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Addon dependencies

In an Ember project, the command ember install <package-name> installs Ember addons (which are npm packages) as devDependencies in your app's package.json.

Some project packages such as ember-cli-app-version and broccoli-asset-rev are only used during development or the application build process. For example, the package ember-cli-htmlbars is a dependency that must be included in a production build if your addon provides any templates.

In an addon, packages are installed in both dependencies and devDependencies:

  • the addon's dependencies are installed in dependencies
  • dependencies that are only used for the dummy app are installed in devDependencies

The partial package.json example below is from the ember-c3 addon, which is a wrapper for the C3.js Graph Library.

  "dependencies": {
    "broccoli-funnel": "^2.0.1",
    "broccoli-merge-trees": "^3.0.1",
    "c3": "^0.6.8",
    "d3": "^5.7.0",
    "ember-auto-import": "^1.2.15",
    "ember-cli-babel": "^6.16.0"
  "devDependencies": {
    "@ember/jquery": "^0.5.2",
    "@ember/optional-features": "^0.6.3",
    "bootstrap": "^4.1.0",
    "broccoli-asset-rev": "^2.7.0",
    "ember-ajax": "^3.1.0",
    "ember-cli": "^3.5.1",
    "ember-cli-bootstrap-4": "^0.6.1",

The addon has six dependencies. ember-cli-babel is required by all addons and is added when you create a new addon with the ember addon <addon-name> command.

c3 and d3 are the graphing library's npm packages. ember-auto-import is an addon that imports npm packages into Ember apps.

broccoli-funnel and broccoli-merge-trees are used in the top level index.js to import the C3.js CSS files into the addon.

During the build process, ember-cli will only incorporate the npm packages that are described in your dependencies graph and will omit anything in the devDependencies.

Addons as dependencies

Addons can also use other addons as dependencies. For example, this partial package.json is from the addon ember-power-select. It uses the addons ember-concurrency, ember-text-measurer, and ember-truth-helpers to support its functionality.

  "dependencies": {
    "ember-basic-dropdown": "^1.1.0",
    "ember-cli-babel": "^7.2.0",
    "ember-cli-htmlbars": "^3.0.1",
    "ember-concurrency": "^0.8.26",
    "ember-text-measurer": "^0.5.0",
    "ember-truth-helpers": "^2.1.0"
  "devDependencies": {
    "@ember/optional-features": "^0.6.3",
    "broccoli-asset-rev": "^2.7.0",
    "ember-cli": "~3.6.0",
    "ember-cli-blueprint-test-helpers": "^0.19.1",
    "ember-cli-dependency-checker": "^3.0.0",
    "ember-cli-fastboot": "^2.0.0",
    "ember-cli-htmlbars-inline-precompile": "^2.1.0",
    "ember-cli-inject-live-reload": "^2.0.1",
    "ember-cli-mirage": "^0.4.10",
    "ember-cli-sass": "^8.0.1",
    "ember-cli-template-lint": "^1.0.0-beta.1",

In this case, Ember CLI will incorporate these addons along with the other dependencies when ember-power-select is used in your applications.

Ember Observer is a good resource when developing addons. Reviewing the code and dependencies of existing addons can provide insights when creating a new addon.

Dummy app dependencies

In addons, the dummy app is really the project and uses the root level package.json file for dependencies. The dummy app automatically treats the containing addon as a dependency without adding it to the package.json. This makes it easy to use the dummy app for testing and documenting your addon's usage.