There Are Too Many NPM Packages

February 10, 2019

I was trying to add modal popups to a website today and trying not to reinvent the wheel and instead use a pre-existing modal package from NPM. However, upon searching for a good package, I found that NPM has 2366 modal packages.

There’s a huge amount of duplicated work here, including lots of packages that integrate with react, bootstrap, vue, browserify, or whatever. Trying to sort packages by popularity or quality gives little benefit and the package that actually owns the "modal" name seems to be dead with people publishing their own dead forks.

My suspicion is that this is a systemic issue from the node community’s encouragement of creating tons of micro-packages multiplied by the ever-increasing number of new javascript web frameworks but other package indices have similar problems. I feel that package managers should do a better job at either recommending well-supported packages or create a higher barrier of entry to people creating new packages. Maybe someone should try namesquatting package names and see where that goes?