Ignore Dependency Types in Typescript

Here's a method for how to exclude typings files from dependencies when compiling TypeScript projects.

Install a problem dependency

The problem comes when we install a dependency into our already-TypeScript project that has other typings that mess up the project we're in.

For example, I was working on a hyperapp TypeScript project and installed a new dependency. Upon my next tsc, I suddenly had hundreds of errors similar to this:

error TS2605: JSX element type 'VNode | null' is not a constructor function for JSX elements.

When it went to type-check my code, TypeScript thought React was in charge of JSX and thus wasn't compatible with my Hyperapp components.

I found out that there were new React typings by running:

npm ls @types/react

Sure enough, down in the subdependencies, something else was shipping with @types/react. To fix this, I wanted to keep the new dependency but ignore those typings.

Exclude doesn't work

My first adjustment to the long list of potential tsconfig.json configurables was exclude. This seemed to match the verb of what I was trying to do. But apparently it ignores @types directories in its exclusion. They're special.

Blacklisting what I wanted to ignore seemed out, so I looked for the whitelist

Whitelist with types and typeRoots

The two whitelist options that appear are types and typeRoots.

By default, all @types available to node module resolution (include those in parent directories) and available and used when type checking. types will whitelist override that by file (package name). typeRoots will override that by directory.

Process to whitelist

My process to whitelist down to the correct types list was to:

  1. Set types to an empty array in tsconfig.json:

  "compilerOptions": {
    "types": []
  1. Run tsc multiple times and interpret each class of type errors.

For instance, I ran once and got errors like:

error TS2304: Cannot find name 'expect'.

This came from a spec file and I use jest, so I added the jest type. The next tsc produced:

error TS2951: Cannot find name 'require'

It was even prompting me to install node types. So, my fixed up tsconfig.json looked like this in the end:

  "compilerOptions": {
    "types": ["jest", "node"]

And tsc was happy with no errors.

How else have you solved this problem and ignored the types that install dependencies puts into your projects?