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Thank you for your interest to contribute to Hyperledger Cactus! 🎉

First things first, please review the Hyperledger Code of Conduct before participating.

There are many ways to contribute to Hyperledger Cactus, both as a user and as a developer.

As a user, this can include:

As a developer:

Git Know How / Reading List

This section is for you if you do not know your way around advanced git concepts such as

  • rebasing (interactive or otherwise)
  • splitting commits/PRs
  • when to use and not to use force push

A word on the controversial topic of force pushes: In many git guides you will read that force push is basically forbidden. This is true 99% of the time, BUT if you are the only person working on a branch (which is most of time true for a feature/fix branch of yours that you are planning to submit as a PR) then force pushing is not just allowed but necessary to avoid messy git commit logs. The question you need to ask yourself before force pushing is this: Am I going to destroy someone else's work on the remote branch? If nobody else is working on the branch then the answer is of course no and force push can be used safely. If others are working with you on the branch on the other hand, it is considered polite to ask and warn them in advance prior to force pushing so that they can take the necessary precautions on their side as well.

A handy tool to avoid destroying other's work accidentally is the new(ish) git feature called --force-with-lease: Using git push --force-with-lease instead of vanilla --force is highly recommended: https://softwareengineering.stackexchange.com/a/312710

The rustlang documentation has an excellent write-up and additional links on pretty much everything you need to know. The only difference between their PR requirements and Cactus' is that we do encourage people referencing github issues in commit messages. Quoting the most relevant parts below (and thanks to the Rust maintainers for this).

Pull requests are the primary mechanism we use to change Rust. GitHub itself has some great documentation on using the Pull Request feature. We use the "fork and pull" model described here, where contributors push changes to their personal fork and create pull requests to bring those changes into the source repository.

Please make pull requests against the main branch.

Rust follows a no merge policy, meaning, when you encounter merge conflicts you are expected to always rebase instead of merge. E.g. always use rebase when bringing the latest changes from the main branch to your feature branch. Also, please make sure that fixup commits are squashed into other related commits with meaningful commit messages.

GitHub allows closing issues using keywords. This feature should be used to keep the issue tracker tidy.

Source: https://github.com/rust-lang/rust/blob/53702a67e2ae8a404169a0329f6a38d73bf7494d/CONTRIBUTING.md#pull-requests

Further reading:

PR Checklist - Contributor/Developer

To avoid issues in the future, do not install dependencies globally. Ensure all dependencies are kept self-contained.

  1. Fork hyperledger/cactus via Github UI

    • If you are using the Git client on the Windows operating system, you will need to enable long paths for git which you can do in PowerShell by executing the command below. To clarify, this may also apply if you are using any Git GUI application on Windows such as Github Desktop or others.

      git config --global core.longpaths true
  2. Clone the fork to your local machine

  3. (Optional) Create local branch for minimizing code conflicts when you want to contribute multiple changes regarding different issues in parallel.

  4. Complete the desired changes and where possible test locally

    1. You can run the full CI suite on Mac/Linux/WSL by running the script at ./tools/ci.sh
    2. If you do not have your environment set up for running bash scripts, do not worry, all pull requests will automatically have the same script executed for it when opened. The only downside is the slower feedback loop.
  5. Make sure you have set up your git signatures

    1. Note: Always sign your commits using the git commit -S
    2. For more information see here
  6. Think about/decide on what your commit message will be.

    1. The commit message syntax might be hard to remember at first so you we invite you to use the npm run commit command which upon execution presents you with a series of prompts that you can fill out and have your input validated in realtime, making it impossible (or at least much harder) to produce an invalid commit message that the commit lint bot on Github will flag with an error.
      1. The use of this tool described above is entirely optional in case you need a crutch.
      2. Note that running the npm run commit command will also attempt to perform the actual commit at the end unless you kill the process with Ctrl + C or whatever is your terminal's shortcut for the same action.
      3. The npm run commit command will also attempt to sign the produced commit so make sure that it is set up properly prior to using it.
  7. Commit your changes

    1. Make sure your commit message follows the formatting requirements (details above) and here: Conventional Commits syntax; this aids in release notes generation which we intend to automate
    2. Be aware that we are using git commit hooks for the automation of certain mundane tasks such as applying the required code style and formatting so your code will be wrapped at 80 characters each line automatically. If you wish to see how your changes will be altered by the formatter you can run the npm run prettier command from a terminal or install an IDE extension for the Prettier tool that can do the same (VSCode has one that is known to work).
  8. Ensure your branch is rebased onto the upstream main branch where upstream is fancy git talk for the main Cactus repo on Github (the one you created your fork from).

    1. Do not duplicate your pull request after it has been reviewed. Duplication here means closing the existing PR and then opening a brand new one which does not contain the review history anymore. If you encounter issues with version control that you do not know how to solve the maintainers will be happy to assist to ensure that you do not need to open a new pull request from scratch.
      1. The only exception from the rule above is if you mistakenly named your branch to contain special characters and somehow ended up in a state where it has become impossible to push changes to the remote due to this (which has happened before with branch names like refactor(core-api): x that had to be renamed to refactor-core-api-x and then a new PR had to be created in that case because GitHub does not let you rename the remote branch that your pull request is tied to)
    2. If you are having trouble, there are many great resources out there (so we will not write another here).
      1. If you are having trouble locating a suitable guide specifically on the mechanics of rebasing, we can recommend this one. Thanks to Rafael for the link!
      2. If you went through that tutorial and still not quite sure what's up, give this one a shot as well: https://about.gitlab.com/blog/2020/11/23/keep-git-history-clean-with-interactive-rebase/
    3. If merge conflicts arise, you must fix these at rebase time since omitting this step does not magically make the conflicts go away, just pushes it over the fence to the maintainer who will attempt to merge your pull request at a later point in time.
    4. If the above happens, at that point said maintainer will most likely ask you (if not already) to perform the rebase anyway since as the author of a change you are best positioned to resolve any conflicts on the code level. Occassionally maintainers may do the merge/conflict resolution themselves, but do not count on this nor try to make a habit out of relying on the potential kindness.
    5. After successful rebasing, take another look at your commit(s). Ideally there should be just one in each pull request, but also on the other hand each commit should be as small, simple and self contained as possible, so there can be cases where it makes sense to submit a PR with multiple commits if for example you also had to change something in the test tooling while implementing a feature (in which case there could be a commit for the feature itself and another for the necessary changes to the test tooling package). What we respectfully ask though is that you try to avoid these situations and submit most of your PRs with a single, self contained commit that does not touch multiple things. This significantly reduces the cognitive load required to review the changes which in turn makes everyone happier: the maintainers will have an easier job reviewing, which means they'll be doing it faster which will (probably) cause you joy in turn.
  9. Push your changes to your main (or whatever you named your feature branch, that is entirely up to you at the end of the day)

  10. Initiate a pull request from your fork to the base repository

  11. Remember: Opening a pull request is like saying "Hey maintainers, I have this change finalized and ready for you to spend time on reviewing it." The word finalized here is understood to imply that you are not planning on doing any more changes on the branch apart from when being asked to by the reviewers.

  12. It is perfectly acceptable to open a pull request and mark it as draft (a GitHub feature) which then signals to the maintainers that if they have time, they are welcome to look at the change, but it may or may not be in its final form yet so you are not responsible for potential loss of time on their end if the review has to be performed multiple times on account of changes. Once you promote your draft PR to a real one, the comments from the point above apply however.

  13. If your pull request contains a significant change, we recommend that you apply the similarly named github label on in it as well. It is okay if you do not do this, if we detect that the change is indeed significant, we will apply the label. If you do it in advance however, it will probably speed up the proceedings by removing one communication roundtrip from the review process of your pull request.

  14. Await CI, DCO & linting quality checks, as well as any feedback from reviewers

  15. If you need to update your pull request either because you discovered an issue or because you were asked to do so we ask that you:

  16. try to add the change in a way that does not produce additional commits on the PR but instead do an git commit --amend --signoff on your local branch and then a force push to the remote branch of yours (the PR essentially). Again, if the change you are doing does not fit within any one of the existing commits of your PR, then it is justified to add a new commit and this is up to your discretion (maintainers may respectfully ask you to squash if they see otherwise)

  17. The rule of thumb for any and all things in git/Cactus is to maintain a clean, tidy commit log/history that enables everyone to easily look up changes and find accurate answers to the basic questions of Who? / What? / When / Why?. If you have ever been in a situation when you tried to figure out the original point a bug was introduced (and tried to figure out why the offending change was made in the first place) and the git blame just lead you to a 10 megabyte large patch with the message 'merge xyz', then you know exactly what it is we are trying to avoid here. :-)

PR Checklist - Maintainer/Reviewer

Ensure all the following conditions are met (on top of you agreeing with the change itself)

  1. All automated checks that are not explicitly called out here are also passing/green.
  2. Branch is rebased onto main and there are no dangling/duplicate commits.
  3. Commits appear simple and self contained. Simple is always relative to the mangitude of the change itself of course. A 1k line change can still be simple if all it does is rename some commonly used variable in each place its being used.
  4. If the contributors are having trouble with git basic functionality such as rebasing / force pushing, DCO, do your best to help them out, when in doubt feel free to reach out to Peter (who is the one insisting an all these git rules so he deserves to be the primary contact for all git related issues).
    1. Remember that we want to foster a welcoming community so if someone is new to git try to be extra patient with them on this front.
  5. Ensure the commit messages are according to the standard format.
    1. Remember that if you select 'squash' on the Github UI when accepting the pull request, Github will (by default) offer up the title of the pull request as the new commit message for your squash commit. This is not good unless the title happens to be a valid commit message, but in the likely event of it not being as such, you must take special care to type in a valid commit message right there and then on the Github UI.
    2. To avoid the hassle/potential issues with the above, it is recommended that you always use 'rebase' when accepting a pull request even if there are multiple commits that you'd otherwise like to see squashed.
    3. If you are adamant that you do not want to merge a PR with multiple commits, that is completely understandable and fair game. The recommended approach there is to ask the contributor to break the pull request up to multiple pull requests by doing an interactive rebase on their branch and cherry picking/re-ordering things accordingly. This is a fairly advanced git use case so you might want to help them out with it (or ask Peter who is the one constantly nagging everyone about these git rules...)

To protect the Hyperledger Cactus source code, GitHub pull requests are accepted from forked repositories only. There are also quality standards identified and documented here that will be enhanced over time.

Create local branch

Whenever you begin work on a new feature or bugfix, it's important that you create a new branch.

  1. Clone your fork to your local machine
  2. Setup your local fork to keep up-to-date (optional)
    # Add 'upstream' repo to list of remotes
    git remote add upstream https://github.com/hyperledger/cactus.git
    
    # Verify the new remote named 'upstream'
    git remote -v
    
    # Checkout your main branch and rebase to upstream.
    # Run those commands whenever you want to synchronize with main branch
    git fetch upstream
    git checkout main
    git rebase upstream/main
    
  3. Create your branch.
    # Checkout the main branch - you want your new branch to come from main
    git checkout main
    
    # Create a new branch named `<newfeature>` (give simple informative name)
    git branch <newfeature>
    
  4. Checkout your branch and add/modify files.
    git checkout <newfeature>
    git rebase main
    # Happy coding !
    
  5. Commit changes to your branch.
    # Commit and push your changes to your fork
    git add -A
    git commit -s -m "<type>[optional scope]: <description>"
    git push origin <newfeature>
    
  6. Once you've committed and pushed all of your changes to GitHub, go to the page for your fork on GitHub, select your development branch, and click the pull request button.
  7. Repeat step 3 to 6 when you need to prepare posting new pull request.

NOTE: Once you submitted pull request to Cactus repository, step 6 is not necessary when you made further changes with git commit --amend since your amends will be sent automatically.

NOTE: You can refer original tutorial 'GitHub Standard Fork & Pull Request Workflow'

Directory structure

Whenever you begin to use your codes on Hyperledger Cactus, you should follow the directory strecture on Hyperledger Cactus. The current directory structure is described as the following:

  • contrib/ : Contributions from each participants, which are not directly dependent on Cactus code.
    • Fujitsu-ConnectionChain/
    • Accenture-BIF/
  • docs/
    • API/
      • business-logic-plugin.md
      • ledger-plugin.md
      • routing-interface.md
  • examples/
    • example01-car-trade/
      • src/
  • plugins/
    • business-logic-plugin/
      • lib/ : libraries for building Business Logic Plugin
    • ledger-plugin/ : Codes of Ledger Plugin
      • (ledger-name)/ : Including the ledger name (e.g. Ethereum, Fabric, ...)
        • verifier/
          • src/ : Source codes of Verifier on Ledger Plugin
          • unit-test/ : Unit test codes of Verifier on Ledger Plugin (single driver / driver and docker env / ...)
        • validator/
          • src/ : Source codes of Validator on Ledger Plugin
          • unit-test/ : Unit test codes of Validator on Ledger Plugin (single driver / driver and docker env / ...)
    • routing-interface/
  • whitepaper/
  • test/
    • docker-env/
    • kubernetes-env/

Test Automation

Mantra: Testable code is maintainable code

Summary

We are all about automating the developer flow wherever possible and a big part of this is automated testing of course.

Whenever contributing a change it is important to have test coverage for the specific change that you are making. This is especially important for bugs and absolutely essential for security related changes/fixes.

Writing testable code is very important to us as not doing so can (and will) snowball into an avalanche of technical debt that will eventually destroy code quality and drive people away who would otherwise be happy to contribute and use the software. So, we want to make sure that does not happen with all this.

This also means that occassionally, when making a change that looks simple on the surface you may find that the reviewer of your pull request asks you to do additional, seemingly unrelated changes that have nothing to do with the actual feature/bug that you just implemented/fixed, but instead are designed to ensure that tests can be written for it or for related code.

This can feel like a chore (because it is) but we respectfully ask everyone to try their best in accomodating this because it really helps steering the ship on the long run.

One of the simplest examples for the above is when you have a class that does something, anything, and it depends on some shared resource to achieve it. The shared resource can be the file system or a network port that is open for TCP connections for example. You can implement your class hardcoding the port number and functionally it will be correct (if you did that part right) BUT if your class does not allow for the customization of said port through the constructor or a setter method, then one of our more obsessive maintainers (like Peter) will immediately be onto you asking for a change so that the port can be customized at runtime, allowing test cases to pass in port 0 that makes the test executable in parallel with other tests without being flaky.

If you oppose this idea, said maintainers will happily refer you to this writing or conjure up an entirely new essay right there on the pull request.

Test Case Core Principles

There are other principles specific per unit and integration tests, but the list below applies to all tests regardless of their nature.

All test cases must be...

  • Self contained programs that can be executed on their own if necessary
    • This ensures that if you are iterating on a single test case while trying to make it pass, you will always have the freedom to run just that one test instead of running the full suite of which the execution time will grow rapidly as we add test coverage, so, better nip that in the bud with this principle.
  • Excluded from the public API surface of the package they are in by ensuring that the test classes/types/interfaces are NOT exported through the public-api.ts file of that particular package.
    • The only exception from this is if a package is itself designed for tests for which a delightful example is the test-tooling package which as the name suggests is entirely designated for providing utilities for writing tests and therefore in the case of this package it is allowed and even expected that it will expose test related classes/types in it's public API surface. Do note however that indirectly the principle still applies, meaning that any package must not depend on the test-tooling package as an npm dependency but rather it must declare it as a devDependency in the relevant section of the package.json file.
  • Compatible with the TestAnythingProtocol
    • The NodeJS implementation of said protocol is in the node-tap npm package:
    • Assertions API of Node TAP
    • Simplest possible test case:
      const test, { Test } = require("tape");
      import * as publicApi from "../../../main/typescript/public-api";
      
      test("Module can be loaded", (t: Test) => {
         t.ok(publicApi);
         t.end(); // yaay, test coverage
      });
    • An end to end test case showcasing everything in action that is being preached in this document about test automation
  • Focus/verify a single bug-fix/feature/etc.
  • Clearly separated from non-test (aka main) source code. This means in practice that we ask that your test cases are either in the
    1. ./src/test/... tree of the package that you are testing OR
    2. your test cases are in the ./src/test/... tree (yes same name) BUT in an entirely separate package if the dependencies necessitate so. An example to when you would need a separate testing package is if you are developing a ledger plugin that has REST API endpoints shipping with it and you wish to verify in a test that the plugin can be loaded to the ApiServer and then called via the web service/SDK. In this case, you cannot place your test case in the ledger plugin's package because you want to avoid having to pull in the API server as a dependency of your ledger plugin package (to ensure that there will be no circular dependencies).
  • Executable with unlimited parallelism (so if I have a 128 test cases and run all of them in parallel on my new 128 CPU core computer, then every single test case runs at the same time)
    • This is important because it weeds out flakyness and hardcoded references to shared resources (Remember the rant about network ports in the previous section?)

    • BUT it is also very important because we (as in humanity) spent the last decade making the average CPUs ship with more and more cores as increasing frequency failed in the late 2000s as a performance increasing strategy.

      What this means is that to utilize the average consumer laptop that most people will have for development, you will need your test cases to run in parallel which will save time for everyone working on the code and faster turnaround times make for a better developer experience which makes for a happier community around our open source project. It's all connected. ;-)

  • Test cases don't depend on code outside of the ./src/* directory trees of the packages.
    • Do not depend on any of the example code in your test cases.
    • If you need to import code that is not JS/JSON/TS you can still do so via the Typescript compiler's relevant feature that allows importing arbitrary files.

Working with the Code

There are additional details about this in the BUILD.md file in the project root as well.

We use Lerna for managing the monorepo that is Cactus.

We heavily rely on Docker for testing the ledger plugins.

Running/Debugging the tests

Make sure to have the build succeed prior to attempting to run the tests. If you just checked out the project, it is best to just to just run the CI script which will do a full build and run all tests for you. If it fails you can open a bug in the issue tracker.

Assuming you have built the sources, below are the different methods to run the tests:

Running a single test case

You execute unit and integration tests in the same way, but here are examples for both them separately anyway:

  • An integration test:

    npx tap --ts --timeout=600 packages/cactus-test-plugin-consortium-manual/src/test/typescript/integration/plugin-consortium-manual/get-consortium-jws-endpoint.test.ts
  • A unit test:

    npx jest packages/cactus-common/src/test/typescript/unit/objects/get-all-method-names.test.ts

    You can also run tests via the VS Code user interface. To do so, make sure you rename template.launch.json to ``launch.json`. Under the "Run and Debug" window of VS Code, select "JEST: Current TS file" to test the currently opened file.

Running all test cases (unit+integration)

npm run test:all

Running unit tests only

npm run test:unit

Running integration tests only

npm run test:integration

What is npx used for?

npx is a standard top level binary placed on the path by NodeJS at installation time. We use it to avoid having to place every node module (project dependencies) on the OS path or to install them globally (npm install some-pkg -g)

Read more about npx here: https://blog.npmjs.org/post/162869356040/introducing-npx-an-npm-package-runner

What's the equivalent of npx for Yarn?

Yarn itself. E.g. npx lerna clean becomes yarn lerna clean.

Debugging a test case

Open the .vscode/template.launch.json file and either copy it with a name of launch.json (if you don't already have such a file) or just cherry pick the example Visual Studio Code debug tasks that you'd like to use. For debugging a single test case, you need the debug task from the template launch.json file that is called TAP: Current TS Test File. Prior to running that debug task you must have your VSCode editor opened to the test file that you wish to run. Breakpoints will work as long as you are debugging code in the same package.

Source map support is partial at this point but actively being worked on.

All-In-One Docker Images for Ledger Connector Plugins

If you are working on a new ledger connector you'll need an all-in-one docker image as well, which will allow the expected level of test automation. If your chosen ledger's maintainers provide an adequate docker image, then you might not need to develop this yourself, but this is rarely the case so YMMV.

To see an existing set of examples for besu and quorum images take a peek at the tools/docker/besu-all-in-one and tools/docker/quorum-all-in-one folders. These produce the ghcr.io/hyperledger/cactus-besu-all-in-one and ghcr.io/hyperledger/cactus-quorum-all-in-one images respectively. Both of these are used in the test cases that are written for the specific ledger connector plugins at:

  • packages/cactus-test-plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/src/test/typescript/integration/plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/deploy-contract/deploy-contract-via-web-service.test.ts
  • packages/cactus-plugin-ledger-connector-besu/src/test/typescript/integration/plugin-ledger-connector-besu/deploy-contract/deploy-contract-from-json.test.ts

The specific classes that utilize the all-in-one images can be found in the test-tooling package under these paths:

  • packages/cactus-test-tooling/src/main/typescript/besu/besu-test-ledger.ts
  • packages/cactus-test-tooling/src/main/typescript/quorum/quorum-test-ledger.ts

Test Automation of Ledger Plugins

Ledger plugin tests are written the same way as any other test (which is difficult to achieve, but we thrive to get it done).

The only difference between a ledger connector plugin test case and any unit test is that the ledger connector plugin's test case will pull up a docker container from one of the all-in-one images that we maintain as part of Cactus and then use that all-in-one-* container to verify things such as the ability of the ledger connector plugin to deploy a contract to said ledger.

As a generic best practice, the test cases should never re-use any all-in-one ledger container for the execution of multiple test cases because that will almost surely lead to flaky/unstable test cases over the long run and needless complexity, ordering dependencies and so on. It is recommended that if you have two test cases for a ledger connector plugin, they both pull up a newly created container from scratch, execute the test scenario and then tear down and delete the container completely.

An example for a ledger connector plugin and it's test automation implemented the way it is explained above: packages/cactus-test-plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/src/test/typescript/integration/plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/deploy-contract/deploy-contract-via-web-service.test.ts

This test case is also an example of how to run an ApiServer independently with a single ledger plugin which is how the test case is set up to begin with.

Another option if you want to perform some tests manually is to run the API server with a configuration of your choice:

# Starting from the project root directory

chmod +x ./packages/cactus-cmd-api-server/dist/lib/main/typescript/cmd/cactus-api.js

./packages/cactus-cmd-api-server/dist/lib/main/typescript/cmd/cactus-api.js --config-file=.config.json

You can run this test case the same way you would run any other test case (which is also a requirement in itself for each test case):

npx tap --ts --timeout=600 packages/cactus-test-plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/src/test/typescript/integration/plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/deploy-contract/deploy-contract-via-web-service.test.ts

You can specify an arbitrary set of test cases to run in a single execution via glob patterns. Examples of these glob patterns can be observed in the root directory's package.json file which has npm scripts for executing all tests with a single command (the CI script uses these):

"test:all": "tap --ts --jobs=1 --timeout=600 \"packages/cactus-*/src/test/typescript/{unit,integration}/\"",
"test:unit": "tap --ts --timeout=600 \"packages/cactus-*/src/test/typescript/unit/\"",
"test:integration": "tap --ts --jobs=1 --timeout=600 \"packages/cactus-*/src/test/typescript/integration/\""

Following a similar pattern if you have a specific folder where your test cases are, you can run everything in that folder by specifying the appropriate glob patterns (asterisks and double asterisks as necessary depending on the folder being a flat structure or with sub-directories and tests nested deep within them).

For example this can work as well:

# Starting from the project root
cd packages/cactus-test-plugin-ledger-connector-quorum/src/test/typescript/integration/plugin-ledger-connector-quorum
npx tap --ts --jobs=1 --timeout=600 \"./\"

Be aware that glob patterns need quoting in some operating system's shell environments and not necessarily on others. In the npm scripts Cactus uses we quote all of them to ensure a wider shell compatibility.

Building the API Client(S)

You do not need to do anything special to have the API Client sources generated and compiled. It is all part of the npm run build:dev:backend task which you can run yourself or as part of the CI script (./tools/ci.sh).

The API client code is automatically generated from the respective openapi.json file of each package that exposes ay web serices (REST/SocketIO/gRPC/etc.) and can be dependend on by other packages where applicable. There's a dedicated @hyperledger/cactus-api-client package that is meant to contain common functionality among the rest of API clients. The concept here is similar to abstract classes and their sub-class implementations.

Each openapi.json produces its own API client via the code generator that also contains relevant model definitions, such as interfaces describing the request/response bodies of all possible operations and validation constraints as well.

The API clients are designed to be a universal components, meaning that it runs just fine in browser and also NodeJS environments. This is very important as we do not wish to maintain two (or more) separate API client codebases for the various platforms and we also want as much of it being generated automatically as possible (currently this is close to 100%).

Adding new dependencies:

Example:

# Adds "got" as a dependency to the cactus common package
# Note that you must specify the fully qualified package name as present in
# the package.json file
yarn workspace @hyperledger/cactus-common add got --save-exact

You need to know which package of the monorepo will be using the package and then run the yarn workspace command with an additional parameters specifying the package name and the dependency name. See Yarn Workspaces Documentation for the official Yarn documentation for further details and examples.

After adding new dependencies, you might need to Reload VSCode Window After Adding Dependencies

Always specify the --save-exact when installing new dependencies to ensure reproducible builds

Reload VSCode Window After Adding Dependencies

If you added a new dependency and VSCode is showing an error when you try to import it, then sometimes the issue is just a matter of nudging VSCode to reload the Typescript definitions from scratch so that it "notices" the new dependency you just added.

The recommended way of doing this is by hitting the F1 key (or whatever you have bound the command menu to) and then searching and selecting Developer: Reload Window As a simpler alternative you can also just quit and relaunch the VSCode application of course.

On Reproducible Builds

As a best practice, any given revision (commit hash) stored in version control should produce the exact same build artifacts regardless of when or where the build was performed. This can only be achieved if npm dependency versions are locked down instead of being automatically upgraded by npm (which makes the build time and machine dependent).

Bottom line: Do not use the the ^, ~ and * syntax elements while declaring your npm dependencies.

Further details: