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Diving into Nix

At Shopify, the dev-infra team has been working on using Nix from one of our internal tools, dev. The tool is responsible for setting up the developers’ environment, as well as providing a standard CLI for automation for projects like Rails, iOS, or Android apps. As you probably know, setting things up in a developer’s environment is wild — you don’t know what to expect. It’s hard to set things up deterministically, and reproduce one environment into another. Homebrew for instance, tries to do as best as it can, but since it treats the environment as a global space in which dumping things, alike a singleton class that anyone can modify, that often results in hard-to-debug errors.

The first time that I heard about Nix was on this blog post from Pinterest, but it didn’t catch my attention until now. I started reading about it and watching some internal videos that Burke is creating to evangelize the idea. The more I read about it, the more amazed I am with the idea. These are the ideas that struck me:

I’ll keep reading about it. I think Tuist could benefit from some of its ideas. For example, the idea of minimizing the IO and side effects, as well as the way it models the dependency graph.

I hope everyone is safe in these difficult times. Stay at home!