Creating a Publishable React Library Using Nx and Vite

Nx provides a mental model for organizing monorepos and creating publishable libraries. Regardless of the frontend framework being used, it’s easy to locate projects within apps and libs folders, and quickly identify targets for building, serving, and testing libraries.

One of my personal hobby projects, ngx-unit-test is a Nx monorepo containing one Angular application and one publishable library. Setting up this publishable library was a breeze using Nx.

I recently explored doing something similar with React. The rest of this article steps through the process of generating this library, some pitfalls with existing Nx generators, and some solutions.

The Setup: Creating a Publishable Library and One Consumer Application

My goal for this project was to create a publishable React library (“react-components-lib”) and one standalone application that installs the library (“standalone-react-app”). Of course, you can simply import shared libs into apps in the same monorepo. But for this project I specifically wanted to test out the “publishable” workflow.

For local development of the library, I want to be able to test changes to the library without actually publishing a version to npm. The npm link cli command allows you accomplish exactly that: “linking” publishable libraries locally on a machine to test changes as-if you were installing the package from npm.

Generating the Library and Application

The Nx and Vite CLIs take care of most of the setup:

  • Run npx create-nx-workspace@latest nx-react-vite in the terminal

  • Step through the interactive CLI (I chose ‘React’, ‘None’, ‘Integrated Monorepo’, ‘Vite’, ‘Playwright”, and ‘emotion’)

  • Use Nx generators to generate the publishable “react-components-lib”

  • Use npm create vite@latest to generate a standalone React application (“standalone-react-app”)

This is roughly what I wound up with:

// Versions of core packages
"nx": "18.3.4",
"vite": "~5.0.0",
"react": "18.2.0",

// Monorepo containing the publishable React Library ("react-components-lib")

// Separate repository of the consumer React app

Once everything was generated, I wanted to test publishing react-components-lib using npm link:

  1. First, I used Nx to create the production dist of the library: npx nx run react-components-lib:build. This command created a build dist at nx-react-vite/dist/libs/shared.

  2. Next, I ran cd dist/libs/shared and then npm link. So far so good.

  3. Finally, I tried to add the package to the standalone-react-app by cding into the app and running npm link @myorg/react-components-lib. Here is where I hit my first roadblock:

npm ERR! 404 Not Found - GET - Not found.

I realized that the library’s production build didn’t include a package.json. So when I ran npm link from the consumer application, it failed to create a global symlink for the package’s name. The Angular Nx generators for a publishable lib handle this step automatically. This appears to be a known issue involving Nx 18.

My solution was to run npm i -D rollup-plugin-copy and update the vite.config.ts file to copy the package.json into the dist folder after the build is complete. Here is an example commit showing these steps.

With these changes in place, I repeated steps 1-3 (above), and this time the standalone-react-app successfully linked to the react-components-lib package! 🎉🎉🎉

Issue with Missing Declaration Module

My next step was to actually use a component from react-components-lib in the standalone-react-app. I imported a component from the library, but was met with an error about the package’s missing declaration module:

Example of missing declaration module error

This error was pretty straightforward. All I had to do was add a line to the library’s package.json in the “exports” field: "types": "./index.d.ts",. Again, this is something that is handled automatically by Nx when creating a publishable Angular library but hasn’t been implemented for this template.

With this small tweak, I fixed the error and was able to successfully build and serve standalone-react-app.


This project taught me a few concepts involving npm linking, package.json configuration, and Vite configuration. Although there were some rough edges to creating a publishable React library, Nx and Vite massively sped up my development cycle and provided a good foundation for the project.