NPM Package Locks: “npm notice created a lockfile as package-lock.json. You should commit this file.”

1 minute read

So you just got…

npm notice created a lockfile as package-lock.json. You should commit this file.

What is it, and what to do?

Should I commit it?


In case you are wondering, yes, you should commit package-lock.json. Yes, commit as in add it to your version control and push. Don’t be afraid.

What is it, though? At the docs you get:

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.

But I too didn’t find that so enlightening.

Really, for &#^$#&’s sake, in human terms, what is package-lock.json?

Ok, ok. Calm down. Let me take a stab at it.

In a few words, every time you use npm install, NPM will read your package.json file and download your dependencies (and your dependencies’ dependencies) to your node_modules folder.

Ideally, if you didn’t change your package.json file, anywhere you run npm install you should get the exact same content at node_modules folder.

But for several reasons (different NPM versions at each machine, server changes, version changes – e.g. the ~ in ~1.2.3, etc.), that is not always the case.

That’s where package-lock.json comes in. It is basically a (reproducible) record of what files where actually downloaded.

So, now, everytime you run npm install, if package-lock.json is present, you (or your fellow devs, or the CI server, or your boss’ cousin) will get the exact same dependency tree downloaded to node_modules.

Simple, isn’t it?

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