Fork of https://gitlab.com/manveru/mixnix with fixes for pleroma
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README.md

MixNix

A set of tools to make integration between Elixir Mix projects and Nix smooth.

This is especially useful for creating packages using nothing but MixNix and the mix.lock found in almost all Elixir projects.

It’s primarily meant for packaging applications for deployment, like servers or executables, for normal development I’d still recommend a mix based workflow.

Disclaimer

This project is still in early development, so I’m looking for people who can try and run this on their projects and report any issues that might arise.

Installation

You can run nix-build and use the ./result/bin/mixnix executable. Temporarily install into your user profile via nix-env -i ./result. Adding this to nixpkgs is one of the future objectives, but not a high priority right now until it’s generally proven more useful.

Usage

A good starting point is taking a look at the derivations in ./nix/test/passing. Which contains examples of some projects I got to build so far.

Without dependencies

If a project doesn’t have any dependencies, building it is very straightforward. As an example we’ll use tty2048.

mix2nix.mkMixPackage {
  name = "tty2048";
  version = "0.0.1";
  src = fetchGit {
    url = https://github.com/lexmag/tty2048;
    rev = "f800247354593929b653f9f947a7c6f1844ad9fe";
  };
  releaseType = "escript";
}

Building on the fly

The easiest way mixnix can work is by using its derivation, and passing it a mix.lock file to process on the fly.

This usually looks like:

Building Executable applications

The conventional method of making executable Elixir applications is to use the escript.build mix task.

mix2nix.mkMixPackage {
  name = "mixnix";
  version = "0.0.1";
  src = ./.;
  mixLock = ./mix.lock;
  releaseType = "escript";
}

Avoiding IFD (Import From Derivation)

This is required to build in more restricted environments that prevent import-from-derivation like default Hydra installations or the nixpkgs repository. This is usually done to avoid the significant performance impact of IFD in large derivations.

To use mixnix to generate a lockfile that can be imported directly into Nix, you can execute it like this in the root directory of your project:

mixnix > mix.nix

MixNix will create a file describing all the dependencies needed to build the project, mostly a mirrored version of the mix.lock file but without converting it on the fly.

Example derivation

mix2nix.mkMixPackage {
  name = "mixnix";
  version = "0.0.1";
  src = ./.;
  mixNix = ./mix.nix;
  releaseType = "escript";
}

The only difference is that instead of mixLock = ./mix.lock we’re now using mixNix = ./mix.nix. The name and location of the file doesn’t matter.

Development

For development, I’d recommend simply starting the nix-shell with the shell.nix in this repository. It’ll make elixir available in your environment, and you can just run mix deps.get and mix escript.build to get the mixnix executable.

To run the Elixir tests, you can run the mix test or mix test.watch tasks.

A Nix test suite is still work in progress, for the moment there’s a few derivations in the nix/test directory, with failing and passing derivations that might also make nice examples if you want to know how to use MixNix for your own project and what might go wrong.

You can run specific tests like this: nix-build ./nix/test/all.nix -A passing.captain-fact-api.

Background

My primary objective for MixNix was to make developing and deploying Elixir applications on NixOS one simple step. It’s not fully-featured and may break with certain dependencies that I haven’t had the chance to test it with yet.

But the core idea was simple. Given that the mix.lock file already contains checksums of each package, what would be the most straightforward way to teach Nix about how to fetch them.

Turns out that the hashing algorithm is well described in the hex.pm specification. So the solution was to first fetch the tarball, then create a file that contains the contents the hash describes, and in the build step extract only the gzipped tarball from it, which took a bit of fiddling with dd but ended up working just fine for us.

If someone comes up with a more elegant solution with less steps, I’d very much appreciate a PR :)

  • hex2nix
    • It was used to generate all the beamPackages that are found in nixpkgs. It has the tiny drawback that it downloads all of the available hex.pm packages which takes hours and may fail at any point.
    • Consequently the beamPackages collection hasn’t been updated since March 2018, making building any current project with it impossible.
    • It also doesn’t support git dependencies or alternative repositories.