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cdnjs vs npm: What are the differences?

Introduction:

When it comes to managing and integrating libraries and dependencies into a website or web application, two commonly used tools are cdnjs and npm. While both serve a similar purpose, there are key differences between the two.

  1. Library Management System:

    cdnjs is primarily a content delivery network (CDN) that hosts and delivers popular JavaScript libraries, CSS files, fonts, and other web assets. It provides an easy way to include external libraries on a website by simply referencing the library's URL. On the other hand, npm is a package manager for JavaScript that is used to manage libraries and dependencies within a project. It allows developers to easily install, update, and remove packages from their projects, making it easier to handle complex dependencies.

  2. Scalability:

    cdnjs is designed to handle large amounts of traffic and serve files globally through multiple servers. This makes it highly scalable and ensures fast delivery of assets to users across the globe. npm, on the other hand, is primarily focused on managing packages within a project and does not provide the same level of scalability as cdnjs.

  3. Package Versioning:

    npm provides a robust versioning system that allows developers to specify the exact version of a package they want to use in their project. This ensures that the project remains stable and consistent, as any updates to the package will not affect the project unless explicitly specified. cdnjs, on the other hand, does not provide versioning. Instead, it serves the latest version of a library by default. While this can be convenient for quick prototyping or development, it may introduce compatibility issues if the latest version of a library is not compatible with the project.

  4. Package Availability:

    npm has a vast and diverse ecosystem of packages available in its registry. This means that developers have a wide range of options to choose from when it comes to finding libraries and dependencies for their projects. cdnjs, on the other hand, has a more limited selection of libraries and is primarily focused on hosting popular and widely used libraries.

  5. Development Workflow:

    npm is often used during the development phase of a project and is integrated into the build process to handle dependencies. It allows developers to easily install, update, and manage packages, making development more efficient. cdnjs, on the other hand, is typically used in production environments to serve static assets to end-users. It does not have the same level of development-focused features as npm.

  6. Community and Collaboration:

    npm has a large and active community of developers, which means that there is a vast amount of documentation, resources, and support available. It also facilitates collaboration between developers, as packages can be easily shared and published to the npm registry. cdnjs, on the other hand, does not have the same level of community and collaboration features as npm. It is primarily focused on hosting and delivering libraries.

In summary, cdnjs is a CDN that hosts and delivers web assets, while npm is a package manager for managing libraries and dependencies within a project. cdnjs is highly scalable and provides an easy way to include external libraries on a website, while npm offers a wider range of packages, versioning control, and a more robust development workflow.

Advice on cdnjs and npm
Needs advice
on
npmnpm
and
YarnYarn

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 · 242.8K views
Recommends
on
YarnYarn
at

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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Recommends
on
npmnpm

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
Recommends
on
npmnpmnpmnpm

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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Recommends
on
YarnYarn

p.s.

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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Recommends
on
YarnYarn

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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Francois Leurent
Recommends
on
npmnpm
at

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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Recommends
on
YarnYarn

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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Tor Hagemann
Principal Software Engineer at Socotra · | 3 upvotes · 128.4K views
Recommends
on
npmnpmYarnYarn

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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Digital All
Recommends
on
npmnpm

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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tataata
Frontend designer and developer · | 3 upvotes · 228.3K views
Recommends
on
YarnYarn

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

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Shuuji TAKAHASHI
Recommends
on
YarnYarn

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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Denys Slipetskyy
Lead Software Engineer · | 3 upvotes · 229K views
Recommends
on
YarnYarn
at

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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Recommends
on
npmnpm

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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Izzur Zuhri
Recommends
on
npmnpm

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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Decisions about cdnjs and npm
Oleksandr Fedotov
Senior Software Engineer at joyn · | 3 upvotes · 269K 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 · 279.9K views
Chose
YarnYarn
over
npmnpm
at
()

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 cdnjs
Pros of npm
  • 4
    Fast
  • 3
    Free
  • 2
    Easy Interface
  • 1
    Largest user base
  • 1
    Most number of libraries
  • 647
    Best package management system for javascript
  • 382
    Open-source
  • 327
    Great community
  • 148
    More packages than rubygems, pypi, or packagist
  • 112
    Nice people matter
  • 6
    As fast as yarn but really free of facebook
  • 6
    Audit feature
  • 4
    Good following
  • 1
    Super fast
  • 1
    Stability

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Cons of cdnjs
Cons of npm
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 5
      Problems with lockfiles
    • 5
      Bad at package versioning and being deterministic
    • 3
      Node-gyp takes forever
    • 1
      Super slow

    Sign up to add or upvote consMake informed product decisions

    What is cdnjs?

    Everyone loves the Google CDN? Even Microsoft runs their own CDN. The problem is, they only host the most popular libraries. We host it all - JavaScript, CSS, SWF, images, etc! Powered by CloudFlare.

    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.

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    What companies use cdnjs?
    What companies use npm?
    See which teams inside your own company are using cdnjs or npm.
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    What tools integrate with cdnjs?
    What tools integrate with npm?

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    What are some alternatives to cdnjs and npm?
    jsDelivr
    jsDelivr is a free CDN for open source developers, with advanced features for javascript projects with access to NPM and Github It uses multiple CDN providers, resulting in the best possible uptime and performance.
    MaxCDN
    The MaxCDN Content Delivery Network efficiently delivers your site’s static file through hundreds of servers instead of slogging through a single host. This "smart route" technology distributes your content to your visitors via the city closest to them.
    JavaScript
    JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
    Git
    Git is a free and open source distributed version control system designed to handle everything from small to very large projects with speed and efficiency.
    GitHub
    GitHub is the best place to share code with friends, co-workers, classmates, and complete strangers. Over three million people use GitHub to build amazing things together.
    See all alternatives