When it comes to choosing a programming language to start working on your next project, there are tons to choose from. From legacy languages such as C and Java to lesser-known ones such as the main topic today, Nix.
Nix is a programming language that is emerging into the spotlight as being a package manager in addition to being a programming language. And the first reason why you should give Nix a try is its user-friendliness.
In this article, we will go over the 5 reasons why you need to choose Nix as a programming language.
1. Nix Is A Package Manager
In essence, Nix is a package manager that works on all Operating Systems. This gives it a much-needed advantage with new users who work on Linux’s version of Microsoft Windows and Linux. In addition to that, the main feature of this language is to allow you to get what you need from the central host and packages and use them throughout your project.
Through the package manager, you can build projects and modify the parameters of each package to better suit the needs of your project. We mentioned earlier that the language is highly friendly for beginners. To better reflect on that, Nix gives you detailed information on how to install every package onto your machine and how to use them on another. In addition, updates are automatic and will not interfere with the rest of the package manager. This means that bugs are not an issue because it doesn’t interfere with the installed packages on your machine.
Since Nix is a relatively new language, you might think that it doesn’t have that many packages. Well, you would be wrong as Nix has a huge collection of packages that will come in handy when the time to build a project comes. You can find the package collection under the name “nixpkgs” and even download them through the official GitHub repository available for everyone.
2. NixOS Is an OS
One of the main advantages that Nix has is the fact that it is an Operating System. In addition to being a package manager, it can build the entire Linux kernel from scratch. Everything from the kernel down to its dependencies and packages, it can build it all on its own.
And there is one more reason why this is good. For Linux users that have been badly harmed by recent security updates, it can be very difficult to roll back on a previous version.
But since NixOS can easily store backups, all you need to do is simply roll back to a previous version of the configuration and be done with it.
In addition to all this, Nix also has server support. Since packages are a core part of the programming language, you can specifically install packages with service support. Simply navigate to the nixpkgs repository on GitHub and select the packages needed to run a Linux server on your home machine.
3. Easy Custom Packages Management
One thing that has to be said is that NixOS manages packages very well. But in addition to having a huge library of pre-built packages, it also makes it easier to manage custom packages. The way you do this is by checking for such custom packages through GitHub. There are hundreds if not thousands of OS custom packages that will make your operating system better. And don’t think for a second that installation is difficult. Through an automated process, NixOS configures and installs every custom package with little to no effort.
Learning and understanding a new programming language might be difficult for some of you, so we suggest you go visit this website to know more about what Nix is at its core.
4. You Can Install Multiple Versions Of Packages At Once
Whenever you install a package for your project, it will be done so under its unique prefix. Since the prefix is unique, it means you can install multiple versions of the same package and the packages will still act uniquely. The prefix names are similar to that of Python’s “virtualenvs” and can seriously come in handy whenever developing projects.
5. Binary Caching
Another reason why Nix should be your next programming language to learn is the binary caching feature. Since the language recognizes every path before building, you can fetch paths locally and use that instead of the official path. This gives you higher versatility, but only if you trust the source where you’re getting the path from.
What Else Can Nix Do?
So with all that said, let’s get into what can Nix really do and accomplish as a programming language?
Each programming language provides users with numerous types. And Nix has many basic types that every developer knows well. Those are the following:
Many of you would focus more on the function types of the programming language, and for good reasons, as we cannot build projects without them. It’s important to understand the syntax of each type, and for that, you can visit the official wiki page to know more.
There are a number of operators, 14 in total. Let’s look at that
- SELECT – This is an attribute that takes from a path
- HAS_ATTR – This operator tests whether or not a set contains an attribute
Again, you can know more about what each operator does by reading the official manual for the language.
Whenever you dive deeper into the Nix programming language constructs, you will find that they’re very similar to that of JSON. Notable constructs include “with” statements, “let…in” statements, “inherit” statements, “rec” statements, and more.
With all that said, it should be noted that Nix has decent syntax highlight. Most code editors recognize Nix and have build-in support.