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Chandan Kumar

Yarn workspace tutorial, introduction and cheatsheet

nodejs2 min read

Your dependencies can be linked together, which means that your workspaces can depend on one another while always using the most up-to-date code available. This is also a better mechanism than yarn link since it only affects your workspace tree rather than your whole system.

It allows you to setup multiple packages in such a way that you only need to run yarn install once to install all of them in a single pass.

- Yarn Workspace documentation

I couldn't have phrased it better than the official documentation

Introduction video and hands on example

Introduction to yarn workspace

Workspace facilitates using monorepo, there by allowing easy linking of dependency during development time.

I hope this tutorial serves as concise tutorial on yarn workspace as well as yarn cheatsheet.

Why do we need yarn workspace?

Let's say you are building an application with a Web service (REST or something) and Web UI (React etc.). If both Web Service and Web UI have some common code, like email, phone validation, validating token etc. then we can abstract it as a library, but maintaining it across as a separate project is a development nightmare. Yarn workspace eases this out but allowing you to manage all the code in a single code repo. Let's see how.

How to yarn workspace: Getting started - Step 1

To start off with a simple example, we create a utility project which has some util function like email validation, and getting current date. If we want to use this common utility across frontend as well as backend. We can abstract it as a separate library.

For this demo, in root example folder we add myutil, web and api as sub-folder

1mkdir -p example/{myutil,api}
2cd example

Next up initialize nodejs project.

1yarn init -y

Update package.json with following

1"private": true,
2"workspaces": ["myutil", "api", "web"]

Next up run yarn init -y in myutil and api

this should create package.json in both the folders

At this point of time tree should look like

2├── api
3│   └── package.json
4├── package.json
5├── myutil
6│   ├── index.js
7│   └── package.json
8└── yarn.lock

Follow this up by creating a simple function to validate email in myutil, since this is a utility project that we want to share across multiple app.

1const emailRegex = new RegExp("[a-z0-9][email protected][a-z]+.[a-z]{2,3}");
3function validateEmail(email) {
4 return emailRegex.test(email);
7exports.validateEmail = validateEmail;

Since we would use validateEmail in api let's add this as a dependency in api

1yarn workspace api add [email protected] # yarn add [email protected]

This would update api/package.json with myutil as a dependency

1--- a/api/package.json
2+++ b/api/package.json
3@@ -2,5 +2,8 @@
4 "name": "api",
5 "version": "1.0.0",
6 "main": "index.js",
7- "license": "MIT"
8+ "license": "MIT",
9+ "dependencies": {
10+ "myutil": "1.0.0"
11+ }
12 }

Now let's add express as a dependency to api

1yarn workspace api add express

Add api/index.js and build a simple Express app

1const express = require("express");
2const app = express();
4const { validateEmail } = require("myutil");
6const port = process.env.PORT || 3000;
8app.get("/validateEmail", (req, res) => {
9 const { email } = req.query;
10 res.json({ valid: validateEmail(email) });
13app.listen(port, () => {
14 console.log(`Listening at ${port}`);

Start API server

1yarn workspace api start

This finishes basic workspace setup but let's take it a step further by creating a react front end.

in packages folder

1yarn create react-app web
1import "./App.css";
3import { validateEmail } from "myutil";
4import { useState } from "react";
6function App() {
7 const [valid, setValid] = useState(false);
8 return (
9 <div className="App">
10 <header>
11 <h1>Demo App</h1>
12 </header>
13 <main>
14 <hr />
15 <h3>Enter Email</h3>
16 <input
17 placeholder="enter email"
18 onChange={(e) => {
19 setValid(validateEmail(e.currentTarget.value));
20 }}
21 />
22 {valid && <h3>Email is valid</h3>}
23 </main>
24 </div>
25 );
28export default App;

Step 2: Yarn workspace best practice

If possible have projects in a single folder and glob them. For example use packages/*

So have projects in packages folder

1mkdir -p example_2/packages/{myutil,api}

and configure root package.json as below

1"workspaces": ["packages/*"],

add api/index.js and myutil/index.js

1mkdir -p packages/mycomponents
2cd packages/mycomponents
3yarn init -y
4yarn workspace mycomponents add -D react typescript @types/react

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