When people talk about Nix, they often have in mind two different entities: Nix as a language and nixpkgs as a package repository, which is also the base of NixOS. Today we will speak mainly about Nix as a language, but it is at least worth knowing what NixOS is at a basic level of definition.
NixOS is a Linux distribution on top of the Nix package manager. It uses a declarative configuration and lets you upgrade your system reliably. Two main directions are offered: the current stable release and an unstable release after the latest development.
There aren’t many Nix experts, and if your DevOps need to implement the multi-task solution, these Nix consultants are among the mature representatives to address your question.
Nix uses the full potential of a functional language, and because of that, its syntax can seem strange at first for programmers, who usually code in object-oriented languages. But it is similar to other functional programming syntaxes. So if you have worked with one of them before (Haskell or Rust, for example), you will quickly understand this syntax too.
As already mentioned, Nix is not a very popular programming language, but it doesn’t try to become one. Nix aims to make it very easy to write a package definition declaration for any programming language or application.
But Nix is cool off when you interpret it with professionals and utilize its functions.
Functions. The thing about them in Nix is that they come as standard or as pure mathematical functions and don’t have any side effects. In terms of functional programming languages, they are pure functions, as you can see in Haskell.
One of the pluses of Nix is that you will have a one-size-fits-all approach to all projects. Such helps connect the code better and make it more readable. It will also help improve teamwork. Two people who write the same package will get the same result, which will speed up the development of the projects.
Why do many programmers stick to Nix?
More than half of the Internet is on Linux-based servers (more precisely, 67.4%). As for web development, it is 70–80% based on Linux servers. It would seem to be such an unpopular and important Nix. It is because of the above-mentioned points and one that I haven’t mentioned yet. It is the Nix file system, which, by the way, is pretty easy to use.
Nix helps with DevOps. It makes the automation process faster, more usable, and the code more readable. For those who don’t know, DevOps is the procedure for automating the course of building, configuring, and deploying software. Nix helps simplify this process because, as mentioned above, the same build with the same input will produce the same result.
To summarize, Nix is a functional programming language that is an integral part of things we have grown accustomed to, such as the Internet, file systems, and data packets. You can use it to simplify your work with a lot of data and prosper with stable working solutions.