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proto v0.5 - Version aliasing and global binaries

· 2 min read
Miles Johnson
Founder, developer

With this release, we're providing solutions for installing globals and using aliases.

Install global binaries

Installing global binaries (packages, modules, etc) is a common task for developers, and proto now provides a solution for this workflow with the proto install-global command. Continue reading for more information.


Global install directories will need to be added manually to your PATH from your shell.

Bun, Deno, Go, Rust

All of these languages provide a built-in solution for installing global binaries to a shared location, regardless of the language's current version. Because of this, proto will simply call their install commands under the hood.

$ proto install-global rust cargo-release

# Same as
$ cargo install cargo-release --force

Globals will be installed to the following locations:

  • Bun: ~/.bun/bin
  • Deno: ~/.deno/bin
  • Go: ~/go/bin
  • Rust: ~/.cargo/bin

Node.js, npm, pnpm, yarn

Unfortunately, the Node.js ecosystem is pretty fractured when it comes to installing global binaries. Each package manager provides their own solution for installing globals, and each has their own quirks. The problem is further exacerbated by the fact that globals are tied to Node.js version, so if you switch versions, you lose all your previous globals!

To work around this, proto standardizes the global installation process for Node.js, but requires all globals to be installed through proto. You can no longer use npm install -g, pnpm add -g, so on and so forth, and must use:

$ proto install-global node webpack-cli

Globals will be installed to a shared location, ~/.proto/tools/node/globals/bin, and will persist across versions!

Custom version aliases

We are excited to announce 2 new commands that enable you to define custom version aliases, proto alias and proto unalias. Aliasing of versions is a feature that allows you to assign a custom name or label to a specific version of a tool.

For example, instead of using the version number, you can assign a label such as "work" or "personal" to a version. This makes it easier to remember and manage different versions.

$ proto alias node work 16.16
$ proto alias node personal 18

Aliases can be used anywhere a version is accepted, for example:

$ proto bin node work
$ proto install node personal