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proto v0.31 - Improved version pinning, removed global packages management, and more

· 3 min read
Miles Johnson
Founder, developer

In preparation for an official v1 release, we've improved stability, the overall developer experience, we're renaming some commands, and removing the "global packages" functionality.

Improved version pinning

Based on feedback from the community, we've made some slight changes to pinning to reduce confusion. The biggest points of contention were, "Why does proto install --pin pin globally?", and "Why doesn't proto pin resolve the version like proto install --pin does?".

To remedy the first issue, we've updated the --pin argument to optionally support a string value of "local" or "global". When local, will pin to the .prototools file in the current directory, otherwise it will pin to ~/.proto/.prototools.

$ proto install node --pin # global
$ proto install node --pin global
$ proto install node --pin local

As for the second issue, we've introduced a new option called --resolve, which will resolve the version to a fully qualified semantic version (or fail). This isn't the default functionality, as to not break existing workflows, and because you may want to actually pin "1" instead of "1.2.3".

$ proto pin node 1 # 1
$ proto pin node 1 --resolve # 1.2.3

Removed global package management (breaking)

A while back we introduced the proto install-global and proto uninstall-global commands as a means for managing global packages. This was added to solve issues with the Node.js ecosystem, primarily around standardizing where global packages would be installed across all package managers. On top of this, we also introduced a "command interception" feature, which would error telling you to use proto's command instead of the package manager's.

As a whole, this feature was very disruptive to users, caused a lot of confusion, was simply poorly implemented, and honestly wasn't really necessary for tools outside of Node.js. Because of all of this, we've decided to entirely remove our global package management functionality, this includes:

  • proto install-global command
  • proto uninstall-global command
  • proto list-global command
  • intercept-globals setting for node/npm/pnpm/yarn
  • globals setting for TOML plugins

New npm/pnpm/yarn shared-globals-dir setting

Since we removed our global packages support (above), we had to also remove the intercept-globals setting from our Node.js related WASM plugins. However, we still believed in the benefit it provided, primarily around standardizing where global packages would be installed across all package managers.

To still support this in some capacity, we've introduced a new shared-globals-dir setting for npm, pnpm, and yarn. This setting still standardizes the install path, but instead of intercepting commands like it did before, it now appends the global package install commands with additional arguments or environment variables. This should be entirely transparent to you!

shared-globals-dir = true

An example of how this now works:

# < v0.31
proto install-global npm typescript

# >= v0.31
npm install --global typescript

# Under the hood becomes...
PREFIX=/.proto/tools/node/globals npm install --global typescript

Renamed commands (breaking)

We're still not happy with some of the current command names, especially around tools and plugins, so we've renamed a few of them. They are:

  • Renamed the proto tool commands to proto plugin. An alias still exists for the time being.
  • Removed the proto tool list-plugins command, and merged its functionality into proto plugin list.

As for the proto plugin list command, we've removed the versions and aliases from the output by default, and wrapped them in new --versions and --aliases options.

Other changes

View the official release for a full list of changes.

  • Fixed an issue where empty version strings were being parsed, causing failures.