Software Engineering | 26 Sep 2023 | 14 min
In the ever-evolving landscape of software development, efficiency, and collaboration stand as the cornerstones of progress. Yet, for many years, engineers and developers found themselves grappling with a dilemma – how to streamline the development process across multiple projects while maintaining code integrity and manageability. This challenge led to a big change, giving birth to a solution that would transform the way software is created and managed: the monorepo.
In this blog, I will guide you through the concept of a monorepo, explaining its architecture, importance, and the challenges it addresses. Additionally, we will explore essential monorepo tools as we move forward.
A monorepo can be described as a repository for code that contains more than one logical project. These projects may be unrelated, loosely coupled, or interconnected through dependency management tools. Typically, they exhibit the following attributes:
We know that React applications revolve around components. So, when developing React Native apps, you’ll find yourself breaking them down into components designed for reuse across various parts of your application.
All thanks to the power of monorepo – as it allows React components to be efficiently reused not only within different sections of a single application but also across multiple applications housed within the same monorepo.
Now, let’s deepen our understanding by delving into the architecture of a monorepo.
Mono-Repository, or monorepo for short, is an architectural approach for efficient code. Its primary aim is to centralize all project components within a single repository, whether they are interrelated or autonomous and maintained by different teams. Thus, making it a great project management system.
This strategy eliminates the need to manage multiple repositories, ensuring a single source of truth. To illustrate, consider a web application with a frontend for browsers and a backend for servers as mentioned below:
Why get curious about monorepo? The upcoming section holds the answer.
Initially, the choice between monorepos and multirepos may appear inconsequential, but it wields a profound impact on your company’s development workflow. Here are some notable advantages:
As we’ve explored the benefits, it’s crucial to turn our attention to the drawbacks that accompany monorepos up next.
As monorepos expand in size, they encounter inherent limitations within version control tools, build systems, and continuous integration pipelines. These limitations can prompt organizations to consider adopting a multirepo approach for several reasons:
In the following section, we will explore how companies that have embraced monorepos have effectively addressed these challenges through strategic investments in tooling, integration implementations, and the development of custom solutions.
Here are a few software management tools using which can help you throughout your monorepo journey:
1. Pnpm/Yarn Workspaces: Yarn Workspaces simplifies monorepo management by offering a more declarative alternative to the conventional “yarn link” approach. It facilitates linking dependencies, allowing workspaces to depend on each other while consistently utilizing the most current code. Unlike “yarn link,” this mechanism confines its impact to your workspace tree, avoiding system-wide changes. Yarn Workspaces offers several advantages for monorepos:
2. Bit: It is a cutting-edge tool for constructing modular projects. It empowers users to effortlessly set up a comprehensive monorepo containing React applications, component libraries, packages, and high-performance build and test pipelines compatible with various testing tools.
Bit resolves several common monorepo challenges, including seamless code sharing, enabling easy consumption and utilization of apps, features, or components across different applications or libraries.
3. NX: This represents a robust suite of extensible development tools tailored for monorepos, with a strong emphasis on modern full-stack web technologies. It offers a holistic development experience through a versatile CLI with editor plugins, controlled code sharing, consistent code generation, and incremental builds to enhance build efficiency. NX leverages distributed computation caching to expedite repetitive tasks, resulting in faster build times and seamless integration with popular tools such as Cypress, Jest, TypeScript, and Prettier.
4. Rush: Rush is a formidable monorepo infrastructure developed by Microsoft and open-source contributors. It streamlines the management, building, and publication of multiple packages within a single repository. Key features include a unified package installation system compatible with – NPM, Yarn, and pnpm. Thus, ensuring dependencies are consolidated into a common folder. Rush employs isolated symlinks to reconstruct accurate “node modules” directories for individual projects, eliminating phantom dependencies and duplication issues.
So, in the end, whether to use monorepo or multirepo depends on your company’s needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. Some might switch between them, and that’s okay. Just remember, it’s not only about tech; it’s about how you work and talk with your team. So, pick what suits your way of working best.
we'll keep you in the loop with everything that's trending in the tech world.