Disclaimer: tested on Windows 10 only, using SPFx 1.6.0.
Looking for SPFx 1.7.0? Have a look at this blog post.
When you create a new SharePoint Framework project, you have the option to use different package managers: npm, pnpm or yarn.
For a long time, I completely ignored this and just used npm. Npm is the slowest option from the list above, but it didn’t really matter as I was installing packages once a week or so. But this is not the case anymore. Simple processes, like upgrading your existing solutions to newer versions of the SharePoint Framework can make you go through that process more times than desired.
In my case, my dev laptop takes a very long time to install or delete node modules, so I found myself looking for alternative solutions.
From the three package managers mentioned above, pnpm was the one that in my opinion had a better chance to resolve my problem, so I decided to give it a go.
pnpm and SPFx 1.6.0
To scaffold a new SPFx project using pnpm, simply run:
yo @microsoft/sharepoint --package-manager pnpm
When you finish going through the generator options, pnpm will start installing the modules in the same way as npm (or yarn). But the difference here is down to how pnpm works. You can read more here.
The first time you do this, it will download the modules, so expect some time to be required. But where pnpm really shines is on consecutive runs. I ran the generator a second time and it took less than 2 minutes to complete installing the modules! Using npm was taking much longer than that (around 10 to 15)!
As you can see on the following image, the second run reused all the existing packages previously downloaded:
So all was looking great…until I tried to build the project. Unfortunately there are errors as the build pipeline fails to find the tsling and typescript modules. The good thing is that this is a known problem and is well documented here (kudos to Andrew Connell who shared this on Twitter a while ago).
I decided to adopt the solution to add the faulty packages as dependencies to the project (solution 1 from the article linked above) so executed the following commands to install both packages as Dev dependencies. Please note the specific versions that match the ones used by SPFx 1.6.0.
pnpm i email@example.com -DE
pnpm i firstname.lastname@example.org -DE
And that’s it! Now my solution builds and runs as expected
But wait, there’s more 🙂 deleting the solution or the node_modules folder also takes less time.
I hope you find this useful, especially if you have a slow machine 🙂