The Story of NPM and Left-Pad

The Story of NPM and Left-Pad

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Ernest Obot
·Jan 7, 2022·

2 min read

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Hello developers, i want to share a little but interesting story for those of you that will just patronize any framework or plugin you see on the web.

Npm became the de-facto JavaScript library package ecosystem in the last decade. People could contribute their own packages to the ecosystem, and other packages could use them, making it easier to develop large projects.

Azer Koçulu was one of those developers. Left-pad was only one of the packages out of the 250 he contributed to the npm ecosystem. It had only one function: to append spaces to a string to make sure that it’s always a fixed size, which is quite trivial.

One day, he received an email from npm saying that they had removed one of his packages called “Kik,” because a company with the same name complained. npm decided to remove Azer’s package and give the name to the other company.

That made Azer so angry that he removed all the packages that he contributed, including left-pad. The thing is, you see, there were hundreds of large-scale projects in the world directly or indirectly using the package. His actions caused all those projects to stop in their tracks. It was quite a catastrophe and a good lesson about the trust we have on the platforms.

The moral of the story is that life in the streets is full of unwelcome surprises.

Thank you for reading. Feel free to write a comment or reach out to me.

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