npm now the largest module repository

I've been stalking npm for a while now, and as of June 30th, it is the largest of its kind, having surpassed Rubygems and Maven Central in quick succession.

I post this as an update to my prediction last December, that npm would be the largest repository of its kind by February 2015. It felt kind of bearish at the time, but not THAT bearish. npm is not only the largest repo of its kind. It's accelerating.

(screenshot from modulecounts.com)

Certainly many will now say that this was obviously coming for a while, and therefore that this is an arbitrary event offering nothing new. To some degree I am in agreement with that sentiment, but I happen to believe large shifts in our world happen gradually to the point where there is no 'big bang' event that signifies their arrival. In situations like that, we only have these 'trivial' events to latch on to as the dates when something was indisputable. Besides, 'it's the largest' is much easier to understand than 'is on track to become largest real-soon-now if assumptions hold'. And that by itself means even more teams will jump on the bandwagon, further accelerating the trend.

Others will say that the comparison isn't fair. The node community is known for favouring small composable components over large monolithic ones, so the modules in npm should count for less. Instead of wading into the details of the argument, I'll offer this simple response: Assuming that each npm module counts for a tenth of a 'normal' module, does nothing to alter the slope of growth. As long as the slope holds, if the day where npm exceeds every other module repository isn't today, it will be tomorrow.

I guess the final response is that it doesn't really matter. Again, in a sense I agree. But in another sense, even if 90% of everything is crap, there is value in understanding towards where the winds are blowing. Even if you won't abandon your favourite language for JS any time soon, it helps to know how to pitch your language when your target market is evolving.

All in all, this could be a meaningless factoid, but I still think it's a pretty neat feat for a language nobody took seriously for the first several years of it's existence.

Alexandros Marinos

I love to take the web to new places. Currently working on resin.io to bring web programming in contact with the physical world, so you can 'git push' JS to your devices.

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