Extracting components

One of the most compelling arguments for the self-contained components architecture is the ability to easily reuse each component in other projects. Since all the files kept in the same folder, this should be a breeze.


Often when working on a project, you find you've created a component that you could use in other upcoming projects. You would like to extract that component to its own git repository and npm package since keeping the version histories separate makes a lot of sense.

You're not finished with the component, but would like to continue working on it in parallel alongside your main project.


Since all the files are kept in the same place, its simply a matter of moving the folder to its own directory, setting up the package.json for your new package, and including it in your main project.


Npm has a great feature that allows this kind of parallel development of packages - npm link (read more here). After setting up your new package, you can link it into your main package like this:

  1. cd into your new package directory
  2. Run npm link
  3. cd into your main project directory
  4. Run npm link <new-package>


Specifying dependencies

Linking the packages won't save the package as a dependency in your main project package.json, so you'll have to do that manually.

"dependencies": {
"<new-package>": "*",


As well as this approach works for development, there are some things you need to watch out for when building and publishing your new package or project.

Publishing to npm registry

In your new package, you will most likely have a build task to transpile from ES6 into ES5. You probably keep your ES6 code in a src/ directory and your transpiled code in a lib/ directory.

In your package.json, you probably have something like this:

"main": "lib/index.js"

This is what you want when you publish to the registry, but during development you probably want to change this to

"main": "src/index.js"

This will make sure that your main project always includes your most recent code. You've just got to remember to change it back to lib/ before publishing to the npm registry.

You can, of course, go down the lib/ path, but that requires you to rebuild your package and transpile it to ES5 whenever you introduce a change, which can be a pain.


Building the package can be a little bit tricky due to how webpack handles symlinks. We've found it easiest to remove the symlink and replace it with the actual files, either by copying the package to node_modules or running npm install if you've published your package to the npm registry.