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Our Boxen

This is a template Boxen project designed for your organization to fork and modify appropriately. The Boxen rubygem and the Boxen puppet modules are only a framework for getting things done. This repository template is just a basic example of how to do things with them.

Getting Started

  1. Install Xcode Command Line Tools and/or full Xcode.
  • If using full Xcode, you'll need to agree to the license by running: xcodebuild -license
  1. Create a new repository on GitHub as your user for your Boxen. (eg. wfarr/my-boxen). Make sure it is a private repository!
  2. Use your install of boxen-web or get running manually like so:
sudo mkdir -p /opt/boxen
sudo chown ${USER}:admin /opt/boxen
mkdir -p ~/src/my-boxen
cd ~/src/my-boxen
git init
git remote add upstream
git fetch upstream
git checkout -b master upstream/master
git remote add origin
git push origin master

  1. Close and reopen your Terminal. If you have a shell config file (eg. ~/.bashrc) you'll need to add this at the very end: [ -f /opt/boxen/ ] && source /opt/boxen/, and reload your shell.
  2. Confirm the Boxen env has loaded: boxen --env

Now you have your own my-boxen repo that you can hack on. You may have noticed we didn't ask you to fork the repo. This is because when our-boxen goes open source that'd have some implications about your fork also potentially being public. That's obviously quite bad, so that's why we strongly suggest you create an entirely separate repo and simply pull the code in, as shown above.

Getting your users started after your "fork" exists

  1. Install the Xcode Command Line Tools (full Xcode install optional).
  2. Point them at your private install of boxen-web, OR have them run the following:
sudo mkdir -p /opt/boxen
sudo chown ${USER}:admin /opt/boxen
git clone /opt/boxen/repo
cd /opt/boxen/repo

# add boxen to your shell config, at the end, eg.
echo '[ -f /opt/boxen/ ] && source /opt/boxen/'

Open a new terminal, boxen --env to confirm.

What You Get

This template project provides the following by default:

  • Homebrew
  • Git
  • Hub
  • DNSMasq w/ .dev resolver for localhost
  • NVM
  • RBenv
  • Full Disk Encryption requirement
  • NodeJS 0.4
  • NodeJS 0.6
  • NodeJS 0.8
  • Ruby 1.8.7
  • Ruby 1.9.2
  • Ruby 1.9.3
  • Ack
  • Findutils
  • GNU-Tar


You can always check out the number of existing modules we already provide as optional installs under the boxen organization. These modules are all tested to be compatible with Boxen. Use the Puppetfile to pull them in dependencies automatically whenever boxen is run.

Including boxen modules from github (boxen/puppet-)

You must add the github information for your added Puppet module into your Puppetfile at the root of your boxen repo (ex. /path/to/your-boxen/Puppetfile):

# Core modules for a basic development environment. You can replace
# some/most of these if you want, but it's not recommended.

github "dnsmasq",  "1.0.0"
github "gcc",      "1.0.0"
github "git",      "1.0.0"
github "homebrew", "1.0.0"
github "hub",      "1.0.0"
github "inifile",  "0.9.0", :repo => "cprice-puppet/puppetlabs-inifile"
github "nginx",    "1.0.0"
github "nodejs",   "1.0.0"
github "nvm",      "1.0.0"
github "ruby",     "1.0.0"
github "stdlib",   "3.0.0", :repo => "puppetlabs/puppetlabs-stdlib"
github "sudo",     "1.0.0"

# Optional/custom modules. There are tons available at

github "java",     "1.0.5"

In the above snippet of a customized Puppetfile, the bottom line includes the Java module from Github using the tag "1.0.5" from the github repository "boxen/puppet-java". The function "github" is defined at the top of the Puppetfile and takes the name of the module, the version, and optional repo location:

def github(name, version, options = nil)
  options ||= {}
  options[:repo] ||= "boxen/puppet-#{name}"
  mod name, version, :github_tarball => options[:repo]

Now Puppet knows where to download the module from when you include it in your site.pp or mypersonal.pp file:

# include the java module referenced in my Puppetfile with the line
# github "java",     "1.0.5"
include java

Node definitions

Puppet has the concept of a 'node', which is essentially the machine on which Puppet is running. Puppet looks for node definitions in the manifests/site.pp file in the Boxen repo. You'll see a default node declaration that looks like the following:

node default {
  # core modules, needed for most things
  include dnsmasq

  # more...

How Boxen interacts with Puppet

Boxen runs everything declared in manifests/site.pp by default. But just like any other source code, throwing all your work into one massive file is going to be difficult to work with. Instead, we recommend you use modules in the Puppetfile when you can and make new modules in the modules/ directory when you can't. Then add include $modulename for each new module in manifests/site.pp to include them. One pattern that's very common is to create a module for your organization (e.g., modules/github) and put an environment class in that module to include all of the modules your organization wants to install for everyone by default. An example of this might look like so:

# modules/github/manifests/environment.pp

 class github::environment {
   include github::apps::mac

   include ruby::1-8-7

   include projects::super-top-secret-project

If you'd like to read more about how Puppet works, we recommend checking out the official documentation for:

Creating a personal module

See the documentation in the modules/people directory for creating per-user modules that don't need to be applied globally to everyone.

Creating a project module

See the documentation in the modules/projects directory for creating organization projects (i.e., repositories that people will be working in).

Binary packages

We support binary packaging for everything in Homebrew, RBEnv, and NVM. See config/boxen.rb for the environment variables to define.


Use Issues or #boxen on