Discover Knip: A Cutting-Edge Solution for Identifying Unused Files, Exports, and Dependencies

In this article, Lars Kappert introduces a tool called Knip that helps developers identify and remove unused files, exports, and dependencies in their projects. He acknowledges that while tools like Prettier, ESLint, and TypeScript have solved many formatting and linting issues, the problem of handling unused artifacts often goes unnoticed and can negatively impact project maintainability.

Kappert explains that finding unused things in a project can be a tedious and time-consuming task, often requiring manual searches or the use of multiple tools. Existing tools like ts-prune, depcheck, and unimported have limitations and do not fully support monorepos.

Motivated to automate this process and keep projects in good shape, Kappert developed Knip as an internal tool for his own project. Knip acts as a project linter that analyzes the entire repository, connecting files, imports, exports, and dependencies to identify what is unused. It works with both JavaScript and TypeScript, supports monorepos, and can be used with any package manager.

Knip has different modes, including a production mode that analyzes only production code and a script detection feature that identifies unused or missing dependencies in command line tools. It also supports plugins for handling different tool configurations and compilers for non-standard files.

Kappert plans to continue improving Knip by adding more plugins to reduce the need for manual configuration, implementing an auto-fix feature to automatically resolve issues, and exploring integrations with other tools like VS Code and GitHub Actions. He encourages users to provide feedback, report false positives, and contribute to the project’s development on GitHub.