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Starting a Dev Environment with Devbox

Background

Devbox is a command-line tool that lets you easily create reproducible, reliable dev environments. You start by defining the list of packages required by your development environment, and devbox uses that definition to create an isolated environment just for your application. Developers can start a dev environment for their project by running devbox shell.

To learn more about how Devbox works, you can read our introduction

This quickstart shows you how to install Devbox, and use it to start a development environment for a project that is configured to use Devbox via devbox.json

Install Devbox

Use the following install script to get the latest version of Devbox:

curl -fsSL https://get.jetpack.io/devbox | bash

Devbox requires the Nix Package Manager. If Nix is not detected on your machine when running a command, Devbox will automatically install it for you with the default settings for your OS. Don't worry: You can use Devbox without needing to learn the Nix Language.

Start your development shell

  1. Open a terminal in the project. The project should contain a devbox.json that specifies how to create your development environment

  2. Start a devbox shell for your project:

    To get started, all we have to do is run:

    devbox shell

    Output:

    Installing nix packages. This may take a while... done.
    Starting a devbox shell...
    (devbox) $
    info

    The first time you run devbox shell may take a while to complete due to Devbox downloading prerequisites and package catalogs required by Nix. This delay is a one-time cost, and future invocations and package additions should resolve much faster.

  3. Use the packages provided in your development environment

    The packages listed in your project's devbox.json should now be available for you to use. For example, if the project's devbox.json contains python310, you should now have python in your path:

    python --version

    The above should return 3.10

  4. Your host environment's packages and tools are also available, including environment variables and config settings.

    git config --get user.name
  5. To exit the Devbox shell and return to your regular shell:

    exit

Next Steps

Learn more about Devbox

  • Devbox Scripts: Automate setup steps and configuration for your shell using Devbox Scripts.
  • Configuration Guide: Learn how to configure your shell and dev environment with devbox.json.
  • Browse Examples: You can see how to create a development environment for your favorite tools or languages by browsing the Devbox Examples repo.

Use Devbox with your IDE

  • Direnv Integration: Devbox can integrate with direnv to automatically activate your shell and packages when you navigate to your project.
  • Devbox for Visual Studio Code: Install our VS Code extension to speed up common Devbox workflows or to use Devbox in a devcontainer.

Get Involved