Nix in the Wild: Prisma

15 June 2023

Nix in the Wild is a series where we dive into the stories of Nix users across the industry, covering everything from the dotfiles of crafty developers to the processes of engineering leaders in large organizations. Learn where Nix is used, how it came to be, and why it works the way it does.

In the world of software development, efficiency and scalability are paramount. Companies like Prisma are leading the way, empowering app developers to build scalable applications faster with their open source database toolkit. But what if there were a way to make the development process even smoother and more efficient? Enter Nix, a powerful package manager and build system that is revolutionizing the software development ecosystem.

In a recent interview with the co-founder of Prisma, Johannes Schickling, we discovered the remarkable use cases and benefits of Nix across his development workflow. Schickling shared his experiences and insights, shedding light on how Nix has transformed his approach to software development.

Schickling's journey with Nix began with a realization - by adopting Nix as a smart home system that maintains consistency between his working environments across multiple machines, he no longer needed to rely on tools like Homebrew. Instead, he embraced everything Nix had to offer, from managing system dependencies to streamlining projects. Although the initial setup was challenging, the benefits were well worth the effort. Schickling emphasized that “there is so much opportunity to bring down the pain in getting started, to reduce friction and make it easier for others to adopt.” For him, Nix has been a game-changer, saving both time and cost in the development process.

Johannes works on Darwin, but also deploys NixOS on remote servers. Because bootstrapping and initial setup can be cumbersome, he explained that they strive to minimize the use of Nix on their Mac machines. Instead, he leverages home-manager and flakes for global installations and even explores running Nix on older Intel Macs and Raspberry Pi devices to simplify his workflow.

Scaling Nix adoption within an organization can be a hurdle. Johannes highlighted the difficulty of convincing others to push through the hurdles of initial setup and adopt Nix. Even so, he emphasized the importance of influencing change and bringing Nix awareness to the world. Schickling expressed his excitement about growing activity in the Nix ecosystem; by addressing these issues and fostering collaboration, Nix has the potential to bring even more simplicity and efficiency to the software development world.

Johannes Schickling's experiences serve as a testament to the power and potential of this innovative tool. As more individuals and organizations embrace Nix, the software development ecosystem stands to benefit from streamlined workflows, reproducibility, and enhanced collaboration. With Nix, simplicity becomes a reality, enabling developers to focus on what matters most – building remarkable applications that push the boundaries of technology.