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Difference between npm and yarn

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  • Difficulty Level : Hard
  • Last Updated : 02 Mar, 2020
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NPM and Yarn are package managers that help to manage a project’s dependencies. A dependency is, as it sounds, something that a project depends on, a piece of code that is required to make the project work properly. We need them because managing the project’s dependencies is a difficult task and it quickly becomes tedious, and out of hand when the project grows. By managing the dependencies, we mean to include, un-include, and update them.

npm: It is a package manager for the JavaScript programming language. It is the default package manager for the JavaScript runtime environment Node.js. It consists of a command-line client, also called npm, and an online database of public and paid-for private packages called the npm registry.

yarn: It stands for Yet Another Resource Negotiator and it is a package manager just like npm. It was developed by Facebook and is now open-source. The intention behind developing yarn(at that time) was to fix performance and security concerns with npm.

The differences between npm and yarn are explained below:

Installation procedure

  • npm: npm is installed with Node automatically.
  • yarn: To install yarn npm have to be installed.
    npm install yarn --global

The lock file

  • npm: NPM generates a ‘package-lock.json’ file. The package-lock.json file is a little more complex due to a trade-off between determinism and simplicity. Due to this complexity, the package-lock will generate the same node_modules folder for different npm versions. Every dependency will have an exact version number associated with it in the package-lock file.
  • yarn: Yarn generates a ‘yarn.lock’ file. Yarn lock files help in easy merge. The merges are predictable as well, because of the design of the lock file.

Output log

  • install: The npm creates massive output logs of npm commands. It is essentially a dump of stack trace of what npm is doing.
  • add: The yarn output logs are clean, visually distinguishable and brief. They are also ordered in a tree form for understandability.

Installing global dependencies

  • npm: To install a global package, the command template for npm is:
    npm install -g package_name@version_number
  • yarn: To install a global package, the command template for yarn is:
    yarn global add package_name@version_number

The ‘why’ command:

  • npm: npm yet doesn’t has a ‘why’ functionality built in.
  • yarn: Yarn comes with a ‘why’ command that tells why a dependency is present in the project. For example, it is a dependency, a native module, or a project dependency.

License Checker

  • npm: npm doesn’t has a license checker that can give a handy description of all the licenses that a project is bound with, due to installed dependencies.
  • yarn: Yarn has a neat license checker. To see them, run
    yarn licenses list

Fetching packages

  • npm: npm fetches dependencies from the npm registry during every ‘npm install‘ command.
  • Yarn: yarn stores dependencies locally, and fetches from the disk during a ‘yarn add‘ command (assuming the dependency(with the specific version) is present locally).

Commands changed in yarn after npm

Install dependenciesnpm installyarn
Install packagenpm install package_name
npm install package_name@version_number
yarn add package_name
yarn add package_name@version_number
Uninstall packagenpm uninstall package_nameyarn remove package_name
Install dev packagenpm install package_name –save-devyarn add package_name –dev
Update dev packagenpm update package_name
npm update package_name@version_number
yarn upgrade package_name
yarn upgrade package_name@version_number
View packagenpm view package_nameyarn info package_name
Global install packagenpm install -g package_nameyarn global add package_name

Commands same for npm and yarn:

npm inityarn init
npm run [script]yarn run [script]
npm listyarn list
npm testyarn test
npm linkyarn link
npm login or logoutyarn login or logout
npm publishyarn publish
My Personal Notes arrow_drop_up
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