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Nitrogen is a dynamically typed, interpreted programming language written in Go. Nitrogen draws inspiration from Go, C, and several other languages. It's meant to be a simple, easy to use language for making quick scripts and utilities.

Building the Interpreter

  1. Clone the repo git clone https://github.com/nitrogen-lang/nitrogen
  2. Run make cd nitrogen && make
  3. Run the interpreter ./bin/nitrogen [file]


Documentation for the standard library and language is available in the docs directory.


Example programs can be found in the examples directory as well as the tests directory.

Running the Interpreter

Interactive Mode

Nitrogen can run in interactive mode much like other interpreted languages. Run Nitrogen with the -i flag to start the REPL.


Run Nitrogen like so: nitrogen filename.ni. The file extension for Nitrogen source files is .ni. The extension for compiled scripts is .nib.

SCGI Server

Nitrogen can run as an SCGI server using multiple workers and the embedded interpreter for performance. Use the -scgi flag to start the server. See the SCGI docs for more details.

Command Line Flags

Usage: nitrogen [options] SCRIPT

  • -i: Run an interactive REPL prompt.
  • -ast: Print a representation of the abstract syntax tree and then exit. (Internal debugging)
  • -version: Printer version information.
  • -debug: Print debug information during execution. (Very verbose)
  • -cpuprofile profile.out: Make a CPU profile. (Internal debugging)
  • -memprofile profile.out: Make a memory profile. (Internal debugging)
  • -o file.nib: Output a compiled script to file then exit.
  • -M /module/path: Directory to search for imported modules. This flag can be used multiple times.
  • -al module.so: Autoload a module from the search path. This flag can be used multiple times. Autoloaded modules are loaded before any script is executed.
  • -info file.nib: Print information about a compiled Nitrogen file.


Issues and pull requests are welcome. Once I write a contributors guide, please read it ;) Until then, always have an issue open for anything you want to work on so we can discuss. Especially for major design issues.

All code should be ran through go fmt. Any request where the files haven't been through gofmt will be denied until they're fixed. Anything written in Nitrogen, use 4 space indent, keep lines relatively short, and use camelCase for function names and PascalCase for class names.

All contributions must be licensed under the 3-Clause BSD license or a more permissive license such as MIT, or CC0. Any other license will be rejected.


Both the language specification and this reference interpreter are released under the 3-Clause BSD License which can be found in the LICENSE file.