Getting started

haskell.nix can automatically translate your Cabal or Stack project and its dependencies into Nix code.

Assuming you have Nix installed, you can start setting up your project.

Setting up the binary cache

IMPORTANT: you must do this or you will build several copies of GHC!

You can configure Nix to use our binary cache, which is pushed to by CI, so should contain the artifacts that you need.

You need to add the following sections to /etc/nix/nix.conf or, if you are a trusted user, ~/.config/nix/nix.conf (if you don't know what a "trusted user" is, you probably want to do the former).

trusted-public-keys = [...] [...]
substituters = [...] [...]

If you're running NixOS, you need to add/update the following in your /etc/nixos/configuration.nix files instead.

# Binary Cache for Haskell.nix
nix.binaryCachePublicKeys = [
nix.binaryCaches = [

This can be tricky to get setup properly. If you're still having trouble getting cache hits, consult the corresponding troubleshooting section.


The following work with stack.yaml and cabal.project based projects.

Add default.nix:

{ # Fetch the latest haskell.nix and import its default.nix
  haskellNix ? import (builtins.fetchTarball "") {}

# haskell.nix provides access to the nixpkgs pins which are used by our CI,
# hence you will be more likely to get cache hits when using these.
# But you can also just use your own, e.g. '<nixpkgs>'.
, nixpkgsSrc ? haskellNix.sources.nixpkgs-2003

# haskell.nix provides some arguments to be passed to nixpkgs, including some
# patches and also the haskell.nix functionality itself as an overlay.
, nixpkgsArgs ? haskellNix.nixpkgsArgs

# import nixpkgs with overlays
, pkgs ? import nixpkgsSrc nixpkgsArgs
}: pkgs.haskell-nix.project {
  # 'cleanGit' cleans a source directory based on the files known by git
  src = pkgs.haskell-nix.haskellLib.cleanGit {
    name = "haskell-nix-project";
    src = ./.;
  # Specify the GHC version to use.
  compiler-nix-name = "ghc8102"; # Not required for `stack.yaml` based projects.

git dependencies

If you have git dependencies in your project, you'll need to calculate sha256 hashes for them.

Working with a project

Top-level attributes are Haskell packages (incl. dependencies) part of your project.

To build the library component of a package in the project run:

nix-build -A your-package-name.components.library

There are also other components such as exes, tests, benchmarks and all. To build an executable:

nix-build -A your-package-name.components.exes.your-exe-name

To cross compile use the projectCross attribute:

nix-build -A projectCross.ghcjs.hsPkgs.your-package-name.components.exes.your-exe-name
nix-build -A projectCross.mingwW64.hsPkgs.your-package-name.components.exes.your-exe-name

To open a shell for use with cabal run:

nix-shell -A shellFor
cabal new-repl your-package-name:library:your-package-name
cabal new-build your-package-name

To open a shell for use with stack see the following issue.

Pinning the haskell.nix version

For simplicity's sake we will use fetchTarball for the examples in this documentation. This will always get the latest version, and is similar to an auto-updating Nix channel.

However, in your own project, you may wish to pin haskell.nix (as you would pin Nixpkgs). This will make your builds reproducible, more predictable, and faster (because the fixed version is cached).

Straightforward way of doing this is to change the branch name to a revision.

{ # Fetch a specific haskell.nix and import its default.nix
 haskellNix ? import (builtins.fetchTarball "") {}


There are other possible schemes for pinning. See Bumping Hackage and Stackage snapshots and Nix tutorial on reproducibility using pinning.

Going forward

Read through project function reference to see how the API works.

There are a number of things to explore further in the tutorials section.