Lerna allows us to have multiple packages within our project. Complete with each package will be a package.json and a corresponding node_modules directory

We can list one of our packages as a dependency of another one by including the package in the dependencies section of the dependent's package.json

The root of a project with Lerna will have a lerna.json, as well as a packages/ directory

  • Each sub-package of our project must be within the packages/ directory

  • To run lerna bootstrap is to install all dependencies in sub-modules

  • When we run bootstrap, lerna will call yarn in each module, then create symlinks between the packages that refer to each other in the dependent's node_modules

    • ex. If we have 3 modules: Addition, Subtraction, and Calc (which performs the add/subtract operations), then Calc's node_modules will contain symlinks to the Addition and Subtraction modules.
  • if we use hoisting, then symlinks don't play a part. Instead, if we have react in 2 different submodules, then hoisting will allow us to remove react from those submodules, install it at the root level, then allow the node recursive resolver to handle resolution for us. In other words, from within the submodule, when we require react, it will look for the package in its nearest node_modules, not find it, then continue upwards until it does, which will be at the root.

    • The reason why hoisting works is due to the resolve algorithm of node require


  • naturally, having multiple sub-packages in a project will result in duplicate package listings. Lerna offers hoisting, which allows us to effectively list the same package in multiple places, but have the packages install at the root level
    • therefore, the duplicated package (ex. React) will be in the root directory's node_modules, even though it is listed in the sub-package's package.json
  • If we have a project with 2 sub-modules: A and B, and both have React as a dependency, we can run lerna bootstrap --hoist at the root, which will remove React (and all of its dependencies) from A/node_modules and B/node_modules, and move them to the root level node_modules. Because of the recursive nature of how node_modules are resolved, this will cause the sub-module's package.json to look upwards in the directory hierarchy until the react binary is found.
    • Lerna will warn us when running this command if we have version mismatches


  • bootstrap - generate node_modules for packages.
  • clean - remove all node_modules that are not in root directory
  • create - add a new sub-package to your project
  • run - run the script that is listed in each sub-package.json
    • Therefore, it will run only npm or yarn commands (with the script that is listed in package.json)
  • exec - run a command inside each package
    • similar to run, but is not restricted to running scripts in package.json


You don't actually need to run lerna bootstrap if you're using yarn workspaces.