Migrating to Monorepo: A Step-by-Step Guide

Greg Foster
Greg Foster
Graphite software engineer

Migrating to a monorepo structure from multiple repositories can streamline your development process, but it requires careful planning and execution. Here is a step-by-step guide to help you through the transition.

Step 1: Preparation

  • Evaluate the benefits: Assess if the monorepo model aligns with your team's workflow and goals.

  • Communication: Discuss the migration plan with your team to ensure everyone understands the benefits and the process.

  • Choose the right tools: Select tools that support monorepo management, such as Lerna, Yarn Workspaces, or Bazel, which can aid in the transition and future management.

Step 2: Planning

  • Structure your monorepo: Decide on the directory structure of the monorepo, considering how to group projects and shared code.

  • Dependency management: Plan how to handle dependencies between projects, possibly using workspace tools or package managers that support monorepos.

Step 3: Combining Repositories

  • Start with a new repository or designate one of the existing repositories as the monorepo.

  • Gradually move other projects into the monorepo, ensuring to maintain their history. Tools like git subtree can be used for this purpose.

  • Resolve any conflicts that arise from combining repositories, such as overlapping files or incompatible git histories.

Step 4: Configuring the Build System

  • Set up build configurations that handle the newly structured projects. Ensure that the build system can handle incremental builds and can scale with the monorepo.

  • Test the build process thoroughly to ensure that all projects build correctly in the new setup.

Step 5: Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

  • Adjust your CI/CD pipelines to work with the monorepo. This might involve setting up path filters to trigger builds only for changed projects.

  • Optimize CI/CD for speed and efficiency, possibly using caching and parallelization techniques.

Step 6: Training and Documentation

  • Update your documentation to reflect the new monorepo structure and workflows.

  • Train your team on the new processes, ensuring everyone is comfortable with the new system.

Step 7: Monitoring and Optimization

  • Monitor the monorepo for any issues that might arise post-migration.

  • Continuously optimize the monorepo setup to handle the evolving needs of your projects.

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