Diagnosing direnv issues using rtx

January 4, 2024 · 2 min read

I returned to a somewhat older Phoenix v1.6 application I had written that utilized direnv to load environment variables from a .env file. Coming from Laravel, I'm highly used to this workflow and I found that using something like direnv to inject the variables was better than the hacks I had been using at the time.

I started using asdf as a version-manager-of-all-trades before moving over to rtx. I liked its ergonomics and I had yet to run into an issue where I thought asdf was a better choice until now. The issue I was having was that for whatever reason direnv wasn't executing upon entering the directory as I had been used to.

Running direnv status showed output similar to the following:

direnv exec path /Users/jbrayton/.local/share/rtx/installs/direnv/2.32.2/bin/direnv
DIRENV_CONFIG /Users/jbrayton/.config/direnv
bash_path /usr/local/bin/bash
disable_stdin false
warn_timeout 5s
whitelist.prefix []
whitelist.exact map[]
No .envrc or .env loaded

There was more included but the key to focus on was No .envrc or .env loaded.

I ran through a couple of steps to try to figure out what was going on. I had found on their website that for the fish shell that I likely needed to wire up the direnv hook fish | source into my generic ~/.config/fish/ file. To do that I installed direnv via homebrew because previously using it with rtx meant even my global usage wasn't global, or I was holding it wrong(tm).

What I was unaware of at the time was that when I went to update rtx I saw that homebrew changed the name to mise but the command mise wasn't found. After running brew install mise I was able to see the following migration output:

migrating /Users/jbrayton/.local/share/rtx/installs/elixir to /Users/jbrayton/.local/share/mise/installs
migrated rtx directories to mise
migrating /Users/jbrayton/.config/rtx to /Users/jbrayton/.config/mise
migrated rtx directories to mise

I'm making this post primarily for my own benefit though I seriously doubt I would ever run into this again on this machine or another. It's possible someone else may see similar weirdness with either one of the rtx plugins or something similar. From my understanding of all my other projects, rtx was working flawlessly except for this one instance but it turned out that direnv was broken for my entire system. The other projects that used it weren't working either.

If you see some weirdness with rtx and you haven't migrated, performing the migration may help you move forward like it did for me.

It's also worth noting that the migration doesn't copy your installs and I have 10GB of data in my old installs directory that I'll need to prune.

Attending the DockYard Academy Beta Cohort

March 20, 2023 · 4 min read

I had the privilege of hanging around Brooklin Myers before he joined DockYard as an instructor in early 2022. A unique Elixir community slowly coalesced with the first video of the beta cohort starting on September 21st, 2022. I wouldn't join the group until October 15th as I wasn't sure what to make of it at first. I figured I would audit the class like I was some college kid.

The Curriculum

The academy skews toward junior developers or other Elixir newbies without previous formal instruction. Despite that, the curriculum and the commitment of 2 hours per day was an exceptional resource regardless of experience level.

The curriculum is not as lightweight as Elixir koans, and it is not as self-paced as Exercism's Elixir track. I hadn't been a part of the Exercism Elixir cohort on Discord, but I suspect it may have been similar.

What sets the curriculum apart is that it starts in Livebook, a low barrier to entry for learning Elixir. Eventually, it moves to bare mix new projects, graduating to full-on mix Phoenix applications. The beta curriculum experience was different than the first cohort, and there are upcoming changes for the second cohort. It's helpful to know the curriculum changes when pain points surface. There is no sleight of hand or abandonware as the official repository is what is taught from start to finish.

As someone that can have analysis paralysis at times when it comes to what and how to learn, having the path chosen for me was extremely helpful. Exercism gates the syllabus, but that can be daunting to decipher when you're starting. I also rushed through the concepts I was interested in rather than taking the time to enjoy the journey. I firmly believe the curriculum and Exercism complement each other very well.

The curriculum culminated in a capstone project, a chance to bundle all the skills we learned to produce our applications. The capstone sets it apart from other learning materials.

The Cohort

The beta cohort was a mix of Elixir newbies, seasoned Elixir developers and mentors, and people that hadn't touched a programming language. We experimented with teaching styles and nailed a cadence "locked in" at the last minute. Everyone I paired with showed remarkable improvement between October and the demo day on January 20th. That level of improvement is a testament to Brooklin's teaching style. Fundamentals became second nature very quickly. I would be lucky to work with anybody I met in the cohort or Discord server, as everyone grew into a developer. Elixir has a way of binding cohesive communities, but Brooklin truly has his superpower with the people around him. As much as I love DockYard, this felt like "The Brooklin Show" *sponsored by DockYard(tm)

Demo Day

I was one of the fewer resident developers to present on Demo Day, and that almost didn't happen. My capstone project, Beatseek, was hastily thrown together by duct tape. I had a working prototype at least a month before the deadline, but I had only given myself ten days from mix to what I presented. I thought it went well without a script, working through some prior presentations, but it was unpolished. I used sleight of hand as I do on some demos, but as a magician, I wanted to show all the tricks.

I didn't cut a public release until two months after demo day because I wasn't happy with what I produced. I had to retrofit tests, which exposed several shortcomings. If I had to do it again, I would choose anything other than id3 tags because the edge cases are absurdly complex.

What Would I Change?

I had a few issues working through the curriculum or with other cohort members. Tracking progress was difficult, but I used an Obsidian daily standup journal template to check off the table of contents manually. The standup journal became a good way of tracking changes over time, though there were few. The ramp-up to Phoenix for people with no web development or API exposure was pretty steep for the beta cohort, but I don't know if this is still true. Web development fundamentals span a breadth of knowledge, but the curriculum helps cement these concepts. People new to web development may wish to spend more time going through the same sections a few times until the concepts of things like MVC are less foreign. It'll make the later parts much easier to push through.

The End Result

I am 100% glad I had access to an instructor and mentor, even in a limited capacity. Everyone on the Discord server is excellent and a joy to be around. I would do this again in a heartbeat, but 2 hours was a sweet spot for someone like me with a full-time position to juggle. I can see how much more beneficial the 6-hour full day could be with more immersion, but that is a lot of material to cram. We had some luxury in drawing the material out and taking some time to keep everyone on the same pace.