Isaac Z. Schlueter

Isaac Z. Schlueter: Creator of npm and CEO of npm, Inc.

Isaac Z. Schlueter is the creator of npm and CEO of npm, Inc. One of the earliest core contributors to the node project, he worked on the YUI platform team at Yahoo! Prior to landing in Silicon Valley, his formal education was in computer science, physics, and math at Southern Connecticut State University.

With 8 billion monthly downloads, 360,000 registered users, and 435,000 packages in the npm registry, npm is the inescapable glue that holds the web together. Originally the node package manager, now used for front-end JavaScript as well, npm is a repository where open source projects publish code. It also serves as a command-line tool for installing and managing dependencies for these published packages.

Initially, there was no package manager for JavaScript. While the excitement for JavaScript was growing, the method for sharing code was broken. Developers writing code would have to send an email to a mailing list with instructions on how to install the code they wanted to share. With the advent of npm and modules, developers can define their dependencies with a string. Now, updating packages to the latest versions is nearly frictionless. In today’s front-end development world, npm is the default way to share code and frameworks such as Angular, React, and Vue.

npm is currently enabling the growing trend toward more modular code. “Tools around assembling many small pieces of an application have allowed what counts as a library or a package to get smaller. Because of this, single-purpose libraries that do one thing really well have emerged, and there is low friction for including it in your app,” says Isaac. Clients for the npm registry, such as yarn, pnpm, ied, and npm-install, have led the latest development craze, with developers trying to help reduce the pain of the increasingly modular code and growth of dependencies in applications.

npm is backed by True Ventures and Bessemer Venture Partners to the tune of $10.6 million over two rounds of funding. The company has 20 employees worldwide.

Written by Tracy Lee
Photography by Daniel Garcia

Article originally appeared in Issue 9.3 “Future”
Issue 9.3 Cover

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