CLPM Tutorial

Eric Timmons

Intro to CLPM

What is it?

CLPM stands for Common Lisp Package Manager.

CLPM has several primary goals:

  1. Manage packages in both global and project specific contexts.
  2. Use existing libraries where possible.
  3. Support HTTPS.
  4. Do as little work as possible in the development image.

Terminology

Below are some common terms used by CLPM and in this tutorial:

Package
This is typically used in the colloquial sense, meaning some unit of software that is installed. There is an unfortunate collision with Common Lisp's packages, but hopefully what is meant is clear based on context.
System
An ASDF defined system.
Project
Primary development unit of code. Typically corresponds to the contents of a single VCS repository. May contain multiple systems.

Terminology

Release
A versioned snapshot of a project.
System release
A snapshot of a system contained within a project's release.
Source
Typically used to refer to a repository of projects, releases, and metadata, such as Quicklisp.
Context
A set of requirements and installed releases that satisfy said requirements.

Architecture

Two major pieces:

CLPM
The core of the package manager, intended to be run in a separate process. Additionally, has a command line interface for use outside of Lisp.
CLPM Client
A small, portable system meant to be loaded into development images. Launches CLPM processes and communicates with them using a REPL.

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Architecture Benefits

This architecture is different from existing solutions (see: Quicklisp, Qlot, and Qi). It gives us some very nice benefits, though:

  1. CLPM can load and use foreign libraries you likely do not need in your development image (such as OpenSSL).
  2. CLPM can use existing libraries without bloating your image or dumped executable footprint.
  3. CLPM can use existing Lisp libraries without introducing version or package conflicts in your development image.
  4. CLPM can take advantage of implementation specific features without sacrificing portability.

Contexts

CLPM supports two types of contexts.

Global Contexts

Global contexts have a name and all information about these contexts is stored in the CLPM data directory.

Similar in spirit to Python virtualenvs (at least those created with virtualenvwrapper).

Additionally, can write information to standard ASDF source-registry locations (see: (:contexts "NAME" :source-registry-files) config option), so ASDF can find the systems without involving CLPM at all. Great for installing libraries for global use or when working on projects by yourself.

Bundle/Anonymous Contexts

Identified by a pathname, typically to a file named clpmfile.

Designed to be portable, so it can be shared (e.g., in a git repo):

  • clpmfile contains sources and top-level requirements.
  • clpmfile.lock contains the same information, but also includes the set of releases that satisfy the requirements. clpmfile.lock is enough to recreate the context on another machine.

Project local configuration of CLPM (such as overriding git checkouts to use a copy you already have cloned) accomplished using a file .clpm/bundle.conf (relative to clpmfile).

Inspired by Ruby's Bundler and Qlot. Great for working on a project with many collaborators and deploying projects using a known, working configuration.

Requirements

Contexts are specified by the user via requirements. CLPM understands several types, described below. The included examples show how to specify that requirement in a clpmfile.

System requirement

A system requirement says that a specified system and all its dependencies must be available in the context. Can specify:

  • A version range (refering to the ASDF parsed system version). However, this is not currently available for Quicklisp sources as that data is not present in the metadata.
  • The source from which to install the system.
(:system "fiveam")

(:system "cffi"
 :version ((>= "0.20.0")))

Project requirement

A project requirement says that all of a project's systems, and all of the dependencies of its systems must be available in the context. Can specify:

  • A version range, refering to the version number of the release, which may or may not correspond to the version of any system contained in the release (depending on the project developer's practices). For Quicklisp sources, the release version is date based.
  • The source from which to install the project.
(:project "fiveam")

(:project "cffi"
 :version ((>= "2018-10-20")))

VCS Project requirement

Similar to a project requirement, except it states that the project must be checked out from version control. Can specify:

  • Branch, tag, or commit.
  • The repository (required if the source metadata does not include VCS information).

Note that any system or project directly included in the context via this type of requirement satisfies any version constraint specified by other explicit or implicit requirements.

(:project "cffi"
 :vcs (:branch "bugfix-1"))

(:github "cffi"
 :branch "bugfix-1")

System File Requirement

This requirement states that a specified .asd file located on the local filesystem, outside of one of CLPM's directories, is included in the context, as well as any dependencies of the systems defined in it. Can specify:

  • Path to the .asd file.

Note that with this type of requirement, you may need to occasionally have CLPM reresolve the requirements. For instance if you add a new dependency since the last time you asked CLPM to install things into the context. How to do this is covered in the demos below.

(:asd "super-awesome.asd")

Sources

CLPM can understand two types of sources for package metadata

Quicklisp

Quicklisp style sources are those that are also compatible with the Quicklisp library manager. These sources version releases of projects by date.

There are several disadvantages to Quicklisp sources:

  • They contain no system version information.
  • They routinely do not contain all the dependencies for ASDF package-inferred-systems.
  • They do not contain version control information for projects.
  • CLPM cannot (yet?) lazily download metadata, an explicit sync step is required that may take some time.

CLPI

CLPI based sources are defined by the CLPI Project. This source specification was created to serve CLPM's needs, so it contains the information for all of CLPM's features, and is designed to enable lazy syncing. However, it is nowhere near as mature or battle tested as Quicklisp's metadata format.

CLPI

A mirror of the main Quicklisp distribution is stored in CLPI format at http://quicklisp.common-lisp-project-index.org/. However, it is a straight translation of the Quicklisp metadata and is missing the same information. The CLPM author plans to eventually extend it to include at least better dependencies for package-inferred-systems and system version information. If you choose to use this mirror, realize that it is currently a best-effort project.

What files does it touch?

CLPM expects to read and write files in several locations on your hard drive. This section summarizes them.

Config

CLPM's configuration is stored in the clpm/ subfolder of your XDG config directory. The typical locations for your XDG user config directory are:

Linux
/home/$USER/.config/
MacOS
/Users/$USER/.config/
Windows
%LOCALAPPDATA%\config\

This can be overriden using the CLPM_CONFIG_DIRS environment variable.

Last, when using bundles, CLPM will project specific configuration from the .clpm/bundle.conf file, relative to the clpmfile.

CLPM does not currently write to config locations, but may in future versions.

Cache

CLPM caches many files during its operation, including tarballs and package metadata. These files are stored in the clpm/ subfolder of your XDG cache directory. The typical locations for your XDG cache directory are:

Linux
/home/$USER/.cache/
MacOS
/Users/$USER/.cache/
Windows
%LOCALAPPDATA%\cache\

This location can be overriden using the CLPM_CACHE_DIR environment variable.

Typically these files can be deleted any time CLPM is not running and it will recreate them as necessary.

Data

CLPM stores context data, unpacked releases, metadata for installed packages, etc. in the clpm/ subfolder of your XDG data directory. The typical locations for your XDG data directory are:

Linux
/home/$USER/.local/share/
MacOS
/Users/$USER/.local/share/
Windows
%LOCALAPPDATA%

This location can be overriden using the CLPM_DATA_DIR environment variable.

You should let CLPM manage these files and not edit them manually.

Additional features

ASDF Groveler

When installing a release directly from version control or your file system, there is no metadata for CLPM to use in order to determine dependencies. CLPM uses the asdf-system-groveler in a separate process to extract the needed information.

Groveler Sandbox (Experimental)

Unfortunately, groveling from .asd files may involve loading arbitrary code. Therefore, CLPM is capable of using Firejail to sandbox the groveler process if it is installed. This feature is very experimental, and the CLPM author would love to have feedback on it, as well as ideas for other sandboxing methods to use!

CLPI metadata generation (Very Experimental)

CLPM has very experimental support for extracting the release metadata needed for CLPI metadata and packaging it as JSON for sending to a web service maintaining a CLPI index. The author is currently trialing this in house. Reach out if you're interested in this feature/running your own CLPI index server.

Initial Setup

Installing CLPM

Linux

Linux

  • Ensure the sha512 sum for the downloaded file matches the one from the digests file:

    sha512sum clpm-amd64-linux-gnu-v0.3.5.tar.gz
    
  • Unpack the tarball:

    tar xf clpm-amd64-linux-gnu-v0.3.5.tar.gz
    
  • Install CLPM:

    cd clpm-v0.3.5 && sudo sh ./install.sh
    

MacOS

MacOS

  • Ensure the sha512 sum for the downloaded file matches the one from the digests file:

    sha512sum clpm-amd64-darwin-v0.3.5.tar.gz
    
  • Unpack the tarball:

    tar xf clpm-amd64-darwin-v0.3.5.tar.gz
    
  • Install CLPM:

    cd clpm-v0.3.5 && sudo sh ./install.sh
    

Windows

NOTE: I do not think gpg is very common on Windows, but if you use it, you should be able to figure out what to do based on the instructions for other OSes.

Configuring sources

Global sources configred in sources.conf in CLPM's config directory.

The demos assume you have Quicklisp configured as a source. Described below are two options to do this. See Sources for a discussion of pros and cons of each.

Quicklisp distribution directly

Add the following to sources.conf to use the primary Quicklisp distribution directly:

("quicklisp"
 :type :quicklisp
 :url "https://beta.quicklisp.org/dist/quicklisp.txt")

Quicklisp CLPI Mirror

Alternatively, if you like living on the edge, add the following to sources.conf:

("quicklisp"
 :type :ql-clpi
 :url "https://quicklisp.common-lisp-project-index.org/")

Configuring ASDF

ASDF needs to be configured to find the clpm-client system. Assuming you haven't modified your ASDF source registry too much, place the output of the following command at:

Linux/MacOS
~.config/common-lisp/source-registry.conf.d/20-clpm-client.conf
Windows
%LOCALAPPDATA%\config\common-lisp\source-registry.conf.d\20-clpm-client.conf
clpm client source-registry.d

Configuring the Client

Configure the client by adding code to your implementation's init file.

Use the following to print the default configuration. Add --help to see options.

clpm client rc

Default configuration

As of v0.3.5, the recommended configuration is:

;;; Use CLPM with default configuration.
;;;
;;; Generated by CLPM 0.3.5

(require "asdf")
#-clpm-client
(when (asdf:find-system "clpm-client" nil)
  ;; Load the CLPM client if we can find it.
  (asdf:load-system "clpm-client")
  (when (uiop:symbol-call :clpm-client '#:active-context)
    ;; If started inside a context (i.e., with `clpm exec` or `clpm bundle exec`),
    ;; activate ASDF integration
    (uiop:symbol-call :clpm-client '#:activate-asdf-integration)))

This configuration:

  1. Loads ASDF.
  2. Loads the CLPM client if its .asd file can be found.
  3. Activates ASDF integration if launched via clpm exec or clpm bundle exec.

Demo: Using Global Contexts from the REPL

This demo shows you how to use CLPM while interactively developing from the REPL in a global context. Before continuing, please ensure you have installed CLPM and configured the client.

Additionally, clone the clpm-demo project somewhere. (Undoing any changes you made from other demos).

Start your Lisp!

Start your Lisp! You can check the client was loaded and it can find CLPM by evaluating:

(clpm-client:clpm-version)

Start your Lisp!

version.png

Syncing sources

If you are using the Quicklisp distribution directly and have not yet synced it, do so now.

This command will likely take a while as it needs to download data for every version of the distribution. You do not need to do this step if you are using the CLPI mirror.

(clpm-client:sync :sources '("quicklisp"))

Syncing sources

sync.png

Activating contexts

Assuming you did not launch your Lisp as a child process of clpm bundle exec or clpm exec (see the CLI demos for more details), the default configuration does not activate any context.

You can activate or switch contexts using clpm-client:activate-context.

If you switch contexts you will get a continuable error. This is just a warning that things may break unexpectedly (e.g., you have already loaded systems in some context and are now switching to one where they aren't installed or a different version is installed.

Activating contexts

Activate the demo context now by evaluating:

(clpm-client:activate-context "demo" :activate-asdf-integration t)

This queries CLPM for the ASDF configuration for the demo context (source registry and output translations). Then it configures ASDF in the running image with those settings. Last, it hooks into ASDF's system search functions

Activating contexts

activate.png

Installing systems

You can install systems or projects into a context using clpm-client:install.

The systems are installed into the context specified by clpm-client:*default-context*. If that is NIL (the default), it installs into the active context. If there is no active context, it falls back to the context named default.

Before modifying the context, CLPM produces a diff and presents it to you for approval. The presentation is controlled by clpm-client:*context-diff-approval-method*. It can be set to:

:error
Default. A condition is signaled (using error, so you will be dropped into the debugger). The restarts approve-diff and reject-diff will be available.
:yes-or-no-p
The diff is printed and you are asked for approval via yes-or-no-p.
t
The diff is silently accepted.

Installing systems

Install the CFFI project into the demo context by evaluating:

(clpm-client:install :projects "cffi")

Installing systems

install-diff.png

Note how this installs every system that is part of the CFFI project (notably pulling in its testing dependencies), instead of only the CFFI system and its dependencies.

Lazily installing systems

Alternatively, if you have an activated context and the client's ASDF integration activated, you can install systems on demand. This works by adding a system search function to ASDF, therefore any attempt to find a system that is not installed (e.g., using asdf:find-system, asdf:load-system, etc.) will trigger the client.

Lazily installing systems

How the client behaves in the presence of a missing system can be configured by the variable clpm-client:*asdf-system-not-found-behavior*. It can be set to:

:error
Default. A condition is signaled (using error, so you will be dropped into the debugger). The restarts install-and-reload-config, reresolve-requirements-and-reload-config, install-without-dependencies-and-reload-config, and reload-config will be available.
:install
The client will attempt to install the system and its dependencies without prompting.
:install-without-deps
The client will attempt to install the system without its dependencies without prompting.
nil
The client does nothing.

Lazily installing systems

Note that these settings combine with clpm-client:*context-diff-approval-method*. Therefore the default behavior is to ask if the system should be installed and to ask if the diff is approved (both using the debugger).

Lazily installing systems

Lazily load 1am by evaluating:

(asdf:load-system "1am")

Invoke the install-and-reload-config restart and then the approve-diff restart.

Lazily installing systems

load-error.png

Lazily installing systems

load-diff.png

Updating

When new versions of your dependencies are released, you can easily update a context using clpm-client:update. By default, all projects are considered eligible for upgrading (subject to requirements specified via install). However, only specific systems or projects can be upgraded by specifying the :projects and/or :systems arguments.

Updating

To update everything in the demo context, run:

(clpm-client:update)

If you would like to limit the updates to particular systems or projects, use the appropriate keywords. For example:

(clpm-client:update :projects "1am")

This probably won't do anything right now since you already have the latest versions!

Installing an editable system

CLPM allows you to "install" a system into a context using a pointer to the .asd file on your local hard drive. This is great for developing software as you can leave the code in a folder not under CLPM's control, but CLPM will still examine it to determine and install dependencies.

Installing an editable system

Install the clpm-demo project into the demo context by evaluating:

(clpm-client:install :asds '("/path/to/clpm-demo/clpm-demo.asd"
                             "/path/to/clpm-demo/clpm-demo-test.asd"))

Then load the system by evaluating:

(asdf:load-system :clpm-demo)

Installing an editable system

editable-diff.png

Adding a dependency to an editable system

Look at clpm-demo-test.asd and test.lisp. We have a test suite defined using fiveam, but we forgot to declare a dependency! Add fiveam to the :depends-on for the clpm-demo-test system:

(defsystem #:clpm-demo-test
  :version "0.1.0"
  :description "CLPM Demo Test System"
  :license "BSD-2-Clause"
  :depends-on (#:fiveam #:clpm-demo)
  :components
  ((:file "test")))

Adding a dependency to an editable system

Now let's run the tests by evaluating:

(asdf:test-system :clpm-demo)

Uh oh, we don't have fiveam installed! This is the perfect time to use the reresolve-requirements-and-reload-config restart. It will notice the new dependency and ask you to install it. Accept the diff and watch the test pass.

Adding a dependency to an editable system

fiveam-error.png

Adding a dependency to an editable system

fiveam-diff.png

Adding a dependency to an editable system

tests-pass.png

Demo: Using Bundles from the REPL

This demo shows you how to use CLPM while interactively developing from the REPL in an anonymous, project specific context (bundle). Before continuing, please ensure you have installed CLPM and configured the client.

Additionally, clone the clpm-demo project somewhere. (Undoing any changes you made from other demos).

Start your Lisp!

Start your Lisp! You can check the client was loaded and it can find CLPM by evaluating:

(clpm-client:clpm-version)

Start your Lisp!

version.png

Creating the bundle

A bundle is a project specific context defined by two files.

clpmfile is generated and maintained by the developer. It contains the sources and requirements for the bundle.

The second, clpmfile.lock is generated by CLPM. It contains a copy of the information from the clpmfile, as well as a list of releases that satisfy the requirments. Additionally, it contains a dependency tree. This is not currently used by CLPM, and at the moment is purely to provide the developer information.

Creating the bundle

Initialize a new clpmfile for the clpm-demo project by evaluating:

(clpm-client:bundle-init #p"/path/to/clpm-demo/clpmfile"
                         :asds '("clpm-demo.asd" "clpm-demo-test.asd"))

This creates a new file named clpmfile at /path/to/clpm-demo/clpmfile. It should contain the following:

;;; -*- Mode: common-lisp; -*-
(:api-version "0.3")

(:source "quicklisp" :url "https://beta.quicklisp.org/dist/quicklisp.txt" :type :quicklisp)

(:asd "clpm-demo.asd")
(:asd "clpm-demo-test.asd")

Creating the bundle

init.png

Installing the bundle

Before you can use the new bundle, you need to install the dependencies! You can do this using clpm-client:install. As you do not have an active context yet, you need to specify the context.

When specifying a bundle as the context, it is required that you use a pathname!

Installing the bundle

Install all the dependencies for the bundle. Don't forget the #p!

(clpm-client:install :context #p"/path/to/clpm-demo/clpmfile")

Installing the bundle

install.png

Activating the bundle

Once you have a lock file, you can activate the context specified by the bundle using clpm-client:activate-context.

If you switch contexts you will get a continuable error. This is just a warning that things may break unexpectedly (e.g., you have already loaded systems in some context and are now switching to one where they aren't installed or a different version is installed.

Activating the bundle

Activate the bundle and the ASDF integration by evaluating:

(clpm-client:activate-context #p"/path/to/clpm-demo/clpmfile"
                              :activate-asdf-integration t)

And load the system:

(asdf:load-system :clpm-demo)

Activating the bundle

activate.png

Test the system

Look at clpm-demo-test.asd and test.lisp. We have a test suite defined using fiveam, but we forgot to declare a dependency! Add fiveam to the :depends-on for the clpm-demo-test system:

(defsystem #:clpm-demo-test
  :version "0.1.0"
  :description "CLPM Demo Test System"
  :license "BSD-2-Clause"
  :depends-on (#:fiveam #:clpm-demo)
  :components
  ((:file "test")))

Test the system

Now run the tests by evaluating:

(asdf:test-system :clpm-demo)

Uh oh, we don't have fiveam installed! This is the perfect time to use the reresolve-requirements-and-reload-config restart. It will notice the new dependency and ask you to install it. Accept the diff and watch the test pass.

Test the system

fiveam-error.png

Test the system

tests-pass.png

Installing projects from VCS

Now, let's say you decide that there's a feature in Fiveam's git repository you want to use, but it hasn't been released to Quicklisp yet. No worries! Add the following to the clpmfile:

(:github "fiveam"
 :path "sionescu/fiveam"
 :branch "master")

Installing projects from VCS

And reinstall the context (so it gets the new requirement):

(clpm-client:install :context #p"/path/to/clpm-demo/clpmfile")

The diff will show you that it is changing from a released version of fiveam to a specific commit from the git repo.

Installing projects from VCS

fiveam-git.png

Installing projects from VCS

If you retest clpm-demo now, you'll see that it recompiles fiveam using files from a different location.

(let ((asdf:*compile-file-failure-behaviour* :ignore))
  (asdf:test-system :clpm-demo))

The binding for *compile-file-failure-behavior* was required at the time of writing as FiveAM's master branch had a package definition in variance with the one in the version released in Quicklisp.

Overriding VCS repos

Last, let's say you discover a bug in fiveam and want to use a local copy of fiveam in your bundle while you fix it. This can be accomplished by cloning the fiveam repo next to the clpm-demo folder and adding the following to clpm-demo/.clpm/bundle.conf:

;;; -*- mode: common-lisp; -*-

(version "0.2")

((:bundle :local "fiveam")
 "../fiveam/")

This tells CLPM that if it encounters a VCS requirement for fiveam, it should be satisfied using the repository located at ../fiveam/ (relative to the clpmfile).

Overriding VCS repos

Overriding VCS repos

Reinstall the context (so it gets the new override):

(clpm-client:install :context #p"/path/to/clpm-demo/clpmfile")

In the current diff format, you want see an entry on the diff, but you still need to approve it for the change it take effect in the current session. This will hopefully be made more clear in v0.4.

Overriding VCS repos

fiveam-override.png

Overriding VCS repos

Using this feature requires great care. If you commit a version of clpmfile.lock that references a fiveam commit that you have not pushed, all of your collaborators will have a bad day and blame it on you!

Demo: Using CLPM from the CLI

This demo shows off a subset of CLPM's capabilities that can be accessed using its command line interface.

Most of what was described in previous demos will also work from the CLI and now that you know the concepts, the details can hopefully be figured out by adding --help to any invocation of clpm.

A feature of CLPM that is currently unique to its CLI is the exec interface. That is described below.

Executing a process in a global context

If you would like to use CLPM but not have to deal with the client, you can start processes with environment variables set that allow ASDF to be configured using CLPM without the client.

Executing a process in a global context

For example, to run an sbcl process with ASDF configured to use systems installed in the demo context, run the following command:

clpm exec --context=demo -- sbcl

The -- is not required, but highly recommended as it keeps CLPM from trying to parse any options given to SBCL as options for CLPM.

This sets the CL_SOURCE_REGISTRY and ASDF_OUTPUT_TRANSLATIONS environment variables to configure ASDF, along with some others in case you choose to load the client in the new process.

Executing a process in a bundle

If you would like to execute a command with the environment configured to use a CLPM bundle, instead run:

clpm bundle exec -- sbcl

It defaults to finding clpmfile in the current directory, but that can be overriden with -f.