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Version: 5.x

Workspace

pnpm has built-in support for monorepositories (AKA multi-package repositories, multi-project repositories, or monolithic repositories). You can create a workspace to unite multiple projects inside a single repository.

A workspace must have a pnpm-workspace.yaml file in its root. A workspace also may have an .npmrc in its root.

Workspace protocol (workspace:)

Supported since v3.7.0.

By default, pnpm will link packages from the workspace if the available packages match the declared ranges. For instance, foo@1.0.0 is linked into bar if bar has "foo": "^1.0.0" in its dependencies. However, if bar has "foo": "2.0.0" in dependencies and foo@2.0.0 is not in the workspace, foo@2.0.0 will be installed from the registry. This behavior introduces some uncertainty.

Luckily, pnpm supports the workspace: protocol (the same as in Yarn v2). When this protocol is used, pnpm will refuse to resolve to anything other than a local workspace package. So, if you set "foo": "workspace:2.0.0", this time installation will fail because "foo@2.0.0" isn't present in the workspace.

This protocol is especially useful when the link-workspace-packages option is set to false. In that case, pnpm will only link packages from the workspace if the workspace: protocol is used.

Referencing workspace packages through aliases

Added in 5.12.0

Let's say you have a package in the workspace named foo. Usually, you would reference it as "foo": "workspace:*".

If you want to use a different alias, the following syntax will work too: "bar": "workspace:foo@*".

Before publish, aliases are converted to regular aliased dependencies. The above example will become: "bar": "npm:foo@1.0.0".

Referencing workspace packages through their relative path

Added in 5.12.0

In a workspace with 2 packages:

+ packages
+ foo
+ bar

bar may have foo in its dependencies declared as "foo": "workspace:../foo". Before publishing, these specs are converted to regular version specs supported by all package managers.

Publishing workspace packages

When a workspace package is packed into an archive (whether it's through pnpm pack or one of the publish commands like pnpm publish), we dynamically replace any workspace: dependency by:

  • The corresponding version in the target workspace (if you use *)
  • The associated semver range (for any other range type)

So for example, if we have a workspace package at version 1.5.0, the following:

{
"dependencies": {
"foo": "workspace:*",
"bar": "workspace:^1.2.3"
}
}

Will be transformed into:

{
"dependencies": {
"foo": "1.5.0",
"bar": "^1.2.3"
}
}

This feature allows you to depend on your local workspace packages while still being able to publish the resulting packages to the remote registry without needing intermediary publish steps - your consumers will be able to use your published workspaces as any other package, still benefitting from the guarantees semver offers.

Release workflow

Versioning packages inside a workspace is a complex task and pnpm currently does not provide a built-in solution for it. However, there are 2 well tested tools that handle versioning and support pnpm:

For how to set up a repository using Rush, read this page.

For using Changesets with pnpm, read this guide.

Options

Added in: v2.14.0

  • Default: true
  • Type: true, false, deep

If this is enabled, locally available packages are linked to node_modules instead of being downloaded from the registry. This is very convenient in a monorepo. If you need local packages to also be linked to subdependencies, you can use the deep setting (since v5).

Else, packages are downloaded and installed from the registry. However, workspace packages can still be linked by using the workspace: range protocol.

prefer-workspace-packages

Added in: v5.13.0

  • Default: false
  • Type: Boolean

If this is enabled, local packages from the workspace are preferred over packages from the registry, even if there is a newer version of the package in the registry.

This setting is only useful if the workspace doesn't use save-workspace-protocol.

shared-workspace-lockfile

Added in: v2.17.0 as shared-workspace-shrinkwrap

  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean

If this is enabled, pnpm creates a single pnpm-lock.yaml file in the root of the workspace. This also means that all dependencies of workspace packages will be in a single node_modules (and get symlinked to their package node_modules folder for Node's module resolution).

Advantages of this option:

  • every dependency is a singleton
  • faster installations in a monorepo
  • fewer changes in code reviews as they are all in one file
note

Even though all the dependencies will be hard linked into the root node_modules, packages will have access only to those dependencies that are declared in their package.json, so pnpm's strictness is preserved. This is a result of the aforementioned symbolic linking.

save-workspace-protocol

  • Default: true
  • Type: Boolean

If this is enabled, new dependencies will be added with the workspace protocol IF (and only if) they are present in the workspace.

You might want to change this setting to false if the tooling in your repository does not understand the workspace protocol (and ideally submit a PR to your tooling to get it added in the future).