Verify and setup a repository for workshop attendees

Usage no npm install needed!

<script type="module">
  import workshopSetup from '';



Verify and setup a repository for workshop attendees

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The problem

I make quite a few workshops and one of the biggest challenges I have is making sure that people have set things up correctly so the workshop has as few surprises as possible. So I want to have a script validate things on attendees machines before they start on the workshop and give them helpful info to fix problems early and on their own.

The problem is further complicated by the fact that I can't use any modules to do this because I can pretty much only guarantee that attendees have some version of node and npm, but not which version. So I need something that exists when they clone the repository right from the start.

This solution

This exposes a simple function that takes an array of validators which return strings of helpful text (or a promise that resolves to a string of helpful text) if the system is not valid (or null if it is valid). To overcome the issue of not being able to install things, there is a bundled version of this module that you can download from the registry and commit directly to your project.

Table of Contents


The way I expect people to use this module is by downloading the UMD build and committing it directly into their project. You can download the UMD build via npm if you like (then just copy/paste the file from node_modules) or download it from here:

curl -o scripts/workshop-setup.js -L

This module is distributed via npm which is bundled with node and can be installed as one of your project's devDependencies:

npm install --save-dev workshop-setup


Here's what I recommend:

  1. Download the workshop-setup script into scripts/workshop-setup.js
  2. Add engines config to your packge.json with node, npm, and yarn listed
  3. Add a script to your package.json called setup with: node ./scripts/setup
  4. Create the scripts/setup.js file
  5. And put this in it:
var path = require('path')
var pkg = require(path.join(process.cwd(), 'package.json'))

// if you install it then this should be require('workshop-setup')
// but that... doesn't really make sense.
    () => {
      console.log(`💯  You're all set up! 👏`)
    error => {
      console.error(`🚨  There was a problem:`)
        `\nIf you would like to just ignore this error, then feel free to do so and install dependencies as you normally would in "${process.cwd()}". Just know that things may not work properly if you do...`,

Alternative usage

Whether you install it or download it, usage is basically the same. The difference is how you require it.

// if you install it, you'd do
var workshopSetup = require('workshop-setup')
// if you download it, you'd do something like:
var workshopSetup = require('./workshop-setup')


This allows you to verify the user's system is correct:

var verifySystem = require('./workshop-setup').verifySystem

var verifyPromise = verifySystem([

  function() {
    // resolves if there are no errors
    console.log('🎉  Congrats! Your system is setup properly')
    console.log('You should be good to install and run things.')
  function(error) {
    // rejects if there are errors
      "\nIf you don't care about these warnings, go " +
        'ahead and install dependencies with `node ./scripts/install`',
    process.exitCode = 1

You can also specify custom validators. There are several utilities exposed by workshop-setup as well which can be quite helpful.

  function promiseVerify() {
    return new Promise(resolve => {
      // note the exclusion of reject here. We expect all validator promises to
      // resolve with `null` or the error message.
      resolve(null) // there were no errors
  function syncVerify() {
    if ('cats' > 'dogs') {
      return 'dogs are way better than cats'
    return null
  // here's a practical example that uses some utilities
  function validateYeoman() {
    return verifySystem.utils.execValidator('^1.8.5', 'yo --version', function(
    ) {
      return verifySystem.utils.commonTags.oneLine`
        You have version ${actual} of yeoman, but
        should have a version in the range: ${desired}
]).then(/* handle success/failure */)


The built-in validators available on workshopSetup.verifySystem.validators are:

  • node(desiredVersionRange)
  • yarn(desiredVersionRange)
  • npm(desiredNpmVersionRange)


Most of the utils are simply exposing other modules which are bundled with workshop-setup. These are available on workshopSetup.verifySystem.utils:

  • execValidator(desiredVersionRange, commandToGetVersion, messageFn) - messageFn is given actual, desired
  • oneLine: a tag that allows you to have multiple lines for a message and it'll put it all on one line
  • semver (really useful satisfies method on this one)


This will install dependencies in the given directory/directories (defaults to process.cwd()) using npm.

var path = require('path')
var installDeps = require('./workshop-setup').installDeps

var main = path.resolve(__dirname, '..')
var api = path.resolve(__dirname, '../api')
var client = path.resolve(__dirname, '../client')
installDeps([main, api, client]).then(
  () => {
    console.log('👍  all dependencies installed')
  () => {
    // ignore, workshop-setup will log for us...

// you can also do:
// which is effectively

// or, to be more specific:


This project was inspired by all of the people who have ever struggled to set up one of my workshops before. Hopefully it's easier now!

Other Solutions

I'm unaware of any other solutions for this problem. Feel free to link them here if you find any.


Thanks goes to these people (emoji key):

Kent C. Dodds

💻 📖 🚇 ⚠️

This project follows the all-contributors specification. Contributions of any kind welcome!