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bin-path gives you absolute paths to dependee modules' executable scripts


// pass in require so we can resolve relative to the calling module. 
var binPath = require('bin-path')(require)
binPath('tape', function(err, bin) {
  if (err) return console.error(err)
  // => {"tape":"/Users/timoxley/Projects/find-bin/node_modules/tape/bin/tape"} 
  // bin-path can also be executed syncronously: 
  var rimRafBin = binPath('rimraf')
  // => { rimraf: '/Users/timoxley/Projects/find-bin/node_modules/rimraf/bin.js' }) 


  1. npm bin will return the location of the node_modules/.bin directory, but it does not take into account being called within the context of another module, this is a problem because:
  2. You can't rely on __dirname + '/node_modules/' actually containing your module, the module may exist higher in the hierarchy due to deduping. If the module does exist higher, then node_modules/.bin will also be missing for your module.
  3. Shelling out to npm bin is slow anyway; it has to wait for all of npm to boot up, and npm is a heavy dependency to include if all you want is to get a bin path.
  4. Relying on hard paths to executables is brittle e.g. linking directly to a module's bin/executable. Using the the bin field in package.json allows module authors to change the path ofthe actual executable without breaking dependee modules. Finding the actual path to the executable is also a problem because of point 2 above.


bin-path resolves module location, and loads bin from package.json directly, resolving to normalized, absolute paths.

Alternative Solution

Invoke your modules via npm scripts (e.g. npm start), this will set up the $PATH to find executables correctly. This still incurs the startup time of npm though, and isn't always practical, for example, npm scripts cannot accept commandline parameters (though you can use environment variables largely for the same purpose).