Bob tool progress or repo?

The “bob” tool was announced at ICFP 2017, I was wondering if:

  1. Is there is an official site or repo to track progress?
  2. Any update on its progress? @avsm would you be the person to ask?
  3. When (if at all) will it be open sourced, and will it accept outside contributions?

Thanks! — and very excited to see a tool like this enter the ocaml ecosystem :slight_smile:

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Thanks for bringing this up; I’ve been meaning to write a followup post since a busy ICFP week. As background, the OCaml Platform 2017 slides are online for readers who weren’t at the conference (I haven’t checked to see if the videos are online yet).

We have two short-term priorities that we are working on for the remainder of the year at OCaml Labs as relates to the Platform:

  • OPAM2: We are now in the last stages of the opam2 release train, with just a few things such as the repo migration tools, depext support and full Windows support that are awaiting merge. There is also a rewrite of the CI system ongoing that will scale out to much more testing and platform testing support (including new architectures such as arm64 and operating systems such as Windows and *BSD). This will take us through to November/December at least.

  • Docs/Build/Test: The individual components such as docs (odoc), build (jbuilder) and testing (crowbar) are being worked on for 1.0 releases. They will all be released individually into opam as usual, and we will be posting on this forum for feedback as each of them hits their respective milestones.

The above two chunks of work will come together to form Bob, which is comprised of a new assemblage of the various libraries and compiler improvements that went into them. This effort will mark the start of a fresh design cycle, involving building prototypes with a new CLI and workflow. The intention here is to shed the chains of opam CLI compatibility and embrace workflows that have emerged from the community (both small-scale users and larger industrial users). We will leave plenty of time for prototypes to be discussed and tested before committing to a design.

As previous CLI tools have taught us, there is a 3-5 year lifetime (at least) for infrastructure tools, and so we are keen to ensure that the opam 2.0 release is a success (with a clear migration path from 1.0), and that Bob gives us a solid foundation for the future with even more streamlined OCaml/Reason workflows.

To answer your specific questions:

  1. There is no official site to track Bob progress yet, but there will be after we get some of the earlier priorities out of the way (opam 2.0 mainly)
  2. See above :slight_smile:
  3. No timescales yet beyond the design process starting later this year. As always, all of the outputs from OCaml Labs will be open source and freely available, and we very much welcome outside contributions.

Most importantly: do not let our roadmap block anyone else who wishes to prototype a Bob variant. In the early days of opam we had plenty of similar experiments, many of which eventually made their way into the mainline tool. I hope for a similar diaspora of ideas from the Bob prototyping process!


This sounds amazing. As a newcomer to OCaml a unified tool with some baked in defaults would make the user experience so much better.

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Has there been any more progress on this? Has anyone started a Bob-like project that is a potential candidate?

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