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Advice on Bower, npm, and RequireJS
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From a StackShare Community member: “I’m a freelance web developer (I mostly use Node.js) and for future projects I’m debating between npm or Yarn as my default package manager. I’m a minimalist so I hate installing software if I don’t need to- in this case that would be Yarn. For those who made the switch from npm to Yarn, what benefits have you noticed? For those who stuck with npm, are you happy you with it?"

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Replies (14)
Julian Sanchez
Lead Developer at Chore Champion · | 11 upvotes · 190.1K views

We use Yarn because it allows us to more simply manage our node_modules. It also simplifies commands and increases speed when installing modules. Our teams module download time was cut in half after switching from NPM to Yarn. We now require all employees to use Yarn (to prevent errors with package-lock.json and yarn.lock).

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I use npm since new version is pretty fast as well (Yarn may be still faster a bit but the difference isn't huge). No need for other dependency and mainly Yarn sometimes do not work. Sometimes when I want to install project dependencies I got error using Yarn but with npm everything is installed correctly.

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Mark Nelissen

I use npm because I also mainly use React and TypeScript. Since several typings (from DefinitelyTyped) depend on the React typings, Yarn tends to mess up which leads to duplicate libraries present (different versions of the same type definition), which hinders the Typescript compiler. Npm always resolves to a single version per transitive dependency. At least that's my experience with both.

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I am not sure about the performance of the latest version of npm, whether it is different from my understanding of it below. Because I use npm very rarely when I had the following knowledge.


I use Yarn because, first, yarn is the first tool to lock the version. Second, although npm also supports the lock version, when you use npm to lock the version, and then use package-lock.json on other systems, package-lock.json Will be modified. You understand what I mean, when you deploy projects based on Git...

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As far as I know Yarn is a super module of NPM. But it still needs npm to run.

Yarn was developed by Facebook's guys to fix some npm issues and performance.

If you use the last version of npm most of this problem does not exist anymore.

You can choose the option which makes you more confortable. I like using yarn because I'm used to it.

In the end the packages will be the same. Just try both and choose the one you feel more confortable. :)

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Izzur Zuhri

I use npm because it has a lot of community support and the performance difference with alternative tool is not so significant for me.

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I use Yarn because it outputs nice progress messages with cute emoji and installs packages quickly if the package is cached. Also, Yarn creates yarn.lock file which makes the developer use the consistent environment.

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I am a minimalist too. I once had issues with installing Nuxt.js using NPM so I had to install Yarn but I also found that the Dev experience was much better

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Frontend designer and developer · | 3 upvotes · 176.6K views

Yarn made it painless for the team to sync on versions of packages that we use on the project <3

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Tor Hagemann
Principal Software Engineer at Socotra · | 3 upvotes · 76.8K views

You should use whichever had the best DX (developer experience) for your team. If you are doing a massive front-end project, consider yarn if not only because it makes it a snap to go from zero to ready. What some people say about npm being more stable or easier for smaller projects is highly true as well. (not to mention, you sometimes have to install yarn) But, note that official NodeJS Docker images ship with both npm and yarn. If you want to use yarn, put package-lock=false and optionally save-exact=true in your project's .npmrc file. Compare whether you prefer the ergonomics of yarn global add over npm install -g or see fewer meaningless warnings for the specific set of dependencies you leverage.

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Francois Leurent

We tend to stick to npm, yarn is only a fancy alternative, not 10x better. Using a self -hosted private repository (via sinopia/npm-mirror) make package locking (mostly) pointless.

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I use npm because its the official package manager for Node. It's reliability, security and speed has increased over time so the battle is over!

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Digital All

I use npm because its packaged with node installation and handles npm tokens in CI/CD tools for private packages/libraries.

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Denys Slipetskyy

I use Yarn because it process my dependencies way faster, predictable deps resolution order, upgrade-interactive is very handy + some Yarn specific features (workspaces, Plug’n’Play alternative installation strategy) ...

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Decisions about Bower, npm, and RequireJS
Julien Fouilhé

Yarn v3 is a fantastic tool to organize monorepos. Thanks to its offline cache, our CI/CD steps are streamlined and faster.

Other tools like Turbo integrate easily with its monorepo features.

One regretful thing is that Yarn PnP is not widely supported, which does not allow us to fully use Zero-installs/PnP for even faster builds and a better developer experience.

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Oleksandr Fedotov
Senior Software Engineer at joyn · | 3 upvotes · 208.5K views

As we have to build the application for many different TV platforms we want to split the application logic from the device/platform specific code. Previously we had different repositories and it was very hard to keep the development process when changes were done in multiple repositories, as we had to synchronize code reviews as well as merging and then updating the dependencies of projects. This issues would be even more critical when building the project from scratch what we did at Joyn. Therefor to keep all code in one place, at the same time keeping in separated in different modules we decided to give a try to monorepo. First we tried out lerna which was fine at the beginning, but later along the way we had issues with adding new dependencies which came out of the blue and were not easy to fix. Next round of evolution was yarn workspaces, we are still using it and are pretty happy with dev experience it provides. And one more advantage we got when switched to yarn workspaces that we also switched from npm to yarn what improved the state of the lock file a lot, because with npm package-lock file was updated every time you run npm install, frequent updates of package-lock file were causing very often merge conflicts. So right now we not just having faster dependencies installation time but also no conflicts coming from lock file.

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Petr Bambušek
Head of Frontend at Mews · | 2 upvotes · 219.1K views

This was no real choice - we switched the moment Yarn was available, and never looked back. Yarn is the only reasonable frontend package manager that's actually being developed. They even aim to heal the node_modules madness with v2! Npm is just copying its ideas on top of introducing massive bugs with every change.

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Pros of Bower
Pros of npm
Pros of RequireJS
  • 483
    Package management
  • 214
    Open source
  • 142
  • 53
    Great for for project dependencies injection
  • 27
    Web components with Meteor
  • 8
    Portable dependencies Management
  • 647
    Best package management system for javascript
  • 382
  • 327
    Great community
  • 148
    More packages than rubygems, pypi, or packagist
  • 112
    Nice people matter
  • 6
    Audit feature
  • 5
    As fast as yarn but really free of facebook
  • 4
    Good following
  • 1
    Super fast
  • 1
  • 79
    Open source
  • 69
    Modular script loader
  • 66
  • 49
    Great for AMD
  • 30
  • 14

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Cons of Bower
Cons of npm
Cons of RequireJS
  • 2
  • 1
    Front end only
  • 5
    Problems with lockfiles
  • 5
    Bad at package versioning and being deterministic
  • 3
    Node-gyp takes forever
  • 1
    Super slow
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    - No public GitHub repository available -

    What is Bower?

    Bower is a package manager for the web. It offers a generic, unopinionated solution to the problem of front-end package management, while exposing the package dependency model via an API that can be consumed by a more opinionated build stack. There are no system wide dependencies, no dependencies are shared between different apps, and the dependency tree is flat.

    What is npm?

    npm is the command-line interface to the npm ecosystem. It is battle-tested, surprisingly flexible, and used by hundreds of thousands of JavaScript developers every day.

    What is RequireJS?

    RequireJS loads plain JavaScript files as well as more defined modules. It is optimized for in-browser use, including in a Web Worker, but it can be used in other JavaScript environments, like Rhino and Node. It implements the Asynchronous Module API. Using a modular script loader like RequireJS will improve the speed and quality of your code.

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    What are some alternatives to Bower, npm, and RequireJS?
    Yarn caches every package it downloads so it never needs to again. It also parallelizes operations to maximize resource utilization so install times are faster than ever.
    A bundler for javascript and friends. Packs many modules into a few bundled assets. Code Splitting allows to load parts for the application on demand. Through "loaders" modules can be CommonJs, AMD, ES6 modules, CSS, Images, JSON, Coffeescript, LESS, ... and your custom stuff.
    Build system automating tasks: minification and copying of all JavaScript files, static images. More capable of watching files to automatically rerun the task when a file changes.
    A free and open-source package manager designed for the Microsoft development platform. It is also distributed as a Visual Studio extension.
    It is a tool for dependency management in PHP. It allows you to declare the libraries your project depends on and it will manage (install/update) them for you.
    See all alternatives