The npm blog has been discontinued.
Today, Facebook announced that they have open sourced Yarn, a backwards-compatible client for the npm registry. This joins a list of other third-party registry clients that include ied, pnpm, npm-install and npmd. (Apologies if we missed any.) Yarn’s arrival is great news for npm’s users worldwide and we’re happy to see it.
Like other third-party registry clients, Yarn takes the list of priorities that our official npm client balances, and shifts them around a little. It also solves a number of problems that Facebook was encountering using npm at their unique global scale. Yarn includes another take on npm’s shrinkwrap feature and some clever performance work. We’ve also been working on these specific features, so we’ll be paying close attention.
Does it work with npm?
Mostly! We haven’t had time to run extensive tests on the compatibility of Yarn, but it seems to work great with public packages. It does not authenticate to the registry the way the official client does, so it’s currently unable to work with private packages. The Yarn team is aware of this issue and have said they’ll address it.
Is Facebook forking the community?
Whenever a big company gets involved in an open source project, there’s some understandable anxiety from the community about its intentions.
Yarn publishes to npm’s own registry by default, so Yarn users continue to be part of the existing community and benefit from the same 350,000+ packages as users of the official npm client. Yarn pulls packages from registry.yarnpkg.com, which allows them to run experiments with the Yarn client. This is a proxy that pulls packages from the official npm registry, much like npmjs.cf.
This is how open source works
As I said at the start, we’re happy to see Yarn join the ranks of open source npm clients. This is how open source software is supposed to work!
The developers behind Yarn — Seb, James, Christoph, and Konstantin — are prolific publishers of npm packages and pillars of the npm community.
Through their efforts, Facebook and others have put a lot of developer time into this project to solve problems they encountered. Sharing the fruits of their labor will allow ideas and bugfixes to flow back and forth between npm’s official client and all the others. Everyone benefits as a result.
We’re pleased to see Yarn get off to such a great start, and look forward to seeing where it goes.