Go home

The Power of Turborepo

April, 2023

Turborepo can be an incredibly useful tool when you need to manage multiple projects in a single repository. This article walks through my experience of when I needed a monorepo solution and the benefits it provided.

The Problem

The project was made up of two Next.js applications - one containing the admin dashboard and the other for the public facing site. Both apps would then interact with one another through a shared API, using Prisma with a PostgreSQL database.

When working on the project, two key issues became apparent:

  1. The same database instance and schema would be unable to be shared between both apps, because - as far as the repo was concerned - they were completely stand alone apps, despite being stored in the same repo.
  2. The CI pipeline became overly complex as it required both apps to be built and tested separately.

The Solution

Upon realising the problem, it was evident that a ‘true’ monorepo solution was needed to continue development in the most efficient manner. Given that the apps had already been setup with Next.js, Turborepo was the obvious choice.

Turborepo is a tool that allows you to manage multiple projects in a single repository, while still allowing you to treat each project as a stand alone app. This solved the project’s initial problems immediately, out of the box, at the same time allowing for additional benefits, such as the ability to:

  1. Set up shared UI components and config settings between both apps.
  2. Centrally manage dependencies and environment variables between both apps.
  3. Easily launch both apps locally with a single command for development.

Turborepo also allows for quick deployment on Vercel, making the migration even easier. Both apps could be deployed to Vercel like any other Next.js app. All that was required was to connect the repo to Vercel and then select the app to deploy from the app directory. The same repo could then be connected again to start a new Vercel project, repeating the process for each app in the monorepo.

Key aspects of Turborepo

The key aspects of a Turborepo project are:

Code Examples

Example turbo.json file

  "$schema": "https://turbo.build/schema.json",
  "globalDependencies": [".env"],
  "pipeline": {
    "build": {
      "dependsOn": ["^build", "^db:generate"],
      "outputs": ["dist/**", ".next/**"]
    "lint": {
      "outputs": []
    "dev": {
      "dependsOn": ["^db:generate"],
      "cache": false
    "db:generate": {
      "cache": false
    "db:push": {
      "cache": false
    "test": {
      "dependsOn": ["^build", "^db:generate"]

Shared UI component library

Example of adding a shared component library in package.json dependencies:

  "dependencies": {
    "shared-components": "*" // Ensure this name matches the folder name of the shared component library

Useful resources

I'm Jack, a Software Developer.

I have a passion for learning new technologies and building applications. I thrive working in fast-paced environments, solving challenging problems and building high quality user experiences.

See more on my GitHub, Twitter or email me on 'hello' at this domain.