Node 10 Broke Everything

May 10, 2018   

What Happened

TL;DR homebrew updated my node version to 10.0.0 which broke things particularly with global packages installed through Yarn.

Recently I noticed a bunch of plugins in Vim that rely on npm packages started displaying weird error messages. (Specifically Galooshi/vim-import-js) I also noticed that any attempt to install node modules globally would ultimately fail due to native extensions compilation.

I no longer have the exact error message but it had something to do with failure to compile sqlite3 with Node 10.0.0.

Wait what!? Node 10.0.0??? Where did that come from?

If you are running mac you may have gotten node as a dependency to one of the apps you have installed through there. And since Homebrew updates pour in fast you may not have noticed that on the latest upgrade you got a shiny new version of Node. Normally I would be happy about that - except the new version caused many modules to break.

I am also managing Node versions using the wonderful asdf, an extensible version manager for multiple languages including Ruby, Node.js, Elixir, Erlang & more.

In my project I had cemented Node version 9.11.1 (asdf current nodejs 9.11.1) in hopes that this would fix the issue, but every time I opened Vim I would still get the error from import-js.

Yarn global package installation was completely broken and was ignoring my cemented node version in my project directory. The error mentioned v10.0.0.

I have since noticed similar issues on other machines in my office which prompted me to write this blog post.

How to Fix It

First check if you have Yarn installed through homebrew

brew list | grep yarn

If you get the word node back, it means it is! Let’s remove it:

brew uninstall yarn

Now let’s see if you have Node installed through homebrew:

brew list | grep node

If you get the word node back, it means it is! Let’s remove it:

brew uninstall --ignore-dependencies --force node

Next let’s get Node installed with asdf. Instead of installing asdf from homebrew, which I’ve seen issues with, I recommend following the directions on the asdf Github repo. Namely:

Copy-paste the following into command line:

git clone ~/.asdf --branch v0.4.3
echo -e '\n. $HOME/.asdf/' >> ~/.zshrc
echo -e '\n. $HOME/.asdf/completions/asdf.bash' >> ~/.zshrc
source ~/.zshrc

Now install the nodejs plugin for asdf:

asdf plugin-add nodejs

And install the OpenPGP public keys for verifying downloaded Node binaries:

bash ~/.asdf/plugins/nodejs/bin/import-release-team-keyring

Next you will need to install Node through adsf:

asdf install nodejs 9.11.1

To install other versions see asdf list-all nodejs

Set it as the global version:

asdf global nodejs 9.11.1

Next you are going to want to install yarn globally using the version of Node installed with asdf:

npm i -g yarn

If you have previously configured Yarn’s global path to be added to your $PATH env var (see my previous post Yarn global) you will need to ensure that line is now below the asdf setup in your ~/.zshrc. For more info check my new post Using yarn global w/ Node through asdf (mac)

This is the key to it all having yarn run with the node version you installed from asdf instead of a global version determined by homebrew! yarn global should now work like a charm.

Now you can do the same with version 10 of Node, running it alongside version 9.11 and experimenting with it until you feel like it is stable enough to be your global version.


Having thing break can sometimes be a good thing because it can lead you to a better setup overall. I like having node related programs such as yarn installed via npm, and I like even more the ability to control my version of Node used globally and specifically within project directories. ASDF does a great job of being easy to install and configure.

About the Author
Responsive image

I'm Dorian Karter, a Full Stack Software Consultant.

I work at Hashrocket, a top web development consultancy based in Chicago.

Have a look at some of my open source projects.

Contact me at @dorian_escplan.