little command line tools

Hello, I am just learning Elixir as a first language. I have done beginning tuts on F#, Clojure, Python, Rust, and Ruby before I stopped here.

I want to make a little command line tool that backs up a local config file to github occasionally. Is this something Elixir could be used to build? If so, could someone point me in the direction of places to look to learn to make this happen? I should mention the tool would be for windows.

I’m currently taking the The Complete Elixir and Phoenix Bootcamp and I’m early in but it so far, it’s a lot of playing with lists and manipulating them. Don’t know when it will get into other stuff and wanted to make this thing happen sooner than later.


Hello and welcome,

Elixir needs to load the vm, which might not fit a command line tool.
You might still do it, but for this I would pick Rust.


If you want a small program that is run with Cron, Rust might be a better choice. That said if you want a long running little daemon (like a service), Elixir would be a good fit.

(Not that you cannot do no 1 in Elixir, you still get self contained executable and fast start up.)


From what you described, it seems like a job for a small perl script or even shell script.


I get there are better tools for the job, I’m taking this as a learning experience. It sounded like a simple enough task to not overly boggle my mind.

1 Like

Then just go for it.


I wouldn’t do it. Elixir/BEAM is great, but they have a context in which they shine. CLI tools are not one of them. I don’t say sadly, because IMO this allows them to be better at things they are designed to do.

Yes, you can do it. Look into escript (check your own Mix version using mix -v and select it in docs). Alternatively, look at this list or even this.

It looks harder than other languages probably, and I think that was a design choice.

1 Like

I think it would be a good project, especially if this was a daemon that was always running. You can experiment with a genserver scheduling a message to itsself regularly.


Hi @heyTimApple . Read about building escript in elixir for small cli tool - Executables · Elixir School. And take a look at &System.cmd/3 function to run git.
Also as you working under windows, beware that all commands you want to run, should be in your PATH (e.g. git executable)