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Improve the build speed on your build server using npm ci

While looking at some of our Azure Pipelines, I noticed that some of our builds were really slow. So I opened up one of the slow builds and noticed that most time was spend installing npm packages.

As we were using a local build agent, a first improvement you can make is to change the Clean settings to False so you don’t have to start with a clean working directory every time.

Another improvement you can make is to switch from using npm install to npm ci.

npm ci was introduced a few years ago and promised massive improvements to both the performance and reliability of builds for continuous integration / continuous deployment processes.

It bypasses a package’s package.json to install modules from a package’s lockfile. This not only makes npm ci fast (sometimes twice as fast as using npm install ) it also helps to ensure reproducible builds—you are getting exactly what you expect on every install.

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