Restoring and Publishing NPM Packages from Azure CI Pipeline

5 minute read

Do you want to restore and publish your scoped and public npm packages from Azure CI Pipeline? Do you want to Configure CI/CD for Node application with Azure Pipelines? Are you Configuring a Node.js app? Then read this article. I will demonstrate the azure pipelines how to use .npmrc file and publish node packages to artifacts. And consume the same node package in your project by installing it locally.


I have one project, where I depend on 2 scoped npm libraries from my own company’s artifacts feed. And I want to create Azure Build CI pipeline which will do below on build machine:

  1. Install node packages both private scoped and public npm packages.

  1. Build project (optional)
  2. publish the dist folder to my private azure artifacts npm registry

If you have not setup .npmrc file in your local box yet. Then please read Setting up NPMRC in Windows Developer Box for Azure DevOps Server.

Creating a repo on Azure DevOps Server

Create your repository in azure devOps server. This is my repo. You can create angular, vue.js or any project. I have created simple JavaScript project.

Creating Personal Authentication Token for Azure CI/CD Pipeline

We need one personal authentication token in order to run ci/cd in azure pipelines. Therefore, create a PAT called as npm-cicd in azure tokens and base64 encode it. Learn more here.

We will create new Azure CI/CD environment variable and use this base64 encoded value.

Creating NPM_TOKEN secret on the Azure CI/CD server

Edit your Azure pipeline and in variables create a new secret NPM_TOKEN, in your CI/CD server. Set your Base64 encoded auth token as it’s value.

Creating and Check-In a project-specific .npmrc file

Learn how to create .npmrc here.

If you keep the .npmrc at root level then for local developer when they try to install npm packages they will get an error.

Error: Failed to replace env in config: $(NPM_TOKEN)

Therefore, consider moving .npmrc template file at npmrc/.npmrc location. Create .npmrc file at npmrc/.npmrc location. Make sure you put the .npmrc file under some folder, I will put it in npmrc/.npmrc. You can use any name for this folder.

Next in .npmrc file make sure to use $(NPM_TOKEN) for password field in your .npmrc file. We will use Azure Pipeline Environment Variable to dynamically replace the value of $(NPM_TOKEN) in our .npmrc file at Build time in Azure CI pipeline.


; begin auth token
; end auth token

Creating Azure Pipeline For restoring Npm Packages during CI Build

Create azure-pipelines.yml file.

  1. First we have to copy .npmrc file to package.json location where we have defined our project dependencies. So that npm will use the credentials defined in .npmrc file and install all scoped private node packages.
- task: CopyFiles@2
    displayName: copy npmrc file
      sourceFolder: 'npmrc'
      Contents: '**'
      targetFolder: './'
  1. We need to install all npm packages.
 - task: Npm@1
    displayName: 'NPM CI'
      command: ci
      verbose: false
  1. Here is my final Azure-Pipelines.yaml
  - master

  name: 'Default'

  - task: CopyFiles@2
    displayName: copy npmrc file
      sourceFolder: 'npmrc'
      Contents: '**'
      targetFolder: './'
  - task: Npm@1
    displayName: 'NPM CI'
      command: ci
      verbose: false

Running Azure Pipelines to restore scoped npm packages on CI build

While running CI build, it will dynamically use the NPM_TOKEN in my .npmrc file and use that credential to restore scoped private npm packages from azure artifacts feed. Notice my build succeed and I could install all my local and public node packages.

.npmrc is Required During Publishing Npm Package

So we could install scoped npm packages during CI build. Now we will add npm publish script to publish our project into azure artifacts feed. However, notice in my project I want to publish my files which are under dist folder.

You might know that in order to publish files to npm registry. You must add .npmrc file to the location where your package.json is present and from the location where you are running npm publish script.

Therefore, we must copy .npmrc file to dist folder as well. I will do this copy process in my build script.

Creating Build script to copy .npmrc file To dist folder

  1. Install copyfiles in your project devdependencies. Run npm i copyfiles -D

  2. Create build script add below code:

  "scripts": {
    "build": "copyfiles -f npmrc/.npmrc dist"

Run Build npm run build Notice .npmrc file get copied to dist folder.

If you are using Angular project then do below to get .npmrc file copied automatically on ng build command.

  • Go to angular.json or if you are using Nx monorepo then go to workspace.json and identify location In this location just add your .npmrc file path and it will be copied to dist folder automatically.

    "YourAngularApp": {
        "targets": {
            "build": {
                "options": { ...
                     "assets": [

Adding Build Script in Azure CI Pipelines

Now we will add command line script azure pipelines to run npm run build. Add below script on azure-pipelines.yml

- script: npm run build
  displayName: Build

Notice build is success:

Adding Publish script in Azure CI Pipelines

Now we will run npm publish from dist folder. Add below script on azure-pipelines.yml

- script: npm publish
  displayName: Publish
  workingDirectory: './dist'

Notice publish is success:

Verify Azure Artifacts to See your Npm Package

Now I will go to on-premise azure artifacts and search for my npm package. Notice I find my package in my azure artifacts.

Install your NPM package and use it

Next I will install my published npm package in some project and try to use it.

const { log } = require('@myorg-branding/testing-cicd');

log('Working with my new package logger');

See my package is working



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