I work with some projects that can be only used with specific versions of node/python and it’s not feasible to simply dockerize them. Every time I switch between these projects I’d need to reinstall different versions of node/python. That would be plain silly… BUT there’s a better way.


For Node, there’s an npm package called n. And an external installer script called nvm

N package

  1. Install any version of node
  2. Run npm install -g n
  3. Verify install: n --help

Options I use the most:

  • Install specific version: n <version>
    • e.g.: n 15.5.1
  • Select version from installed: n
  • Install and use latest node version: n latest
  • Clean up all versions except the current: n prune

In case it does not work without sudo you can follow the advice in the docs:

To avoid requiring sudo for n and npm global installs, it is suggested you either install to your home directory using N_PREFIX, or take ownership of the system directories

Note: It’s not supported on windows.


Install following the guide

  • Install specific versions: nvm install <version>

  • Select version from installed nvm list

  • Install and use the latest version nvm install latest

  • Clean up cache: nvm cache clear

  • Uninstall a specific version: nvm uninstall <version>

  • my favourite feature is that I can automatically load the selected version if an rc file is present: node --version > .nvmrc && nvm use


For Python, there’s a community made package manager solution called pyenv. It uses shell scripts and builds the selected python environment from source.

  1. Install any version of python
  2. Follow the instructions at its README

Options I use the most:

  • Install specific python version: pyenv install <version>
    • e.g: pyenv install 3.9.0
  • Use specific python version only for the current folder structure: pyenv local <version>

I hope it’ll help you as much as it helped me.

Note: It has a fork for windows.

Happy Coding!