Programs

Yarn vs NPM: Which Package Monitor to Choose

Introduction to Package Monitors

Two of the most renowned package managers among Node.js and JavaScript developers are NPM and Yarn. Implementing either of these two simplifies dealing with a project’s dependencies since they streamline tasks like installing, uninstalling, upgrading, or modifying the project’s dependencies. However, making a selection among these two can be challenging for many.

Understanding Yarn vs NPM differences can help you to pick the most suitable one.  

Before you get confused about what is Yarn NPM, let’s first look at the briefs of each! 

What is Yarn?

Yarn (Yet Another Resource Navigator) is one of the prominent JavaScript package managers developed for the Node.js JavaScript runtime environment. It solves security, performance, and consistency problems with a huge codebase. It was developed to offer more advanced features that NPM lacked at the time of launch.

What is NPM?

NPM (Node Package Manager) is the default package automatically installed when you install Node.js in your system. It simplifies installation, management, and removal of Node.js dependencies in your project, enabling users to share open-source Node.js packages. All the NPM packages are defined in files known as package.json. These files’ content should be written in JSON.

Along with understanding the overview of what is Yarn NPM, let’s look at their histories.

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History of Yarn and NPM

Yarn package manager was developed by Facebook in 2016. It was initially developed for the Node.js JavaScript runtime environment as a collaboration of Google, Facebook, Exponent (now Expo.dev), and Tilde.

NPM is entirely written in JavaScript and was developed by Isaac Z. Schlueter. He gained inspiration from other identical projects like CPAN (Perl) and PEAR (PHP) when developing NPM.

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Comparison of Yarn and NPM

yarn vs npm

The major differences between Yarn and NPM are in terms of the package installation process, speed, performance, security, compatibility, and community support. The following section discusses all significant points about Yarn vs NPM to help you easily select. 

The installation process of Yarn and NPM

The installation process of Yarn:

Step 1: It is advisable to install Yarn through the NPM package manager that packs in Node.js when you install it in your system.

Step 2: After NPM (Node.js package manager) is installed, you can run the below command to install as well as upgrade Yarn:

npm install –global yarn

Step 3: You can run the following command to check whether Yarn is installed or not:

yarn –version

The installation process of NPM on Windows:

Step 1: Download the Windows Installer from here.

Step 2: After selecting the path, you must double-click to install MSI binary files to start the installation process.

Step 3: Provide access to execute the application. 

Step 4: Click the “Next” button

Step 5: Select the desired path where you like to install Node.js. Make sure to choose the NPM package manager.

Step 6: Click on the “Install” button.

Step 7: Type node -v command to confirm Node installation.

The installation process of NPM on Mac:

Step 1: Download NVM using the following cURL Install Script

curl -o- https://raw.githubusercontent.com/creationix/nvm/v0.33.0/install.sh | bash

Step 2: Type the below command to verify NVM.

nvm –version

Step 3: Run the following command to permanently add the details in the.bash_profile file.

echo ‘export PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH’ >>~/.bash\_profile

Step 4: Run the following command to let all users access it on the system.

source ~/.bashrc

Step 5: Run the following command to install the newest version of Node.js.

nvm install node

 Yarn vs NPM: Dependency Resolution

Yarn

NPM

It installs the project’s dependencies in parallel. It installs the project’s dependencies sequentially.
It uses the yarn add command for the installation of dependencies. It uses the NPM install command for the installation of dependencies.
The version lock file is called yarn.lock. The version lock file is called package-lock.json.
A prominent difference between NPM and Yarn is the support for the Plug’n’Play feature. Yarn supports this feature by creating a .pnp.cjs file comprising the map of the project’s dependencies. NPM doesn’t support the Plug’n’Play feature.

 Yarn vs NPM: Performance

There is a significant difference in performance when evaluating NPM vs Yarn. Let’s check out the details.

Yarn

NPM

The speed of installing large files is faster than NPM. The speed of installing large files is slower than Yarn.
Its Zero-Install feature lets you install dependencies offline with nearly no latency. It doesn’t support the Zero-Install feature.

Yarn vs NPM: Reliability

Yarn was developed to offer more advanced features that NPM lacked during its launch. Specifically, Yarn supports version locking, making it safer, more efficient, and more reliable than NPM.

Yarn vs NPM: Security

Yarn

NPM

During the packages’ download process,  it executes a security check in the background by using the package license information. The purpose is to prevent Yarn from downloading dangerous scripts or creating dependency issues. From NPM version 6 and above, NPM performs a security audit to prevent vulnerabilities whenever you install a package. NPM guarantees that all dependencies are compatible.
An important Yarn vs NPM difference is the verification process. The packages’ verification process uses checksum. The packages’ verification process uses the SHA-512 saved in the package-lock.json file.

Yarn vs NPM: User-friendliness

The NPM vs Yarn difference is also based on the user experience. Typically, Yarn’s CLI interface is more intuitive and user-friendly than NPM’s. It provides better documentation and helpful error messages.

Yarn vs NPM: Community Support

Community support is an important difference between Yarn and NPM that users must consider. Yarn boasts a larger active user community than NPM. It has quickly attained popularity in the JavaScript community.

Yarn vs NPM: Compatibility

There is not much difference between Yarn and NPM in terms of compatibility. Both are compatible, i.e., if you want, you can change between the two using suitable settings during the project development.

Note that Yarn may not be compatible with certain packages that require NPM. On the other hand, NPM is more compatible with packages that need native modules. Hence, NPM presents fewer compatibility issues than Yarn.

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Yarn vs NPM: Licensing

Yarn contains an easily accessible license checker, enabling you to check licenses for packages you have installed. Moreover, Yarn uses the package license information to guarantee that it doesn’t download malicious scripts or create dependency issues. The important difference between NPM and Yarn is that licensing support is poorer in NPM than in Yarn.

Yarn vs NPM: Integration with Other Tools

Yarn and NPM can both be actively integrated with other tools and frameworks. Some of them may include:

  • React Native
  • Babel
  • Jest
  • Babel

While all of these tools are compatible to integrate with Yarn and NPM, a few differing aspects make Yarn and NPM more suitable for integration with different tools. Let’s explore these features.

Features

Yarn

NPM

Upgrade Interactive A built-in feature in Yarn that allows interactively upgrading any package to its latest version. This feature is not built-in.
Scripting Does not have a built-in scripting system. Needs an API to enable the same. Offers a built-in scripting system to run custom commands.
Workspaces Contains built-in workspaces to maintain multiple packages in a single repository. Requires using third-party tools. 
Network Performance Faster network performance. Comparatively slower network performance.

Which one to choose: Yarn or NPM?

Both Yarn and NPM package managers are found to be useful and user-friendly. Yarn is better than NPM in terms of performance and speed. The reason is it executes parallel installation. However, Yarn consumes more disk space than NPM.

Although NPM has tried to solve vulnerabilities, Yarn is still more secure than NPM. Yarn contains cutting-edge features like Zero-Install and Plug’n’Play, while NPM doesn’t support these features.

The choice between NPM and Yarn depends on your project requirements and preferences. Yarn is a suitable option if you prioritise security and installation time. On the other hand, NPM is a suitable option if you aim to work with diverse technologies and need significant community support.

You can try both and check which one better suits your development needs.  

How to switch from Yarn to NPM or vice versa

There is a significant diff between Yarn and NPM in terms of switching.

Follow the below steps to switch from NPM to Yarn:

Step 1: Delete the node_modules folder

Step 2: Delete the package-lock.json file

Step 3: Run the following command

yarn install

Implementing the above steps will create a new node_modules folder as well as a yarn.lock file.

Follow the below steps to switch from Yarn to NPM:

Step 1: Delete the node_modules folder

Step 2: Delete the yarn.lock file

Step 3: Run the following command

npm install

Implementing the above steps will create a new node_modules folder as well as a package-lock.json file.

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Conclusion

Both the package managers -Yarn and NPM, are reliable and offer a decent user experience. You can consider factors like performance, features, flexibility, community support, package management, and more while making a selection. You can try both these project managers and check for yourself which one suits your project the best.

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Can NPM be used instead of Yarn?

Yes, you can use NPM instead of Yarn, provided you are convinced about the current workflow. However, it is better to choose Yarn if you expect better speed, performance, and security.

Is it better to install Yarn through NPM?

When installing Yarn, two options are available, i.e., directly installing it from the Yarn website or installation through NPM (from the command npm install -g yarn). Installing Yarn through NPM means you don’t need to manually download and set up the package. However, it takes more time than directly installing it from the Yarn website. This is because it should be installed as a global package.

What is the latest version of Yarn?

Yarn 2 is a prominent re-architecture of the Yarn project manager. It offers more advanced support for workspaces. It supports a command called yarn dlx that can be used to run one-off scripts. Moreover, it is highly modular and simplifies plugin development, so it becomes quite easy if you wish to extend it.

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