🎓 Monorepo College Lecture 2: Build Me Up Buttercup

🎓 Monorepo College Lecture 2: Build Me Up Buttercup

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Photo by Floraf on Unsplash

Hello everyone and welcome to the second part of Monorepo College, if you haven’t already done so, make sure to read the first part of the series firstly and come back for this one after.

In this part, we will be initializing the project, getting all of the initial files out of the way and then configure Prettier as well as create the first package of our monorepo which will be a tsconfig package responsible for sharing TypeScript configuration files to the other packages we will create in the future.

Getting things off the ground

First things first, I always make sure to get the git side of things all setup and ready as the first step into setting up any project, and Acme is no different.

Let’s create a new directory for our project, obviously we will call it Acme.

# Create an "Acme" directory
mkdir Acme

# Change terminal directory to it
cd Acme

Now that we have created the directory for the project and changed directories into it inside our terminal, let’s initialise git and create a .gitignore file.

# Initialize git
git init

# If your starting branch is not main, you can change it like so:
git branch -m main

For the .gitignore file, I usually pick a template from github/gitignore which is a collection of great .gitignore file templates. For this project I will be using the Node template.

Next steps

Documentation & community files

In any open source project, you should have a minimum of a README.md, LICENSE, CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md, CONTRIBUTING.md and SECURITY.md, these are highly dependent on your project so I won’t be providing a template for them however here are some resources that might help you out.

Initialising pnpm

For this project, we will be using pnpm as our package manager of choice, but obviously you can use any one you prefer.


Let’s firstly create our root level package.json file for the workspace:

pnpm init

This will create a default package.json file at the root of our project, the default package.json is fine but we will change some stuff in ours, here’s mine after some changes:

  "name": "acme",
  "version": "0.1.0",
  "private": true,
  "description": "The next billion dollar startup",
  "license": "MIT",
  "author": "Acme",
  "packageManager": "pnpm@8.1.1",
  "engines": {
    "node": ">=18.0.0",
    "pnpm": ">=8.1.1"

I will go briefly over some of the stuff I have in the package.json file but you can always read the documentation on all of them here


The pnpm-workspace.yaml file is used to tell pnpm three things:

So let’s create our file, we will have it so that pnpm knows our packages will be located in apps/, packages/ or packages/config/:

  - 'packages/*'
  - 'packages/config/*'
  - 'apps/*'

With this in place, we have officially entered monorepo land 🎉


The .npmrc file is a special file that modifies the default behaviour of your package manager, in our case pnpm, I’m going to show you the .npmrc file that we will have and then explain what’s going on in there, as always I recommend reading the docs for this as that there are a lot of options that you can specify.

Read the docs


Misc files

Now that we have pnpm all setup in our workspace, we just need to add a couple more files before we get to the fun stuff.


EditorConfig is a tool that defines coding styles for multiple editors and IDEs, this will be somewhat of a fallback for users who don’t have prettier formatting in their editor and prettier does support .editorconfig by default so there is no reason to not have it.

root = true

indent_style = space
indent_size = 2
end_of_line = lf
charset = utf-8
trim_trailing_whitespace = false
insert_final_newline = false


NVM is a Node version manager commonly used to install multiple versions of Nodejs on one system, by having a .nvmrc file we tell nvm which nodejs version to use with this project.


Setting up TypeScript

In our workspace, we will be using one TypeScript version for the entire monorepo, this means that we will need to install it in our root package.json file.

pnpm add -D typescript @types/node -w

The -w flag is needed to install dependencies to the root package.json file.

We will be setting up the @acme/tsconfig package later on after prettier to share tsconfig presets to our future packages.

If you are using VSCode, your editor is probably using TypeScript v4.9 or something along those lines which doesn’t align with our version and will cause errors in particularly using multiple extends. To fix this we need to create a new file at .vscode/settings.json and include this code which will tell VSCode to use our workspace version of TypeScript:

  "typescript.tsdk": "node_modules/typescript/lib"

Setting up Prettier

Prettier is a code formatter, it supports many languages and editors so we will be using it to ensure a consistent coding style throughout our project and provide format on save capabilities. We will also be using some prettier plugins to give us more functionality.

Install prettier and plugins

pnpm add -D prettier @types/prettier @ianvs/prettier-plugin-sort-imports prettier-plugin-packagejson prettier-plugin-jsdoc prettier-plugin-tailwindcss -w

Configuring prettier

To configure prettier, let’s create a prettier.config.cjs file that will host our configuration options.

/** @typedef {import('@ianvs/prettier-plugin-sort-imports').PluginConfig} SortImportsConfig */
/** @typedef {import('prettier').Config} PrettierConfig */

/** @type {PrettierConfig | SortImportsConfig} */
const config = {
  semi: true,
  singleQuote: true,
  trailingComma: 'all',
  plugins: [
  pluginSearchDirs: false,
  importOrder: [
  importOrderSeparation: false,
  importOrderSortSpecifiers: true,
  importOrderMergeDuplicateImports: true,

module.exports = config;

The first 3 options are self explanatory, then we list the plugins and the important bit here after is the pluginSearchDirs: false which without it, prettier-plugin-tailwindcss acts weirdly and won’t work as expected.

Next up we configure the import statements order that we want to use, whenever we use "" it’s to add separations between our import statements and we set the default separation behaviour to false instead.

The importOrderSortSpecifiers option will format different specifiers in an import statement such as type imports and normal imports.

Lastly, the importOrderMergeDuplicateImports will merge import statements from the same source into one import statement.


The .prettierignore file is used to exclude prettier from formatting certain files, we will use this to tell prettier to not format any dist and .next folders as well as the pnpm-lock.yaml file.


Adding format scripts to our package.json

In our root package.json file, let’s add some scripts that we can run to format the entire workspace with prettier. Add this to our already existing package.json file:

"scripts": {
  "format:check": "prettier --check .",
  "format:write": "prettier --write ."

We can now run pnpm format:write to format all of the files in our project!

Creating our first package

Now that we have pnpm and prettier all setup, we are ready to introduce the first package to our monorepo, exciting times!

Since we have already installed typescript in our monorepo, the next step is to setup TypeScript in our workspace in a way that will make it easy to use it in our future packages.

We will be creating a tsconfig package that shares TS configuration presets to our packages.

Initializing the package

Let’s create the directory that will host our package at packages/config:

mkdir packages
mkdir packages/config
mkdir packages/config/tsconfig

First things first, let’s create a package.json file for our package:

  "name": "@acme/tsconfig",
  "version": "0.1.0",
  "private": true,
  "description": "Presets for common tsconfig.json configurations",
  "license": "MIT",
  "author": "Acme"

Don’t forget to include "private": true, since we won’t be publishing it to NPM.

Creating our tsconfigs

Now that we have the package.json for our @acme/tsconfig package setup, we then need to install some dependencies for it.

I personally am a big advocate for writing the least amount of tsconfig possible, and the tsconfig/bases package serves as a great source for getting tsconfig templates.

Let’s install some of them:

pnpm --filter tsconfig add -D @tsconfig/node18 @tsconfig/strictest @tsconfig/next @tsconfig/vite-react

Using the --filter option, these dependencies will be installed in packages/config/tsconfig/package.json file and NOT the root package.json file.

Base tsconfig

Now that we have our dependencies installed, let’s create our first preset which will be named base.json in packages/config/tsconfig, this file will be a base configuration that all the other ones will extend from:

  "$schema": "https://json.schemastore.org/tsconfig",
  "display": "Base",
  "extends": ["@tsconfig/strictest/tsconfig", "@tsconfig/node18/tsconfig"],
  "compilerOptions": {
    "allowJs": true,
    "checkJs": true,
    "moduleResolution": "bundler",
    "module": "esnext",
    "resolvePackageJsonExports": true,
    "verbatimModuleSyntax": false

Since we are using TypeScript version 5, we can extend multiple tsconfigs rather than only one. In our base configuration we extend the strictest and the node18 presets and then we modify them slightly to better fit our needs.

Some of the worthy modifications include:

React tsconfig

The next tsconfig file on our list is a react specific one, this will serve as a tsconfig file for all of our react packages such as the UI components library package coming in the future, create a react.json file in our package with the following content:

  "$schema": "https://json.schemastore.org/tsconfig",
  "display": "Base",
  "extends": ["./base.json", "@tsconfig/vite-react/tsconfig"],
  "compilerOptions": {
    "moduleResolution": "bundler",
    "allowJs": true

Here we simply extend the base configuration and @tsconfig/vite-react/tsconfig, enable the bundler moduleResolution since the vite-react preset overrides the one in our base.json and lastly allow javascript files so that we can also type check them.

Next.js tsconfig

The last file that we will create for our package will be a Next.js specific tsconfig preset called nextjs.json:

  "$schema": "https://json.schemastore.org/tsconfig",
  "display": "Nextjs",
  "extends": ["./base.json", "@tsconfig/next/tsconfig"],
  "compilerOptions": {
    "moduleResolution": "nodenext"

We extend the base.json preset again and also this time @tsconfig/next/tsconfig. We also modify the moduleResolution to nodenext because Next.js does not work with the bundler moduleResolution and will replace it with node upon running the dev command which we do not want.

Plugging everything up

Now that we have base.json, react.json and nextjs.json in our package, we are almost there to have a fully functional package that we can use throughout our monorepo. The last part is to specify in our package.json file that we expect these files to be accessible. This is done through the files property. And so after all of this work our final package.json of @acme/tsconfig should look like this:

  "name": "@acme/tsconfig",
  "version": "0.1.0",
  "private": true,
  "description": "Presets for common tsconfig.json configurations",
  "license": "MIT",
  "author": "Acme",
  "files": ["./base.json", "./nextjs.json", "./react.json"],
  "devDependencies": {
    "@tsconfig/next": "^1.0.5",
    "@tsconfig/node18": "^1.0.1",
    "@tsconfig/strictest": "^2.0.0",
    "@tsconfig/vite-react": "^1.0.1"

We now have a fully functional monorepo package and to start using it, let’s create a tsconfig.json file at the root of our monorepo that will handle providing a TypeScript configuration for the entire monorepo (unless another tsconfig.json file is in a package, that will be used instead for the package). We do this to mainly provide ESLint with a tsconfig.json file for our root files such as the prettier.config.cjs file.

We firstly need to install @acme/tsconfig in our monorepo’s root package.json, to do this we simply:

pnpm add -D @acme/tsconfig -w

We can now create a tsconfig.json file at the root of our repository with the following content:

  "extends": "@acme/tsconfig/base",
  "compilerOptions": {
    "noEmit": true
  "include": [

You can see how we are now extending from @acme/tsconfig/base this points to packages/config/tsconfig/base.json.

To test that this is working, we can define a new property in our prettier.config.cjs file that does not exist on the prettier options type and we can expect typescript to display an error. This happens as that we allow JavaScript files in our base tsconfig and we also set the checkJs property to true, so we don’t need to explicitly define // @ts-check for every JS file.


And with all of that, we now have a fully setup prettier configuration as well as we created our first package, @acme/tsconfig. We also setup TypeScript configuration presets that we will be able to use once we start adding a Next.js application, a React UI components library…etc

We will use the latest and greatest features of TypeScript v5 in this monorepo to give us the best DX possible and let us move quicker creating and developing apps and packages.

I know this might have been a very dense post, this is why I don’t expect everyone to completely understand everything that we have gone through here. For that, feel free to DM me on Twitter with all of your questions and I will help you out.

One last thing

As the previous part, this post title is completely unrelated to the topic. This part’s title is inspired by The Foundations’ record, “Build Me Up Buttercup” release in 1968. Give it a listen!