0.4.7 • Public • Published

Yarn Git Install

Clones and (re)installs packages from remote git repos. It is meant as a temporary solution until npm/npm#3055 is resolved.


yarn add yarn-git-install


In your package.json add:

  "scripts": {
    "install": "yarn-git install"
  "gitDependencies": {
    "private-package-name": "git@private.git.server:user/repo.git#revision",
    "public-package-name": "https://github.com/user/repo.git#revision"

Obviously replace *-package-name and git URLs with values relevant to your project. URLs has to be in canonical form (i.e. one that you would provide to git clone on command line) - no fancy NPM shortcuts like user/repo or bitbucket:user/repo. If you want this, we are open for a PRs.

Then install your dependencies as usual:

yarn install

If you want to lock versions of git dependencies, use:

./node_modules/.bin/yarn-git install --save

This will reinstall all git dependencies, but also write last matching commit's sha to package.json, effectively locking the versions.

You can also add a dependency and lock it's sha in one go:

./node_modules/.bin/yarn-git install --save me@my.git.server:me/my-awesome-thing.git

This is probably the safest option, as it guarantees the same revision to be installed every time.

Now it should be easy to deploy, as long as the git executable is available in the environment.


IMO there is a serious defect in current versions of NPM/Yarn regarding installation process of dependencies from git repositories. It basically prevents us from installing anything that needs a build step directly from git repos. Because of that some authors are keeping build artifacts in the repos, which I would consider a hurdle at best. Here is relevant issue with ongoing discussion.


If you npm install ../some-local-directory/my-package then npm will run prepublish script of the my-package and then install it in current project. This is fine.

One would expect that running npm install git@remote-git-server:me/my-package.git would also run prepublish before installing. Unfortunately it won't. Further more, it will apply .npmignore, which will most likely remove all your source files and make it hard to recover. Boo...


From command line

yarn-git install

This simple script will do the following for every <url> of gitDependencies section of package.json:

  1. Clone the repo it into temporary directory

    using git clone <url>.

  2. Run yarn install in this directory

    which will trigger prepublish hook of the package being installed.

  3. then run yarn install <temporary directory> in your project path.

In effect you will get your dependency properly installed.

You can optionally specify different paths for package.json:

yarn-git install -c git-dependencies.json

You may want to do this if you find it offensive to put non-standard section in your package.json.

Also try --help for more options.

Just like with plain NPM, on the command line you can specify a space separated list of packages to be installed:

yarn-git install https://github.com/someone/awesome.git me@git.server.com/me/is-also-awesome.git#experimantal-branch

After hash you can specify a branch name, tag or a specific commit's sha. By default master branch is used.

With --save option it will write the sha of tha HEAD (i.e. last matching commit) to the package.json, effectively locking the version of the dependency.


You can also use it programmatically. Just require yarn-git-install. It exposes four methods:

  • discover (path)

    Reads list of packages from file at given path (e.g. a package.json) and returns array of {url, revision} objects. You can supply this to reinstall_all method.

  • reinstall_all (options, packages)

    Executes reinstall in series for each package in packages. Options are also passed to each reinstall call.

    This function is curried, so if you provide just options argument you will get a new function that takes only one argument - packages array.

    Options are the same as for reinstall.

    Returns a Promise that resolves to report, i.e. an array of metadata objects that you can pass to save. See below.

  • reinstall (options, package)

    Most of the heavy lifting happens here:

    1. Clones the repo at package.url,

    2. Checks out package.revision

    3. runs yarn install at cloned repos directory

    4. installs the package from there.

    Options are:

    • silent: Suppress child processes standard output. Boolean. Default is false.
    • verbose: Print debug messages. Boolean. Default is false.

    Returns a Promise that will resolve to a metadata object:

      name: "my-awesome-thing"
      sha: "ef88c40"
      url: "me@git.server.com/me/my-awesome-thing.git"

    You probably don't want to use it directly. Just call reinstall_all with relevant options.

  • save (file, report)

    Takes a path to a package.json and an array of metadata (e.g. a report promised by reinstall_all). Updates the contents of the package.json file according to the report.

    Returns undefined.

If you are a Gulp user, then it should be easy enough to integrate it with your gulpfile. See [./src/cli.coffee][] for example use of the API.

Why not use dependencies and devDependencies

I tried and it's hard, because NPM supports fancy things as Git URLs. See messy-auto-discovery branch. You are welcome to take it from where I left.

There is also another reason. User may not want to reinstall all Git dependencies this way. For example I use gulp version 4, which is only available from GitHub and it is perfectly fine to install it with standard NPM. I don't want to rebuild it on my machine every time I install it. Now I can leave it in devDependencies and only use yarn-git-install for stuff that needs it.

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