Difference between tilde(~) and caret(^) in package.json

The tilde () and caret () characters are used in a package.json file to specify version constraints for dependencies.

A tilde is used to specify a flexible minimum version constraint. For example, if a dependency is specified in a package’s package.json file as “lodash”: “4.17.15”, it means that the package requires at least version 4.17.15 of the lodash package but is also compatible with any patch or minor version updates (e.g. 4.17.16, 4.18.0, etc.).

So, in summary, the caret(^) allow more flexibility than tilde(~) when it comes to version update.

A detailed example of the difference between the tilde (~) and caret (^) characters in a package.json file can be seen when using npm to manage dependencies.

Assume you have a package called my-package and a package called its package. The following dependencies can be found in the JSON file:

"dependencies": {
  "lodash": "~4.17.15"

When you run npm install in my-root package’s directory, npm will install version 4.17.15 of lodash and also allow patch version updates (e.g. 4.17.16, 4.17.17, etc.) when you run npm update. If the package has a dependency. Instead, a caret () was used to specify the JSON file:

"dependencies": {
  "lodash": "^4.17.15"

When you run npm install in the root directory of my-package, npm will install lodash version 4.17.15 and allow minor and patch version updates (e.g. 4.18.0, 4.18.1, 5.0.0, etc.) when you use the npm update command

In this case, the tilde () allows for patch version updates only, whereas the caret() allows for both minor and patch version updates.