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Yarn Vs Npm: Npm Explained

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Node Package Manager, or NPM as it’s commonly referred to, is the de-facto package manager for JavaScript projects. With NPM, developers have access to a sizeable public registry of packages with useful tools, And with the advent of tools like Yarn, the use of NPM has been further democratized. In this article, we’ll explore what the difference is between NPM and Yarn, and learn about the advantages and disadvantages of using each.

What is Npm?

NPM is a package manager that facilitates installation, sharing, and managing of packages (also known as modules) for JavaScript projects. NPM also has a public registry of packages; this registry is called the NPM Registry. The registry is a collection of over 400,000 packages (some free and some paid). The packages in the NPM Registry are maintained by communities of contributors, who submit bug fixes and feature additions. In other words, when a developer wants to use a package, they can simply search the NPM Registry and if it exists there, they can easily pull it into their project.

NPM also provides a command line interface (CLI) that allows developers to install, update, and uninstall packages from the command line. This makes it easy to manage packages and keep them up to date. Additionally, NPM provides a platform for developers to publish their own packages, allowing them to share their code with the world.

Benefits of Using Npm

NPM simplifies the process of installing and managing packages for a JavaScript project. It does so by providing straightforward commands for installing, uninstalling, and searching for packages. Additionally, developers can also browse packages in the registry directly to find what they need. This makes it easier to maintain large projects with a combination of different packages.

NPM also provides developers with easy access to numerous packages, meaning they don’t have to write as much custom code in order to complete their projects. This saves time and lowers the chance of errors due to missing or incomplete logic. Furthermore, having access to these packages means that developers are no longer confined to the traditional ways of developing web applications; instead, they can pull in packages to give their projects the extra boost they need.

NPM also provides developers with the ability to easily share their packages with other developers. This allows developers to collaborate on projects more efficiently, as they can quickly and easily share their packages with others. Additionally, developers can also use NPM to keep track of the versions of their packages, ensuring that they are always up to date with the latest version.

Advantages of Yarn Over Npm

While NPM is a powerful tool for package management, its main drawback is that file downloads from the NPM Registry can be slow and unreliable at times. Yarn was created as an alternative package manager that addresses this issue. Yarn works differently than NPM in that it caches files locally on a developer’s machine. This means that file downloads from the NPM Registry do not have to be requested every time a package is needed. This speeds up the package installation process significantly – resulting in faster development times.

In addition to being faster than NPM, Yarn also provides developers with more features and control over how their projects are managed. Yarn offers features such as auto-generated lock files which prevent developers from accidentally adding wrong package versions. It also enables developers to instantly pull in dependencies stored on Github – making it easier for teams to collaborate on the same project without having to share their packages or code.

Yarn also offers a more secure package installation process than NPM. Yarn uses checksums to verify the integrity of each package before it is installed, ensuring that the package is not corrupted or tampered with. This helps to ensure that developers are only installing packages that are safe and secure.

Disadvantages of Yarn Compared to Npm

While Yarn provides a number of useful features, it also has its drawbacks. For one thing, Yarn is not as widely used as NPM as it is relatively new. As a result, there are fewer resources and tutorials available for developers who are new to using it. Furthermore, since it stores files locally, developers must manually keep track of any updates made to packages – which can be time consuming. Additionally, since Yarn lacks certain features such as access to private packages, developers must still rely on NPM when working with these packages.

Another disadvantage of Yarn is that it is not as fast as NPM. This is because Yarn has to download the entire package before it can be installed, whereas NPM can install packages in parts. This can be a problem for developers who are working on large projects with many dependencies, as it can take a long time for Yarn to download and install all the necessary packages.

How to Install and Use Npm

Installing NPM is relatively straightforward. All you need to do is download and install Node.js – the JavaScript runtime environment – then you can use the command line interface to access and run NPM commands. Once installed, you can run various commands to install, uninstall and search for packages in the NPM Registry.

To install a package, simply run the “install” command along with the package name. This will install the package into your project directory, and add an entry for the package in your “package.json” file (which keeps track of all the packages you have installed). To uninstall a package, use the “uninstall” command followed by the package name.

To search for a package in the NPM Registry, use the “search” command followed by a keyword related to your search. For example, if you want to find a package for creating charts for your project, you can run “npm search charts” which will return a list of relevant packages related to your search query.

Once you have installed the package, you can use the “run” command to execute the package. This will run the code associated with the package, and you can use the output to create the desired charts or other visuals. Additionally, you can use the “update” command to update the package to the latest version, ensuring that you have the most up-to-date version of the package.

Commonly Used Commands in Npm

In addition to the “install” and “uninstall” commands mentioned earlier, there are several other commands that can be used with NPM. These include the “list” command which lists all installed packages in your project; the “run” command which runs scripts specified in your “package.json” file; and the “update” command which updates installed packages to their latest version.

Troubleshooting with Npm

If you encounter any errors or warning messages when using NPM, you can refer to the official NPM website for troubleshooting advice. They have an exhaustive list of common problems and solutions that will help you fix most issues you are likely to encounter.

Alternatives to Npm

Whilst NPM is the most popular package manager currently in use, there are alternatives available that provide additional features or different ways of working with packages. For example; there are package managers such as Bower and NuGet used in .NET projects, or Yarn which provides faster package installation speeds.

Conclusion

Node Package Manager (NPM) is a powerful tool for managing JavaScript projects, providing easy access to numerous packages in their Registry. Whilst it does have its drawbacks such as slow file download speeds compared to alternatives like Yarn, it is nonetheless a great asset for any JavaScript developer working on complex projects. Alternatives such as Bower and NuGet are available for other languages, however NPM remains the de-facto package manager for JavaScript.

Nisha Kumari

Nisha Kumari

Nisha Kumari, a Founding Engineer at Bito, brings a comprehensive background in software engineering, specializing in Java/J2EE, PHP, HTML, CSS, JavaScript, and web development. Her career highlights include significant roles at Accenture, where she led end-to-end project deliveries and application maintenance, and at PubMatic, where she honed her skills in online advertising and optimization. Nisha's expertise spans across SAP HANA development, project management, and technical specification, making her a versatile and skilled contributor to the tech industry.

Written by developers for developers

This article was handcrafted with by the Bito team.

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