A simple package manager for OCaml
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 a simple package manager for OCaml

What is barbra?

barbra is a simple command line tool, which knows how to fetch, build and install you project's dependencies.

Note: barbra was inspired by rebar -- a similar project, written by Erlang community.

How do I use it?

barbra uses a single file -- brb.conf, which lists all external tools and libraries your project depends upon. So step one is to create brb.conf. Here's an example of a simple brb.conf file:

Version "0.2"

Dep lwt remote "http://ocsigen.org/download/lwt-2.3.2.tar.gz"
    Flag "--disable-extra"
    Flag "--disable-preemptive"
    Build "make build"
  • The first non-empty line should always be version spec, which tells barbra that this config is up to date with Version "0.2" syntax.
  • All config keywords are case insensitive, so we could as well use versiOn "0.2" for the first line.
  • Each dependency starts with a Dep block, which takes three arguments:
    • package name: lwt (in the example above)
    • source type: remote, full table of suppored source types is given below
    • source location: a quoted URI of the package you want installed
  • You can also specify extra configure flags, custom build or installation commands.
  • Dependencies will be built in the order, defined by their Requires section; all dependencies, not defined in brb.conf explicitly, will be resolved as recipes (see bellow).

Once you're done with brb.conf, run brb build from the top directory of you project -- this will fetch all listed dependencies, build them and then build your project in an isolated barbra environment with installed dependencies:

$ brb build
I: Fetching http://ocsigen.org/download/lwt-2.3.2.tar.gz to ...

Supported source types

| Type            | Description                                                 |
| remote          | Package will be fetched with curl or wget and then          |
|                 | unpacked with an appropriate archiver.                      |
|                 |                                                             |
| local           | Package will be unpacked from local file system (*location* |
|                 | is absolute path to the archive).                           |
| local-dir       | Package will be copied from local file system, from the     |
|                 | directory, specified in *location*.                         |
| bzr, cvs, darcs | Packaged will be cloned or checked out from the repository  |
| git, hg, svn    | by its *location*; which might as well point to he local    |
|                 | repository.                                                 |
| recipe          | Package will be fetched a recipe repository, identified by  |
|                 | *location* (ex: "default").                                 |


Starting from version "0.2", barbra has support for recipes (somewhat similar to el-get and homebrew).

  • A recipe is just a single Dep block in a separate file, for example:

    $ ls $HOME/.brb/recipes
    $ cat $HOME/.brb/recipes/textile
    Dep textile darcs "http://komar.bitcheese.net/darcs/textile-ocaml"
    Build "make all"
  • A recipe repository is a directory with one or more recipes; it can be added to search path with Repository statement:

    # v -- "default" repository is allways present.
    Repository "$HOME/.brb/recipes" "default"
    # v -- this is a custom repository.
    Repository "/path/to/repository" "custom-repository"
  • To use a recipe, write a Dep block with recipe type; note, that all subfields, like Build, Install or Flag will be merged with recipe defaults.

    Dep textile recipe "default"
        Build "make all"


barbra is currently under active development and this 'README' is the only documentation up to date; however, you can try:

  • reading example brb.conf or the output of brb --help,
  • asking for help on the IRC channel #ocaml on Freenode (nickname: superbobry) or, if you speak Russian, on ocaml@conference.jabber.ru.