"After all, the engineers only needed to refuse to fix anything, and modern industry would grind to a halt." -Michael Lewis

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How to Configure Visual Studio to Implement the Yarn Package Manager

Aug 2018

The old recommended way of getting packages like bootstrap and jquery easily into a project was to use bower. That was convenient to add packages for projects where you were planning on providing mostly server-side functionality, and could use bootstrap to handle page styling, for example.

Now, the official bower page for microsoft recommends that you use Yarn. Yarn is good, but you do have to fiddle with it a bit to get automatic installation of the packages into your real project.

Getting Yarn Installed

First, if you don't have Node.js, install Node.js here. Then, head over to the Yarn download page and get Yarn installed on your box.

Use a Convienent Add On

I use a good visual studio extension by Mads Kristensen to get VS to use package.json in the same way that bower.json works, which is located here. Per the instructions on that page, after you install it, for Visual Studio 2017 you have to make sure you set the Yarn Installer "Install on save" and disable the npm restore options.

Add and manipulate the .yarnrc file

Finally, what we (I, I'm guessing you do too) really would like is to have packages installed in the wwwroot/lib folder on saving the package.json file. As it currently stands, if you add bootstrap in your package.json file like so:

  "version": "1.0.0",
  "name": "asp.net",
  "private": true,
  "devDependencies": {
    "bootstrap": "4.0.0"

Yarn will install the package in a node_modules folder, which is inside the project folder but not, by default, visible to Visual Studio. To change this, we need to add a .yarnrc file. The .yarnrc file will let us configure additional features when the yarn command is run in the background by VS. In my case, I want new packages to be downloaded and saved to the wwwroot/lib folder, so I will add this line to my .yarnrc file:

--install.modules-folder "./wwwroot/lib"

And presto! Now, if you add bootstrap, as before, it will save the distribution files to the wwwroot/lib folder.

I hope you enjoyed this post. Please contact me if you would like further clarification or if you think I have made an error.

Nick Fisher is a software engineer in the Pacific Northwest. He focuses on building highly scalable and maintainable backend systems.