TypeScript icon, indicating that this package has built-in type declarations

1.13.2 • Public • Published

Isolate Package


Run npx isolate-package isolate from the monorepo package you would like to isolate.

If you would like to see an example of a modern monorepo with this tool integrated, check out mono-ts


  • Isolate a monorepo workspace package to form a self-contained package that includes internal dependencies and an adapted lockfile for deterministic deployments.
  • Preserve packages file structure, without code bundling
  • Should work with any package manager, and tested with NPM, PNPM, and Yarn (both classic and modern)
  • Zero-config for the vast majority of use-cases
  • Isolates dependencies recursively. If package A depends on internal package B which depends on internal package C, all of them will be included
  • Optionally force output to use NPM with matching versions
  • Optionally include devDependencies in the isolated output
  • Optionally pick or omit scripts from the manifest
  • Compatible with the Firebase tools CLI, including 1st and 2nd generation Firebase Functions. For more information see the Firebase instructions.
  • Available in a forked version of firebase-tools to preserve live code updates when running the emulators


Run pnpm install isolate-package --dev or the equivalent for npm or yarn.

I recommend using pnpm for a number of reasons. In my experience it is the best package manager, especially for monorepo setups, but any other package manager should work.


!! If you plan use this for Firebase deployments, and you want to preserve live code updates when running the local emulators, you will want to use firebase-tools-with-isolate instead.

This package exposes a binary called isolate.

Run npx isolate from the root of the package you want to isolate. Make sure you build the package first.

The isolate binary will try to infer your build output location from a tsconfig file, but see the buildDirName configuration if you are not using Typescript.

By default the isolated output will become available at ./isolate.

If you are here to improve your Firebase deployments check out the Firebase quick start guide.


If something is not working as expected, add an isolate.config.json file, and set "logLevel" to "debug". This should give you detailed feedback in the console.

In addition define an environment variable to debug the configuration being used by setting DEBUG_ISOLATE_CONFIG=true before you execute isolate.

When debugging Firebase deployment issues it might be convenient to trigger the isolate process manually with npx isolate and possibly DEBUG_ISOLATE_CONFIG=true npx isolate.


Because historically many different approaches to monorepos exist, we need to establish some basic rules for the isolate process to work.

Define shared dependencies in the package manifest

This one might sound obvious, but if the package.json from the package you are targeting does not list the other monorepo packages it depends on, in either the dependencies or devDependencies list, then the isolate process will not include them in the output.

How dependencies are listed with regards to versioning is not important, because packages are matched based on their name. For example the following flavors all work (some depending on your package manager):

// package.json
  "dependencies": {
    "shared-package": "0.0.0"
    "shared-package": "*",
    "shared-package": "workspace:*",
    "shared-package": "../shared-package",

So if the a package name can be found as part of the workspace definition, it will be processed regardless of its version specifier.

Define "version" field in each package manifest

The version field is required for pack to execute, because it is use to generate part of the packed filename. A personal preference is to set it to "0.0.0" to indicate that the version does not have any real meaning.

Define "files" field in each package manifest

NOTE: This step is not required if you use the internal packages strategy but you could set it to ["src"] instead of ["dist"].

The isolate process uses (p)npm pack to extract files from package directories, just like publishing a package would.

For this to work it is required that you define the files property in each package manifest, as it declares what files should be included in the published output.

Typically, the value contains an array with only the name of the build output directory. For example:

// package.json
  "files": ["dist"]

A few additional files from the root of your package will be included automatically, like the package.json, LICENSE and README files.

Tip If you deploy to Firebase 2nd generation functions, you might want to include some env files in the files list, so they are packaged and deployed together with your build output (as 1st gen functions config is no longer supported).

Use a flat structure inside your packages folders

At the moment, nesting packages inside packages is not supported.

When building the registry of all internal packages, isolate doesn't drill down into the folders. So if you declare your packages to live in packages/* it will only find the packages directly in that folder and not at packages/nested/more-packages.

You can, however, declare multiple workspace packages directories. Personally, I prefer to use ["packages/*", "apps/*", "services/*"]. It is only the structure inside them that should be flat.

Configuration Options

For most users no configuration should be necessary.

You can configure the isolate process by placing a isolate.config.json file in the package that you want to isolate, except when you're deploying to Firebase from the root of the workspace.

For the config file to be picked up, you will have to execute isolate from the same location, as it uses the current working directory.

Below you will find a description of every available option.


Type: "info" | "debug" | "warn" | "error", default: "info".

Because the configuration loader depends on this setting, its output is not affected by this setting. If you want to debug the configuration set DEBUG_ISOLATE_CONFIG=true before you run isolate


Type: boolean, default: false

By default the isolate process will generate output based on the package manager that you are using for your monorepo. But your deployment target might not be compatible with that package manager, or it might not be the best choice given the available tooling.

Also, it should not really matter what package manager is used in de deployment as long as the versions match your original lockfile.

By setting this option to true you are forcing the isolate output to use NPM. A package-lock file will be generated based on the contents of node_modules and therefore should match the versions in your original lockfile.

This way you can enjoy using PNPM or Yarn for your monorepo, while your deployment uses NPM with modules locked to the same versions.

!! Warning: Generating an NPM lockfile currently requires moving the node_modules from the root of the monorepo temporarily into the isolate directory. This will not be compatible with setups that run multiple isolation processes in parallel.


Type: string | undefined, default: undefined

The name of the build output directory name. When undefined it is automatically detected via tsconfig.json. When you are not using Typescript you can use this setting to specify where the build output files are located.


Type: boolean, default: false

By default devDependencies are ignored and stripped from the isolated output package.json files. If you enable this the devDependencies will be included and isolated just like the production dependencies.


Type: string[], default: undefined

Select which scripts to include in the output manifest scripts field. For example if you want your test script included set it to ["test"].

By default, all scripts are omitted.


Type: string[], default: undefined

Select which scripts to omit from the output manifest scripts field. For example if you want the build script interferes with your deployment target, but you want to preserve all of the other scripts, set it to ["build"].

By default, all scripts are omitted, and the pickFromScripts configuration overrules this configuration.


Type: string, default: "isolate"

The name of the isolate output directory.


Type: string, default: undefined

Only when you decide to place the isolate configuration in the root of the monorepo, you use this setting to point it to the target you want to isolate, e.g. ./packages/my-firebase-package.

If this option is used the workspaceRoot setting will be ignored and assumed to be the current working directory.


Type: string, default: "./tsconfig.json"

The path to the tsconfig.json file relative to the package you want to isolate. The tsconfig is only used for reading the compilerOptions.outDir setting. If no tsconfig is found, possibly because you are not using Typescript in your project, the process will fall back to the buildDirName setting.


Type: string[] | undefined, default: undefined

When workspacePackages is not defined, isolate will try to find the packages in the workspace by looking up the settings in pnpm-workspace.yaml or package.json files depending on the detected package manager.

In case this fails, you can override this process by specifying globs manually. For example "workspacePackages": ["packages/*", "apps/*"]. Paths are relative from the root of the workspace.


Type: string, default: "../.."

The relative path to the root of the workspace / monorepo. In a typical setup you will have a packages directory and possibly also an apps and a services directory, all of which contain packages. So any package you would want to isolate is located 2 levels up from the root.

For example

├─ backend
│  └─ package.json
└─ ui
   └─ package.json
├─ admin
│  └─ package.json
└─ web
   └─ package.json
└─ api
   └─ package.json

When you use the targetPackagePath option, this setting will be ignored.


The isolate process tries to generate an isolated / pruned lockfile for the package manager that you use in your monorepo. If the package manager is not supported (modern Yarn versions), it can still generate a matching NPM lockfile based on the installed versions in node_modules.

In case your package manager is not supported by your deployment target you can also choose NPM to be used by setting the makeNpmLockfile to true in your configuration.


For NPM we use a tool called Arborist, which is an integral part of the NPM codebase. It is executed in the isolate output directory and requires the adapted lockfile and the node_modules directory from the root of the repository. As this directory is typically quite large, copying it over as part of the isolate flow is not very desirable.

To work around this, we move it to the isolate output and then move it back after Arborist has finished doing its thing.

!! Warning: This will not be compatible with setups that run multiple isolation processes in parallel. Hopefully a future update to NPM Arborist (the part the generates the lockfile) will solve this.


The PNPM lockfile format is very readable (YAML) but getting it adapted to the isolate output was a bit of a trip.

It turns out, at least up to v10, that the isolated output has to be formatted as a workspace itself, otherwise dependencies of internally linked packages are not installed by PNPM. Therefore, the output looks a bit different from other package managers:

  • Links are preserved
  • Versions specifiers like "workspace:*" are preserved
  • A pnpm-workspace.yaml file is added to the output

Classic Yarn

For Yarn v1 we can simply copy the root lockfile to the isolate output, and run a yarn install to prune that lockfile. The command finds the installed node modules in the root of the monorepo so versions are preserved.

Note: I expect this to break down if you configure the isolate output directory to be located outside the monorepo tree.

Modern Yarn

For modern Yarn versions we fall back to using NPM for the output lockfile, because the strategy of running yarn install does not seem to apply here.

Based on the installed node_modules we generate an NPM lockfile that matches the versions in the Yarn lockfile. It should not really matter what package manager your deployed code uses, as long as the lockfile versions match with the original lockfile.


Alternatively, isolate can be integrated in other programs by importing it as a function. You optionally pass it a some user configuration and possibly a logger to handle any output messages should you need to write them to a different location as the standard node:console.

import { isolate } from "isolate-package";

await isolate({
  config: { logLevel: "debug" },
  logger: customLogger,

If no configuration is passed in, the process will try to read isolate.config.json from the current working directory.

The internal packages strategy

An alternative approach to using internal dependencies in a Typescript monorepo is the internal packages strategy, in which the package manifest entries point directly to Typescript source files, to omit intermediate build steps. The approach is compatible with isolate-package and showcased in my example monorepo setup

In summary this is how it works:

  1. The package to be deployed lists its internal dependencies as usual, but the package manifests of those dependencies point directly to the Typescript source (and types).
  2. You configure the bundler of your target package to include the source code for those internal packages in its output bundle. In the case of TSUP for the API service in the mono-ts that configuration is: noExternal: ["@mono/common"]
  3. When isolate runs, it does the same thing as always. It detects the internal packages, copies them to the isolate output folder and adjusts any links.
  4. When deploying to Firebase, the cloud pipeline will treat the package manifest as usual, which installs the listed dependencies and any dependencies listed in the linked internal package manifests.

Steps 3 and 4 are no different from a traditional setup.

Note that the manifests for the internal packages in the output will still point to the Typescript source files, but since the shared code was embedded in the bundle, they will never be referenced via import statements. So the manifest the entry declarations are never used. The reason the packages are included in the isolated output is to instruct package manager to install their dependencies.


For detailed information on how to use isolate-package in combination with Firebase see this documentation

Package Sidebar


npm i isolate-package

Weekly Downloads






Unpacked Size

257 kB

Total Files


Last publish


  • thijskoerselman