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Craig's Deno Diary


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What every developer should know about the Deno third party module registry

The Deno third-party registry is a place for Deno developers to publish their Deno-compatible ESM modules. It is in essence the Deno equivalent of the npm package manager.

The data in the third-party registry is used as content for the Deno Third Party Modules page. Each module on that page's list links to a page providing module details including documentation, version information and source code.

Both developers who create Deno libraries and users of those libraries should know how the third-party registry works and this post will fill in that gap.

How the third-party registry is populated and organized

Registered modules can be accessed under the URL for ESM imports, so, for instance, the Fresh web framework would be accessed using the URL. Module authors are urged to published new versions of their module to a sequentially numbered tagged branch (most authors use semantic version or semver numbering). In that case, the version number would be added to the end of the URL (e.g.

The original module list was ranked by Github stars, but it was discovered that a lot of the highest ranked entries were npm modules that did not work in Deno using an import URL. A change to that ranking was first proposed by then Deno team member Kitson Kelly in May 2022. He suggested a sorting algorithm based on metrics of popularity, quality and maintenance (see the proposal for details).

The first implementation of the new ranking algorithm -- deployed in early October 2022 -- uses popularity only. This metric was produced using Google Analytics to track the number of requests to a given third-party library import URL, so that a popularity score of 100 means that 100 requests were made to that module over 30 days. There are no immediate plans to update the ranking algorithm to include quality and maintenance metrics.

Important things to keep in mind before registering a third-party module

  • Modules are immutable

Once a module is published in the third-party registry, it cannot be changed or deleted. This makes sure that anyone using a* import URL can be assured that the module will always be there. Module Git tags are also immutable. Any code changes must me published as a new tag.

  • Module name squatting is not allowed

There is a warning on the third-party module page that name squatting will not be tolerated. It suggests that if a module has not been under active development, it can be taken over by another developer and invites a proposal to do so.

  • Module source code must be contained in a public Github repository

The third-party registry does not support private Github repositories or another Git provider at this point.

  • The registry uses TSDoc/JSDoc comments to display module symbols (variables, classes, functions, TS interfaces and type aliases)

When a module is published the source code in the module's repository is scanned. Each source code file is checked for TSDoc/JSDoc comments for public functions, classes and TypeScript interfaces. If found, the content of the comment is used to create module documentation. If not found, only the signatures of public variables, classes, functions, TS interfaces and type aliases will be displayed with no additional documentation, so it is a good idea to make sure your public module exports are well-documented and include example usage in the TSDoc/JSDoc comments.

  • Module authors must self-register a module

Publishing a new third-party module is accomplished by clicking on the button on the third-party modules page labelled "Publish a module". When that is done, the "Adding a module" page will be displayed. It asks for a module name and optionally a subdirectory. It then instructs the module author on how to create a Github webhook so the module can be picked up by the third-party registry automation.

The Third Party Registry API

The module list for the Deno Third Party Modules page was pulled from a database via an API. Last October, version 2 of the API was published which coencided with the unvieling of a new ranking algorithm used on the page.

The third party API is hosted at An OpenAPI specification for the API exists in additon to human-readable documentation for the new API spec.

The third-party API has endpoints for module details, module metrics and module documentation (pages). Each endpoint URL begins with

Module Endpoints

The modules API provides basic information on every third-party Deno module.

  • /v2/modules - Provide a list of all modules in the registry (Link).

Here's what the results look like with data from one of the 5,800+ (at the time of this writing) modules shown:

  "items":[ // items module array
      "latest_version": "v0.1.8",
      "versions": [
      "name": "install",
      "description": "Deno Binary Installer",
      "star_count": 898,
      "popularity_score": 47981,
      "tags": [
          "kind": "popularity",
          "value": "top_1_percent"
  // other module data here ...

The following query parameters are available for this endpoint:

  1. limit: number that limits the result set size (100 by default)
  2. page: page number used for pagination

So if you wanted to get a list of 10 results on the third page of the modules endpoint, your URL would be

Leo Kettmeir from the Deno teams says that you currently cannot request more than 1,000 records (or 100 rows of ten records each) using this endpoint.

  • /v2/modules/:module - Provide information about a specific module

This data is the same as an individual record in the v2/modules endpoint. For instance, the data for the Fresh module looks like this:

  "latest_version": "1.1.4",
  "versions": [
    // ... other versions here
  "name": "fresh",
  "description": "The next-gen web framework.",
  "star_count": 10133,
  "tags": [{ "kind": "popularity", "value": "top_1_percent" }],
  "popularity_score": 8499

Here's what the data looks like for Fresh version 1.1.4:

  "upload_options": {
    "ref": "1.1.4",
    "type": "github",
    "repository": "denoland/fresh"
  "uploaded_at": "2023-03-08T09:48:46.820Z",
  "analysis_version": "1",
  "name": "fresh",
  "description": "The next-gen web framework.",
  "version": "1.1.4"

Module Metric Endpoints

  • /v2/metrics/modules - All module's metrics (Link)

The "metrics" returned by this endpoint is much more than just metrics. Then include basic data on the module including dependencies, versions and uploaded_at datetime when a new module version github tag was created.

This endpoint supports the query parameters limit and page that is used to determine result set size and page number like the modules endpoint.

If also supports an order_by query parameter which ranks the query results by a particular field value.

The results set for this endpoint puts data in an items array like was done for the modules endpoint above.

  • /v2/metrics/modules/:module - Metrics for a specific third-party module

Here's what metrics for the Deno web framework Ultra looks like:

  "metrics": {
    "popularity": {
      "prev_sessions_30_day": 256,
      "score": 241,
      "prev_score": 266,
      "sessions_30_day": 233,
      "prev_users_30_day": 283,
      "users_30_day": 254
    "name": "ultra",
    "updated": "2023-04-02T00:24:44.476Z",
    "maintenance": {},
    "quality": {}
  "info": {
    "kind": "modinfo",
    "module": "ultra",
    "description": "Zero-Legacy Deno/React Suspense SSR Framework",
    "readme": {
      "path": "/",
      "size": 4086,
      "type": "file"
    "version": "v2.2.1",
    "tags": [],
    "dependencies": [
        "ver": "",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "color"
        "ver": "3.3.2",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "crayon"
        "ver": "v2.5.1",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "hono"
        "ver": "v1.3.2",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "mesozoic"
        "ver": "v0.8.0",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "outdent"
        "ver": "0.1.12",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "wait"
        "ver": "18.2.0",
        "org": "",
        "src": "",
        "pkg": "react-dom"
        "ver": "18.2.0",
        "src": "",
        "org": "",
        "pkg": "react"
        "ver": "0.176.0",
        "src": "std",
        "pkg": "std"
    "upload_options": {
      "ref": "v2.2.1",
      "repository": "exhibitionist-digital/ultra",
      "type": "github"
    "latest_version": "v2.2.1",
    "dependency_errors": [],
    "versions": [
      // ... other beta versions
      // ... other alpha versions
    "uploaded_at": "2023-02-06T08:34:08.756Z",
    "config": {
      "path": "/deno.json",
      "size": 867,
      "type": "file"

Under the popularity field, a "session" is defined by Google analytics as a visit to a page for 30 minutes or less. The users field value also comes from GA.

Note that there is are quality and maintenance metric fields which were part of the original page ranking proposal, but they are unused right now.

Documentation Page Endpoints

The pages API focuses on data for the module documentation pages. Third party API routes that begin with v2/pages are used to display API documentation for a particular Deno module.

  • /v2/pages/mod/doc/:module/:version/:path* - Provides data to render a documentation page for a module

For instance, to pull up the types.ts file documentation data, you would use the URL: which is the data that is rendered in this page.

Example use of the third-party API

Obviously, the third-module registry API provides a lot of data to work with. You could essentially create your own version of This version could be supercharged with information in the API not found on the Deno Third Party Modules pages. Ranking the results by a different characteristic would be interesting or you could create your own popularity score algorithm.

I have create a simple prototype that displays the Deno Third Party Modules page data showing the top 500 modules and adding the Github star count to each module record. You can see it in action here.

This page includes a drop-down to sort the top 500 results by popularity score, Github star count or a combination of popularity score (weighted 75%) and GH star count (weighted 25%).

This demo shows one of the many ways the API data could be displayed. Graphical renditions would be an interesting option, for instance.

The code for my API demo is found at this github repository.


This article focused on the Deno third party modules list and the API used to create that list.

The API was used to revise the way modules are sorted on the Deno Third Party Modules page. Still, this new ranking is just an initial implementation of the original algorithm proposed by Kitson Kelly who no longer works for Deno. If you are interested in improvements to the ranking system, you should post comments to that proposal.

Finally, take a look at my demo app that used the third party API to show different module ranking views. There are numerous other ways to display and analyze data coming from the API and I urge you to use your imagination and technical skill to improve on my humble prototype.


The author would like to thank former Deno team member Kitson Kelly for answering some questions on the API last fall, and current Deno team member Leo Kettmeir for recently filling in my third-party module API knowledge gaps. Leo also reviewed this article before it was published and I thank him for his thoughtful comments.