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How to easily keep a JavaScript project’s packages up to date

Filed under: Tooling— Tagged with: npm

Here’s how to fly through your package update chores using some handy tools.

Ah, the pain of combing through your package.json and comparing version numbers in This is a task that is relatively easy to automate.

The npm-check package

npm-check is a brilliant package which almost completely automates the process and provides a nice interface. Start by Installing it globally:

$ npm i -f npm-check

The run it:

$ npm-check -us

You get a prompt showing you the outdated packages. Then press space to select a package to be updated, and hit enter to start the update process.

npm-check package update helper
npm-check shows you outdated packages

Here’s the explanations for the flags:

Interactive update.
Skip check for unused packages.

Running npm-check with legacy-peer-deps

You can’t pass npm-check any npm flags like --legacy-peer-deps which is a bummer. But you can make an .npmrc file in your project’s root where you can configure it legacy-peer-deps=true. Or you can configure npm globally npm config set legacy-peer-deps true.

Option 2: npm-check-updates

The package npm-check-updates does pretty much the same as npm-check, but with one extra step: the script updates the package version numbers in your package.json, then you run npm update manually.

Install globally:

$ npm i -g npm-check-updates

cd into your project and run it:

$ npm-check-updates

That’ll spew out a list of outdated packages for you to inspect. Then tell it to update the packages.json file:

$ npm-check-updates -u

When it’s done, use the npm’s built in update command:

$ npm update


Using npm-check has worked super good for me. This has really helped the package update anxiety.

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