2.0.0 • Public • Published


Publish your npm package to a Git branch.

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To test a package without publishing to npm.

Why not use npm publish to make a pre-release?

Because of the following drawbacks:

  • Versioning concerns: even though you're just testing, you still need to version bump
  • Undeleteable: releases are hard to remove due to npm's strict unpublish policy
  • Unverifyable: npm does not offer a great way to browse the contents of a package
  • Risky: Publishing tests to a production environment can be dangerous (eg. accidentally publish as stable)

What about npm link?

So why git-publish?

  • No versions: Instead of versions, branch names are used. Branches can be updated to reflect latest change.

  • Deletable: Simply delete the branch when you're done with it.

  • Browsable: Use GitHub to easily verify the contents of the branch. You can even share a link for others to see.

  • Dev environment: Low risk of mistakes.

  • Simulates npm publish: Runs npm life cycle scripts and only includes publishable assets.


Publish your npm package to a branch on the Git repository:

npx git-publish

This command will publish to the remote branch npm/<current branch>.

Global install

Keep the command handy by installing it globally:

npm install -g git-publish

When globally installed, you can use it without npx:



Flag Description
-b, --branch <branch name> The branch to publish the package to. Defaults to prefixing "npm/" to the current branch or tag name.
-r, --remote <remote> The remote to push to. (default: origin)
-o, --fresh Publish without a commit history. Warning: Force-pushes to remote
-d, --dry Dry run mode. Will not commit or push to the remote.
-h, --help Show help
--version Show version


What are some use-cases where this is useful?

  • When you want to test a new package that isn't ready to be published on npm.

  • When you're contributing to an open source project so you don't have publish access, but want to test the changes in a production-like environment.

  • When you want to test in a remote environment so you can't use npm link.

  • When you want to avoid using npm link because of symlink complexities.

How can I include a build step?

Like npm publish, you can call the build command it in the prepack script.

What does this script do?

  1. Run npm hooks prepare & prepack
  2. Create a temporary branch by prefixing the current branch with the npm/ namespace
  3. Detect and commit only the npm publish files
  4. Push the branch to remote
  5. Delete local branch from Step 2
  6. Print the installation command for the branch

How is this different from simply committing the files to a branch?

  • There can be missing distribution files (eg. files outside of dist). git-publish uses npm-packlist —the same library npm publish uses—to detect publish files declared via package.json#files and .npmignore.

  • Irrelevant files are committed (eg. source files). This can slow down installation or even interfere with the library behavior. For example, if your project has development configuration files, they can accidentally be read by the dependent tooling.

  • npm hooks are not executed. git-publish simulates package packing and runs hooks prepare and prepack.

Can I publish to and install from a private repository?

Yes, if using a Git client authorized to access the private repository.

If it must be publicly accessible, you can set the --remote <remote> flag to push the publish assets to a public repository. It's recommended to compile and minify the code if doing this with private code.

User story

You want to test a branch on a private repository Repo A, but GitHub Actions on the consuming project Repo B doesn't have access to the private repository so npm install fails.

To work around this, you can publish the branch to Repo B to install it from there:

$ npx git-publish --remote --branch test-pkg

✔ Successfully published branch! Install with command:
  → npm i 'repo-b#test-pkg'

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npm i git-publish

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