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In this section you will explore the use of ESLint and Prettier to establish standards for writing and formatting code. As is common practice, you will use Prettier to handle formatting-related issues and ESLint for non-formatting (code quality) issues - see Prettier vs. Linters. This is particularly important for teams where collaboration is necessary. Using ESLint and Prettier provide many benefits, for instance1:

  • Increased Code Consistency
  • Better Codebase Coherence
  • Detect Problematic Code Patterns
  • Easier Code Formatting

Indeed, these benefits are not just limited to development teams, they are equally useful for individuals working on personal projects. When potential employers look at your GitHub projects, one the first things they look at is the coding style.2

You'll start by installing ESLint and Prettier, then walking through an example of how to start customizing the rules you want to adhere to.

Installation & Initial Setup

Before you are able to add code style and formatting rules, you need to install a few packages using the terminal, as outlined below:


You will use the touch command for creating files via the command line. touch is native on Linux and Unix systems. If you are on a Windows machine you can install touch globally by running the following command:

npm install touch-cli -g

  1. Create a new package.json file using the default configuration:

    npm init -y

  2. Install Prettier:

    npm install --save-dev prettier

  3. Install ESLint:

    npm install --save-dev eslint

  4. Install relevant ESLint dependencies:

    npm install --save-dev eslint-config-prettier eslint-plugin-prettier

  5. Create a .prettierrc.js file in the root of the directory:

    touch .prettierrc.js

  6. Open the .prettierrc.js file created above and add the following formatting rules:

    module.exports = {
        semi: true, // (1)
        tabWidth: 4, // (2)
        singleQuote: true, // (3)
    1. Ensures that semicolons are added at the end of all statements.
    2. Specifies the number of spaces per indentation level to be 4.
    3. Specifies that single quotes are used instead of double quotes

    The rules above are some basic settings suggested by Prettier. Click on the numbers on each line to see what each rule means. For a detailed overview of all the possible rules for Prettier, see Prettier Options.

  7. Create a .eslint.js file in the root of the directory:

    touch .eslint.js

  8. Open the .eslint.js file created above and add the following:

    module.exports = {
        extends: ['prettier'], // (1)
        plugins: ['prettier'], // (2)
        rules: {
            'prettier/prettier': ['error'] // (3)
    1. Enables the config from eslint-config-prettier (Step 3 πŸ‘†). Turns off some ESLint rules that conflict with Prettier.
    2. Registers eslint-plugin-prettier as plugin (Step 3 πŸ‘†).
    3. Enable a rule that allows you to use Prettier from within ESLint.

Development Dependencies

In general, Node packages that are only required during development, should be installed using the npm --save-dev flag, as shown in step 1 above.


Prettier is highly opinionated which means you have much less fine-tuning control over formatting. On the other hand, ESLint is much less opinionated and hence provides you with more control relating to code-quality standards. Thankfully, well-known companies such as Airbnb and Google have written their own code style guides - see Airbnb JavaScript Style Guide and Google Java Style Guide. ESLint allows you to 'extend' or import the rules from either of the code style guides mentioned above. It is worth noting that there is no hard and fast rule for establishing code style rules and guidelines. As an example, you will use the Airbnb JavaScript Style Guide as a base config and add a custom rule for illustrative purposes.

  1. Install and save the necessary peer dependencies to use the Airbnb style guide:

    npm install --save-dev eslint-config-airbnb-base eslint-plugin-import

  2. Add 'airbnb-base' to the extends array in the .eslintrc.js file:

    module.exports = {
        extends: ['airbnb-base', 'prettier'], // (1)
        plugins: ['prettier'],
        rules: {
            'prettier/prettier': ['error'] 
    1. Imports preconfigured Airbnb style guide rules.
  3. Open the package.json file in the root directory and add a script called lint for running ESLint:

        "scripts": {
            "lint": "eslint . --fix --ext .js"

    This script allows you to use npm run lint to run the ESLint on all JavaScript files in the project. It also silently fixes any fixable issues for you!

  4. Create a server.js file in the root of the directory:

    touch server.js

  5. Open server.js and log "Hello World" to the console:

    console.log("Hello World")
  6. Run the lint script that you added in step 3 above:

    npm run lint

  7. Verify that the code is reformatted to be consistent with the rules you added to .prettierrc.js:

    console.log('Hello World');
    Notice, ESLint has automatically fixed some formatting issues for you. ESLint changed the double quotes around Hello World to single quotes and added a semi-colon to the end of the statement.


    You may have also noticed that ESLint warns you about the use of the console. This is because, by default, the airbnb code style guide that we extended from has chosen to warn developers on the use on the console. ESLint makes it very easy to overwrite any code style rules you want. To allow the use of the console, see steps 8 & 9 below πŸ‘‡.

  8. (Optional) Append a rule to the .eslintrc.js file that allows the use of the console:

    module.exports = {
        extends: ['airbnb-base', 'prettier'], 
        plugins: ['prettier'],
        rules: {
            'prettier/prettier': ['error'],
            'no-console': 'off' // (1)
    1. Allow the use of console statements.
  9. (Optional) Rerun the lint script and verify that ESLint no longer shows a warning message:

    npm run lint

Congratulations πŸ‘

This is all you need to do to start using ESLint and Prettier in your projects. For a more detailed list of the rules that use for customizing your code style, see ESLint Rules.

Extensions for ESLint and Prettier

Thankfully VS Code has extensions for both ESLint and Prettier:

ESLint and Prettier also support other IDE's and editors:


By the end of this section, you will have successfully learned the following:

  • The benefits of using tools such as ESLint and Prettier.
  • How to install and setup ESLint and Prettier.
  • How to customize ESLint.

Great job πŸ€—. You can go ahead and click on the link below to move on to the next step:

Installing Express