Skip to main content

Running Scripts

Scripts are shell commands that can be defined in your devbox.json file. They can be executed by using the devbox run command. Scripts started with devbox run are launched in a interactive devbox shell that terminates once the script finishes, or is interrupted by CTRL-C.

Scripts will run after your packages finish installing, and after your init_hook completes.

Configuring scripts

Scripts can be added in your devbox.json. Scripts require a unique name, and a command or list of commands to run:

"shell": {
"init_hook": "echo \"Hello \"",
"scripts": {
"echo_once": "echo \"World\"",
"echo_twice": [
"echo \"World\"",
"echo \"Again\""

Running your scripts

To run a script, use devbox run <script_name>. This will start your shell, run your init_hook, and then run the script:

$ devbox run echo_once
Installing nix packages. This may take a while... done.
Starting a devbox shell...

$ devbox run echo_twice
Installing nix packages. This may take a while... done.
Starting a devbox shell...

Your devbox shell will exit once the last line of your script has finished running, or when you interrupt the script with CTRL-C (or a SIGINT signal).

Running a One-off Command

You can use devbox run to run any command in your Devbox shell, even if you have not defined it as a script. For example, you can run the command below to print "Hello World" in your Devbox shell:

devbox run echo "Hello World"

You can also run commands that use flags as normal. For example:

devbox run lsof -i :80

Note that if you want to pass flags to devbox run, you should pass them before the command. For example:

# Run `lsof -i :80` in your devbox shell in quiet mode
devbox run -q lsof -i :80

Run Scripts with Custom Environment Variables

You can use the --env flag to set custom environment variables in your Devbox shell. For example, the following command will set the MY_VAR environment variable to my_value when running the echo command:

devbox run --env MY_VAR=my_value echo $MY_VAR

You can also load environment variables from a .env file using the --env-file flag. For example, the following command will load the environment variables from the .env.devbox file in your current directory:

devbox run --env-file .env.devbox echo $MY_VAR

Tips on using Scripts

  1. Since init_hook runs everytime you start your shell, you should use primarily use it for setting environment variables and aliases. For longer running tasks like database setup, you can create and run a Devbox script
  2. You can use Devbox scripts to start and manage long running background processes and daemons.
    1. For example -- If you are working on a LAMP stack project, you can use scripts to start MySQL and Apache in separate shells and monitor their logs. Once you are done developing, you can use CTRL-C to exit the processes and shells
  3. If a script feels too long to put it directly in devbox.json, you can save it as a shell script in your project, and then invoke it in your devbox scripts.
  4. For more ideas, see the LAMP stack example in our Devbox examples repo.