Deprecating buggy npm packages, dealing with deprecations

By: ( +David Herron; Date: 2016-08-25 10:20

Tags: Node.JS » Node Web Development

It seems several critical npm packages deprecated older releases. Installing the old version of some packages causes npm to print a warning saying the package was deprecated, and to use a newer version of the package. Sometimes the message suggests a way to figure out where the package is being required. Due to the way an npm package can pull in other npm packages, it can be tricky to figure out where the deprecated package version is being used.


$ npm install hostr@2.3.2
npm WARN deprecated minimatch@2.0.10: Please update to minimatch 3.0.2 or higher to avoid a RegExp DoS issue
npm WARN deprecated lodash@2.4.2: lodash@<3.0.0 is no longer maintained. Upgrade to lodash@^4.0.0
hostr@2.3.2 node_modules/hostr
├── colors@1.1.2
├── lodash@2.4.2
├── minimatch@2.0.10 (brace-expansion@1.1.6)
├── tiny-lr@0.1.7 (parseurl@1.3.1, livereload-js@2.2.2, qs@2.2.5, debug@2.0.0, faye-websocket@0.7.3, body-parser@1.8.4)
└── argr@1.1.7 (lodash@3.10.1)

Note this is fixed in the hostr package, but I wanted to demonstrate the problem.

Deprecating old versions of your package

One thing that's going on is that somehow the minimatch and lodash project maintainers got npm to print these messages. This is done with the npm deprecate command. The USAGE is:

npm deprecate <name>[@<version>] <message>

So to get these messages the respective authors ran these commands:

npm deprecate "minimatch@<3.0.2" "Please update to minimatch 3.0.2 or higher to avoid a RegExp DoS issue"
npm deprecate 'lodash@<3.0.0' 'lodash@<3.0.0 is no longer maintained. Upgrade to lodash@^4.0.0'


What to do about deprecated dependencies

You could ignore the message. Your code is working, so what's the big deal? Uh... are you sure you're a software engineer and have that attitude? Clearly if the package maintainer went to the trouble of deprecating their package that indicates something should be changed.

The first stage is to determine whether the dependency is yours. Did your package directly make this stale dependency? Simply consult the dependencies section of your package.json to see. If so, update the version as directed.

Sometimes the dependency is indirect - that one of your dependencies depends on the stale package version. In such a case you have to contact the upstream package maintainer to get them to update their dependencies.

This can be determined with the npm ls command

$ npm ls lodash
└─┬ hostr@2.3.2
  ├─┬ argr@1.1.7
  │ └── lodash@3.10.1
  └── lodash@2.4.2

In this case the argr package has a dependency on the up-to-date package, while the hostr package has the stale dependency.

In this case I contacted the hostr author, and he thanked me for noting the problems, and fixed them. This works with no warnings or errors:

$ npm install hostr@2.3.5

What if the upstream package author is not so responsive? "It Depends" is the only answer. Suppose it's an outright dangerous problem, and if the upstream author doesn't want to fix it then you might have to refactor your application to avoid this dependency. There are plenty of packages available and maybe another will serve your need just as well (or better).

« Fixing "Maximum call stack size exceeded" in async Node.js code Is Node.js / Express scalable? How to grow Node.js app deployment to handle more traffic? »
2016 Election Acer C720 Ad block AkashaCMS Amazon Amazon Kindle Amiga Android Anti-Fascism AntiVirus Software Apple Apple Hardware History Apple iPhone Apple iPhone Hardware April 1st Arduino ARM Compilation Astronomy Asynchronous Programming Authoritarianism Automated Social Posting Ayo.JS Bells Law Big Brother Big Finish Bitcoin Mining Black Holes Blade Runner Blogger Blogging Books Botnet Botnets Cassette Tapes Cellphones Christopher Eccleston Chrome Chrome Apps Chromebook Chromebooks Chromebox ChromeOS CIA CitiCards Citizen Journalism Civil Liberties Clinton Cluster Computing Command Line Tools Computer Hardware Computer Repair Computers Cross Compilation Crouton Cryptocurrency Curiosity Rover Cyber Security Cybermen Daleks Darth Vader Data backup Data Storage Database Database Backup Databases David Tenant DDoS Botnet Detect Adblocker Developers Editors Digital Photography Diskless Booting DIY DIY Repair DNP3 Do it yourself Docker Docker Swarm Doctor Who Doctor Who Paradox Drobo Drupal Drupal Themes DVD E-Books E-Readers Early Computers Election Hacks Electric Bicycles Electric Vehicles Electron Emdebian Encabulators Energy Efficiency Enterprise Node EPUB ESP8266 Ethical Curation Eurovision Event Driven Asynchronous Express Facebook Fake News Fedora VirtualBox File transfer without iTunes FireFly Fraud Freedom of Speech Gallifrey git Gitlab GMAIL Google Google Chrome Google Gnome Google+ Government Spying Great Britain Heat Loss Hibernate Hoax Science Home Automation HTTPS I2C Protocol Image Analysis Image Conversion Image Processing ImageMagick InfluxDB Infrared Thermometers Insulation Internet Internet Advertising Internet Law Internet of Things Internet Policy Internet Privacy iOS Devices iPad iPhone iPhone hacking Iron Man Iternet of Things iTunes Java JavaScript JavaScript Injection JDBC John Simms Journalism Joyent Kaspersky Labs Kindle Marketplace Lets Encrypt LibreOffice Linux Linux Hints Linux Single Board Computers Logging Mac OS Mac OS X MacOS X setup Make Money Online MariaDB Mars Matt Lucas MEADS Anti-Missile Mercurial Michele Gomez Micro Apartments Military Hardware Minification Minimized CSS Minimized HTML Minimized JavaScript Missy Mobile Applications MODBUS Mondas MongoDB Mongoose Monty Python MQTT Music Player Music Streaming MySQL NanoPi Nardole NASA Net Neutrality Node Web Development Node.js Node.js Database Node.js Testing Node.JS Web Development Node.x North Korea Online advertising Online Fraud Online Journalism Online Video Open Media Vault Open Source Governance Open Source Licenses Open Source Software OpenAPI OpenVPN Personal Flight Peter Capaldi Photography PHP Plex Plex Media Server Political Protest Postal Service Power Control Privacy Production use Public Violence Raspberry Pi Raspberry Pi 3 Raspberry Pi Zero Recycling Remote Desktop Republicans Retro-Technology Reviews Right to Repair River Song Robotics Rocket Ships RSS News Readers rsync Russia Russia Troll Factory Russian Hacking SCADA Scheme Science Fiction Search Engine Ranking Season 1 Season 10 Season 11 Security Security Cameras Server-side JavaScript Shell Scripts Silence Simsimi Skype Social Media Social Media Warfare Social Networks Software Development Space Flight Space Ship Reuse Space Ships SpaceX Spear Phishing Spring Spring Boot SQLite3 SSD Drives SSD upgrade SSH SSH Key SSL Swagger Synchronizing Files Telescopes Terrorism The Cybermen The Daleks The Master Time-Series Database Torchwood Total Information Awareness Trump Trump Administration Trump Campaign Ubuntu UDOO Virtual Private Networks VirtualBox VLC VNC VOIP Web Applications Web Developer Resources Web Development Web Development Tools Web Marketing Website Advertising Weeping Angels WhatsApp Window Insulation Wordpress YouTube YouTube Monetization