Here we will look into how to generate the pkgs.nix file for a cabal.project project. For the full integration see the previous page.

Generating package sets for Cabal projects, is slightly more involved, because you need to let Cabal calculate a build plan for the dependencies of your package(s).

Generating plan.json

To get a plan, you need Cabal and GHC. See the How to install a compiler section of the Nixpkgs Manual for information about how to choose a specific compiler version.

Cabal version

The minimum Cabal version is 2.4. This version is available in the NixOS 19.03 release.

For this example, we will run a nix-shell with the default GHC version for Nixpkgs.

nix-shell -p haskellPackages.cabal-install haskellPackages.ghc \
    --run "cabal new-configure"

If all goes well, you should now have the file dist-newstyle/cache/plan.json.

Specifying the GHC version

To use a specific compiler version, replace haskellPackages.ghc with something like haskell.compiler.ghc865. The given compiler must exist in your Nixpkgs version, of course. See also the Nixpkgs Manual.

Using plan-to-nix

With nix-tools installed, we can then run the following command on a Cabal project and its build plan. Omit the --cabal-project option if you don't have a project file.

# convert the plan.json file into a pkgs.nix file
plan-to-nix --output . \
    --plan-json dist-newstyle/cache/plan.json
    --cabal-project cabal.project

This will produce a pkgs.nix file that looks like the following:

  pkgs = hackage:
      packages = {
        "o-clock" = hackage.o-clock."0.1.1".revisions.default;
      compiler = { ... };

  extras = hackage:
    { packages = { my-package = ./.plan.nix/my-package.nix; }; };

It has converted Cabal's build plan into a Nix expression that selects dependencies from hackage.nix. All local packages in the project are generated with cabal-to-nix and added to the package set description.

Creating the package set

Import the generated pkgs.nix and pass to mkCabalPkgSet to instantiate a package set.

# default.nix
  # Import the Haskell.nix library,
  haskell = import (builtins.fetchTarball {};

  # Instantiate a package set using the generated file.
  pkgSet = haskell.mkCabalProjectPkgSet {
    plan-pkgs = import ./pkgs.nix;
    pkg-def-extras = [];
    modules = [];