Getting started with Yarn 2 and TypeScript (2022)

A headache for newcomers, a saving grace for longtime Yarn fans.

Getting started with Yarn 2 and TypeScript (1)

This article only covers the early days of Yarn 2, which past this article had actually gone on to change almost every week but still remained close to this article. However, Yarn 3 is now out, and I’d recommend reading my updated article Getting Started with Yarn 3 and TypeScript which also has a redone format compared to this one, also the Yarnberry Cookbook sadly went nowhere because of my personal life. 😢

Yarn 2, aka Berry (and also Modern), completely changes how Yarn functions as a whole, with limited support and templates, I created the Yarnberry Cookbook to home every “recipe ” I came up with, silly maybe but still unique.

The Basics

Getting started with Yarn 2 isn’t as straightforward as Yarn Classic or npm. It’s a headache for newcomers. You can read the getting started and features to get a good idea of how things work.

(Video) How to setup a Yarn workspace with Typescript

One of the best things about Yarn 2 is that it started using available resources instead of forcing you to adapt to new ones. Such as, not requiring .msi installations and Chocolately. They expect the bare minimum, and having installed Node.js 10+ which ships with npm! I personally prefer Node 12 LTS.

PS C:\…> npm -g install yarn
PS C:\…> mkdir <your-project>
PS C:\…> cd <your-project>
PS C:\…> yarn init
... Package information ...
PS C:\…\your-project> yarn set version berry
Resolving berry to a url…
Downloading https://.../berry-cli/bin/berry.js…
Saving it into C:\...\yarnberry-seed\.yarn\releases\yarn-berry.js…
Updating C:\...\yarnberry-seed/.yarnrc.yml…

And just like that, you’re ready to get started. It couldn’t be simpler! I would use screenshots, but my path names are a bit long and I like things to be as simple as possible.

Dependency Management

Here’s where things get tricky, but once you’re used to it, it’s all game.

Once you install your first dependency you’ll notice one of the things that makes Yarn Modern awesome, no more heavy node_modules directory! Now dependencies live across 3 points,

  • yarn.lock is your YAML-based lockfile
  • .pnp.js is your Plug’n’Play module resolver
  • .yarn/cache is where all of your dependencies are nicely packed and zipped

All three of these points remain synced every time you install a dependency. A caveat? When using TypeScript, you’ll notice a severe lack of “Go To Definition” functionality in Visual Studio Code or lack thereof for now. At first, I saw this as a huge no for me, but then I realized I didn’t need that functionality much, we’ll revisit this topic.

Back to those zipped dependencies, there’s an error you’ll run across occasionally when first starting out relative to checksum mismatches, specifically, YN0018, of which I now remember by heart because it burdened me for days. The fix? Easy. The cause? Depends, for me, it was because in my .gitattributes I auto-commit all files with an * text eol=lf, or End of Line = Unix-style.

(Video) Yarn 2 (Berry) - Plug'n'play, Constraints and Workspaces

# .gitattributes
* text=auto
* text eol=lf
*.zip binary
# GitHub Linguist Override
.yarn/* linguist-vendored
.pnp.js linguist-vendored

That’s all it takes to fix YN0018. What about that “Github Linguist Override?” Well, it’s optional, but it helps GitHub determine the true language stats for your repository. If you’re unfamiliar, GitHub Linguist is the library that reports the stats for those pretty colors on the bar under your stats bar. I don’t know the name for that navbar.

In short, if you don’t add those last two lines, the entire repository shows as 99% JavaScript, which isn’t true because that 99% isn’t your code, its just PnP and yarn-release code.


This one is pretty straightforward, ignore everything except a few folders. Never include install-state.gz, .yarn/unplugged/, or buildstate.json. These are not only platform-specific artifacts, but including unplugged gets heavy depending on your dependencies, puppeteer ships with Chromium which then means you have to add *.exe and *.dll as Git LFS files, which even then you only have 1 GB of free LFS storage. Just… not worth it.

# Yarn 2


So, back on the topic of TypeScript support, this is where two things come into play… in Plug’n’Play… anyway, you’re going to want to import the typescript plugin and make sure your integrations are updated. TypeScript, VS Code, etc.

(Video) Yarn v2 (Berry)

PS C:\…> yarn add typescript — dev
➤ YN0000: ┌ Resolution step
➤ YN0000: └ Completed in 0.25s
➤ YN0000: ┌ Fetch step
➤ YN0013: │ …
➤ YN0013: │ … “can’t be found and will be fetched etc…”
➤ YN0013: │ …
➤ YN0000: └ Completed in 0.22s
➤ YN0000: ┌ Link step
➤ YN0000: └ Completed
➤ YN0000: Done in 0.54s
PS C:\…> yarn plugin import typescript
➤ YN0000: Downloading https://.../plugin-typescript.js
➤ YN0000: Saving the new plugin in .yarn/plugins/@yarnpkg/plugin-typescript.cjs
➤ YN0000: Done in 0.67s
Did I mention Yarn Modern is fast?

This just installs typescript, of course, but also adds the TypeScript plugin! Which, is the best thing to happen in the history of TypeScript, as it literally fetches your type definitions for you 😍!!! No more add then add — dev @types/… blah, blah, repetitive nonsense!

So you’ve got that going, but then you load up VS Code and make your first module and BAM “Cannot find module ‘fs’ or its corresponding type declarations. ts(2307).” What a pain! Right? Not really! Because here’s the issue, we’ve zipped those dependencies, stored them in a folder that TypeScript knows nothing about, and expected it to just… work. Well lucky you, it actually does just work with a simple fix!

PS C:\…> yarn add @yarnpkg/pnpify --dev
➤ YN0000: ┌ Resolution step
➤ YN0000: └ Completed in 1.45s
➤ YN0000: ┌ Fetch step
➤ YN0013: │ …
➤ YN0013: │ … “can’t be found and will be fetched etc…”
➤ YN0013: │ …
➤ YN0000: └ Completed in 1.44s
➤ YN0000: ┌ Link step
➤ YN0000: └ Completed
➤ YN0000: Done in 3.26s
PS C:\…> yarn pnpify --sdk vscode
➤ YN0000: ┌ Generating SDKs inside .yarn/sdks
➤ YN0000: │ ✓ Typescript
➤ YN0000: │ • 5 SDKs were skipped based on your root dependencies
➤ YN0000: └ Completed
➤ YN0000: ┌ Generating settings
➤ YN0000: │ ✓ Vscode (new ✨)
➤ YN0000: └ Completed

You install @yarnpkg/pnpify and then pnpify to get going! It’s that simple. Of course, you can also run yarn pnpify --sdk vim. I personally use Visual Studio Code. Either way, this gets your workspace up and running! So what about those “5 SDKs were skipped?” Well, you can also install ESLint and Prettier and run yarn pnpify --sdk base to install support for those too!

Here’s another caveat, .yarn/sdks is actually new — that sounds good but I’ve had to support 3 separate solutions. Another downside about “bleeding-edge” is how much it changes. .yarn/sdks was previously .yarn/pnpify and before that, it was .vscode/pnpify and just yarn pnpify --sdk instead of adding “base”. These changes were all in 2 weeks. So you’ll want to either keep up-to-date about those changes or come back to ye ol’ Grim and keep using my up-to-date templates 😁… Shameless plug?

Also, remember to actually use the workspace version of TypeScript, 3.9.5-pnpify for example. Otherwise, you’ll bang your head wondering why @types/node didn’t resolve even though you’ve installed it 5 times. I’ve been there.

And finally, a painful caveat is that you may need to Reload the TypeScript Language Server, sometimes it bugs out or freezes completely. And other times, Yarn will say it can’t remove a module, just close and reopen VS Code I did a LOT of digging and a Node.js process hangs onto a file under Yarn 2 sometimes but it’s hidden under VS Code. Just a weird quirk but it happens when Code is under heavy load or you’re using a weaker laptop and the CPU is running hot. Weird quirks.

(Video) Yarn workspace with Typescript React Native app

What about running Node.js scripts?

Yarn 2 runs with its own Node instance. So yarn node <file>.js will solve those pesky issues. If you want to resolve that, use a bundler like Webpack. The same goes for binaries too, yarn add — dev webpack-cli then yarn webpack-cli you get the idea.


I’ll be making a few more recipes for tooling, linting, webpack, etc. Webpack, React, ESLint, and Prettier are already in a recipe together called Reaxpress in the Cookbook, so feel free to use that. Otherwise, I think that sums everything up!

If you want to go ahead and get started with Yarn 2 and TypeScript without the hassle, the repository can be found here, and you can easily get started by using that link to generate a project from the template. Everything in the Cookbook is a template, so it’s hassle-free.

I’ve done the research so you can get to play, have fun!


Does yarn work with TypeScript? ›

TypeScript is available as a package on the npm registry available as "typescript" . You will need a copy of Node. js as an environment to run the package. Then you use a dependency manager like npm, yarn or pnpm to download TypeScript into your project.

How do I use TypeScript yarn? ›

How to setup a Yarn workspace with Typescript - YouTube

Should .yarn be ignored? ›

yarn/unplugged should likely always be ignored since they typically hold machine-specific build artifacts. Ignoring it might however prevent Zero-Installs from working (to prevent this, set enableScripts to false ). . yarn/versions is used by the version plugin to store the package release definitions.

How do I enable yarn 2? ›

Run npm install -g yarn to update the global yarn version to latest v1. Go into your project directory. Run yarn set version berry to enable v2 (cf Install for more details) If you used .

Which is better yarn or npm? ›

As previously stated, Yarn installs dependency packages in parallel, whereas NPM installs them sequentially. As a result, Yarn outperforms NPM when installing bigger files. Both tools can save dependent files to the offline cache.

Is TypeScript worth using? ›

Would I recommend TypeScript to you? Of course I would. It is going to help you deliver better code in shorter time. The IDE support is great now, the community is vibrant, the number of libraries with TS definitions is big enough and growing, the programmer experience (fast feedback from compiler) is pleasing.

Is TypeScript frontend or backend? ›

TypeScript is neither a frontend or backend language, but rather a superset of the already established and well-known software language, JavaScript.

Is TypeScript better than JavaScript? ›

Advantages of using TypeScript over JavaScript

TypeScript always points out the compilation errors at the time of development (pre-compilation). Because of this getting runtime errors is less likely, whereas JavaScript is an interpreted language. TypeScript supports static/strong typing.

How do I start learning TypeScript? ›

Open up your text editor and create a TypeScript file (for example, index. ts). An interesting thing about TypeScript is that it reports errors in your text editor whilst you are coding, but it will always compile your code – whether there are errors or not.

Should I use yarn or npm 2021? ›

Speed – In a comparison of speed, Yarn is much quicker and faster than most of the npm versions which are below the 5.0 versions. The npm developers have mentioned that npm 5.0 is 5 times faster than most of the earlier versions of the npm modules.

Is yarn 2 backwards compatible? ›

Backwards Compatibility with node_modules

However, Yarn 2 now offers an option that copies packages to the node_modules/ folder just like Yarn 1, providing backward compatibility for these projects. It literally requires adding a single line to your new .

Should I use Pnpm? ›

PNPM: PNPM is 3 times faster and more efficient than NPM. With both cold and hot cache, PNPM is faster than Yarn. Pnpm simply links files from the global store, while yarn copies files from its cache. Package versions are never saved more than once on a disk.

What is yarn TypeScript? ›

TypeScript is a language for application-scale JavaScript. TypeScript adds optional types to JavaScript that support tools for large-scale JavaScript applications for any browser, for any host, on any OS.

How do you update TypeScript with yarn? ›

By default, it will install latest version. Or you can remove the orginal version, run yarn global remove typescript , and then execute yarn global add typescript , by default it will also install the latest version of typescript. more details, you can read yarn docs.

Can I install yarn with npm? ›

The Yarn maintainers recommend installing Yarn globally by using the NPM package manager, which is included by default with all Node. js installations. Use the -g flag with npm install to do this: sudo npm install -g yarn.

Is TypeScript Dev dependency? ›

Installing as a dev dependency has a few benefits: It specifies which version of TypeScript did you use. In CI/CD pipeline, it is installed without a further instruction. The same is true with other developers working on your project.


1. Get Started with pnpm
(Coding in Public)
2. Yarn 2: a next generation package manager - Michael Richardson
3. Get started writing TypeScript today! by Dominik Kundel
4. Yarn Berry: a next generation package manager - Michael Richardson - NDC Oslo 2021
(NDC Conferences)
5. Getting Started With TypeScript in 2020 - S2E3
(Dylan Israel)
6. React.js with Typescript Tutorial Series #2 : Creating React App
(Technology and Software)

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