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Node.js Yarning for Local Packages

lirantal profile image Liran Tal Updated on ・2 min read

This is not another praise for npm package management with Yarn but rather a concise recipe for working with locally developed packages.

Npm modules begin their lives when you init them on your local dev machine, but there comes a point when you want to test them out or simply use them with other Node.js projects you have.

With the npm client we would be creating a link in the filesystem, but with Yarn you can really manage their versioning and use them just like any other dependency with all rules applied for dependencies.

Modules on the Filesystem: yarn add file://

Use the following command to add a package from the filesystem:

yarn add file:/Users/lirantal/code/my-npm-module

Good to keep in mind when doing that:

  • Because Yarn treats this as a real dependency, it means that it will really install it to your local node_modules/ directory, so if you make changes on the npm module, they won't be reflected on the installed version you have in the Node.js project.
  • Yarn loves cache and it also caches those local npm modules, you can force a re-install by doing:
// Remove the package and clean local cache
yarn remove my-npm-mdule
yarn cache clean
// Re-install it
yarn add file:/...

Modules on Github / Git

Another thing that comes in handy with Yarn is that you can push your npm modules to a Git repository and tell Yarn to use that. This is useful if you don't want to submit the npm package to an npm repository.

This is not specific to Yarn. The npm client can do the same. If you have a package on GitHub you can tell Yarn to install it using:

yarn add git+ssh://git@github.com/lirantal/my-npm-module.git

The same caching and versioning applies here as it did for the filesystem install.

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