Weekly Journal 165 - Nix

Nix vs. Wrappers

I’ve previously mentioned that I’ve been looking at Nix and nix-shell for building reproducible local development environments. I found a tool called Devbox that purports to be a wrapper around Nix that makes it easier to build and maintain local development environments. It looks interesting, but as with most wrappers I worry about the restrictions and limitations that it may impose that I wouldn’t need to deal with if I just used the core tool directly. I want to do some additional research to determine if it’s worth using a wrapper like this or not.

Currently, I want to learn Nix so that I can look at using NixOS as a Linux distribution both on my own systems and as the base image for containers. If I’m going to learn how Nix works anyway, does it make sense to just use Nix, or does Devbox add something more that makes it worth investing in? Generally I’ve found that fewer tools is better as it cuts down on complexity and opportunities for things to go wrong. However, Devbox may provide something that makes the experience truly better and pays the cost of adding an additional tool to the mix.