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Packages Folder

This folder contains the Node and Atom packages that compose Nuclide.


Because Nuclide is divided into so many packages, we decided to develop them in a single repo (as opposed to one repo per package) to facilitate making atomic changes across packages.

With so many packages, we have developed a set of scripts to help manage them. We store metadata about a package in the "nuclide" property of the package's package.json file that can be used for scripting. At a minimum, a package should declare its type ("Node" vs. "Atom") and its test runner ("npm" vs. "apm"):

"nuclide": {
  "packageType": "Node",
  "testRunner": "apm"

In practice, this means we have three types of packages in Nuclide:

  1. Node/npm A traditional Node package. It is installed and require()'d like any other package from npm. Although it is used in Nuclide, the package has no dependencies on Atom and could be used in an ordinary Node environment. Many of these packages contain logic that is used by the Nuclide server, which is run outside of Atom.
  • Node/apm A Node package that has dependencies on Atom. Although it is available on npm and could therefore be included in the "dependencies" of any Node package, it is only guaranteed to work when run inside Atom. Such packages have references to either the global atom environment variable, require('atom') or require other Node/apm packages.
  • Atom/apm A traditional Atom package. Installable via apm install, but not npm install. Because Atom packages cannot express dependencies on other Atom packages, it is not safe to design an Atom package that relies on the presence of another Atom package. This is one shortfall of the Services API: although it is possible to declare an Atom package as a provider of a service, such as AtomLinter*, there is no way to ensure that at least one consumer of the provider exists. (The npm package, atom-package-dependencies, is one proposed third-party solution to this problem.) The flip side is that only one instance/version of an Atom package can be installed globally in Atom, so it can reliably be treated as a singleton (which is not the case for Node packages).

Given the definition of the various types of packages in Nuclide, we have the following constraints on package dependencies:

  1. Node/npm packages can depend only on other Node/npm packages.
  2. Node/apm packages can depend only on other Node/apm packages as well as Node/npm packages.
  3. Atom/apm packages can depend only on any combination of Node/apm packages and Node/npm, but cannot depend on other Atom/apm packages.
  4. Any package in Nuclide can depend on any "ordinary" package in npm.

Note that Atom packages have some special folders (keymaps, styles, etc.) whose contents are processed in a special way. Because Atom packages cannot be expressed as dependencies of other Atom packages, this makes it difficult to create a package for a reusable UI component with its own styles. As a workaround, we created the nuclide-atom-npm package, which makes it possible to create a Node package with the structure and [most of the] functionality of an Atom package. See its for details.

For Nuclide, we strive for the majority of our packages to be Node packages. This makes code easier to reuse, and enables dependencies to be loaded synchronously and reliably (which is not the case for Services in Atom). By comparison, we try to limit the number of Atom packages to make it easier for users to install the subset of Nuclide that is relevant to them.

*AtomLinter does not support the Services API yet, but it seems like it will ultimately have to, as it is the favored pattern in Atom.


The Nuclide repository is organized to facilitate iterative development of Nuclide itself.

To run the tests for an individual package, invoke the test runner that corresponds to the "nuclide/testRunner" section of the package.json file (i.e., npm test or apm test). Note that the nuclide-jasmine package creates some bootstrapping code for npm test so that it behaves more like apm test. In particular, files with the /** @flow */ pragma are automatically transpiled, and helper functions such as fit(), fdescribe(), and waitsForPromise() will be globally available. Here are the relevant parts of the package.json file that set this up:

  "nuclide": {
    "packageType": "Node",
    "testRunner": "npm"
  "scripts": {
    "test": "node ../nuclide-jasmine/bin/jasmine-node-transpiled spec"

Note that for packages whose test runner is apm, this is not necessary.

Sample packages

sample-* packages aren't loaded as part of Nuclide. They exist to illustrate archetypal architecture and structure for a given feature, although they can be enabled for testing via the "Enabled Features" Nuclide setting.

Dev packages

dev-* packages exist during development but aren't included in the production version of Nuclide. These contain various features that are useful for developing Nuclide.

Flow errors

In case flow complaints about missing modules, i.e Required module not found, try uncommenting the $FlowFB option in Nuclide's .flowconfig file. See for more information.