A number of tools are started through Node.js, for example, the CoffeeScript, TypeScript, and LESS transpilers, YUI, UglifyJS, and Closure compressors, Karma test runner. The Node Package Manager (npm) is the easiest way to install these tools, the more so that you have to install Node.js anyway.
On this page:
- Installing Node.js and Node Package Manager (npm)
- Installing an external tool
- Installing an external tool globally
- Installing an external tool in a project
Download and install the Node.js framework. The framework is required for two reasons:
- The tool is started through Node.js.
- The Node Package Manager (npm), which is a part of the framework, is also the easiest way to download the tool.
For details on using Node.js in WebStorm, see the section Node.js
Make sure the following paths are added to the PATH variable:
- The path to the parent folder of the Node.js executable file.
- The path to the Node Package Manager folder (npm).
- Make sure the Node.js plugin is enabled. The plugin is bundled with WebStorm and activated by default. If it is not, enable the plugin.
Installing an external tool
The easiest way to install a tool is to use the Node Package Manager (npm), which is a part of Node.js. Depending on the desired location of the tool executable file, choose one of the following methods:
- Install the tool globally at the WebStorm level so it can be used in any WebStorm project.
- Install the tool in a specific project and thus restrict its use to this project.
In either installation mode, make sure that the parent folder of the tool is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the tool from any folder.
Global installation makes the tool available at the WebStorm level so it can be used in any WebStorm project. To install the tool globally, run the installation from the command line in the global mode.
- Switch to the directory where the Node Package Manager (npm) is stored or define a path variable for it so it is available from any folder.
Type the following command at the command line prompt:
npm install -g <tool name>
The -g key makes the Node Package Manager (npm) run in the global mode. Because the tool is installed through the Node Package Manager (npm), the tool is installed in the npm folder. Make sure this parent folder is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the tool from any folder.
Installing the tool in a specific project restricts its use to this project. To run project installation, do one of the following:
In the command line mode, switch to the project root folder and type the following command at the command line prompt:
npm install <tool name>
Run the Node Package Manager (npm) from WebStorm using the Node.js page of the Settings
- On the Node.js page that opens, the Packages area shows all the Node.js-dependent packages that are currently installed on your computer, both at the global and at the project level. Click Install. In the Available Packages dialog box that opens, select the package and click Install Package.
Project level installation is helpful and reliable in template-based projects of the type Node Boilerplate or Node.js Express, which already have the node_modules folder. The latter is important because the Node Package Manager installs the tool in a node_modules folder. If your project already contains such folder, the tool is installed there.
Projects of other types or empty projects may not have a node_modules folder. In this case npm goes upwards in the folder tree and installs the tool in the first detected node_modules folder. Keep in mind that this detected node_modules folder may be outside your current project root.
Finally, if no node_modules folder is detected in the folder tree either, the folder is created right under the current project root and the tool is installed there.
In either case, make sure that the parent folder of the tool is added to the PATH variable. This enables you to launch the tool from any folder.