An AttrSet type can be thought of as just a list of pair of name and value.

  • fst on pair of name and value yields the name.
  • snd on pair of name and value yields the value.

Then AttrSet can be written as:


when you reference a specific name on an AttrSet; You basically implicitly apply a filter or find operation on that list where the fst of the mapped entry equals the referenced name

For simplicity this is called a member name from now on, if that name exists.

Redefining some operators

::-operator within AttrSet contexts

The ::-operator maps the Type of its RHS over the Type on its LHS. It can take an Iterable or a single element on its LHS.

Within Type-declarations for AttrSets it is possible to declare an explicit member name of an AttrSet like this.

    N :: T

Then N is of type String and N becomes a member name of that AttrSet. The snd operation on the entry of N would yield a value of type T.

Introducing: [ N :: T ]-operator, which can only be used within AttrSet in member name fields.

The [ N :: T ]-operator maps over all member names of an AttrSet [N] and applies the type T to each member name N if not already done by explicit member__ declaration (see above).

When there are AttrSets with dynamic members it is possible to declare all those members at once with the [ N :: T ] and :: operator.

Then an AttrSet with list of dynamic members where each member-name N references a value of type V can be written as.

    [ N :: T ] :: V


  # member '.foo' references a value of type string
  # all other members `*` are of type string and each member reference value of any variable Type.
    [ name :: String ] :: a,
    foo :: String
  { foo :: a }

where the member names `[ N :: T ] are an empty list.

useful ${} Shortcut

${N} = [ N :: String ]

If we take into account that in AttrSets names (N) are always of type String the user can omit the String Keyword completely, and instead give only the names. N

That rule allows for intuitive usage of names within type definitions of an AttrSet

  packageMap :: {
    ${pname} :: {
      ${version} :: Derivation
packageMap = {
  "gcc-utils" = {
    "1.2.3" = builtins.Derivation {...};
  # ...