Top package managers in 2022: Yarn vs NPM

Top package managers in 2022: Yarn vs NPM

Dev

6 min read

October 17, 2022

Stay on top of the latest updates in the software development market. Find out the advantages and disadvantages of the most popular package managers in 2022.

YARN vs NPM in 2022

The Node.js framework needs no introduction to anyone familiar with JavaScript. This open-source runtime cross-platform has become the environment of choice for users around the world. Within Node.js, stateless model creation has been rolled up, and maintaining multiple real-time usage sessions is now much easier. Node.js has given its users the ability to create applications based on a modular solution. There are several alternatives to the module functionality in Node.js on the market. One of these larger competitors for the open-source packages is Node Package Manager (NPM) and Apache Hadoop YARN, the so-called Yet Another Resource Negotiator package manager (YARN). The competition between the two products has been intense from the beginning. We can expect some progress in 2022, but it is still unclear who will be the market leader.

Commons for NPM and Yarn

NPM appeared as the first package manager that gave developers access to an optimized JavaScript module library for Node.js. YARN came out in 2016 to bring a module-based, slightly different solution designed by well-known social platform developers - Facebook. The modules included in both packages allow developers to make coding more manageable and easier to maintain for future development projects.

Both packages allow for a range of advanced steps toward development. The common features center around their functionality:

1. Functional workflow - package managers use terminals to run CLI commands, with a flattened dependency tree in use.

2. Package creator – allow for managing different versions of code and its dependencies.

3. Web Frameworks – standardized coding practices for managers include different options for web frameworks that support both client-side and server-side frameworks.  

4. Utility function – commands that enhance the visual experience for JavaScript and help to organize common programming tasks.

5. Development process – managers are created for operations to perform multiple types of transport and connections on different platforms including debugging techniques and much more.

6. Command line interface (CLI commands) – a range of powerful commands to support user functionality. Support for code repositories like Monorepo etc.

7. Integration – packages can link workspaces between users who participate in development in the same environment.

Strong sides and disadvantages

The disadvantages and limitations are visible from the differences between the two package managers. They cannot be ignored if the user has certain expectations for his or her project.

1. Installation - this process is different for both. YARN allows users to get to the library modules very quickly because the packages are installed in parallel. A feature built into YARN also allows users to skip the installation of certain packages if it takes too long. The difference comes from the fact that YARN stores all dependencies locally and can easily download packages from disk (no need to download them a second time), opposite to NPM, which installs them online.

2. Security and locking system - YARN solves the shield security problem with multiple users by adding a yarn.lock file. This is how a lock file is simply generated. This feature was also later implemented in NPM, but YARN seems to still be positioned as more secure.

3. Plug’n’Play – the latest version of YARN offers the function of an alternative approach to the installation strategy. It is suitable for large projects as it offers certain advantages, such as it can speed up installation.

4. Outlook – the coding used in the YARN terminal is more transparent than NPM. A better visual experience is a huge advantage of using YARN.

Developers once working with the NPM or YARN client can migrate from one environment to another without damaging the existing project. Simply run the command for each manager (for example, YARN uses a simple 'Yarn' query to migrate the entire project to its environment).

The packages are very similar. In general, YARN has developed the same procedures as NPM, but makes them look slightly different, basically on swapped wording (Command: uninstall package; YARN - yarn remove [package], NPM - npm uninstall -save-dev [package], and much more).

Alternatives through statistics

NPM and YARN are not the only players on the market in the Front-End Package Manager category. There is a development intended for smaller competitors. What’s interesting, is that some of these managers can solve problems that neither NPM nor YARN can't. Nevertheless, no migration from any other package is as smooth as between NPM and YARN. User statistics can best be seen through social media platforms dedicated to developers. Stackshare.io and GitHub.com collect data on commercially available packages.

- NPM is the most quoted package manager, and its download statistics per package are higher than those of its competitors. It is important to remember that it is one of those that have been around the longest on the market. Online visibility defined through GitHub reaches over +83K stars and around +2K mentioned by user stacks.

- YARN is a comprehensive package manager with very similar download statistics as the NPM package. GitHub stats reach over +41K stars and around +3K mentioned by user’s stacks.

- Bower alternative package manager designed for the web and is an alternative to YARN and NPM. The package lacks extended system dependencies, and these cannot be shared between different applications. This can be described as a disadvantage. Bower usage statistics on GitHub reach approx. +15K stars and around +2K mentioned by user’s stacks.

- RequireJS - alternative package manager and uses more defined modules but cannot be used in a JavaScript environment other than Web Worker. The manager can speed up speed and quality. One popular use of this manager is Uber Technologies.  GitHub stats say about approx. +12 stars and around +2K mentioned by the user’s stacks.

YARN was originally dedicated to replacing NPM. The outdated NPM is not being pushed out of the market and is continuously improving most of the existing gaps. The services offered are similar for both. It doesn't look like the difference between the two managers in 2022 will be deep enough to completely cut one from the other. The race is still on.

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Created by

Karol Ludwikowski

FULL-STACK SOFTWARE ENGINEER

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