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Eesh Tyagi 🇩🇪
Eesh Tyagi 🇩🇪

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Turbocharge your monorepo with Lerna and Github Actions


At Scalable Capital we use a Whitelabel platform which is a common place for reusable react components, configs, helpers, etc...

The platform is organised in a monorepo to manage it's packages. We're using Lerna to handle the packages and their dependencies.

Now Lerna does not uses any cache system. Every time you build or run tests on root level, it will run everything for all packages even if you changed a file in one of the packages.

This is bad because building and testing takes time and can take up lot of development time.

What if somehow we build and run tests only for the package that is changed and not all packages?

What if we can cache the Github action workflows for the Pull requests subsequent commits for PR checks?

Enter Turborepo. ⚡️


Let's get right into changes.

Part 1 - Add Turborepo (assuming Lerna is already setup)

To add turbo, run the following command in your terminal

yarn add turbo --dev -W
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Create a turbo.json file in the root of your project.

    "$schema": "",
    "pipeline": {
        "build": {
            "dependsOn": ["^build"],
            "outputs": [".next/**"]
        "test": {
            "outputs": []
        "test-coverage": {
            "outputs": ["coverage/**"]
        "start": {
            "cache": false
        "typecheck": {
            "outputs": []
        "prepublishOnly": {
            "outputs": []
        "@scacap/whitelabel-app-cockpit#prepublishOnly": {
            "dependsOn": ["@scacap/whitelabel-components#prepublishOnly"]
        "@scacap/whitelabel-app-onboarding#prepublishOnly": {
            "dependsOn": ["@scacap/whitelabel-components#prepublishOnly"]
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In the above turbo.json file you need to define pipeline.
So everything which you want to run in NPM scripts of root package.json using turbo run <tests | build>, same field should be present in pipeline.

turbo applies the pipeline task to the NPM scripts during execution.

Most important thing to note here is dependsOn. In above config @scacap/whitelabel-app-cockpit package prepublishOnly NPM script will run only when @scacap/whitelabel-components's prepublishOnly script has been run.

More info on setting up pipeline is here

Finally changes to root package.json

NPM Scripts diff

Add packageManager to package.json if you are using Yarn Workspaces with Lerna

"packageManager": "yarn@1.22.17",
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Part 2 - Setting up Github actions with turbo cache

We use Github actions PR checks to maintain the quality of code.

The problem is every commit to a PR will trigger these checks (running tests, type checks etc..) and without some caching mechanism these tasks will run for all packages.

Let's add Turbo magic to Github actions to speed up the the action workflow.

Let's take example of running tests.
If we change some tests for a package, without Turbo Cache Lerna will run tests for all packages. And this happens for every commit. 😱

Let's change that

        name: Unit tests
        runs-on: ubuntu-18.04
            - name: Checkout repo
              uses: actions/checkout@v2
                  fetch-depth: 0
            - name: Setup node
              uses: actions/setup-node@v2.1.5
                  node-version: 14
            - name: Restore node_modules cache
              uses: actions/cache@v2.1.5
                  path: '**/node_modules'
                  key: ${{ runner.os }}-modules-${{ hashFiles('**/yarn.lock') }}
            - name: Turbo Cache
              id: turbo-cache
              uses: actions/cache@v2
                  path: .turbo
                  key: turbo-${{ github.job }}-${{ github.ref_name }}-${{ github.sha }}
                  restore-keys: |
                      turbo-${{ github.job }}-${{ github.ref_name }}-
            - name: Install packages
              run: yarn --frozen-lockfile
            - name: All tests
              run: yarn test-coverage --cache-dir=".turbo"
            - name: Add coverage comment
              continue-on-error: true
              uses: eeshdarthvader/code-coverage-assistant@master
                  github-token: ${{ secrets.GITHUB_TOKEN }}
                  monorepo-base-path: './packages'
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Here we are adding mem cache in Github action workflow and store our cache data in .turbo which will be reused between commits in the same PR.


Normal CI PR checks on each commit looks like this.

ℹ️ Note the time. This much time is taken for every tiny commit you push to PR.

Screenshot 2022-03-10 at 20 10 40

CI runs with TurboRepo

Screenshot 2022-03-10 at 20 11 00

ℹ️ The test run has decreased from 4 min to 1 min and Typecheck reduced from 3 min to 52 sec 😱

Let's see how it helps when you are developing locally.

After first run of tests using yarn test, try running it again.

Screenshot 2022-03-10 at 20 26 24

✅ ===> FULL TURBO ✅

The tests which usually takes ~20 sec to run everytime, with Turborepo it ran for freaking 0.7 sec with its caching system. 🎉

That's all folks! Hope you all Turbocharge your monorepo's with Turborepo

More resources

  1. Official guide Migrate from Lerna
  2. Pull request Github Action workflow mentioned in the Post
  3. Code coverage Github action built for Monorepo's

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