How to move from to mix release?


I have project that I started with It worked really well at first, but now the project has matured and I actually need to do a release for it. The main idea here is to create a release so the project can run on multiple OS, like window and unix for example.


However, I am really lost when it comes to this. My project is an umbrela app, and with a CLI for an interface. Right now I am under the impression I would have to:

  1. change the project so it has GenServers
  2. Get rid of the CLI interface in favor of Phoenix Live or something alike so the users can interact with the app
  3. Do a release (not sure how)

I honesty feel overwhelmed, I am not sure if I am thinking right. The project is open sourced if any one has interest:


  1. what is the simplest step I can take to move my app from an escript to mix release?
  2. Can I keep the CLI interface or do I need to replace it with something more complex?
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Here I am going to share my experience and my findings.
Turns out my initial plan was correct.

  1. Supervision trees and GenServers

To turn an escript build into a release you need to have an application that sticks around with a Supervision tree (even if said supervision tree is empty).

So in my case, the simplest step (which in on itself was rather hard) was to add a decent Supervision tree to my project. I created a Supervisor (Manager) that would take care of its dependencies and restarted them when needed (in this case I only had one that needed this, a GenServer called AuctionHouse).

  1. Application

With this out of the way, it was time for the second step. To turn my CLI module into an application, that would supervise Manager. By application I mean the typical project with a MyApp.Application file in it.

  1. Be free!

With this structure done it was time for the mix release code to be added to mix.exs. Once this was done I had a fully functional release for windows and linux.

No Phoenix Live nor any of that was needed.