Create aliases of directories and register custom module paths


1,472452.2.23 years ago6 years agoMinified + gzip package size for module-alias in KB



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Create aliases of directories and register custom module paths in NodeJS like a boss!

No more shit-coding paths in Node like so:


Enough of this madness!

Just create an alias and do it the right way:

var module = require('@deep/module')
// Or ES6
import module from '@deep/module'

It also allows you to register directories that will act just like node_modules but with your own private modules, so that you can access them directly:

// Or ES6
import module from 'my_private_module'

WARNING: This module should not be used in other npm modules since it modifies the default require behavior! It is designed to be used for development of final projects i.e. web-sites, applications etc.


npm i --save module-alias


Add your custom configuration to your package.json (in your application's root)

// Aliases
"_moduleAliases": {
  "@root"      : ".", // Application's root
  "@deep"      : "src/some/very/deep/directory/or/file",
  "@my_module" : "lib/some-file.js",
  "something"  : "src/foo", // Or without @. Actually, it could be any string

// Custom module directories, just like `node_modules` but with your private modules (optional)
"_moduleDirectories": ["node_modules_custom"],

Then add this line at the very main file of your app, before any code


And you're all set! Now you can do stuff like:

const module = require('@root/some-module')
const veryDeepModule = require('@deep/my-module')
const customModule = require('my_private_module') // module from `node_modules_custom` directory

// Or ES6
import 'something'
import module from '@root/some-module'
import veryDeepModule from '@deep/my-module'
import customModule from 'my_private_module' // module from `node_modules_custom` directory

Advanced usage

If you don't want to modify your package.json or you just prefer to set it all up programmatically, then the following methods are available for you:

  • addAlias('alias', 'target_path') - register a single alias
  • addAliases({ 'alias': 'target_path', ... }) - register multiple aliases
  • addPath(path) - Register custom modules directory (like node_modules, but with your own modules)


const moduleAlias = require('module-alias')

// Register alias
moduleAlias.addAlias('@client', __dirname + '/src/client')

// Or multiple aliases
  '@root'  : __dirname,
  '@client': __dirname + '/src/client',

// Custom handler function (starting from v2.1)
moduleAlias.addAlias('@src', (fromPath, request, alias) => {
  // fromPath - Full path of the file from which `require` was called
  // request - The path (first argument) that was passed into `require`
  // alias - The same alias that was passed as first argument to `addAlias` (`@src` in this case)

  // Return any custom target path for the `@src` alias depending on arguments
  if (fromPath.startsWith(__dirname + '/others')) return __dirname + '/others'
  return __dirname + '/src'

// Register custom modules directory
moduleAlias.addPath(__dirname + '/node_modules_custom')
moduleAlias.addPath(__dirname + '/src')

// Import settings from a specific package.json
moduleAlias(__dirname + '/package.json')

// Or let module-alias to figure where your package.json is
// located. By default it will look in the same directory
// where you have your node_modules (application's root)

Usage with WebPack

Luckily, WebPack has a built in support for aliases and custom modules directories so it's easy to make it work on the client side as well!

// webpack.config.js
const npm_package = require('./package.json')

module.exports = {
  entry: { ... },
  resolve: {
    root: __dirname,
    alias: npm_package._moduleAliases || {},
    modules: npm_package._moduleDirectories || [] // eg: ["node_modules", "node_modules_custom", "src"]

How it works?

In order to register an alias it modifies the internal Module._resolveFilename method so that when you use require or import it first checks whether the given string starts with one of the registered aliases, if so, it replaces the alias in the string with the target path of the alias.

In order to register a custom modules path (addPath) it modifies the internal Module._nodeModulePaths method so that the given directory then acts like it's the node_modules directory.

Refactor your code (for already existing projects)

If you are using this on an existing project, you can use relative-to-alias to refactor your code to start using aliases.

If you find any bugs or have a feature request, please open an issue on github!

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