Preview 2.0 is now in Public Beta!
Read the Announcement

There are a few npm packages that are fundamental to NativeScript development and good to understand.


A JavaScript library providing an easy to use api for interacting with iOS and Android platform APIs.


The v8 JavaScript engine runtime enabled for Android NativeScript development.


The v8 JavaScript engine runtime enabled for iOS NativeScript development.

You can also use a JavaScriptCore version of this runtime using the npm tag JSC. This can be useful for projects that may experience any issue with the v8 engine.


This provides TypeScript definitions for all iOS and Android APIs available to do NativeScript development with.


This provides loaders, helpers and base configs for all fundamental NativeScript development to debug, run, build and release your apps.


CLI (Command Line Interface) used for creating/running/building/deploying NativeScript apps. Often installed globally along with a proper Environment Setup via npm install -g nativescript.


There are also quite a number of plugins maintained and developed by the NativeScript TSC which you can find documented here

NPM Versioning

NativeScript packages do not follow Semantic Versioning for a particular reason. Since NativeScript enables the empowerment of JavaScript with native platform APIs we strive to do major releases around platform API tooling upgrade cycles (Things like Xcode, Android Studio, etc.). Major/Minor releases are generally released every six months (~March and ~September which is often the timeframe platform API toolchains are also updated), while patch releases may be released as often as every week. Patch releases should never contain breaking changes, however minor and major releases can. We strive to always note any breaking changes in the Changelogs, to make upgrades as easy as possible.

We always recommend using tilde ~ with any NativeScript package versions in your projects to ensure anytime you execute ns clean against your project that the subsequent run will pull down the latest patch release fixes to anything we may have released.

For example, when referencing the @nativescript/* packages, we always recommend the following:

"dependencies": {
  "@nativescript/core": "~8.1.0"
"devDependencies": {
  "@nativescript/android": "~8.1.0",
  "@nativescript/ios": "~8.1.0",
  "@nativescript/types": "~8.1.0",
  "@nativescript/webpack": "~5.0.0"

This will ensure bug fix patch updates are automatically installed when cleaning your projects in addition to ensuring that no major version changes may accidentally pulled it which may contain breaking changes.

When to use caret ^?

If you are comfortable with the particular npm package and are Ok handling any potential breaking changes from dependencies in your projects on your own then using a caret in front of your versions is absolutely fine.

Learn more about version specifiers here

When to use next?

Using next as the version for any NativeScript related packages will always pull down latest main (or master) changes from the repo which is likely to contain breaking changes however can be a great way to try out cutting edge features or fixes. Use next when you absolutely know what you are doing.