Using a Monorepo for a Frontend Application

Using a Monorepo for a Frontend Application

The Green Arrow

In modern frontend development, managing large-scale projects with multiple packages, libraries, and applications can be challenging. One approach to tackle this complexity is by using a monorepo.

What is a Monorepo?

A monorepo, short for monolithic repository, is a software development approach where multiple projects or components are stored in a single repository. In the context of frontend development, a monorepo can include multiple frontend applications, shared libraries, and other related packages.

Benefits of Using a Monorepo

Code Sharing and Reusability

One of the key advantages of a monorepo is the ability to share code and components across different projects. By having all the code in a single repository, you can easily reuse components, utilities, and other shared code between applications. This promotes code consistency, reduces duplication, and improves development efficiency.

Simplified Dependency Management

In a monorepo, all the packages and applications share the same dependency tree. This means that you can manage dependencies at the repository level, ensuring that all projects use the same versions of shared libraries. This simplifies dependency management and reduces the risk of version conflicts.

Improved Collaboration

With a monorepo, developers working on different projects can easily collaborate and share code. Changes made to shared components or libraries can be immediately reflected in all dependent projects. This fosters better communication, encourages knowledge sharing, and streamlines the development process.

Streamlined Development Workflows

A monorepo enables consistent development workflows across different projects. You can set up shared build configurations, linting rules, and testing frameworks that are applied to all projects within the repository. This ensures consistent code quality and reduces the overhead of maintaining separate configurations for each project.

Easier Refactoring and Maintenance

When refactoring or making changes to shared code, a monorepo provides a centralized location for making updates. This makes it easier to track changes, ensure compatibility, and perform code reviews. Additionally, having all the code in one place simplifies maintenance tasks such as updating dependencies or fixing bugs.

Tooling for Creating and Managing a Monorepo

When it comes to creating and managing a monorepo, there are several tools available that can help streamline the process. Here are a few of them:


Lerna is a popular tool for managing JavaScript projects with multiple packages. It optimizes the workflow around managing multi-package repositories with git and npm. Lerna can also reduce the time and space requirements for numerous copies of packages in development and build environments by linking any cross-dependencies.

Yarn Workspaces

Yarn Workspaces is a feature in Yarn for managing multiple packages within a single repository. It allows you to install dependencies from multiple package.json files in sub-folders of a root directory, all in one go. This makes it easier to manage dependencies and ensures consistency across your projects.


Nx is a suite of powerful, extensible dev tools to help you architect, test, and build at any scale — integrating seamlessly with modern technologies and libraries while providing a robust CLI, caching, dependency management, and more.


Bazel is a build and test tool similar to Make, Maven, and Gradle. It uses a human-readable, high-level build language. Bazel supports projects in multiple languages and builds outputs for multiple platforms. It is particularly good at building and testing projects with a large codebase and has built-in support for code generation and other common tasks.

Each of these tools has its own strengths and is suited to different types of projects. It's important to choose the one that best fits your team's needs and workflows.

When Not to Use a Monorepo

While monorepos offer numerous benefits, they are not always the best choice for every project. Here are some scenarios where using a monorepo might not be the best idea:

Small Projects

For small projects with a limited number of developers and dependencies, the overhead of managing a monorepo might outweigh the benefits. In such cases, a simpler multi-repo setup might be more efficient.

Independent Deployments

If your project's components need to be deployed independently and have different release cycles, a monorepo can complicate the deployment process. Each component's dependencies need to be carefully managed to avoid conflicts.

Limited Resources

Monorepos can be resource-intensive, requiring more storage and processing power than multi-repos. If your team has limited resources, a monorepo might not be the best choice.

Team Structure

If your team is distributed and works on different components independently, a monorepo might not be the best choice. It can lead to unnecessary merge conflicts and coordination overhead.

Remember, the choice between a monorepo and multi-repo setup should be based on your team's needs, the nature of the project, and the resources available.


Using a monorepo for managing a frontend application offers numerous benefits in terms of code sharing, collaboration, and development workflows. It promotes code reuse, simplifies dependency management, and streamlines development processes. By leveraging the right tools, you can effectively manage large-scale projects and improve the overall efficiency of your frontend development team.