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Lifecycle Scripts

Packages can define in the scripts field of their manifest various actions that should be executed when the package manager executes a particular workflow.

Note that we don't support every single lifecycle script originally present in npm. This is a deliberate decision based on the observation that too many lifecycle scripts make it difficult to know which one to use in which circumstances, leading to confusion and mistakes. We are open to add the missing ones on a case-by-case basis if compelling use cases are provided.

In particular, we intentionally don't support arbitrary pre and post hooks for user-defined scripts (such as prestart). This behavior caused scripts to be implicit rather than explicit, obfuscating the execution flow. It also sometimes led to surprising behaviors, like yarn serve also running yarn preserve.

prepack and postpack

Those script are called right at the beginning and the end of each call to yarn pack. They are respectively meant to turn your package from development into production, and cleanup any lingering artifact. For instance, a typical prepack script would call Babel or TypeScript on the source directory to turn .ts files into .js files.

Although rarely called directly, yarn pack is a crucial part of Yarn. Each time Yarn has to fetch a dependency from a "raw" source (such as a Git repository), it will automatically run yarn install and yarn pack to generate the package to use.


This script is called before yarn npm publish before the package has even been packed. This is the place where you'll want to check that the project is in an ok state.

Because it's only called on prepublish, the prepublish hook shouldn't have side effects. In particular don't transpile the package sources in prepublish, as people consuming directly your repository (such as through the git: protocol) wouldn't be able to use your project. Instead, use prepack.


This script is called after the package dependency tree changed in any way -- usually after a dependency (or transitive dependency) got added, removed, or updated, but also sometimes when the project configuration or environment changed (for example when changing the Node.js version).

It is guaranteed to be called in topological order (in other words, your dependencies' postinstall scripts will always run before yours).

For backwards compatibility, the preinstall and install scripts, if presents, are called right before running the postinstall script from the same package. In general, prefer using postinstall over those two.

Postinstall scripts should be avoided at all cost, as they make installs slower and riskier. Many users will refuse to install dependencies that have postinstall scripts. Additionally, since the output isn't shown out of the box, using them to print a message to the user will not work as you expect.

Environment variables

When running scripts and binaries, some environment variables are usually made available:

$INIT_CWDDirectory from which the script has been invoked. This isn't the same as the cwd, which for scripts is always equal to the closest package root.
$PROJECT_CWDRoot of the project on the filesystem.
$npm_package_nameName of the running package.
$npm_package_versionVersion of the running package.
$npm_package_jsonAbsolute path to the package.json of the running package.
$npm_execpathAbsolute path to the Yarn binary.
$npm_node_execpathAbsolute path to the Node binary.
$npm_config_user_agentString defining the Yarn version currently in use.
$npm_lifecycle_eventName of the script or lifecycle event, if relevant.