What is the difference between Homebrew and NPM?

Homebrew and NPM are two popular package managers which are essentially used to install various packages for modern development environments. Although they appear similar, they have distinct characteristics.

Where Homebrew is specially designed for macOS which is also available for Linux; NPM is the package manager for the Node.js JavaScript runtime environment. It is a library and registry for JavaScript software packages.

Here’s an article we will explore key differences between Homebrew and NPM as a package manager.

What Is Homebrew?

Homebrew is a MacOS-specific package manager— it provides users with access to over 8500 command line tools, packages, libraries, and applications without having to manually build them from source code.

Brew comes with a lot of features like dependency resolution and versioning which makes it really easy to keep our home computer up-to-date with the latest software versions.

The best part is it is available for Linux as well and we don’t require sudo access to install applications or packages using it.

What Is NPM?

NPM stands for Node Package Manager and is a platform-agnostic library of JavaScript application programming interfaces (APIs) used by developers around the world. It is a default package manager for Node.js.

Unlike Homebrew developers use NPM to install, configure, manage, and use third-party Node.js modules in their projects.

As compared to other methods such as manual installation from source code or even downloading an installer package from various online resources, NPM reduces the efforts of resolving and installing dependencies.

HomeBrew vs NPM

Brew is Open Source NPM (Node Package Manager) is also open source
Available to use on macOS and LinuxPlatform independent hence can work on all major operating systems.
Brew is a Unix-like package manager used to install system software packages such as GIMP, Wget, etc.NPM is a Javascript package manager, hence only installs packages (web dev libraries) that are required to develop or run Java-based applications.
Used by both common system users and developers.Mainly used by Java developers, especially those who use Node.js.
It can be an alternative to the popular Linux package managers such as APT, DNF, Pacman, Zypper, and more.As NPM is limited to Java programming language and is used to install the libraries required by it, hence we cannot use NPM to replace APT, DNF, and other similar Linux system package management tools. However, it is a perfect alternative to Yarn like package manager tools.
Being a system package manager HomeBrew can install even NPM and Nodejs.But NPM cannot install HomeBrew on your Linux, macOS, or Windows to manage OS or third-party application packages because it is not a system package manager.

These were a few common but key differences between Homebrew and NPM package managers, if you want to extend this list of differences, the command section is all yours!!

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