Pre-releasing an npm package

You can publish pre-release versions of an npm package.

Naming convention for pre-release versions

An npm package must use Semantic Versioning's naming convention for its version. In Semantic Versioning, the version number and pre-release identifier (like rc1) must be separated by a dash, like this:

  • 1.0.0-rc1
  • 2.3.0-alpha2
  • 3.0.0-beta3

Publishing to a pre-release tag

npm packages have multiple "current" releases, identified by "tags". The default tag is latest. It is expected to contain the latest stable version.

When you publish a pre-release version you want to publish to a different tag. This way users of latest don't automatically get your half-baked alpha versions when they upgrade. They need to explictily opt into pre-release versions, as shown below.

A popular tag for pre-releases is next. To publish to the next tag:

npm publish --tag next

Using pre-releases

npm will only install a pre-release if you explicitly use the next tag or name the version.

For instance, to install the latest version of foobar within the next tag:

"dependencies": {
  "foobar": "next"

You may also name the pre-release version explicitly:

"dependencies": {
  "foobar": "^2.0.0-rc5"

See also

Henning Koch 3 months ago
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