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Node modules authoring made easy.

WIP: This is a work in progress, use it at your own risk until it's released as a 1.0.0 version. At that time, i'll follow semver etc... In the meanwhile, your input is welcome.

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What's that?

metapak provides a set of tools to build your own meta npm packages easily.

A meta npm package takes advantage of npm lifecycle scripts to allow you to manage several similar npm packages/NodeJS projects in a simple and versioned way.

Here is a simple deck introducing it.

What is it good for?

Let's say you are the author of thousands of Node modules. Now, imagine you want, for all of them:

  • change your linter,
  • change your license,
  • change your CI provider,
  • add a README template system,
  • add a contributors guide,
  • setup git hooks.

This could look like a developer nightmare, not with metapak.


Enable you to create a npm meta module you will be able to install on all you npm modules/NodeJS projects.

  • amend all your npm modules package.json globally, in a composable way (shared dependencies, utility scripts etc...),
  • add assets to all your projects without polluting you git history with insignificant changes,
  • automatically install git hooks.

metapak can handle several meta packages so that you can compose them easily and keep them small and focused on one concern.

Zero config for your contributors, nothing to install globally.


First create your own metapak module (you can look at mine to grasp its architecture).

You must name your module with the metapak- prefix in order to make it work.

Now, just define the states of all your Node modules:

mkdir src
mkdir src/_common
# Let's set the package.json of all your modules 
# Note this has to be predictable function (ie: same run same result) 
echo "
module.exports = (packageConf) => {
  // Looks like i am the contributor of all my modules ;) = 'Nicolas Froidure';
  // I mostly publish under MIT license, let's default to it
  packageConf.license = 'MIT';
  // Let's add my handy scripts
  packageConf.scripts = packageConf.scripts || {};
  packageConf.scripts.cli = 'env NODE_ENV=${NODE_ENV:-cli}';
  // And the MUST HAVE dependencies
  packageConf.dependencies = packageConf.dependencies || {};
  packageConf.dependencies.debug = '1.0.0';
  // And the MUST HAVE dev dependencies
  packageConf.devDependencies = packageConf.devDependencies || {};
  packageConf.devDependencies.eslint = '3.0.0';
  return packageConf;
}" > src/_common/package.js
# Let's also add some common assets metapak will add/update for us 
mkdir src/_common/assets
# Adding the license 
wget -O src/_common/assets/LICENSE
# Adding a git ignore file 
# Note we replaced the dot of the file per _dot_ 
# This is due to a magic behavior of npm 
# See: 
echo "node_modules" > src/_common/assets/_dot_gitignore
# And make some additions to them, like templating 
echo "
module.exports = (file, packageConf) => {
  // Back to the good dot ;)
  if('_dot_')) { ='_dot_', '.');
  // Simple templating of the LICENSE
  // There is no glob matching or templating system
  // in metapak to let you choose the ones you like
  if( === 'LICENSE') { =
      /<copyright holders>/g,
      'Nicolas Froidure'
    return file;
  return file;
" > src/_common/assets.js
# Finally let's add my git hooks on it 
echo "module.exports = (hooks, packageConf) => {
  hooks['pre-commit'] = hooks['pre-commit'] || [];
  hooks['pre-commit'].push('npm run test && npm run lint || exit 1');
  return hooks;
" > src/_common/hooks.js

Now publish your package to npm and install it in all your repositories development dependencies with metapak.

npm i --save-dev metapak metapak-nfroidure

That's it! There is a lot of things you can set on all your projects like CI scripts, linters, tests configuration etc...

You can also create specific configs and combine them. Let's say i work at Big Brother inc. and i want to add special behavior for the modules I create at work:

mkdir src/bigbrother
# Let's add a package.json template 
echo "
module.exports = (packageConf) => {
  // Lets proudly claim i wort at BB inc.! = 'Nicolas Froidure (Big Brother inc.)';
  // Let's change the license
  packageConf.license = 'SEE LICENSE IN';
  // Let's avoid loosing my job :D
  packageConf.private = true;
  return packageConf;
}" > src/bigbrother/package.js
# Simply override the default license 
mkdir src/bigbrother/assets
echo "
Copyright Big Brother inc. All rights reserved.
" > src/bigbrother/assets/

Now, just create a new version of your package, publish it and add this specific behavior by adding the following property to your Big Brother's projects:

  "version": "1.0.0",
  "metapak": {
    configs: ["bigbrother"] // This map to the bigbrother folder

Note that the _common folder config cannot be disabled. That said you can only create specific configs and have no common behavior set at all.