npm 2 and newer

It’s possible to pass args to npm run since npm 2 (2014). The syntax is as follows:

npm run <command> [-- <args>]

Note the -- separator, used to separate the params passed to npm command itself, and the params passed to your script.

With the example package.json:

  "scripts": {
    "grunt": "grunt",
    "server": "node server.js"
  }

here’s how to pass the params to those scripts:

npm run grunt -- task:target  // invokes `grunt task:target`
npm run server -- --port=1337 // invokes `node server.js --port=1337`

Note: If your param does not start with - or --, then having an explicit -- separator is not needed; but it’s better to do it anyway for clarity.

npm run grunt task:target     // invokes `grunt task:target`

Note below the difference in behavior (test.js has console.log(process.argv)): the params which start with - or -- are passed to npm and not to the script, and are silently swallowed there.

$ npm run test foobar
['C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe', 'C:\\git\\myrepo\\test.js',  'foobar']

$ npm run test -foobar
['C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe', 'C:\\git\\myrepo\\test.js']

$ npm run test --foobar
['C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe', 'C:\\git\\myrepo\\test.js']

$ npm run test -- foobar
['C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe', 'C:\\git\\myrepo\\test.js', 'foobar']

$ npm run test -- -foobar
['C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe', 'C:\\git\\myrepo\\test.js', '-foobar']

$ npm run test -- --foobar
['C:\\Program Files\\nodejs\\node.exe', 'C:\\git\\myrepo\\test.js', '--foobar']

The difference is clearer when you use a param actually used by npm:

$ npm test --help      // this is disguised `npm --help test`
npm test [-- <args>]

aliases: tst, t

To get the parameter value, see this question. For reading named parameters, it’s probably best to use a parsing library like yargs or minimist; nodejs exposes process.argv globally, containing command line parameter values, but this is a low-level API (whitespace-separated array of strings, as provided by the operating system to the node executable).


Edit 2013.10.03: It’s not currently possible directly. But there’s a related GitHub issue opened on npm to implement the behavior you’re asking for. Seems the consensus is to have this implemented, but it depends on another issue being solved before.


Original answer (2013.01): As a some kind of workaround (though not very handy), you can do as follows:

Say your package name from package.json is myPackage and you have also

"scripts": {
    "start": "node ./script.js server"
}

Then add in package.json:

"config": {
    "myPort": "8080"
}

And in your script.js:

// defaulting to 8080 in case if script invoked not via "npm run-script" but directly
var port = process.env.npm_package_config_myPort || 8080

That way, by default npm start will use 8080. You can however configure it (the value will be stored by npm in its internal storage):

npm config set myPackage:myPort 9090

Then, when invoking npm start, 9090 will be used (the default from package.json gets overridden).