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[bug#40629] Build and install packages from JSON definitions

From: Ricardo Wurmus
Subject: [bug#40629] Build and install packages from JSON definitions
Date: Thu, 16 Apr 2020 00:27:39 +0200
User-agent: mu4e 1.2.0; emacs 26.3

Christopher Baines <address@hidden> writes:

> Ricardo Wurmus <address@hidden> writes:
>> did you know that we have JSON importer?  Admittedly, it’s not very
>> useful because people don’t generally use JSON syntax to define Guix
>> packages.  Not even Guix lets you build and install packages from JSON
>> definitions, so what’s the point really?
>> Well, fret not!  This patch set adds support for JSON package
>> definitions to “guix package -f” and “guix build -f”.  You can now dump
>> this into a file “hello.json”:
>> --8<---------------cut here---------------start------------->8---
>> {
>>   "name": "hello",
>>   "version": "2.10",
>>   "source": "mirror://gnu/hello/hello-2.10.tar.gz",
>>   "build-system": "gnu",
>>   "home-page": "";,
>>   "synopsis": "Hello, GNU world: An example GNU package",
>>   "description": "GNU Hello prints a greeting.",
>>   "license": "GPL-3.0+",
>>   "native-inputs": ["gettext"]
>> }
>> --8<---------------cut here---------------end--------------->8---
>> and then install the hello package with “guix package -f hello.json”
>> without having to first run the JSON importer.
>> Since the JSON importer doesn’t know how to work with more than one
>> definition you can’t have more than one custom definition in your JSON
>> file, but if there’s interest we can easily add support for this.
>> (My patch set does not come with documentation changes for “guix
>> package” or “guix build”.)
>> What do you think?
> I haven't played with the JSON importer, but this sounds cool. Did you
> have any ideas for using this in mind?

When I added the JSON importer long ago I also had a commit to extend
“guix build” to install packages from JSON descriptions, but that never
actually made it into the repository.

Even then I didn’t have a grand plan; I just wanted to be able to tell
the Scheme-averse that they could use JSON instead, e.g. for environment
definitions or simple custom packages.

It can be a sneaky way to get people to use Guix even though they are
initially uncomfortable with Scheme.


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