NPM v7: Next version of the Node.js package manager will be faster and leaner

Almost two months after the takeover by Github, there is news about version 7 of the Node.js package manager.

What initially sent a small shock wave through the developer community does not seem to have a negative effect at least. This year Github took over NPM, the package management system that had just celebrated its tenth birthday shortly before.

NPM v7 presented for the first time on Github Satellite

The Microsoft subsidiary not only promised that the product should remain free. Rather, Github wanted to help bring NPM forward with greater energy. The work on version 7 of the NPM, which was already in progress at the time, is now coming to an end.

At the virtual conference Github Satellite on May 6, 2020, NPM product manager Edward Thompson presented NPM v7 and thus triggered a veritable wave of enthusiasm. The main innovations are of a more subtle nature.

NPM v7 is leaner and therefore faster

First of all, it is noticeable that NPM works much faster. The developers achieved this through a kind of bootstrapping. They reduced the number of outputs and removed all handling methods for Node.js versions that have long been gone. NPM v7 only supports Node.js 10 and up.

They also removed all functions from the command line interface that could do more than the command line required, such as tree management. In addition, with NPM v7, all manual intervention in package handling should be superfluous.

The new module Arborist represents a refactoring of the handling of package trees in NPM, which enables the use of dependency trees that were created with yarn and pnpm.

NPM moves huge amounts of data

According to his ex-chief technology officer Ahmad Nassri, NPM now serves around 125 billion requests a month with a transfer volume of a gigantic six petabytes, i.e. 6,000 terabytes or 125,000 gigabytes. A total of 1.3 million packages are hosted. The importance of the NPM for the Javascript ecosystem can therefore hardly be overestimated.

The Github takeover is intended to end the previously fragile business model, which was based on the fact that enough paying customers could be found for private, i.e. not freely usable, packages. Github wants to take over the paid business under its own name and let NPM continue to exist as a purely free, public package management system.

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