niminst User's manual

Author: Andreas Rumpf
Version: 0.19.2

Introduction

niminst is a tool to generate an installer for a Nim program. Currently it can create an installer for Windows via Inno Setup as well as installation/deinstallation scripts for UNIX. Later versions will support Linux' package management systems.

niminst works by reading a configuration file that contains all the information that it needs to generate an installer for the different operating systems.

Configuration file

niminst uses the Nim parsecfg module to parse the configuration file. Here's an example of how the syntax looks like:

# This is a comment.
; this too.

[Common]
cc=gcc     # '=' and ':' are the same
--foo="bar"   # '--cc' and 'cc' are the same, 'bar' and '"bar"' are the same
--verbose

[Windows]
isConsoleApplication=False ; another comment

[Posix]
isConsoleApplication=True

key1: "in this string backslash escapes are interpreted\n"
key2: r"in this string not"
key3: """triple quotes strings
are also supported. They may span
multiple lines."""

--"long option with spaces": r"c:\myfiles\test.txt" 

The value of a key-value pair can reference user-defined variables via the $variable notation: They can be defined in the command line with the --var:name=value switch. This is useful to not hard-coding the program's version number into the configuration file, for instance.

It follows a description of each possible section and how it affects the generated installers.

Project section

The project section gathers general information about your project. It must contain the following key-value pairs:

Keydescription
Namethe project's name; this needs to be a single word
DisplayNamethe project's long name; this can contain spaces. If not specified, this is the same as Name.
Versionthe project's version
OSthe OSes to generate C code for; for example: "windows;linux;macosx"
CPUthe CPUs to generate C code for; for example: "i386;amd64;powerpc"
Authorsthe project's authors
Descriptionthe project's description
Appthe application's type: "Console" or "GUI". If "Console", niminst generates a special batch file for Windows to open up the command line shell.
Licensethe filename of the application's license

files key

Many sections support the files key. Listed filenames can be separated by semicolon or the files key can be repeated. Wildcards in filenames are supported. If it is a directory name, all files in the directory are used:

[Config]
Files: "configDir"
Files: "otherconfig/*.conf;otherconfig/*.cfg"

Config section

The config section currently only supports the files key. Listed files will be installed into the OS's configuration directory.

Documentation section

The documentation section supports the files key. Listed files will be installed into the OS's native documentation directory (which might be $appdir/doc).

There is a start key which determines whether the Windows installer generates a link to e.g. the index.html of your documentation.

Other section

The other section currently only supports the files key. Listed files will be installed into the application installation directory ($appdir).

Lib section

The lib section currently only supports the files key. Listed files will be installed into the OS's native library directory (which might be $appdir/lib).

Windows section

The windows section supports the files key for Windows specific files. Listed files will be installed into the application installation directory ($appdir).

Other possible options are:

Keydescription
BinPathpaths to add to the Windows %PATH% environment variable. Example: BinPath: r"bin;dist\mingw\bin"
InnoSetupboolean flag whether an Inno Setup installer should be generated for Windows. Example: InnoSetup: "Yes"

UnixBin section

The UnixBin section currently only supports the files key. Listed files will be installed into the OS's native bin directory (e.g. /usr/local/bin). The exact location depends on the installation path the user specifies when running the install.sh script.

Unix section

Possible options are:

Keydescription
InstallScriptboolean flag whether an installation shell script should be generated. Example: InstallScript: "Yes"
UninstallScriptboolean flag whether a deinstallation shell script should be generated. Example: UninstallScript: "Yes"

InnoSetup section

Possible options are:

Keydescription
pathPath to Inno Setup. Example: path = r"c:\inno setup 5\iscc.exe"
flagsFlags to pass to Inno Setup. Example: flags = "/Q"

C_Compiler section

Possible options are:

Keydescription
pathPath to the C compiler.
flagsFlags to pass to the C Compiler. Example: flags = "-w"

Real world example

The installers for the Nim compiler itself are generated by niminst. Have a look at its configuration file:

; This config file holds configuration information about the Nim compiler
; and project.

[Project]
Name: "Nim"
Version: "$version"
Platforms: """
  windows: i386;amd64
  linux: i386;amd64;powerpc64;arm;sparc;mips;mipsel;mips64;mips64el;powerpc;powerpc64el;arm64;riscv64
  macosx: i386;amd64;powerpc64
  solaris: i386;amd64;sparc;sparc64
  freebsd: i386;amd64
  netbsd: i386;amd64
  openbsd: i386;amd64
  dragonfly: i386;amd64
  haiku: i386;amd64
  android: i386;arm;arm64
  nintendoswitch: arm64
"""

Authors: "Andreas Rumpf"
Description: """This is the Nim Compiler. Nim is a new statically typed,
imperative programming language, that supports procedural, functional, object
oriented and generic programming styles while remaining simple and efficient.
A special feature that Nim inherited from Lisp is that Nim's abstract
syntax tree (AST) is part of the specification - this allows a powerful macro
system which can be used to create domain specific languages.

Nim is a compiled, garbage-collected systems programming language
which has an excellent productivity/performance ratio. Nim's design
focuses on the 3E: efficiency, expressiveness, elegance (in the order of
priority)."""

App: Console
License: "copying.txt"

[Config]
Files: "config/nim.cfg"
Files: "config/nimdoc.cfg"
Files: "config/nimdoc.tex.cfg"

[Documentation]
; Files: "doc/*.html"
; Files: "doc/*.cfg"
; Files: "doc/*.pdf"
; Files: "doc/*.ini"
Files: "doc/html/overview.html"
Start: "doc/html/overview.html"


[Other]
Files: "readme.txt;copying.txt;install.txt"
Files: "makefile"
Files: "koch.nim"
Files: "install_nimble.nims"
Files: "install_tools.nims"

Files: "icons/nim.ico"
Files: "icons/nim.rc"
Files: "icons/nim.res"
Files: "icons/nim_icon.o"
Files: "icons/koch.ico"
Files: "icons/koch.rc"
Files: "icons/koch.res"
Files: "icons/koch_icon.o"

Files: "compiler"
Files: "doc"
Files: "doc/html"
Files: "tools"
Files: "nimpretty"
Files: "nimsuggest"
Files: "nimsuggest/tests/*.nim"
Files: "web/website.ini"
Files: "web/ticker.html"
Files: "web/*.nim"
Files: "web/*.rst"
Files: "web/*.csv"
Files: "web/news/*.rst"
Files: "bin/nimblepkg/*.nim"
Files: "bin/nimblepkg/*.cfg"

[Lib]
Files: "lib"

[Other]
Files: "examples"
Files: "dist/nimble"
Files: "dist/nimsuggest"

Files: "tests"

[Windows]
Files: "bin/nim.exe"
Files: "bin/c2nim.exe"
Files: "bin/nimgrep.exe"
Files: "bin/nimsuggest.exe"
Files: "bin/nimble.exe"
Files: "bin/vccexe.exe"
Files: "bin/nimgrab.exe"

Files: "koch.exe"
Files: "finish.exe"
; Files: "bin/downloader.exe"

; Files: "dist/mingw"
Files: r"tools\start.bat"
BinPath: r"bin;dist\mingw\bin;dist"

;           Section | dir | zipFile | size hint (in KB) | url | exe start menu entry
Download: r"Documentation|doc|docs.zip|13824|https://nim-lang.org/download/docs-${version}.zip|overview.html"
Download: r"C Compiler (MingW)|dist|mingw.zip|82944|https://nim-lang.org/download/${mingw}.zip"
Download: r"Support DLLs|bin|nim_dlls.zip|479|https://nim-lang.org/download/dlls.zip"
Download: r"Aporia Text Editor|dist|aporia.zip|97997|https://nim-lang.org/download/aporia-0.4.0.zip|aporia-0.4.0\bin\aporia.exe"
; for now only NSIS supports optional downloads

[WinBin]
Files: "bin/makelink.exe"
Files: "bin/7zG.exe"
Files: "bin/*.dll"

[UnixBin]
Files: "bin/nim"


[Unix]
InstallScript: "yes"
UninstallScript: "yes"


[InnoSetup]
path = r"c:\Program Files (x86)\Inno Setup 5\iscc.exe"
flags = "/Q"

[NSIS]
flags = "/V0"

[C_Compiler]
path = r""
flags = "-w"


[deb]
buildDepends: "gcc (>= 4:4.3.2)"
pkgDepends: "gcc (>= 4:4.3.2)"
shortDesc: "The Nim Compiler"
licenses: "bin/nim,MIT;lib/*,MIT;"

[nimble]
pkgName: "compiler"
pkgFiles: "compiler/*;doc/basicopt.txt;doc/advopt.txt"