jetpack-io / devbox

Instant, easy, and predictable development environments

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Instant, easy, and predictable development environments

Join Discord License: Apache 2.0 version tests Built with Devbox

What is it?

Devbox is a command-line tool that lets you easily create isolated shells for development. You start by defining the list of packages required by your development environment, and devbox uses that definition to create an isolated environment just for your application.

In practice, Devbox works similar to a package manager like yarn – except the packages it manages are at the operating-system level (the sort of thing you would normally install with brew or apt-get). With Devbox, you can install over 400,000 package versions from the Nix Package Registry

Devbox was originally developed by and is internally powered by nix.


You can try out Devbox in your browser using the button below:

Open In

The example below creates a development environment with python 2.7 and go 1.18, even though those packages are not installed in the underlying machine:

screen cast

Installing Devbox

Use the following install script to get the latest version of Devbox:

curl -fsSL | bash

Read more on the Devbox docs.


A consistent shell for everyone on the team

Declare the list of tools needed by your project via a devbox.json file and run devbox shell. Everyone working on the project gets a shell environment with the exact same version of those tools.

Try new tools without polluting your laptop

Development environments created by Devbox are isolated from everything else in your laptop. Is there a tool you want to try without making a mess? Add it to a Devbox shell, and remove it when you don't want it anymore – all while keeping your laptop pristine.

Don't sacrifice speed

Devbox can create isolated environments right on your laptop, without an extra-layer of virtualization slowing your file system or every command. When you're ready to ship, it'll turn it into an equivalent container – but not before.

Good-bye conflicting versions

Are you working on multiple projects, all of which need different versions of the same binary? Instead of attempting to install conflicting versions of the same binary on your laptop, create an isolated environment for each project, and use whatever version you want for each.

Take your environment with you

Devbox's dev environments are portable. We make it possible to declare your environment exactly once, and use that single definition in several different ways, including:

  • A local shell created through devbox shell
  • A devcontainer you can use with VSCode
  • A Dockerfile so you can build a production image with the exact same tools you used for development.
  • A remote development environment in the cloud that mirrors your local environment.

Quickstart: Fast, Deterministic Shell

In this quickstart we’ll create a development shell with specific tools installed. These tools will only be available when using this Devbox shell, ensuring we don’t pollute your machine.

  1. Open a terminal in a new empty folder.

  2. Initialize Devbox:

    devbox init

    This creates a devbox.json file in the current directory. You should commit it to source control.

  3. Add command-line tools from Nix. For example, to add Python 3.10:

    devbox add python@3.10

    Search for more packages on

  4. Your devbox.json file keeps track of the packages you've added, it should now look like this:

       "packages": [
  5. Start a new shell that has these tools installed:

    devbox shell

    You can tell you’re in a Devbox shell (and not your regular terminal) because the shell prompt changed.

  6. Use your favorite tools.

    In this example we installed Python 3.10, so let’s use it.

    python --version
  7. Your regular tools are also available including environment variables and config settings.

    git config --get
  8. To exit the Devbox shell and return to your regular shell:


Read more on the Devbox docs Quickstart.

Additional commands

devbox help - see all commands

See the CLI Reference for the full list of commands.

Join our Developer Community


Devbox is an opensource project so contributions are always welcome. Please read our contributing guide before submitting pull requests.

Devbox development readme

Related Work

Thanks to Nix for providing isolated shells.



This project is proudly open-source under the Apache 2.0 License


Instant, easy, and predictable development environments

License:Apache License 2.0


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