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Cover image for Use PNPM instead of NPM, Yarn
Nilanth
Nilanth

Posted on • Originally published at javascript.plainenglish.io

Use PNPM instead of NPM, Yarn

Are you working on multiple ReactJS projects with common dependencies? Then this article is for you.

When working on multiple projects or micro frontend apps, you need to install the same dependencies on every project, For instance, If you are working on 5 ReactJS-based projects, all the projects with same dependencies version and each project will have node modules folders, which occupy a large amount of disk space.

We might get a few questions from this.

  1. Why is the same dependency installed multiple times without reusing it?
  2. How to save disk space when working on multiple projects with the same dependencies?
  3. How to speed up the dependencies installation?

In this article, we can see how to resolve this problem using pnpm.

What isΒ PNPM?

pnpm stands for performant npm. Which is a package manager for NodeJS based projects. which focuses on speed, and an efficient way of handling disk space. It is an alternative to npm and yarn.

Highlights

  1. Fast
  2. Efficient
  3. Supports Monorepos

How PNPM is efficient?

Pnpm handled the disk memory very efficiently. Let's see how

pnpm keeps the dependencies in a global store on your machine, creating a hard link between the projects and dependencies. So the exact dependencies are shared between the projects, saving a lot of space. In npm, it will also duplicate the same dependencies and keep them in the project-specific node modules, which increases the storage space.

PNPM uses a non-flat directory

By default, pnpm creates a symbolic link between the global store and the project node module. But you can see node modules occupies space in the disk for each project.Β 

This is due to hard links, Hard links point to the same place where the original file is located. But only one copy of the dependency is kept in memory for a version. Refer to the below image

pnpm1

Let’s see a real-time example

Common Dependencies of each React App

"dependencies": {
"@testing-library/jest-dom": "⁡.16.5",
"@testing-library/react": "ΒΉΒ³.3.0",
"@testing-library/user-event": "ΒΉΒ³.5.0",
"react": "¹⁸.2.0",
"react-dom": "¹⁸.2.0",
"react-scripts": "5.0.1",
"web-vitals": "Β².1.4"
}
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Projects configured using NPM

pnpm2

Total Size in Disk: 1260 MB

Projects configured using PNPM

pnpm3

Note: All the dependencies will be placed in global stores, not individual projects. The above table is for differentiation.

Total Size in Disk: 500 MB

Common dependencies are placed in the global store and accessed by the project. As per the above example, common dependencies have 380MB. As per the above example, we can see we have saved 60% of disk space using pnpm in an efficient way.

PNPM is faster

pnpm is faster compared to other dependency managers as it doesn’t have blocking stages in installation. Each dependency has its own stage and the next stage starts as soon as possible, by installing each dependency individually.

pnpm4

Benchmarks

Benchmarks are given by the pnpm official docs using this package.json

pnpm4

Installation

Using NPM

We can install pnpm globally using npm with the below command

npm install -g pnpm

Using Homebrew

We can install using homebrew with the below command

brew install pnpm

Install as a Standalone Script

Using Curl

curl -fsSL https://get.pnpm.io/install.sh | sh -

Using wget

wget -qO- https://get.pnpm.io/install.sh | sh -

Create React App using PNPM

We can use the below command to configure a react App

pnpm create react-app my-pnpm-app

Common Commands

pnpm install -> install dependencies from package.json

pnpm add -> Add dependencies

pnpm run -> Run the script in the package.json file

pnpm test -> Run tests in the project

pnpm init -> Create a package.json file

pnpm publish -> Publish a package to the registry

pnpm start -> Run a command in package.json to start the app.

Conclusion

pnpm is faster and handles the disk memory more efficiently than npm and yarn. This gives us lots of free space when working with multiple projects and micro frontend apps. Placing the dependencies on the global store and reusing it is more efficient, which other package manager misses.

Thank you for reading.

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Top comments (2)

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tbroyer profile image
Thomas Broyer

You put Yarn in the same bucket as NPM but did you give a shot at Yarn's "plug'n'play" mechanism? yarnpkg.com/features/pnp (disclosure: I don't; a few years back, frontend tooling wasn't ready so I gave up, and never tried again, or even tried Yarn "Berry" fwiw)

Also, how about using Corepack for installing PNPM? nodejs.org/api/corepack.html

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fruntend profile image
fruntend

Π‘ongratulations πŸ₯³! Your article hit the top posts for the week - dev.to/fruntend/top-10-posts-for-f...
Keep it up 🫰

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