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A Short Tour of the Noms CLI

This is a quick introduction to the Noms command-line interface. It should only take a few minutes to read, but there's also a screencast if you prefer:

Install Noms

... if you haven't already. Follow the instructions here.

The noms command

Now you should be able to run noms:

> noms
Noms is a tool for goofing with Noms data.


  noms command [arguments]

The commands are:

  diff        Shows the difference between two objects
  ds          Noms dataset management
  log         Displays the history of a Noms dataset
  serve       Serves a Noms database over HTTP
  show        Shows a serialization of a Noms object
  sync        Moves datasets between or within databases
  version     Display noms version

Use "noms help [command]" for more information about a command.

Without any arguments, noms lists out all available commands. To get information on a specific command, we can use noms help [command]:

> noms help sync
usage: noms sync [options] <source-object> <dest-dataset>

See Spelling Objects at for details on the object and dataset arguments.


noms ds

The noms ds command lists the datasets within a particular database:

> noms ds

noms log

Noms datasets are versioned. You can see the history with log:

> !? noms log
commit aprsmg0j2eegk8eehbgj7cd3tmmd1be8
Parent:    None
Date:      "2017-09-19T21:42:46Z"
InputPath: "http://localhost:8000::#dksek6tuf8ens06bi4culq85tfp5q4cg.value"


Note that Noms is a typed system. What is being shown here for each entry is not text, but a serialization of the diff between two datasets.

noms show

You can see the entire serialization of any object in the database with noms show:

> noms show ''

struct Commit {
  meta: struct {},
  parents: Set<Ref<Cycle<Commit>>>,
  value: List<struct Row {
    Actor1: String,
    Actor2: String,
    Actor3: String,
    Director: String,
    Distributor: String,
    FunFacts: String,
    Locations: String,
    ProductionCompany: String,
    ReleaseYear: Number,
    Title: String,
    Writer: String,
  meta: Meta {
    date: "2016-07-25T18:34:00+0000",
    inputPath: "http://localhost:8000::sf-film-locations/raw.value",
  parents: {
  value: [  // 1,241 items
    Row {
      Actor1: "Siddarth",

noms sync

You can work with Noms databases that are remote exactly the same as you work with local databases. But it's frequently useful to move data to a local machine, for example, to make a private fork or to work with the data disconnected from the source database.

Moving data in Noms is done with the sync command. Note that unlike Git, we do not make a distinction between push and pull. It's the same operation in both directions:

> noms sync /tmp/noms::films
> noms ds /tmp/noms

We can now make an edit locally:

> go install
> csv-export /tmp/noms::films > /tmp/film-locations.csv

open /tmp/film-location.csv and edit it, then:

> csv-import --column-types=String,String,String,String,String,String,String,String,Number,String,String \
    /tmp/film-locations.csv /tmp/noms::films

noms diff

The noms diff command can show you the differences between any two values. Let's see our change:

> noms diff /tmp/noms::films

./.meta {
-   "date": "2016-07-25T18:51:23+0000"
+   "date": "2016-07-25T22:51:14+0000"
+   "inputFile": "/tmp/film-locations.csv"
-   "inputPath": ""
./.parents {
-   pckdvpvr9br1fie6c3pjudrlthe7na18
+   q4jcc2i7kntkjiipvjgpr5r02ldroj0g
./.value[0] {
-   "Locations": "Epic Roasthouse (399 Embarcadero)"
+   "Locations": "Epic Roadhouse (399 Embarcadero)"