The best package manager for 2021

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Today, application developers rely on many open source libraries to focus on improving features that are important to their business. But downloading each library separately is difficult and, let’s not forget, time consuming. Fortunately, most programming language Ecosystems come with a standard package manager.

What is a package manager?

Also known as a package management system, a package manager allows developers to consistently install, manage, and upgrade these libraries. A package is an archive containing software binaries, dependency data, and configuration files.

Once the user requests a package, that system’s package manager finds it from a known location, downloads it, and advises on all of the manual steps that the user needs to take.

Benefits of using a package manager

It is believed that on a large scale software development is not possible without the use of one grouping tool or another. This is where the JavaScript Package Manager comes in.

  • It lets you know which library versions you are using and ensures that the configuration information is correct.
  • Even if the original website is deleted, the Package Manager retains all library versions ever created, allowing centralized hosting.
  • This helps prevent mixing of incompatible files and / or libraries.
  • This is to prevent archiving of large binaries, which as is, should not be archived in source control.
  • It helps you distribute your dependencies, which would not be uploaded to the repository.

Many JS package managers in the market have carved out a niche for themselves. Some of the names include:

  • Ringo.JS
  • ARBOR
  • Volo
  • Growl
  • Feed Packet Manager, one of Facebook’s open source projects
  • npm for Node.JS

The last two package managers deal specifically with project dependencies, a difficult task for any developer to accomplish. This article takes a look at Yarn and npm in detail and compares the two competitive yet dynamic JavaScript package managers.

Wire

Wire is a safe, fast and reliable JavaScript dependency management tool. It caches every package it downloads so it doesn’t have to repeat the activity. It also performs parallel operations to maximize the use of resources, thereby reducing installation times.

Companies such as Trivago, Alibaba Travels, and Revolut use the Yarn package manager in their technology stacks. Moreover, this package manager can easily integrate with phpMyAdmin, WhiteSource, Serverless Chrome, Dependabot and Bit among others.

The yarn is perfect for one-off projects and a large mono repository. From hobbyists to corporate users, everyone can benefit from this JavaScript package manager.

Main characteristics

1. License checks

It can restrict the licenses of installed modules and means of providing license information. This is useful when you need to check the licenses of all the modules you depend on.

2. Compatibility

It is compatible with BOWER and npm workflows, which means it supports mix registers.

3. Offline cache

Any package that uses Yarn, once installed, is placed on disk. This means that during the next installation this package is used instead of sending an HTTP request and can therefore even work in offline mode. Simply put, Yarn packages can be reinstalled without the internet.

4. Improved performance and safety

Yarn uses lock files, which allow you to generate the same dependency tree regardless of the order of installation. This means that it is vital for you to validate your Yarn.lock file in source control.

Naturally, this functionality contributes to predictable installations, improved performance and safety as a core value. Wire lock files are easy to merge and are predictable due to their design.

5. Improved network performance

Yarn efficiently queues HTTP requests and completely avoids request cascades. The Package Manager also prevents individual failed requests from shutting down the entire installation. This means that failed requests are automatically withdrawn.

6. Zero duplication

Since the installation structure in Yarn Package Manager is independent of the installation order, it eliminates duplicates by resolving incompatible versions of dependencies into a single version.

Disadvantages

  • Yarn is not a stand-alone package manager but is considered an enhanced version of npm.
  • The wire also takes up a lot of hard drive space, which is not useful in the long run.
  • Given how new the Yarn package manager is in software development, many developers are still hesitant to use it.

Installation process

To install Yarn, npm must be installed. Just enter the following command:

npm install Yarn --global

Another efficient way to install Yarn in your system is to use the native package manager. If you are using brew, an open source software package management system built into Mac, you just need to type:

brew update
brew install Yarn

This is the correct way to go with the method if you want to use Yarn on an existing npm package.

npm

Short for Node Package Manager, npm is the default package manager used in Node.JS development. It simplifies the process of sharing and reusing code for developers.

Among the developers, it is also jokingly called “Nonprofit Pizza Makers” and “Ninja Pumpkin Mutants”. npm consists of two parts:

A command line interface (CLI) tool for publishing and downloading packages

An online repository for hosting JS packages

In a nutshell, the repository is the fulfillment center that receives packages of goods from sellers, who are authors of npm packages, and distributes those goods to buyers, who are users of the npm packager.

Companies like Slack, Netflix, Salesforce, and Zillow use npm in their tech stacks. In addition, this package manager easily integrates with Travis CI, cdnjs, PKG, Apache OpenWhisk, etc.

npm is perfect for individual creators, growing development teams, and organizations. Unlike Yarn which works brilliantly in large scale development projects, npm can also handle small scale projects beautifully.

Main characteristics

1. More fluid management

Since npm provides package-lock.json which displays all of the project’s dependencies, it is easier to manage them all. It also manages the project tools installed around the world. Additionally, npm downloads standalone tools that developers can use right away.

2. Flexible and adaptable

npm adapts the code packages for the application and integrates the packages as they are. It also manages multiple code versions and code dependencies. Also, you don’t need to download npx to run packages.

3. More control

This JavaScript package manager restricts code to specific developers, which is a boon when development teams are dispersed or when there is a need to control the code base for a project or critical infrastructure.

4. Define the protocol

When new developers join your team, they don’t necessarily have to learn the package management conventions you’ve used. npm ensures that new hires don’t have to invest a lot of time discovering the managed libraries in your codebase.

npm has a thriving community where it’s easy to find other developers who have worked on similar issues and projects.

Disadvantages

1. Due to installed dependencies, npm does not have a license checker to share handy descriptions of all the licenses a project is linked to.

2. npm does not come with a “why” command, which indicates why a dependency is present in the project.

3. Npm’s package-lock.json file is complicated due to a trade-off between simplicity and determinism, whereby the package-lock will generate the same modules for different versions of npm.

Installation process

You cannot install and use npm unless you have Node.JS frameworks installed in your system. The good thing is that as soon as you start downloading the Node.JS solutions, npm will automatically be installed on your system for use.

To check if the Node.JS solutions and the npm installation are working correctly, please run these commands in your terminal one by one:

node -v
npm -v

Wire vs npma comparison between the best package managers

Characteristics Wire npm
Installation process To install Yarn, npm must be installed npm installs automatically with Node.JS solutions
Lock the file Yarn generates a fil-lock file npm generates a package-lock.json file
Exit log Release logs are clean, brief and visually distinct Output logs are large
Global dependencies Has a built-in “why” feature Does not have a built-in “why” feature
License checker Can restrict licenses of installed modules and means of providing licensing information No license checker to give a practical description of all the licenses with which a project is linked
Recover packages Yarn stores dependencies locally and retrieves them from disk, instead of sending an HTTP request npm get the dependencies from the npm registry

Wrap it up

When it comes to choosing the best package manager between Yarn and npm, it’s difficult. Depending on your needs, you can select one of two JavaScript package managers. The two have different advantages and disadvantages.

If Yarn is more efficient and able to manage the system in a sophisticated way, then npm is an industry-proven package manager that is robust and follows defined protocols.

Both have brilliant security features and upgrades that are beneficial in the long run and help developers with their projects. In conclusion, Yarn is a newer package manager on the market, while npm has already established its advantages in the area of ​​application development.

So what is it going to be for you, and why? Let us know in the comments below!


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