We're live-coding on Twitch! Join us!
How to build a NodeJs command line app with Yargs.

How to build a NodeJs command line app with Yargs.



What is a command line app ?

A command line app is an app that is run from the console(terminal).

Hi, to do this, we will use Yargs, a NodeJs module. We can also use commander, inquirer etc.


So today, we are going to build a simple command line app that echoes a message supplied to the apps default argument. We are going to use Yargs to accomplish it.


Nodejs and Npm.


To start and fully understand this tutorial, you need to have the knowledge of :

  1. Javascript (ES6)
  2. NodeJS

Setting up our project.

Lets start this tutorial now. So i'll name the command line app name laisi. We'll create a folder named laisi and initialize it with npm.

mkdir laisi && cd laisi && npm init -y

Edit your package.json

  "name": "laisi",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "Simple command line app",
  "main": "index.js",
  "keywords": [],
  "author": "Abdulazeez Abdulazeez Adeshina <laisibizness@gmail.com> (http://twitter.com/kvng_zeez)",
  "license": "MIT",
  "dependencies": {
    "yargs": "^10.0.3"

Writing our app.

We'll create a new file index.js and add this to it:

#!/usr/bin/env node

The code above tells the app that its a command line app such that it can be run from any angle. :) After that, we require yargs and set it up.

const argv = require('yargs')
    .usage('Usage: $0 option message \n e.g $0 -s message')
    .alias('s', 'message')
    .nargs('s', 1)
    .describe('s', 'Say message')
    .alias('h', 'help')
    .epilog('Copyright Abdul 2017')

Code Explanation

  1. The .usage is responsible for displaying the instructions on how to make use of our app. The $0 there represents the name of the file where our code is stored i.e index.js.
  2. The .alias defines the default argument -s which our messages will be supplied upon.
  3. The .nargs simply means the number of arguments -s can take and its set to 1.
  4. The .describe further explains the -s argument.
  5. The .demandOption makes sure the argument is supplied.
  6. The .help displays the option again.

Logging out message passed.

To log the message supplied to the argument to the console, we'll add this to the end of our index.js


Making it fully command line.

To make our app fully command line, we'll make our index.js executable with the command:

chmod +x index.js

and add this to your package.json

"bin": {
    "laisi": "./index.js"

After that, we'll link our app to make it available globally

sudo npm link

Upon using the command above, we have our app as a command line. To verify our process, call our app from the command line


and you should get this screen. After that, we can now install our app with the command :

sudo npm i -g


We have come to the end of our tutorial. Feel free to drop comments once you are stuck.

La Fin

Like this article? Follow @kvng_zeez on Twitter