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tink is an experimental package manager for JavaScript. Don't expect to be able to use this with any of your existing projects.


This package is still in development. Do not use it for production. It is missing major features and the interface should be considered extremely unstable.

If you're feeling adventurous, though, read ahead...


$ npx tink

Table of Contents


  • (mostly) npm-compatible project installation


The tink team enthusiastically welcomes contributions and project participation! There's a bunch of things you can do if you want to contribute! The Contributor Guide has all the information you need for everything from reporting bugs to contributing entire new features. Please don't hesitate to jump in if you'd like to, or even ask us questions if something isn't clear.


Big thanks to Szymon Lisowiec for donating the tink package name on npm! This package was previously an error logger helper tool, but now it's a package manager runtime!


A Note About These Docs

The commands documented below are not normative, and may not reflect the current state of tink development. They are being written separately from the code itself, and may be entirely missing, or named something different, or behave completely different. tink is still under heavy development and you should expect everything to change without notice.

$ tink shell [options] [arguments]
  • Aliases: tink sh, tish

Starts an interactive tink shell. If -e or -p options are used, the string passed to them will be executed as a single line and the shell will exit immediately. If [arguments] is provided, it should be one or more executable JavaScript files, which will be loaded serially.

The interactive tink shell will automatically generate a .package-map.json describing all expected dependency files, and will fetch and make available any missing or corrupted data, as it's required. tink overrides most of Node's fs API to virtually load node_modules off a centralized cache without ever linking or extracting to node_modules itself.

By default, tink shell will automatically install and add any missing or corrupted dependencies that are found during the loading process. To disable this feature, use the --production or --offline options.

To get a physical node_modules/ directory to interact with, see tink unwind.

$ tink prepare [options] [package...]
  • Aliases: tink prep

Preloads declared dependencies. You can use this to make sure that by the time you use tink shell, all declared dependencies will already be cached and available, so there won't be any execution delay from inline fetching and repairing. If anything is missing or corrupted, it will be automatically re-fetched.

If one or more packages are passed in, they should be the names of packages already in package.json, and only the listed packages will be preloaded, instead of preloading all of them. If you want to add a new dependency, use tink add instead, which will also prepare the new dependencies for you (so tink prepare isn't necessary after a tink add).

$ tink exec [options] <pkg> [--] [args...]
  • Aliases: tink x, tx

Like npx, but for tink. Runs any binaries directly through tink.

$ tink unwind [options] [package...]
  • Aliases: tink extract, tink frog, tink unroll

Unwinds the project's dependencies into physical files in node_modules/, instead of using the fs overrides to load them. This "unwound" mode can be used to directly patch dependencies (for example, when debugging or preparing to fork), or to enable compatibility with non-tink-related tools.

If one or more [package...] arguments are provided, the unwinding process will only apply to those dependencies and their dependencies. In this case, package must be a direct dependency of your toplevel package. You cannot selectively unwind transitive dependencies, but you can make it so they're the only ones that stick around when you go back to tink mode. See tink wind for the corresponding command.

If --production, --only=<prod|dev>, or --also=<prod|dev> options are passed in, they can be used to limit which dependency types get unwound.

By default, this command will leave any files that were already in node_modules/ intact, so your patches won't be clobbered. To do a full reset, or a specific reset on a file, remove the specific file or all of node_modules/ manually before calling tink unwind

$ tink wind [options] [package...]
  • Aliases: tink roll, tink rewind, tink knit

Removes physical files from node_modules/ and configures a project to use "tink mode" for development -- a mode where dependency files are virtually loaded through fs API overrides off a central cache. This mode can greatly speed up install and start times, as well as conserve large amounts of space by sharing files (securely) across multiple projects.

If one or more [package...] arguments are provided, the wind-up process will only move the listed packages and any non-shared dependencies into the global cache to be served from there. Note that only direct dependencies can be requested this way -- there is no way to target specific transitive dependencies in tink wind, much like in tink unwind.

Any individual files in node_modules which do not match up with their standard hashes from their original packages will be left in place, unless the --wind-all option is used. For example, if you use tink unwind, then patch one of your dependencies with some console.log() calls, and you then do tink rewind, then the files you added console.log() to will remain in node_modules/, and be prioritized by tink when loading your dependencies. Any other files, including those for the same package, will be moved into the global cache and loaded from there as usual.

$ tink add [options] [spec...]

Downloads and installs each spec, which must be a valid dependency specifier parseable by npm-package-arg, and adds the newly installed dependency or dependencies to both package.json and package-lock.json, as well as updating .package-map.json as needed.

$ tink rm [options] [package...]

Removes each package, which should be a package name currently specified in package.json, from the current project's dependencies, updating package.json, package-lock.json, and .package-map.json as needed.

$ tink update [options] [spec...]
  • Aliases: tink up

Runs an interactive dependency update/upgrade UI where individual package updates can be selected. If one or more package arguments are passed in, the update prompts will be limited to packages in the tree matching those specifiers. The specifiers support full npm-package-arg specs and are used for matching existing dependencies, not the target versions to upgrade to.

If run outside of a TTY environment or if the --auto option is passed in, all dependencies, optionally limited to each named package, are updated to their maximum semver-compatible version, effectively simulating a fresh install of the project with the current declared package.json dependencies and no node_modules or package-lock.json present.

$ tink audit [options]
  • Aliases: tink odd, tink audi

Executes a full security scan of the project's dependencies, using the configured registry's audit service. --production, --only, and --also can be used to filter which dependency types are checked. --level can be used to specify the minimum vulnerability level that will make the command exit with a non-zero exit code (an error).

$ tink check-lock [options]
  • Aliases: tink lock

Verifies that package.json and package-lock.json are in sync. If --auto is specified, the inconsistency will be automatically corrected, using package.json as the source of truth.

$ tink check-licenses [options] [spec...]

By default, verifies that the current project has a valid "license" field, and that all dependencies (and transitive dependencies) have valid licenses configured.

If one or more spec arguments are provided, this behavior changes such that only the packages specified by the specs get verified according to current settings.

A list of detected licenses will be printed out. Use --json to get the licenses in a parseable format.

Additionally, two package.json fields can be used to further configure the license-checking behavior:

  • "blacklist": [licenses...] - Any detected licenses listed here will trigger an error for tink check-licenses. This takes precedence over "whitelist"
  • "whitelist": [licenses...] - Any detected licenses NOT listed in here will trigger an error.
$ tink lint [options]
  • Aliases: tink typecheck, tink type

Executes the configured lint and typecheck script(s) (in that order), or a default baseline linter will be used to report obvious syntax errors in the codebase's JavaScript.

$ tink build [options]

Executes the configured build script, if present, or executes silently.

$ tink clean [options]

Removes .package-map.json and executes the clean run-script, which should remove any artifacts generated by tink build.

$ tink test [options]

Executed the configured test run-script. Exits with an error code if no test script is configured.

$ tink check

Executes all verification-related scripts in the following sequence, grouping the output together into one big report:

  1. tink check-lock - verify that the package-lock.json and package.json are in sync, and that .package-map.json is up to date.
  2. tink audit - runs a security audit of the project's dependencies.
  3. tink check-licenses - verifies that the current project has a license configured, and that all dependencies have valid licenses, and that none of those licenses are blacklisted (or, if using a whitelist, that they are all in said whitelist -- see the tink check-licenses docs for details).
  4. tink lint - runs the configured linter, or a general, default linter that statically scans for syntax errors.
  5. tink build - if a build script is configured, the build will be executed to make sure it completes successfully -- otherwise, this step is skipped.
  6. tink test - runs the configured test suite. skipped if no tests configured, but a warning will be emitted.

The final report includes potential action items related to each step. Use --verbose to see more detailed output for each report.

$ tink publish [options] [tarball...]

Publishes the current package to the configured registry. The package will be turned into a tarball using tink pack, and the tarball will then be uploaded. This command will also print out a summary of tarball details, including the files that were included and the hashes for the tarball.

If One-Time-Passwords are configured on the registry and the terminal is a TTY, this command will prompt for an OTP token if --otp <token> is not used. If this happens outside of a TTY, the command will fail with an EOTP error.

Unlike npm publish, tink publish requires that package.json include a "files":[] array specifying which files will be included in the publish, otherwise the publish will fail with an error. .npmignore is obeyed, but does not remove the requirement for "files".

If --dry-run is used, all steps will be done, except the final data upload to the registry. Because the upload never happens, --dry-run can't be used to verify that publish credentials work.

If one or more tarball arguments are passed, they will be treated as npm-package-arg specifiers, fetched, and re-published. This is most useful with git repositories and local tarballs that have already been packaged up by tink pack

$ tink pack [options] [spec...]

Collects the current package into a tarball and writes it to ./<pkgname>-<pkgversion>.tgz. Also prints out a summary of tarball details, including the files that were included and the hashes for the tarball.

Unlike npm pack, tink pack requires that package.json include a "files":[] array specifying which files will be included in the publish, otherwise the publish will fail with an error. .npmignore is obeyed, but does not remove the requirement for "files".

If one or more spec arguments are passed, they will be treated as npm-package-arg specifiers, fetched, and their tarballed packages written to the current directory. This is most useful for fetching the tarballs of registry-hosted dependencies. For example: $ tink pack react@1.2.3 will write the tarball to ./react-1.2.3.tgz.

$ tink login

Use this command to log in to the current npm registry. This command may open a browser window.

$ tink logout

Use this command to remove any auth tokens for the current registry from your configuration.

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