In the company I am working, we are using a multirepo approach to organize our source code. Unfortunately, with a growing number of repos we ran into problems.

  • It became difficult to search for code, because you need all project checkout out and up to date
  • Our conservative way of sharing code lead to a lot of overhead to keep the other ends up to date
  • Therefore the inhibition threshold to change something increased because you wnt to avoid the overhead of creating all those branches with the new version reference
  • You never know (immediately) if an update of a dependency broke something on the integrating side, because you don’t run their test suite. Moreover you are unaware of where the dependency might be used
  • You don’t know if a change in a dependency broke something on the integrating side
  • We constantly collect technical depts, because we don’t update every dependency reference immediately

Here is a video from google, where they explain their motivation for using a monorepo.

Facts on multi-repo

  • strong ownership
  • fast builds
  • separation
  • isolated master breakage
  • code silos for architecture, best practices
  • intransparency
  • overhead
  • dependency hell
  • functionality duplication
  • team boundaries/ownership is usually defined per repo
  • changes in base libraries are propagated on demand (pull)
  • integration of breaking changes are visible once the integrating side demands the new version and builds

Pro monorepo

  • simple code sharing (can become a problem)
  • large scale refactoring are easy
  • atomic changes
  • collaboration among teams
  • flexible team boundaries, owners are defined per branch in the tree structure
  • simplified dependency management
  • changes in base libraries are instantly propagated (push)
  • integration of breaking changes are instantly visible
  • code base modernization works without overhead

Contra monorepo

  • simple code sharing: adding dependencies has to be controlled
  • long build times
  • broken master
  • IDE lag
  • Investment on code health: Remove dead code, unused APIs, get support for large-scale cleanups

Facebook on monorepos

We could have spent a lot of time making it more modular in a way that would be friendly to a source control tool, but there are a number of benefits to using a single repository. Even at our current scale, we often make large changes throughout our code base, and having a single repository is useful for continuous modernization. Splitting it up would make large, atomic refactorings more difficult.


  • multiple inheritance with conflicting versions. Refusing to update a dependency creates this diamond deps. problem and builds up technical dept. So it makes a lot sense that all dependencies are always upgraded.Screen Shot 2017-10-31 at 15.17.05
  • A monorepo will require a build system that respects its nature
  • All JavaScript projects (may) share the same node_modules, because they have to use the same versions