Builder, Build Thyself

The Timeless Stack can be used to build the Timeless Stack. This is actually how we build our releases! And, it’s also a pretty good demo.

There are two different builds:

Building via bash

Check out this example.

This script builds each of the timeless stack components in its own formula, and then runs one final formula to gather all the pieces together into the single tarball (which we then release).

This bash script depends on rio, repeatr, refmt, and jq being on your $PATH. All of the initial inputs are declared as bash environment variables, and then simply substituted in using bash heredocs as a form of templating. Intermediate outputs are then passed around using jq to extract the WareIDs from each run’s RunRecord, and templated back into subsequent Formulas via another bash environment variable.

Compared to the build with stellar (below), this script is hacky. It’s turing complete; it’s running code on the host; and it’s a very simple thing manually written with hardcoded order of events. The build with stellar is better in almost every way! But, the bash script is interesting as an example of how the system is API-driven, and hopefully is thereby educational to read.

Building via stellar

Check out this example.

This Module file can be evaluated by the stellar tool. It describes a graph of build steps, passing intermediate outputs by human-readable names that are locally scoped.

Rather than having the input WareIDs hardcoded, this module file refers to “Catalog” imports: these are stored in the neighboring .timeless/catalog directory. (These catalog files are relevant when coordinating the passage of WareID info between even larger groups of projects in an auditable way.)

The order of events (the dependency topology) is the same as the bash build! However, the order will be determined automatically by the stellar tool.

Contrasted with the bash build, the stellar-powered build can be reasoned about completely statically. There is no turing-complete logic running on the host in order to evaluate the build dependencies!


Both the bash-powered and stellar-module builds should produce identical results.

You should also be able to use rio scan on the binary releases from GitHub and also get an identical hash!