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Homebrew vs npm: What are the differences?

Key Differences between Homebrew and npm

Homebrew and npm are both package managers that are widely used in the software development community. While they serve the same purpose of managing packages and dependencies, there are some key differences between them. Below are six specific differences between Homebrew and npm:

  1. Operating System Compatibility: Homebrew is specifically developed for macOS, while npm is primarily used for package management in Node.js environments, which is compatible with various operating systems including macOS, Windows, and Linux.

  2. Package Types: Homebrew mainly focuses on managing software packages for macOS, including command-line tools, libraries, and applications. On the other hand, npm primarily manages JavaScript packages that are used in Node.js projects, including libraries and frameworks.

  3. Installation Process: Homebrew requires a separate installation process and command-line tool to be set up on macOS systems. However, npm comes bundled with Node.js, so it is automatically installed when Node.js is installed.

  4. Registry: Homebrew uses a centralized formulae repository where all the available software packages are stored. On the contrary, npm has a decentralized approach, which means that anyone can publish packages to the npm registry, resulting in a vast number of packages being available.

  5. Dependency Management: Homebrew does not have built-in support for dependency management. It primarily manages the installation, updating, and removal of individual packages. npm, on the other hand, has robust dependency management capabilities, allowing developers to define and manage dependencies between packages in their Node.js projects.

  6. Command-Line Interface: Homebrew uses its own command-line interface (CLI) that consists of various commands and options specific to Homebrew, making it easy to manage software packages on macOS. npm, on the other hand, has a CLI that provides a wide range of commands and options for managing packages and dependencies in Node.js projects.

In summary, Homebrew is a package manager for macOS, focusing on managing software packages for the operating system, while npm is primarily used for package management in Node.js projects, providing extensive dependency management capabilities for JavaScript packages.

Advice on Homebrew and npm
Needs advice
on
npmnpm
and
YarnYarn

From a StackShare Community member: “I’m a freelance web developer (I mostly use Node.js) and for future projects I’m debating between npm or Yarn as my default package manager. I’m a minimalist so I hate installing software if I don’t need to- in this case that would be Yarn. For those who made the switch from npm to Yarn, what benefits have you noticed? For those who stuck with npm, are you happy you with it?"

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Replies (14)
Julian Sanchez
Lead Developer at Chore Champion · | 11 upvotes · 243K views
Recommends
on
YarnYarn
at

We use Yarn because it allows us to more simply manage our node_modules. It also simplifies commands and increases speed when installing modules. Our teams module download time was cut in half after switching from NPM to Yarn. We now require all employees to use Yarn (to prevent errors with package-lock.json and yarn.lock).

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Recommends
on
npmnpm

I use npm since new version is pretty fast as well (Yarn may be still faster a bit but the difference isn't huge). No need for other dependency and mainly Yarn sometimes do not work. Sometimes when I want to install project dependencies I got error using Yarn but with npm everything is installed correctly.

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Recommends
on
YarnYarn

p.s.

I am not sure about the performance of the latest version of npm, whether it is different from my understanding of it below. Because I use npm very rarely when I had the following knowledge.

------⏬

I use Yarn because, first, yarn is the first tool to lock the version. Second, although npm also supports the lock version, when you use npm to lock the version, and then use package-lock.json on other systems, package-lock.json Will be modified. You understand what I mean, when you deploy projects based on Git...

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Mark Nelissen
Recommends
on
npmnpmnpmnpm

I use npm because I also mainly use React and TypeScript. Since several typings (from DefinitelyTyped) depend on the React typings, Yarn tends to mess up which leads to duplicate libraries present (different versions of the same type definition), which hinders the Typescript compiler. Npm always resolves to a single version per transitive dependency. At least that's my experience with both.

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Recommends
on
YarnYarn

As far as I know Yarn is a super module of NPM. But it still needs npm to run.

Yarn was developed by Facebook's guys to fix some npm issues and performance.

If you use the last version of npm most of this problem does not exist anymore.

You can choose the option which makes you more confortable. I like using yarn because I'm used to it.

In the end the packages will be the same. Just try both and choose the one you feel more confortable. :)

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tataata
Frontend designer and developer · | 3 upvotes · 228.4K views
Recommends
on
YarnYarn

Yarn made it painless for the team to sync on versions of packages that we use on the project <3

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Shuuji TAKAHASHI
Recommends
on
YarnYarn

I use Yarn because it outputs nice progress messages with cute emoji and installs packages quickly if the package is cached. Also, Yarn creates yarn.lock file which makes the developer use the consistent environment.

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Tor Hagemann
Principal Software Engineer at Socotra · | 3 upvotes · 128.6K views
Recommends
on
npmnpmYarnYarn

You should use whichever had the best DX (developer experience) for your team. If you are doing a massive front-end project, consider yarn if not only because it makes it a snap to go from zero to ready. What some people say about npm being more stable or easier for smaller projects is highly true as well. (not to mention, you sometimes have to install yarn) But, note that official NodeJS Docker images ship with both npm and yarn. If you want to use yarn, put package-lock=false and optionally save-exact=true in your project's .npmrc file. Compare whether you prefer the ergonomics of yarn global add over npm install -g or see fewer meaningless warnings for the specific set of dependencies you leverage.

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Recommends
on
npmnpm

I use npm because its the official package manager for Node. It's reliability, security and speed has increased over time so the battle is over!

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Digital All
Recommends
on
npmnpm

I use npm because its packaged with node installation and handles npm tokens in CI/CD tools for private packages/libraries.

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Denys Slipetskyy
Recommends
on
YarnYarn
at

I use Yarn because it process my dependencies way faster, predictable deps resolution order, upgrade-interactive is very handy + some Yarn specific features (workspaces, Plug’n’Play alternative installation strategy) ...

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Francois Leurent
Recommends
on
npmnpm
at

We tend to stick to npm, yarn is only a fancy alternative, not 10x better. Using a self -hosted private repository (via sinopia/npm-mirror) make package locking (mostly) pointless.

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Recommends
on
YarnYarn

I am a minimalist too. I once had issues with installing Nuxt.js using NPM so I had to install Yarn but I also found that the Dev experience was much better

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Izzur Zuhri
Recommends
on
npmnpm

I use npm because it has a lot of community support and the performance difference with alternative tool is not so significant for me.

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Decisions about Homebrew and npm
Oleksandr Fedotov
Senior Software Engineer at joyn · | 3 upvotes · 269.2K views

As we have to build the application for many different TV platforms we want to split the application logic from the device/platform specific code. Previously we had different repositories and it was very hard to keep the development process when changes were done in multiple repositories, as we had to synchronize code reviews as well as merging and then updating the dependencies of projects. This issues would be even more critical when building the project from scratch what we did at Joyn. Therefor to keep all code in one place, at the same time keeping in separated in different modules we decided to give a try to monorepo. First we tried out lerna which was fine at the beginning, but later along the way we had issues with adding new dependencies which came out of the blue and were not easy to fix. Next round of evolution was yarn workspaces, we are still using it and are pretty happy with dev experience it provides. And one more advantage we got when switched to yarn workspaces that we also switched from npm to yarn what improved the state of the lock file a lot, because with npm package-lock file was updated every time you run npm install, frequent updates of package-lock file were causing very often merge conflicts. So right now we not just having faster dependencies installation time but also no conflicts coming from lock file.

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Petr Bambušek
Head of Frontend at Mews · | 2 upvotes · 280K views
Chose
YarnYarn
over
npmnpm
at
()

This was no real choice - we switched the moment Yarn was available, and never looked back. Yarn is the only reasonable frontend package manager that's actually being developed. They even aim to heal the node_modules madness with v2! Npm is just copying its ideas on top of introducing massive bugs with every change.

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Pros of Homebrew
Pros of npm
  • 3
    Clean, neat, powerful, fast and furious
  • 647
    Best package management system for javascript
  • 382
    Open-source
  • 327
    Great community
  • 148
    More packages than rubygems, pypi, or packagist
  • 112
    Nice people matter
  • 6
    As fast as yarn but really free of facebook
  • 6
    Audit feature
  • 4
    Good following
  • 1
    Super fast
  • 1
    Stability

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Cons of Homebrew
Cons of npm
    Be the first to leave a con
    • 5
      Problems with lockfiles
    • 5
      Bad at package versioning and being deterministic
    • 3
      Node-gyp takes forever
    • 1
      Super slow

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    What is Homebrew?

    Homebrew installs the stuff you need that Apple didn’t. Homebrew installs packages to their own directory and then symlinks their files into /usr/local.

    What is npm?

    npm is the command-line interface to the npm ecosystem. It is battle-tested, surprisingly flexible, and used by hundreds of thousands of JavaScript developers every day.

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    What are some alternatives to Homebrew and npm?
    Nix
    It makes package management reliable and reproducible. It provides atomic upgrades and rollbacks, side-by-side installation of multiple versions of a package, multi-user package management and easy setup of build environments.
    pip
    It is the package installer for Python. You can use pip to install packages from the Python Package Index and other indexes.
    Anaconda
    A free and open-source distribution of the Python and R programming languages for scientific computing, that aims to simplify package management and deployment. Package versions are managed by the package management system conda.
    Chocolatey
    It is based on a developer-centric package manager called NuGet. Unlike manual installations, It adds, updates, and uninstalls programs in the background requiring very little user interaction.
    JavaScript
    JavaScript is most known as the scripting language for Web pages, but used in many non-browser environments as well such as node.js or Apache CouchDB. It is a prototype-based, multi-paradigm scripting language that is dynamic,and supports object-oriented, imperative, and functional programming styles.
    See all alternatives