node.js - Do I commit the package-lock.json file created by npm 5?

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Top 5 Answer for node.js - Do I commit the package-lock.json file created by npm 5?

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95

Yes, package-lock.json is intended to be checked into source control. If you're using npm 5+, you may see this notice on the command line: created a lockfile as package-lock.json. You should commit this file. According to npm help package-lock.json:

package-lock.json is automatically generated for any operations where npm modifies either the node_modules tree, or package.json. It describes the exact tree that was generated, such that subsequent installs are able to generate identical trees, regardless of intermediate dependency updates.

This file is intended to be committed into source repositories, and serves various purposes:

  • Describe a single representation of a dependency tree such that teammates, deployments, and continuous integration are guaranteed to install exactly the same dependencies.

  • Provide a facility for users to "time-travel" to previous states of node_modules without having to commit the directory itself.

  • To facilitate greater visibility of tree changes through readable source control diffs.

  • And optimize the installation process by allowing npm to skip repeated metadata resolutions for previously-installed packages.

One key detail about package-lock.json is that it cannot be published, and it will be ignored if found in any place other than the toplevel package. It shares a format with npm-shrinkwrap.json, which is essentially the same file, but allows publication. This is not recommended unless deploying a CLI tool or otherwise using the publication process for producing production packages.

If both package-lock.json and npm-shrinkwrap.json are present in the root of a package, package-lock.json will be completely ignored.

vote vote

83

Yes, you SHOULD:

  1. commit the package-lock.json.
  2. use npm ci instead of npm install when building your applications both on your CI and your local development machine

The npm ci workflow requires the existence of a package-lock.json.


A big downside of npm install command is its unexpected behavior that it may mutate the package-lock.json, whereas npm ci only uses the versions specified in the lockfile and produces an error

  • if the package-lock.json and package.json are out of sync
  • if a package-lock.json is missing.

Hence, running npm install locally, esp. in larger teams with multiple developers, may lead to lots of conflicts within the package-lock.json and developers to decide to completely delete the package-lock.json instead.

Yet there is a strong use-case for being able to trust that the project's dependencies resolve repeatably in a reliable way across different machines.

From a package-lock.json you get exactly that: a known-to-work state.

In the past, I had projects without package-lock.json / npm-shrinkwrap.json / yarn.lock files whose build would fail one day because a random dependency got a breaking update.

Those issue are hard to resolve as you sometimes have to guess what the last working version was.

If you want to add a new dependency, you still run npm install {dependency}. If you want to upgrade, use either npm update {dependency} or npm install ${dependendency}@{version} and commit the changed package-lock.json.

If an upgrade fails, you can revert to the last known working package-lock.json.


To quote npm doc:

It is highly recommended you commit the generated package lock to source control: this will allow anyone else on your team, your deployments, your CI/continuous integration, and anyone else who runs npm install in your package source to get the exact same dependency tree that you were developing on. Additionally, the diffs from these changes are human-readable and will inform you of any changes npm has made to your node_modules, so you can notice if any transitive dependencies were updated, hoisted, etc.

And in regards to the difference between npm ci vs npm install:

  • The project must have an existing package-lock.json or npm-shrinkwrap.json.
  • If dependencies in the package lock do not match those in package.json, npm ci will exit with an error, instead of updating the package lock.
  • npm ci can only install entire projects at a time: individual dependencies cannot be added with this command.
  • If a node_modules is already present, it will be automatically removed before npm ci begins its install.
  • It will never write to package.json or any of the package-locks: installs are essentially frozen.

Note: I posted a similar answer here

vote vote

77

Yes, it's intended to be checked in. I want to suggest that it gets its own unique commit. We find that it adds a lot of noise to our diffs.

vote vote

62

Yes, the best practice is to check-in (YES, CHECK-IN)

I agree that it will cause a lot of noise or conflict when seeing the diff. But the benefits are:

  1. guarantee exact same version of every package. This part is the most important when building in different environments at different times. You may use ^1.2.3 in your package.json, but how can you ensure each time npm install will pick up the same version in your dev machine and in the build server, especially those indirect dependency packages? Well, package-lock.json will ensure that. (With the help of npm ci which installs packages based on lock file)
  2. it improves the installation process.
  3. it helps with new audit feature npm audit fix (I think the audit feature is from npm version 6).
vote vote

53

I don't commit this file in my projects. What's the point ?

  1. It's generated
  2. It's the cause of a SHA1 code integrity err in gitlab with gitlab-ci.yml builds

Though it's true that I never use ^ in my package.json for libs because I had bad experiences with it.

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