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ihx - the interactive haxe shell


ihx is an interactive haxe shell. each statement entered is run through the haxe compiler, then possibly an interpreter, then the return value is displayed.


ihx can be installed and run through haxelib with the commands:

haxelib install ihx

haxelib run ihx

alternatively, an executable can be obtained either through the project repository or by making it from the "run.n" file included in the haxelib distribution. ihx accepts the following command line options for specifying to which target to build:

  • -neko target neko vm
  • -hl target hashlink vm
  • -python target python3
  • -python3 target python3
  • -js target javascript

if no target is specified, ihx will use haxe's interp mode, where the haxe compiler interprets the code.

ihx also accepts these command line options:

  • -debug enable debug mode
  • -cp [path] add path to the classpath
  • -lib [name] add a haxelib library
  • -D [name] add a define
  • -codi use simplified console reader for use with codi
  • -hist-file [name] save command history to this file (default don't save history)
  • -hist-max [num] save up to num commands in the history file (default 50)

differences from standard haxe

while the system's standard haxe/neko/etc executables are being used, not all valid haxe statements will work in ihx.

  • only one var can be declared per line (no var a,b,c;)

  • omitting the semicolon at the end of a statement prints the return value to the console (but the semicolon is required if the statement has return type Void)

  • multiple statements on a line are allowed, but the trailing semicolon is required (no var a=1; var b=2)

  • to enter a multiline statement, end each incomplete line with ''

  • comments are not allowed

side effects

the haxe compiler and neko vm can't be run with partial scripts so each line on input compiles and runs a script that is built up in memory during the ihx session. this means that every valid statement in a session is re-run in order to evaluate each new statement. while this works (and is barely noticeable since the haxe compiler is so fast) it may result in unexpected behaviors.

statements with side effects will be re-run after every statement. here is an example to illustrate:

 >> var fout ="file.txt");

 >> fout.writeString("hello\n");

 >> fin.close();

at this point, the file contains two hello lines. one was written after the second statement and the other after the third statement. if the file is opened with write instead of append, it will clear the file each time neko evaluates the script, and will result in a single hello.

ihx does some special handling for variable declarations, so in some situations it is possible to change a variable's type by redeclaring it. for example, this will work:

>> var a = 1
Int : 1

>> a = 1.2
error: Float should be Int

>> var a :Float = 1.2
Float : 1.2

but this won't work:

>> var a = 1
Int : 1

>> a = "car"
error: String should be Int

>> var a :String = "car"
error: Int should be String

the problem here is that changing a's type broke the first statement that assigned it to 1.

the full script can be dumped to the screen with the print command. it can be cleared with the clear command.


in addition to haxe statements, the ihx shell accepts the following commands:

  • dir list all currently defined variables
  • addpath [name] add a dir to the classpath
  • rmpath [name] remove a dir from the classpath
  • path list the dirs in the classpath
  • addlib [name] add a haxelib library to the search path
  • rmlib [name] remove a haxelib library from the search path
  • libs list haxelib libraries that have been added
  • adddefine [name] add a define (same as "-D name")
  • rmdefine [name] remove a define
  • defines list defines that have been added
  • debug toggle haxe debug mode
  • clear delete all variables from the current session
  • print dump the temp neko program to the console
  • help print this message
  • exit close this session
  • quit close this session

the above commands will be processed by ihx, all other input will be passed to the haxe compiler. if output is not suppressed with a trailing semicolon, the return value will be printed to the console.

the standard prompt of >> is displayed when ihx is waiting for input. the .. prompt indicates that the last line of input was an incomplete statement, and ihx is waiting for the rest.

haxelib libraries can be made accessible with the addlib command. clear does not remove libs from the session.

example session

the following is an example of an ihx session:

$ haxelib run ihx

haxe interactive shell v0.4.2
running in interp mode
type "help" for help
>> var a=1
Int : 1

>> var b = 2;                        <-- suppress output with trailing semicolon

>> var c=a+b
Int : 3

>> Math.sin(c)
Float : 0.141120008059867214

>> var str = 'this is a string'
String : this is a string

>> var str2='multi-line\nstring'

String : multi-line

>> var str3='multi-line ' \          <-- line continuation with '\'
.. + 'command'
String : multi-line command

>> dir                               <-- get list of variables in the session
vars: a, b, c, str, str2, str3

>> var arr = [1,4,2,5,1]
Array<Int> : [1,4,2,5,1]

>> arr.sort(;        <-- must suppress output because sort's return type is Void

>> arr
Array<Int> : [1,1,2,4,5]

>> var timestwo = function(ii) { return ii*2; }
Int -> Int : #fun
>> using Lambda;                     <-- 'using' and 'import' work as expected

Array<Int> : [2,2,4,8,10]

>> var nameRe = ~/name: ([a-z]+)/;

>> nameRe.match("name: charlie")
Bool : true

>> nameRe.matched(1)
String : charlie

>> var d = { one: 1, two: "two" }    <-- anonymous objects work as expected
{ var two : String; var one : Int; } : {one: 1, two: two}

>> haxe.Json.stringify(d)            <-- standard library call without import
String : {"one":1,"two":"two"}

>> enum Color {\                     <-- enums and typedefs work as expected
.. RED;\
.. BLACK;\
.. }

>> typedef Car = { color :Color, name :String }

>> var car = { color: RED, name: "gus" }
{ var name : String; var color : IhxProgram_5836.Color; } : {name: gus, color: RED}

>> addlib random                     <-- add a haxelib library to the session
added lib: random

>> libs                              <-- list haxelib libraries that have been added
libs: random

>> var s =, 100)
Int : 89

>> quit                              <-- or 'exit' or Ctrl-C or Ctrl-D


`Accessing this field requires a system platform`
when targeting javascript, be sure to add the "hxnekojs" library.
`Cannot use Void as a value`
include the semicolon at the end of any line that doesn't return a value.