How to publish a js library to NPM and CDN

Published: November 16, 2018

Let's say we have made our new JavaScript library to easily select elements from the DOM. A lot of people still use jQuery, but that should be abandoned a long time ago. Let's make something to ease them into living without it.

const $ = document.querySelector.bind(document)
const $$ = document.querySelectorAll.bind(document)

Now it's time to publish our library so it can be installed with NPM or imported by script from a CDN, so it can be used in other projects.

First, let's create our package.json file.

npm init

The fields name and version are required. But I encourage you to fill out the other fields as well. This is our package.json file.

  "name": "selector-library",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Library to select elements the jQuery way, without needing to import all the jQuery stuff",
  "main": "selector.js",
  "repository": {
    "type": "git",
    "url": "git+"
  "author": "Gaute Meek Olsen (",
  "license": "MIT",
  "bugs": {
    "url": ""
  "homepage": ""

The main field contains the starting js file (often minified and in a dist folder) where we export our module. Use the bin field if it's a command-line file.

Let's update our selector.js file and export our variables.

export const $ = document.querySelector.bind(document)
export const $$ = document.querySelectorAll.bind(document)

If you don't have an NPM user you need to sign up here.

Then log in to your terminal.

npm login

Now we are ready to publish our module.

npm publish

That's it, we have published our NPM module. See NPMs own guide for a more detailed guide.

Others can now use our module. Then we should have a readme with the installation and usage steps. (If you are coding along, create a new project)


npm i selector-library --save


import { $, $$ } from 'selector-library'

$$('.class-name').forEach((el) => ( = 'red'))

See WesBos guide for how to export and import your modules to fit your need.

We also want to access the module from a script tag, we'll use the simple solution UNPKG which gets the file from npm for us. This is what we put in the src attribute.

We can skip file and version if we don't have to be specific about what the browser should download. Pick the option you like.

<script src=""></script>
<script src=""></script>

Just one short thing, including a script tag, does not allow the export statement. Let's change our selector script if we want to allow installation through NPM and CDN.

if (typeof exports != 'undefined') {
  exports.$ = document.querySelector.bind(document)
  exports.$$ = document.querySelectorAll.bind(document)
} else {
  var $ = document.querySelector.bind(document)
  var $$ = document.querySelectorAll.bind(document)

That's it! Example NPM and GitHub. Of course, this is just a demo library, but this is how creating an NPM module is done that's also available to a script tag for people not using a build tool.