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npm vs pip: What are the differences?

Developers describe npm as "The package manager for JavaScript". 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. On the other hand, pip is detailed as "A package installer for Python". It is the package installer for Python. You can use pip to install packages from the Python Package Index and other indexes.

npm and pip can be categorized as "Front End Package Manager" tools.

npm is an open source tool with 17.2K GitHub stars and 3.17K GitHub forks. Here's a link to npm's open source repository on GitHub.

reddit, Instacart, and Coursera are some of the popular companies that use npm, whereas pip is used by Worldsensing - Mobility, Codecrafting, and Sonadus. npm has a broader approval, being mentioned in 2644 company stacks & 2670 developers stacks; compared to pip, which is listed in 3 company stacks and 3 developer stacks.

- No public GitHub repository available -

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.

What is pip?

It is the package installer for Python. You can use pip to install packages from the Python Package Index and other indexes.
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Why do developers choose npm?
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      What are some alternatives to npm and pip?
      Yarn
      Yarn caches every package it downloads so it never needs to again. It also parallelizes operations to maximize resource utilization so install times are faster than ever.
      gulp
      Build system automating tasks: minification and copying of all JavaScript files, static images. More capable of watching files to automatically rerun the task when a file changes.
      Apache Maven
      Maven allows a project to build using its project object model (POM) and a set of plugins that are shared by all projects using Maven, providing a uniform build system. Once you familiarize yourself with how one Maven project builds you automatically know how all Maven projects build saving you immense amounts of time when trying to navigate many projects.
      Bower
      Bower is a package manager for the web. It offers a generic, unopinionated solution to the problem of front-end package management, while exposing the package dependency model via an API that can be consumed by a more opinionated build stack. There are no system wide dependencies, no dependencies are shared between different apps, and the dependency tree is flat.
      NuGet
      A free and open-source package manager designed for the Microsoft development platform. It is also distributed as a Visual Studio extension.
      See all alternatives
      Decisions about npm and pip
      Tim Abbott
      Tim Abbott
      Founder at Zulip · | 5 upvotes · 19.1K views
      atZulipZulip
      Yarn
      Yarn
      npm
      npm
      Node.js
      Node.js

      I have mixed feelings on the Yarn/npm/Node.js ecosystem. We use it for Zulip, because you basically have to in order to have a modern JavaScript toolchain. And I like that Yarn lets us pin dependency versions out of the box for predictability in our production releases; we have to do significant work for the Python version of this feature.

      But one also deals with broken third-party dependencies uploaded to npm way too often (even ignoring the malicious packages issues that have gotten a lot of press of late). And one mostly has to use nvm in order to pin a specific version of node itself in a maintainable way, and nvm is a mess.

      See more
      Russel Werner
      Russel Werner
      Lead Engineer at StackShare · | 5 upvotes · 10.7K views
      atStackShareStackShare
      Yarn
      Yarn
      npm
      npm

      We use Yarn because at the time we decided to adopt it, npm had some missing features and issues. We like the speed and determinism provided by Yarn. We could probably use npm at this point, but we have no real reason to switch from Yarn. If you have a convincing argument to switch from npm to Yarn please leave a comment on this decision!

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      Johnny Bell
      Johnny Bell
      Senior Software Engineer at StackShare · | 17 upvotes · 633.3K views
      Webpack
      Webpack
      Node.js
      Node.js
      Yarn
      Yarn
      npm
      npm
      Babel
      Babel
      Prettier
      Prettier
      ESLint
      ESLint
      #ES6
      #ES5

      So when starting a new project you generally have your go to tools to get your site up and running locally, and some scripts to build out a production version of your site. Create React App is great for that, however for my projects I feel as though there is to much bloat in Create React App and if I use it, then I'm tied to React, which I love but if I want to switch it up to Vue or something I want that flexibility.

      So to start everything up and running I clone my personal Webpack boilerplate - This is still in Webpack 3, and does need some updating but gets the job done for now. So given the name of the repo you may have guessed that yes I am using Webpack as my bundler I use Webpack because it is so powerful, and even though it has a steep learning curve once you get it, its amazing.

      The next thing I do is make sure my machine has Node.js configured and the right version installed then run Yarn. I decided to use Yarn because when I was building out this project npm had some shortcomings such as no .lock file. I could probably move from Yarn to npm but I don't really see any point really.

      I use Babel to transpile all of my #ES6 to #ES5 so the browser can read it, I love Babel and to be honest haven't looked up any other transpilers because Babel is amazing.

      Finally when developing I have Prettier setup to make sure all my code is clean and uniform across all my JS files, and ESLint to make sure I catch any errors or code that could be optimized.

      I'm really happy with this stack for my local env setup, and I'll probably stick with it for a while.

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      Mark Nelissen
      Mark Nelissen
      CTO at Gemsotec bvba · | 4 upvotes · 2.9K views
      React
      React
      TypeScript
      TypeScript
      Yarn
      Yarn
      npm
      npm

      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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      Jason Barry
      Jason Barry
      Cofounder at FeaturePeek · | 4 upvotes · 20.9K views
      atFeaturePeekFeaturePeek
      Flow (JS)
      Flow (JS)
      TypeScript
      TypeScript
      React
      React
      JavaScript
      JavaScript
      Sublime Text
      Sublime Text
      Babel
      Babel
      Yarn
      Yarn
      npm
      npm
      #Frontend

      I think our #Frontend stack is pretty standard – but we have taken some deviations from a typical modern stack:

      • Flow (JS) instead of TypeScript. Flow was an easy choice 2+ years ago, as both flow and React were (and still are) maintained by Facebook. Today, it seems that the JavaScript community has settled on TypeScript as the winner. For new projects, I'd choose TS, but I don't see the point in migrating an existing project from flowtype to TS, when the end result will be roughly the same. Sure, memory usage is a bit high, and every now and then I have to kill some zombie processes, but our text editors (Sublime Text), CI scripts, and Babel are already set up to take advantage of the type safety that flow offers. When/if the React team writes React itself in TS, then I'll take a closer look – until then, flow works for us.

      • Yarn instead of npm. When yarn debuted, we never looked back. Now npm has pretty much caught up with speed and lockfiles, but yarn gives me confidence that my dependency installs are deterministic. Really interested in the plug-n-play (PnP) feature that removes the need for a node_modules folder, but haven't implemented this yet.

      See more
      StackShare Editors
      StackShare Editors
      Node.js
      Node.js
      npm
      npm
      Yarn
      Yarn

      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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      Interest over time
      Reviews of npm and pip
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      How developers use npm and pip
      Avatar of lispur
      lispur uses npmnpm

      Utilize npm private module to package shared library for different React / React Native clients. Shareable code goes here. Basically deliver Redux Store with Firebase integration and business logic in a library. Each React app utilizes this while delivering a device/target specific UI.

      Avatar of Refractal
      Refractal uses npmnpm

      If you're using Node or Gulp, you can't help but use NPM in some form or another. Fortunately that's never a bad thing with the massive package repository and glowing ecosystem making it a breeze to work with.

      Avatar of Oomba
      Oomba uses npmnpm

      We manages all of our packages, including Angular JS through npm. It is a very quick way of downloading / installing packages into your project.

      Avatar of Andrew Gatenby
      Andrew Gatenby uses npmnpm

      It's the front-end version of Composer, so is pretty essential to pull in packages that can be tracked and kept up to date.

      Avatar of InstaGIS
      InstaGIS uses npmnpm

      Manage dependencies such as grunt and all its plugins. Also, in the API server, manages Loopbacks dependencies and ours.

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      How much does pip cost?
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