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Configuring Workspaces

Configuring Workspaces

Most monorepos can declare a turbo.json in the root directory with a uniform pipeline that apply to all workspaces. Sometimes, a monorepo can contain workspaces that need to configure their tasks differently. To accommodate this, starting in version 1.8, Turborepo enables you to extend the root configuration with a turbo.json in any workspace. This flexibility enables a more diverse set of apps and packages to co-exist, and allows workspace owners to maintain specialized tasks and configuration without affecting other apps and packages of the monorepo.

How it Works

To override the configuration for any task defined in the root turbo.json, add a turbo.json file in any workspace of your monorepo with a top-level extends key:

{
  "extends": ["//"],
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      // custom configuration for the build task in this workspace
    },
    // new tasks only available in this workspace
    "special-task": {},
  }
}

For now, the only valid value for the extends key is ["//"]. // is a special name used to identify the root directory of the monorepo.

Configuration in a workspace can override any of the configurations for a pipeline task. If you don't include a key, the configuration is inherited from the extended turbo.json.

Examples

To illustrate, let's look at some use cases.

Different Frameworks

Let's say your monorepo has multiple Next.js (opens in a new tab) apps, and one SvelteKit (opens in a new tab) app. Both frameworks create their build output with a build script in their respective package.jsons. You could configure Turborepo to run these tasks with a single turbo.json at the root like this:

{
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      "outputs": [".next/**", "!.next/cache/**", ".svelte-kit/**"],
    }
  }
}

Notice that both .next/** and .svelte-kit/** need to be specified as outputs, even though Next.js apps do not generate a .svelte-kit directory, and vice versa. With Workspace Configurations, you can instead add custom configuration in the SvelteKit workspace in apps/my-svelte-kit-app/turbo.json:

{
  "extends": ["//"],
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      "outputs": [".svelte-kit/**"]
    }
  }
}

and remove the config from the root configuration:

{
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
-      "outputs": [".next/**", "!.next/cache/**", ".svelte-kit/**"]
+      "outputs": [".next/**", "!.next/cache/**"]
    }
  }
}

This not only makes each configuration easier to read, it puts the configuration closer to where it is used.

Specialized Tasks

In another example, say that the build task in one workspace dependsOn a compile task. You could universally declare it as dependsOn: ["compile"]. This means that your root turbo.json has to have an empty compile task entry:

{
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      "dependsOn": ["compile"]
    },
    "compile": {}
  }
}

With Workspace Configurations, you can move that compile task into the apps/my-custom-app/turbo.json,

{
  "extends": ["//"],
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      "dependsOn": ["compile"]
    },
    "compile": {}
  }
}

and remove it from the root:

{
  "pipeline": {
+    "build": {}
-    "build": {
-      "dependsOn": ["compile"]
-    },
-    "compile": {}
  }
}

Now, the owners of my-app, can have full ownership over their build task, but continue to inherit any other tasks defined at the root.

Comparison to Workspace-specific tasks

At first glance, Workspace Configurations may sound a lot like the workspace#task syntax in the root turbo.json. The features are similar, but have one significant difference: when you declare a Workspace-specific in the root turbo.json, it completely overwrites the baseline task configuration. With a Workspace Configuration, the task configuration is merged instead.

Consider the example of the monorepo with multiple Next.js apps and a Sveltekit app again. Without a Workspace-specific task, you might configure your root turbo.json like this:

{
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      "outputMode": "hash-only",
      "inputs": ["src/**"],
      "outputs": [".next/**", "!.next/cache/**"],
    },
    "my-sveltekit-app#build": {
      "outputMode": "hash-only", // must duplicate this
      "inputs": ["src/**"], // must duplicate this
      "outputs": [".svelte-kit/**"]
    }
  }
}

In this example, my-sveltekit-app#build completely overwrites build for the Sveltekit app, so outputMode and inputs also need to be duplicated.

With Workspace Configurations, outputMode and inputs are inherited, so you don't need to duplicate them. You only need to override outputs my-sveltekit-app config.

Although there are no plans to remove Workspace-specific task configurations, we expect that Workspace Configurations can be used for most use cases instead.

Limitations

Although the general idea is the same as the root turbo.json, Workspace Configurations come with a set of guardrails that can prevent workspaces from creating confusing situations. These guardrails are listed here to make it clear that they are intentional, rather than accidental:

  • Workspace Configurations cannot use the workspace#task syntax as pipeline entries

    The workspace is inferred based on the location of the config, and it is not possible to change configuration for another workspace. For example, in a Workspace Configuration for 'my-nextjs-app':

    {
      "pipeline": {
        "my-nextjs-app#build": {
          // ❌ This is not allowed. Even though it's
          // referencing the correct workspace, "my-nextjs-app"
          // is inferred, and we don't need to specify it again.
          // This syntax also has different behavior, so we do not want to allow it.
          // (see "Comparison to Workspace-specific tasks" section)
        },
        "my-sveltekit-app#build": {
          // ❌ Changing configuration for the "my-sveltekit-app" workspace
          // from Workspace Configuraton in "my-nextjs-app" is not allowed.
        },
        "build": {
          // ✅ just use the task name!
        },
      }
    }

    Note that the build task can still depend on a Workspace-specific task:

    {
      "pipeline": {
        "build": {
          // ✅ It's still ok to have workspace#task in dependsOn!
          "dependsOn": ["some-pkg#compile"]
        },
      }
    }
  • Workspace Configurations cannot override anything outside the pipeline key.

    For example, it is not possible to override globalEnv or globalDependencies. We expect that monorepo owners should control this absolutely, and if this config is not truly global, it should not be configured that way.

  • Root turbo.json cannot use the extends key.

    To avoid creating circular dependencies on workspaces, the root turbo.json cannot extend from anything.

If you have a use case for any of these, please file an issue (opens in a new tab)!

Troubleshooting

In large monorepos, it can sometimes be difficult to understand how Turborepo is interpreting your configuration. To help, we've added a resolvedTaskDefinition to the Dry Run output. If you run turbo run build --dry-run, for example, the output will include the combination of all turbo.json configurations that were considered before running the build task.