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nix flakes repl

First, see:

Second, see:

This post is an attempt for myself to document certain aspects of the repl and nix itself. I hope you find it useful!

If you're running any thing older than nix (Nix) 2.19.2 you'll have to enable repl-flake. On NixOS you can pass in repl-flake:

nix = {
   extraOptions = ''
     experimental-features = nix-command flakes repl-flake

OK, with that done you can run:

you ~ % nix repl nixpkgs

And see:

Welcome to Nix 2.19.2. Type :? for help.

Loading installable 'flake:nixpkgs#'...
Added 5 variables.

Running nix repl without the nixpkgs bit will leave you with builtins only.

Tab completion is very handy. You can use :doc to learn:

nix-repl> :doc __add 
Synopsis: builtins.add e1 e2

    Return the sum of the numbers e1 and e2.

Sometimes the value will have no documentation:

nix-repl> :doc htmlDocs.nixpkgsManual
error: value does not have documentation

Nevertheless, you can scope things out:

nix-repl> :e htmlDocs.nixpkgsManual the $EDITOR
 94 in pkgs.stdenv.mkDerivation {
 95   name = "nixpkgs-manual";
 97   nativeBuildInputs = with pkgs; [
 98     nixos-render-docs
 99   ];

Remember that :? prints the commands available to you.

OK, let's get some basics down:

nix-repl> you = "learning"

nix-repl> x = { a = "great!"; b = "it gets easier!"; c = "it never gets easier!";} 

nix-repl> lib.mkIf (you == "learning") x
{ _type = "if"; condition = true; content = { ... }; }

nix-repl> (lib.getAttr "content" (lib.mkIf (you == "learning") x)).a

Exploring with :e is essential but so is using Google/ChatGPT and asking for help on discourse. :e if you want to really understand, I guess.

nix-repl> (lib.getAttr "content" (lib.mkIf (you == "sad") x)).b
"it gets easier!"

We're not really checking the condition above just looking at the contents of x regardless so what you is doesn't matter. We could look at the condition if we wanted.

nix-repl> lib.getAttr "content" (lib.mkIf (you == "learning") x)
{ a = "great!"; b = "it gets easier!"; c = "it never gets easier!"; }

nix-repl> lib.getAttr "condition" (lib.mkIf (you == "learning") x)

nix-repl> lib.getAttr "condition" (lib.mkIf (you == "sad") x)

You can do odd things just remember to stay happy!

nix-repl> you = "learning"

nix-repl> if (lib.getAttr "condition" (lib.mkIf (you == "learning") x)) then x.a else x.b

nix-repl> if (lib.getAttr "condition" (lib.mkIf (you != "learning") x)) then x.a else x.b 
"it gets easier!"

More examples:

nix-repl> x = true

nix-repl> if x then "it's true!" else "I guess everything is a lie and that's a fact"
"it's true!"

optionalAttrs can be useful but note the difference:

nix-repl> x = false
# optionalAttrs just means:
nix-repl> lib.optionalAttrs (!x) { a = "if cond then as else {};"; }
see discourse:

nix-repl> you = "learning"

nix-repl> lib.optionalAttrs (lib.getAttr "condition" (lib.mkIf (you == "learning") x)) x.a

nix-repl> lib.optionalAttrs (lib.getAttr "condition" (lib.mkIf (you != "learning") x)) x.b
{ } # empty set

Here's something I recently learned regarding the repl and importing:

nix-repl> korora = import (builtins.fetchGit "") { inherit lib; }

nix-repl> t = korora.string

nix-repl> t.check 1234
       ... while calling the 'throw' builtin

         at /nix/store/n5jj2abpas1ihg5l26cysyl8rak7pa21-source/default.nix:101:50:

          100|       inherit name verify;
          101|       check = v: if verify v == null then v else throw (verify v);
             |                                                  ^
          102|     };

       error: Expected type 'string' but value '1234' is of type 'int'

And you can do things that don't really make too much sense:

nix-repl> pkgs = legacyPackages.x86_64-linux 

nix-repl> drv = pkgs.runCommand "fortune-kind" { buildInputs = [ pkgs.fortune-kind ]; } "fortune-kind; fortune-kind > $out"

nix-repl> :b drv

This derivation produced the following outputs:
  out -> /nix/store/l11i1nlmkcdvsyi56m9fp6hjn1yyvjvq-fortune-kind

nix-repl> :log drv
Pete:   Waiter, this meat is bad.
Waiter: Who told you?
Pete:   A little swallow.

And even sillier things:

nix-repl> drv = pkgs.writeShellApplication { name = "show";  runtimeInputs = [pkgs.curl pkgs.w3m]; text = ''curl -s '' | w3m -dump -T text/html''; }

nix-repl> :b drv

This derivation produced the following outputs:
  out -> /nix/store/

Jump into a shell and:

rjpc ~ % bash /nix/store/\


    Hi, I'm just another "Netizen Smith" cruising the metaverse for lovers and

WirteShellApplication isn't too silly actually:

This can be used to easily produce a shell script that has some dependencies (runtimeInputs). It automatically sets the PATH of the script to contain all of the listed inputs, sets some sanity shellopts (errexit, nounset, pipefail), and checks the resulting script with shellcheck.

There's more to read using :e -

310   /*
311     Similar to writeShellScriptBin and writeScriptBin.
312     Writes an executable Shell script to /nix/store/<store path>/bin/<name> and
313     checks its syntax with shellcheck and the shell's -n option.
314     Individual checks can be foregone by putting them in the excludeShellChecks
315     list, e.g. [ "SC2016" ].
316     Automatically includes sane set of shellopts (errexit, nounset, pipefail)
317     and handles creation of PATH based on runtimeInputs
319     Note that the checkPhase uses for the test run of the script,
320     while the generated shebang uses runtimeShell. If, for whatever reason,
321     those were to mismatch you might lose fidelity in the default checks. */

Remember that nix is lazy but :p helps there:

nix-repl> :p lib.lists.toposort (a: b: a < b) [ "Mary" "Sam" "Ryan" "Mike" "Anna" "Vera" "Bill" "Rick" ] 
{ result = [ "Anna" "Bill" "Mary" "Mike" "Rick" "Ryan" "Sam" "Vera" ]; }

Working with nix and the repl is exhausting so it's a good idea to step outside now and then.

Some random things:

nix-repl> silly = x: {y ? "", ... }@args: z: x + y + args.a + args.b + " " + builtins.toString z

nix-repl> silly "hello" {y = " world"; a = " uh"; b = " is this thing on?";}  10
"hello world uh is this thing on? 10"

And some notes not related to nix repl in my crib sheet that I wanted to share:

nix hash to-sri --type sha256 $(nix-prefetch-url --unpack

You could read the man page but it might just leave you...unhappy. In "nix classic" you could use:

nix-hash --to-sri

This is very useful if you ever want to update a package in nixpkgs or package one yourself. There are probably other ways to get the sha256 but I don't know...WAIT! Ah, yes, you can use lib.fakeSha256 to make a dummy hash and when you first compile a package an error should show up saying that the hash is wrong and display the actual hash it wants. I've done it this way in the past but the above is better, but only in, like, my opinion.

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site last modified: 26-01-2024
Ryan J.P. Casalino © 2015 - 2024