: Add Your Package to Yarn

Yarn Integration: Yarn uses the same package registry as npm, so once your package is on npm, it is automatically available for installation through Yarn.

Step 6: Updating Your CLI

To update your CLI, make changes to your code, update the version in your package.json, and then run npm publish again.

Step 7: Engage with the Community

Open Source Contributions: Since your project is on npm, you can host its source code on GitHub. Don't forget to add a with usage and contribution guidelines.

Feedback and Improvements: Encourage users and developers to contribute and provide feedback to improve the CLI.

We are building a CLI for WebCrumbs!


You've just learned how to create and publish a CLI using Node.js. Keep iterating based on user feedback and community contributions.

Join us at!

Feel free to reach out with any questions or suggestions! Your journey in open-source development and sharing tools is just beginning, and the community is here to support you. πŸš€πŸ‘¨β€πŸ’»πŸ‘©β€πŸ’»

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Top comments (1)

opensourcee profile image

Thanks for reading!