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Re: Improved NPM importer with blacklist

From: Julien Lepiller
Subject: Re: Improved NPM importer with blacklist
Date: Fri, 30 Nov 2018 17:24:57 +0100
User-agent: Roundcube Webmail/1.3.6

Le 2018-11-30 17:13, swedebugia a écrit :
Hi :)

On 2018-11-11 16:37, Julien Lepiller wrote:
I improved a bit over jlicht's work here, but there still a few tgings we want co work on:

There is an importer and a build system as well as a few packages. One of tge issue is that the importer is not recursive, so it doesn't get the specified version, and the packages aren't tested because the tests depend on cylic dependencies (and sometimes very big circles).

There is a stub of a recursive importer, but it does not seem to work.


I improved on Julliens work and added a blacklister. After much sweat
it now works and the blacklist is populated with a lot of unneeded
development dependencies and complex packages.

I added the version to all imported npm-packages and to the inputs as
it does not make sense to reference the packages without a version
given all the cyclic dependencies.

Thanks for all the help!


I never used the recursive importer, so I didn't know it wasn't very good.

I wonder if we really need to import every version of the packages. That doesn't seem very practical. There are a few cyclic dependencies issues in Java packages too, and they are dealt with in a case-by-case basis. Most often, we made a degraded version of one of the packages, the second can use to build itself, then we rebuild the first with the second package.

Sometimes, we also have to adapt some of our packages for the newer versions of the dependencies we have. If we didn't, we'd have a lot of versions of every package, and most of them would be outdated, probably buggy or contain security holes. I'd prefer using the latest versions of dependencies, and contribute patches back to upstream, so they can use the latest and greatest too :)

That's obviously a lot more work, but that's also probably a saner way of doing things.

* make npm-recursive-import work by not fetching blacklisted packages

Let's be careful though: we don't want to fetch blacklisted packages when they are devDependencies, but we still want them if they are runtime dependencies.

* implement keyword blacklisting based on the descriptions

We can probably use tags instead of the description : '("test" "testing" "check" "doc" "coverage" "unit") seem like a good approximation of what we want to blacklist.

* match not just the whole string of blacklisted packages:
  e.g. match also "rollup-plugin" when "rollup" is in the blacklist.

* get the tarballs from npm-registry instead as they are never missing
  (githubs sometimes are) and likely reproducible.

Are they actual source tarballs, or are they somewhat different than the source used to build the "binary" npm package? With maven (for java) for instance, some sources are hosted, but they aren't supposed to be used to build the package, they're only here for the debugger.

* Output a (define-public <guixname> (inherit <guixname>-<version>)) for
  all imported npm-packages.

I don't think that's a good idea: if we have multiple versions of a package, we'll have multiple <guixname> packages...

* Make it possible to specify a specific version to import (and perhaps
  the latest of all minor versions of a package :D).
(For async that would be "0.1.22", "0.2.10", "0.3.0", etc all the way
up to "2.6.1" which is the current beast. This would mean that we in
total import about 477.000 packages times the number of minor releases
(mean ~10?) that equals 4,7 mio. npm-packages :p) Then we will
definitely need to speed up guile. My guess is that we will have to
import at least 1,5 versions for every npm package to mitigate cyclic
dependencies (this means 477.000*1,5 = 715.500 npm-package-versions).

Again, I'm more in favor of patching them, rather than importing more versions. Do we still have as many cyclic deps with the blacklist?

* Make it easy to analyze a given npm-package to see when deps/devdeps
were added. In the case async, propose we import 0.9.0 first which is
the last version without lodash as devdep. From 1.0.0 more devdeps
were added. (source:

Perhaps some kind of tree output for these complex packages with
versions as branches and dependencies as subbranches would be nice?

See the files I changed attached.

Thanks for your work!

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