NGS version 0.2.12 manual


ngslang - Next Generation Shell language reference.

What is NGS?

NGS is an alternative shell. At its core is a domain-specific language that was specifically designed to be a shell language.

NGS is under development. The language part is already good enough to write some useful scripts. The CLI still doesn’t exist and will be written using the same language.

Running NGS scripts

ngs script_name.ngs

You can put the following line as first line of your script:

#!/usr/bin/env ngs

If you do that, you can run the script as ./script_name.ngs or /full/path/to/script_name.ngs (you must make your script executable, by running chmod 755 script_name.ngs ).

See more about running NGS in NGS(1).


Language principles

This section is about principles behind NGS language design.

Systems engineers’ language

NGS is a domain-specific language. It is aimed to solve common system tasks in a convenient manner. Some examples:


NGS tries to be uniform wherever possible to minimize surprises. The idea here is to match between expected and actual behaviour of given method plus parameters.


As a rule, trade-offs between power and not allowing to shoot yourself in the foot are resolved in favor of the power solution. The language is aimed at experienced engineers which use their own judgement. The language should be powerful enough to shoot all feet in the building at once.

Simple methods naming for less guess work

For example, the multimethod +:



Very small number of core concepts in the language:


Many concepts and syntax constructs come from other languages.

Naming convention

Reasoning behind TransformationName:

The two syntaxes

NGS has two syntaxes: commands syntax and code syntax.

Motivation: I can not imagine any syntax for a "real" programming language that I would like which is built on top of the commands syntax, which is similar to bash. That’s why NGS has code syntax for "real" programming and commands syntax for running external programs and i/o redirection, where this syntax is very convenient.

Commands syntax

This is the resembles-bash syntax geared towards running external programs and i/o redirection. Command syntax is the syntax at the top level of every NGS script. The most simple NGS scripts might look very similar to bash scripts.
Commands are separated by either newlines or by semicolon (;).

cat a.txt; touch myfile
echo mystr >myfile
ls | wc -l

Code syntax

Code syntax resembles other high-level languages such as Python or Ruby.


1 + 2 * 3; %[abc def ghi].without('ghi').each(echo)

Expressions are separated by either newlines or by semicolon (;). It is also permitted to have trailing semicolon in the end of a line:


code syntax is the syntax of -e, -E, -p, -pi, -pl, -pj, -pjl, and -pt switches to ngs interpreter. Example:

$ ngs -p '(1...10).filter(F(num) num % 2 == 0)'

# Output:

Switching between commands and code syntaxes

In commands syntax it is possible to switch to code syntax in one of the following ways:

{ code syntax here }

ls ${ code that computes the file name and returns a string, spaces
don't matter, expanded into single argument of ls }

# Expands to zero or more positional arguments to ls
ls $*{ code that computes the files names and returns array of
strings. Spaces don't matter, each element is expanded into single
argument of ls }

In code syntax it is possible to switch to commands syntax in one of the following ways:

# Capture output
out = `commands syntax`
my_var = "mystring\n" + `my other command`

# Capture output and decode it
parsed_data_structure = ``commands syntax``
n = ``curl``.number_of_items_in_storage

# Get reference to a process
my_process = $( commands syntax )


Comments are allowed in both commands and code syntax. At the beginning of a line, a comment starts with a hash sign (#). A comment that starts in a middle of the line starts with space and a hash sign (#) and continues to end of the line.

# comment till end of line
run_external_program --input my_file # COMMENTS HERE ARE NOT IMPLEMENTED YET

    a = 1 # comment till end of line

Also, lines that start with "TEST" (note the trailing space) are considered to be comments. They are ignored. The purpose is to allow an external testing script to extract and run these tests.

The common pattern of marking code sections with comments got it’s own syntax. It conveys semantic meaning of sections to the language and IDEs. That will allow additional related functionality in the future. Section does not introduce a new scope for variables/methods.

section "Workaround for API stupidity" {
    if result is Null {
        result = []
    if result is Str {
        result .= split(',')


As in other languages, variables are named locations that can store values. Variables’ names should consist of ASCII letters (a-z, A-Z) and numbers (0-9). Variable name must start with a letter. Assignment to variables looks the same in both commands and code syntax. Referencing a variable in the code syntax is just the variable’s name while referencing it in commands syntax or inside string interpolation is $my_var (not recommended) or ${my_var} (recommended).

Advanced topic: more precisely, the naming restrictions for the variables mentioned above are naming restrictions on identifiers. NGS can have variables that are named not by the rules above.

Note that it is not recommended to use names which are not valid identifiers. As an exception to this rule, it’s OK for methods which correlate with NGS syntax to have names which are not valid identifiers. Example of such methods are binary operators (+, -, etc.). See more about methods’ naming in "Methods and multimethods" section below.

Assigning to a variable works in both commands and code syntax.

# Assigning value to a variable.
# Note that syntax to the right of = is code syntax even if the surrouning syntax is commands syntax.
a = 1 + 2

# Referencing a variable in code syntax.
# Not that arguments to method call are in code syntax even if the surrouning syntax is commands syntax.
# Output:
#   3

my_file = '1.txt'
# Referencing a variable inside commands syntax.
$(ls $my_file)
$(ls ${my_file})

# Referencing a variable inside string interpolation.
echo("A is ${a}")
# Output:
#   A is 3

# In-place assignment ( -=,+=,*=,/=,%= )
a += 100
# The above is exactly the same as a = a + 100

Referencing undefined variable will cause GlobalNotFound or UndefinedLocalVar exceptions.

Variables’ scoping rules

Variables scoping is similar to Python’s.

Variables scope types:

In a method, any variable that is not assigned to inside the method is looked up as an upvar (enclosing methods) and as global.

a = 1
F f() {
# Output: 1

a = 1
F f() {
    a = 2
    F g() {
# Output: 2

In a method, any variable that is mentioned in any of the enclosing methods is automatically upvar - references the variable in the outer scope.

a = 1
F f() {
    a = 2
    F g() {
        a = 10
# Output: 10
# Output: 1

In a method, any variable that is assigned to (including the i in construct for(i;10) ...) in the method is automatically local unless it’s an upvar as described above. Inner methods are also local by default.

a = 1
F f() {
    a = 2
    F inner_func() "something"
# Output: 2
# Output: 1
# Can not call inner_func from outside f()

Modifying variables’ scoping

You can modify default scoping using the global and local keywords.

a = 1
F f() {
    a = 2
    F g() {
        # local instead of upvar
        local a
        a = 3
# Output: 2

a = 1
F f() {
    a = 2
    F g() {
        # global instead of upvar
        global a
        a = 3
# Does not work yet due to a bug, "a" stays upvar
# Output: 3

Planned features for variables

Destructuring assignment. Something like the following:

[a, b, *rest] = my_arr

Syntax for Hash destructuring is not clear yet:

... = my_hash

Destructuring should also be available in for:

# Hash iterator gives Arr of two elements each iteration.
# Destructuring would place the two elements in k and v varaibles.
for [k, v] in my_hash {

Methods and multimethods

Methods’ names are composed of letters (a-z, A-Z), digits (0-9) and the following characters: _, -, |, =, !, @, ?, <, >, ~, +, *, /, %, (, ), $, ., ``, ", :, (space), [, ] .


Each value in NGS has a type, similar to many other languages. One of the main features of NGS is choosing the correct method of a multimethod, based on types of the arguments. This feature is called multi-dispatch.

Let’s start with the following example:

F +(a:Int, b:Int) {

F +(s1:Str, s2:Str) {

    1 + 1     # 2
    'a' + 'b' # 'ab'

The + is a multimethod. It has a few methods. You can see definitions of two of the methods in the example above. One method adds numbers. Another method concatenates strings. How NGS knows which one of them to run? The decision is made based on arguments’ types. NGS scans the methods list backwards and invokes the method that matches the given arguments (this matching process is called multiple dispatch).

When a MultiMethod is called, the multimethod’s methods list is searched from last element to first element. The method which parameters’ types match is executed. This model is different from many other languages, where the most specific method is called. In NGS, if two methods’ parameters both match the arguments, that one that was defined last is called. Typically, methods for more specific types are defined later in code so the behaviour is similar to other languages. If matched method is executed and a guard (see below) fails, the search is continued as if the method did not match.

Consider the following types:

    type Vehicle
    type Car(Vehicle)

Typical MultiMethod definition:

F park(v:Vehicle) { ... }
F park(c:Car) { ... }

park(Vehicle())  # calls the first method
park(Car())      # calls the second method

Leveraging the NGS MultiMethod call behaviour: one can for example do debugging by adding the third method to the park MultiMethod:

F park(v:Vehicle) {
    debug("Parking vehicle ${v}")
    super(v)  # Execute one of the two methods defined above

Calling a method - simple syntax

This syntax is available in both commands and code syntax.

echo('Hello world')
# Output:
#   Hello world

Calling a method - object-style syntax

This syntax is available in code syntax only.

As a syntactic sugar, method call f(a, b, c) can be written as a.f(b, c).

    'Hello world'.echo()

# Output:
#   Hello world

Methods for operators

In NGS, binary operators are just syntactic sugar for calling methods. The variety of permitted characters in methods’ names allow using same method name as the operator.

# Define the + operator for Fun objects (Fun objects are callable objects: methods and types)
F +(f:Fun, g:Fun) {
    F composed_function(*args) {
F reject(h:Hash, predicate:Fun) h.filter(not + predicate)

Current methods with special names are listed below.

# Output wrapped manually for your convenience.
# All of them correspond to a syntax, mostly binary operators.
$ ngs -pl 'globals().filterv(Fun).keys().filter(/[^a-zA-Z0-9_]/)' | sort | column -x -c 40
!=      !==     !~      %       %()
*       +       +?      -       .
..      ...     .=      /       //
::      ::=     <       <=      ==
===     =~      >       >=      ?
[]      []=     \       ``      ````
~       ~~      "$*"    $()     is not
not in

Binary operators (methods) and precedence

Higher numbers mean higher precedence. Note that short-circuit operators can not and are not implemented as method calls - that would require eager evaluation of the arguments.

tor     40  "Try ... or", short-circuit   questionable_code tor default_value
tand    50  "Try ... and", short-circuit  (not sure when it's needed, don't use it)
or      60  Logical or, short-circuit
and     65  Logical and, short-circuit

in      70  Value-in-container check      1 in [1, 2, 3]
                                          "a" in {"a": 1}
not in  70  Value-not-in-container check  10 not in [1, 2, 3]
                                          "b" not in {"a": 1}
is      90  Instance-of check             1 is Int
is not  90  Not-instance-of check         1 is not Str

|      120  "Pipe", currenty not used
===    130  "Same as"                     v = [1, 2]; v === v
!==    130  "Not same as",                [1, 2] !== [1, 2]
==     130  "Equals",                     [1, 2] == [1, 2]
!=     130  "Not equals"                  [1, 3] != [1, 2]
=~     130  "Matches"                     {"a": 1, "b": 2} =~ {"a": 1}  # true
                                          {"a": 1, "b": 2} =~ {"a": Any}  # true
!~     130  "Does not match"              {"a": 1, "b": 2} !~ {"z": 1} # true
<=     150  "Less than or equals"
<      150  "Less than"
>=     150  "Greater or equals"
>      150  "Greater"
~      150  "Match"                       "a1b2c" ~ /[0-9]/   # MatchSuccess
~~     150  "Match all"                   "a1b2c" ~~ /[0-9]/  # Arr[MatchSuccess]
...    160  "Inclusive range"             0...5               # 0,1,2,3,4,5
..     160  "Exclusive range"             0..5                # 0,1,2,3,4
+      190  "Plus"
+?     190  "Plus maybe"                  "a" + "b"           # "ab"
                                          null + "b"          # null
                                          "a" + null          # null
-      190  "Minus"
*      200  "Multiply" or "repeat"        3 * 5               # 15
                                          "ab" * 3            # "ababab"
                                          EmptyBox * 2        # two values of EmptyBox type
%      200  "Modulus" or "each"           3 % 2               # 1
                                          ['a', 'b'] % echo   # Outputs a and b on different lines
/      200  "Divide" or "map"             10 / 5
                                          [1, 2, 3] / F(x) x * 2
?      200  "Filter"                      [1, 2, 3] ? F(x) x > 1
\      200  "Call"                        [1, 2, 3] \ echo

Defining a method

Method definition works in both commands and code syntax.

When defining a named method, NGS automatically creates a MultiMethod with the given name (if it does not exist) and appends the new method to the multimethod’s list of methods.

F my_method() {
    echo("my method is running")

Method with optional parameters

F mysum(a:Int, b:Int=100) a+b

# Output: 105

echo(mysum(5, 200))
# Output: 205

Method with "rest" parameter

F print_with_prefix(prefix:Str, *strings) {
    strings.each(F(s) {
    echo("Printed ${strings.len()} lines with prefix")

print_with_prefix('-> ', 'abc', 'def')
# Output:
#   -> abc
#   -> def
#   Printed 2 lines with prefix

Method with "rest keywords" parameter

F print_properties(separator:Str, **kw_args) {
    kw_args.each(F(name, value) {

print_properties(' => ', a=10, b=20)

# Output:
#   a => 10
#   b => 20

Method guards

Method guards restrict method execution to specific conditions, typically the conditions are functions of parameters’ values. If the guard condition evaluates to false, NGS considers the method as if it did not match the arguments and continues to search for other methods to run in the multimethod’s methods list.

F gg(i:Int) {
    echo("First gg active")

# gg is now MultiMethod with one method

# Output:
#   First gg active
#   10
#   First gg active
#   50

F gg(i:Int) {
    echo("Second gg checking guard")
    guard i > 3
    echo("Second gg active")

# gg is now MultiMethod with two methods

# Output:
#   Second gg checking guard
#   First gg active
#   10
#   Second gg checking guard
#   Second gg active
#   500

Calling super methods

Super methods are methods higher in the multimethod’s list of methods.

F sup(x) x+1

F sup(x) super(x) * 10

# Output: 60

Anonymous function (method) literal

Syntactically, anonymous method is F not followed by a name.

f = F(item) { echo("Item: $item") }
echo("F is $f")
# Output: F is <UserDefinedMethod <anonymous> at 1.ngs:1>

each([10,20,30], f)
# Output:
#   Item: 10
#   Item: 20
#   Item: 30

# Anonymous method as map() parameter
echo([1,2,3].map(F(x) x*5))
# Output: [5,10,15]

Anonymous function (method) literal using magical X, Y or Z variables

Three special variables can be used as a syntactic sugar for creating anonymous methods. A method call which uses one of the special variables X, Y, or Z is wrapped in anonymous function as follows: F(X=null, Y=null, Z=null) { method_call(....) }.

Operators are just syntactic sugar for method calls so X*5 for example is also processed as described.

# X*5 is same as F(X=null, Y=null, Z=null) { X*5 } which in out case is roughly equivalent to F(X) X*5
# Output: [5,10,15]

# "Key:" + X is same as F(X=null, Y=null, Z=null) { "Key:" + X }
echo({"a": "one", "b": "two"}.map("Key:" + X))
# Output: ['Key:a','Key:b']

echo({"a": "one", "b": "two"}.map("Val:" + Y))
# Output: ['Val:one','Val:two']

# Output: 2

If the special variables X, Y, or Z are found in a string interpolation, such as "Key $X, Value $Y", the string is wrapped in anonymous function as described above.

echo({"a": 1, "b": 2}.map("Key $X, Value $Y"))
# Output: ['Key a, Value 1','Key b, Value 2']

Anonymous function (method) literal using magical A, B or C variables

Additional syntactic sugar for anonymous function is { ... }. This is equivalent to F(A=null, B=null, C=null) { ... }.

# X*5 + 1 would not work as X*5 itself would be anonymous function
echo([1,2,3].map({ A*5 + 1 }))
# Output: [6,11,16]

Returning values from methods

Method evaluates to the last expression, as in Lisp and Ruby. Additionally following expressions allow immediate return from a method.

Examples of return, returns and last expression value as result of a method.

F flow_ret(x) {
    if x < 0 {
        unrelated_calculation = 1
        return "negative"
    x == 0 returns "zero"
echo(flow_ret( 0))
echo(flow_ret( 1))
# Output:
#   negative
#   zero
#   positive

Returning from inner method

Use block NAME BODY syntax to return from inner methods.

F find_the_one(haystack:Arr, needle) block b {
    haystack.each(F(elt) {
        if elt == needle then b.return("Found it!")
    "Not found"
# Output:
#   Found it!
#   Not found

Referencing specially named methods

Since identifiers are alphanumeric (with underscores), my_method can be referenced simple by name, while + for example can not. Here is example of referencing specially named methods:

# (+) references the method +
F sum(something:Eachable1) something.reduce(0, (+))


NGS is a dynamically typed language: values (and not variables) have types.

a = 1
a = "ok"
# 'a' had value of one type and then value of another type

NGS is a "strongly typed" language: values are not implicitly converted to unrelated types. This makes the language more verbose in some cases but helps catch certain type of bugs earlier.

# ... Exception of type MethodNotFound occurred ...
# That means that NGS has no method that "knows" how to add an Int and an Str

# Output: 3

NGS has several pre-defined types. A programmer can define additional types. Types roughly correspond to classes in other languages (Python, Ruby, Java) but without defined fields and methods.

Creating object of given type

Creating object of a given type is calling the type. Syntactically, it’s type name followed by parenthesis which optionally contain arguments.

# Create object of type Path
p = Path("/")

# Create EmptyBox object
eb = EmptyBox()

Defining your own types

Type definition is only supported in code syntax.

# Switch to code syntax inside { ... }. "type" currently does not work in command syntax
    # Define type
    type Vehicle

    # Define sub-type
    type Car(Vehicle)

    type RedThing

    # Multiple inheritance
    type RedCar([Car, RedThing])

# Output:
#   <Type Vehicle>
#   <Type Car>
#   [<Type Car>,<Type RedThing>]

Type constructors and object creation


# Customizing Box object creation (code from stdlib)
F Box(x) FullBox(x)
F Box(n:Null) EmptyBox()
F Box(a:Arr, idx) { ... }
F Box(h:Hash, k) { ... }

# FullBox initialization, called when FullBox(x) is called
F init(b:FullBox, val) b.val = val

# Note that there is no init(eb:EmptyBox) as there is nothing to initialize

Box(1)    # FullBox with 1 as value
Box(null) # EmptyBox

Loading and running additional code


The require method reads, compiles (to bytecode) and executes the given file. Currently absolute paths and paths relative to current directory are supported. In future, paths relative to current directory will not be supported but rather paths relative to the file that does require() call will be supported, similar to Node.js. This needs work which was not done yet, there was never intention to support paths relative to current directory; it’s just wrong.


require returns the value of last expression in the file. This feature plays nice with namespaces (see below) in cases when the whole file is an ns { ... } expression.


When an undefined global variable is referenced, global_not_found_handler is called. This handler tries to load a module (currently from the lib/autoload directory) that will define the referenced variable. Here are some modules that are autoloaded and additional variables/methods they define.


Namespaces are used to prevent names collisions and hide methods. One of the main usages for namespaces is in modules.

Let’s consider a file named my_ns.ngs:

ns {

    # This method is only visible to other methods in the namespace
    F _private_helper_method() {

    F accessible_method() {

    global global_method
    F global_method() {

Another file, example.ngs could be using the above namespace utilizing the require method:

arbitrary_ns_name = require('my_ns.ngs')


# :: is namespace member access operator

How namespace definition works

Namespace definition works in both commands and code syntax.

The ns { ... } definition is equivalent to the following code:

F() {
    _exports = {}


}() # Call as soon as the method is defined

Inside the F() { ... }, all variables and methods which do not start with underscore (_) are automatically added to the _exports hash. The underscore exclusion prevents from _exports itself to be added to the hash. This implementation also allows arbitrary manipulations of the returned value.

# The simple case
ngs -pi 'ns { F func() 7; }'
Hash of size 1
  [func] = <MultiMethod with 1 method(s)>

# Prefix all exported methods and variables with "my_"
ngs -pi 'ns { F func() 7; _exports .= mapk("my_$X") }'
Hash of size 1
  [my_func] = <MultiMethod with 1 method(s)>

# Make "ns" return arbitrary value
$ ngs -pi 'ns {_exports=7}'
Int: 7

# Show exclusion of underscore prefixed items
$ ngs -pi 'ns { F visible() 7; F _invisible() 7; }'
Hash of size 1
  [visible] = <MultiMethod with 1 method(s)>

# Not only methods but also variables are exported
$ ngs -pi 'ns { visible=1; _invisible=2; }'
Hash of size 1
  [visible] = 1

Different names for external variables in a namespace

Namespaces also support additional syntax ns(PARAMETERS) { ... }. This syntax is converted to F(PARAMETERS) { ... }(). This allows referencing external variables by another names. Inside the namespace one can now define variables and methods which would shadow the global (or upvar) variables and still access them.

Here is example from lib/autoload/AWS.ngs :

ns(GlobalRes=Res, GlobalResDef=ResDef, global_test=test) {
    doc AWS resource
    type Res(GlobalRes)
    doc AWS Resource definition
    type ResDef(GlobalResDef)

Note that when ns(PARAMETERS) { ... } syntax is converted to F(PARAMETERS) { ... }, the method is called without any arguments so all parameters must have default values or an exception will occur:

$ ngs -pi 'ns(a) { 7 }'
... Exception of type ArgsMismatch occurred

Planned future changes to namespaces

The ns { ... } construct will probably not return a Hash object but object of a new type, Namespace which will probably be subtype of Hash. In any case, the :: operator will be defined in such way that my_namspace::my_method() will continue to work.

Frequently used types and methods

This section is not a reference but rather an overview. It includes the most important types and methods. For full documentation regarding types and methods see the generated documentation.


null signifies absence of data. null is the only value of type Null.

# Output:
#   2
#   null

if null echo("if null")
# No output, null converts to false


The type Bool represents a boolean. The values true and false are the only values of type Bool.

if true echo("if true")
if false echo("if false")
# Output:
#   if true

echo(1 == 1)
# Output:
#   true

echo(1 == 2)
# Output:
#   false

echo(true and false)
# Output:
#   false

echo(true or false)
# Output:
#   true

When a boolean value is needed, such as in if EXPR {...}, the EXPR is converted to boolean by calling Bool(EXPR).
NGS defines Bool multimethod (technically Bool type constructors), with methods for many types. These methods cause the following values to be converted to false:

Unless specified otherwise, all other values are converted to true.

To define how your user-defined types behave as boolean, define Bool(x:YOUR_TYPE) method.


Int represents integer numbers

echo(1 + 2 * 3)
# Output:
#   7

# Output:
#   0
#   1
#   2

# Output:
#   0
#   2
#   4


Str represents string of bytes.

Strings - string interpolation

a = 1
echo("A is now $a")
echo('A is now $a')
# Output:
#   A is now 1
#   A is now $a

echo("Calculation result A: ${10+20}")
echo("Calculation result B: ${ [1,2,3].map((*), 10).join(',') }")
# Output:
#   Calculation result A: 30
#   Calculation result B: 10,20,30

Strings - some basic methods that operate on strings

echo("abc" + "abc")
# Output:
#   abcabc

# Output:
#   ['abc','def','ggg']

# Output:
#   ['abc','def','ggg']

# Output:
#   abcdefggg

if "abc" ~ /^a/ {
} else {
# Output:
#   YES

m = "abc=120" ~ /=/
if m {
    echo("Name=${m.before} Value=${m.after}")
# See RegExp type
# Output:
#   Name=abc Value=120


Arr represents an ordered list which can be accessed by zero-based index. Currently Arr is implemented as consecutive memory locations.

Arrays - basics

x = ["first", "second", "third", "fourth"]

# Output:
#   ['first','second','third','fourth']

# Output:
#   4

echo('first' in x)
# Output:
#   true

echo('fifth' in x)
# Output:
#   false

# Output:
#   second

# Output:
# ['second','third']

echo(x == %[first second third fourth])
# Output:
#   true

x = [
    'some text'
# Output:
#   ['blah',2,'some text']

# ... Exception of type IndexNotFound occurred ...

Arrays - some basic methods that operate on arrays

# Output:
#   1
#   2

    [1,2].each(F(item) {
        echo("Item: $item")
# Output:
#   Item: 1
#   Item: 2

echo([1,2].map(X * 10))
# See "Anonymous function literal using magical X, Y or Z variables"
# Output:
#   [10,20]

# Converts array consisting of pairs into Hash
# Output:
#   {a=1, b=2}


Hash represents a mapping between keys and values. Hash is implemented as a hash table.

Hashes - basics

x = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
# Output:
#   {a=1, b=2}

# Output:
#   1
#   1

    x.b = 20

# Output:
#   2

# Output:
#   ['a','b']

# Output:
#   [1,20]

x = {
    "c": 1
    "d": 2

# Output:
#   {c=1, d=2}

echo('c' in x)
# Output:
#   true

echo(1 in x)
# Output:
#   false

# Output:
#   2

# Output:
#   null

echo(x.get('e', 'my_default'))
# Output:
#   my_default

# ... Exception of type KeyNotFound occurred ...

x = %{akey avalue bkey bvalue}
# Output:
#   {akey=avalue, bkey=bvalue}

Hashes - some basic methods that operate on Hashes

    h = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
    h.each(F(k, v) {
        echo("$k = $v")
# Output:
#   a = 1
#   b = 2

h = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
echo(, v) "key-$k value-$v"))
# Output:
#   ['key-a value-1','key-b value-2']

h = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
# Output:
#   {key-a=1, key-b=2}

h = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
# Output:
#   {a=10, b=20}

h = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
echo(h.mapkv({ ["key-$A", B*100] }))
# Output:
#   {key-a=100, key-b=200}

h = {"a": 1, "b": 2}
# Converts Hash into array consisting of pairs
# Output:
#   [['a',1],['b',2]]

Higher-order functions (methods)

This section is an overview. The purpose is to give overall impression of how higher-order functions feel in NGS. For full documentation regarding methods (including higher-order functions) see the generated documentation.

Higher order functions are functions that get another function as a parameter.

# Output:
#   true

# Output:
#   false

# Output:
#   true

# Output:
#   true

# Output:
#   [1,2,3]

# Output:
#   ['a','b']

# Output:
#   [1,2,3]

# Output:
#   2


Similar to other languages (such as Python, Ruby, Java, etc), NGS has exceptions which can be thrown and caught.

    type MyError(Error)

    try {
        # "e1 throws e2" is same as "if e1 { throw(e2) }"
        1 == 2 throws Error("This can't be!")
        throw MyError("As usual, very helpful message")
    } catch(e:MyError) {
        echo("[Exceptions] This error was expected: $e")
    } catch(e:Error) {
        echo("[Exceptions] Unexpected error: $e")
        throw e
    # Output: [Exceptions] This error was expected: ...

The catch clauses are implemented using multimethod. If an exception occurs, the catch multimethod is called with a single argument, the exception. Unlike all other situations, the search of a method that matches the exception is done from the beginning to the end of methods list.

Implementation of catch using multimethod prevents using return inside catch clauses in the expected way. That’s why this implementation might change in the future.

Ignoring exceptions using "try" without "catch"

myhash = {"a": 1, "b": 2}

v = try myhash.a
# Output: 1

v = try myhash.c
# Output: null

v = try { unrelated = 1+2; myhash.c }
# Output: null

Default value for expression that causes exception

The short-circuit binary operator tor (try-or) allows specifying default value for an expression that might throw an exception.

# .backtrace might not exist, .frames might not exist
# Accessing non-existent fields using the . notation will cause KeyNotFound exception
parent_frames = parent.backtrace.frames tor []

EXPR tor null is functionally equivalent to try EXPR.

Alternative mechanism for handling exceptions

See generated documentation for the Result type.

Flow control


If works in both commands and code syntax.

if my_var > 10 {
    a += 100
    b = "x"
} else {
    b = "y"

result = if my_var then "xyz" else "ww".
result = if my_var 10 20  # result is now either 10 or 20

In if, while, and for, where {...} code block is expected, if the block consists of only a single expression, curly braces are optional. In if, the then and else keywords are optional.

Note that if is an expression. if without else where the condition is equivalent to false, evaluates to null.


Loops work in both commands and code syntax.

for(i=0; i<5; i+=1) {
    if i == 3 {
    echo("Regular loop, iteration $i")
# Output:
#   Regular loop, iteration 0
#   Regular loop, iteration 1
#   Regular loop, iteration 2
#   Regular loop, iteration 4

for(i;5) {
    i == 3 continues
    echo("Shorthand loop, iteration $i")
# Output:
#   Shorthand loop, iteration 0
#   Shorthand loop, iteration 1
#   Shorthand loop, iteration 2
#   Shorthand loop, iteration 4

for i in [1,5,10,20,50] {
# Output:
#   1
#   5
#   10
#   20
#   50
# See "Iterators"

i = 0
while i<10 {
    echo("While loop, iteration $i")
    i += 1
    # Same as "if i == 2 { break }"
    i == 2 breaks
# Output:
#   While loop, iteration 0
#   While loop, iteration 1

Switch and switch-like expressions

Switch and switch-like expressions work in both commands and code syntax.

Switch and switch-like expressions examples.

a = 10
result = switch a {
    10 "ten"
    20 "twenty"
    30 { more_code(); "thirty" }
echo("Switch result for $a is $result")
# Output: Switch result for 10 is ten

a = "my_string"
result = match a {
    Int    "an integer"
    /^my_/ "special string"
    Str    { more_code(); "a string" }
    Any    "not sure"
echo("Match result for $a is $result")
# Output: Match result for my_string is special string

a = 12
result = cond {
    a > 10
    a > 5 {
        more_code(); "Good enough"
    a > 3
        "so so"
echo("Cond result for $a is $result")
# Output: Cond result for 12 is Excellent

# SwitchFail exception will be thrown
F will_throw_exception1() {
    a = "bad value"
    result = eswitch a {
        1 "one"
        2 "two"

# SwitchFail exception will be thrown
F will_throw_exception2() {
    a = true
    result = ematch a {
        Int  "an integer"
        Str  "a string"

# SwitchFail exception will be thrown
F will_throw_exception3() {
    a = 10
    result = econd {
        a > 15 "one"
        a > 20 "two"


The feature was inspired by block in Lisp ("structured, lexical, non-local exit facility") and adapted to fit NGS. The block evaluates to the first value provided by return. If no return occurs, the block evaluates to the last expression inside the block.

my_result = block b {
    if i_know_the_answer_by_now() {
    if maybe_now() {

Regular expressions

myregex = /^begin/
# Output: <RegExp>

mymatch = "beginABC" ~ myregex
# Output: <MatchY matches=['begin'] named={} positions=[[0,5]] whole=begin before= after=ABC>

# Output: begin

# Output: ABC

all_matches = "1a2bcd3efg" ~~ /([0-9])(.)/
each(all_matches, F(match) {
    echo("The character after the digit ${match.matches[1]} is ${match.matches[2]}")
# Output:
#   The character after the digit 1 is a
#   The character after the digit 2 is b
#   The character after the digit 3 is e

Collector facility

Collector facility assists in building lists, hashes and other data structures. Collector facility should be used where map and other functional facilities are not meeting the requirements or when using collector is cleaner. Typically, the code of the following forms is replaced by collector (or some mix or something similar to the following forms):

# --- 1 ---
my_arr = []
for ... {
    if ... {

# --- 2 ---
my_arr = []
for ... {
    if ... {

The collector keyword wraps the following expression (or expressions if they are grouped using {...} syntax) in a function with single argument, collect.

collector keyword can be followed by slash (/) and initial expression, which defaults to an empty array.

mylist = collector {
# Output: ['HEADER',10,20,'FOOTER']

myhash = collector/{} {
    collect("first", -1)
    {"a": 1, "b": 2, "c":100}.each(F(k, v) {
        if v < 100 {
            collect("($k)", v*10)
    collect("last", -2)
# Output: {first=-1, (a)=10, (b)=20, last=-2}

mysumm = collector/0 [1,10,100].each(collect)
# Output: 111

# Code from stdlib:
F flatten(arr:Arr)
        arr.each(F(subarr) {

Customizing collector facility

collector keyword is implemented as a call to collector method with two arguments: the initial value (which defaults to empty array) and the wrapped code, which is passed as a method.

By defining collector method, the programmer can customize the behaviour. Here is implementation of collector for Arr.

# Code from stdlib:
F collector(a:Arr, body:Fun) {
    body(F(elt) a.push(elt))

Here a gets the initial value, body is the wrapped code that comes after the collector keyword, the anonymous function that is passed to body becomes the collect function inside the wrapped code.

Here is collector for Hash and it’s usage example:

# Code from stdlib:

F collector(h:Hash, body:Fun) {
    body(F(k, v) h[k] = v)

F mapk(h:Hash, mapper:Fun)
        h.each(F(k, v) collect(mapper(k), v))

Running external programs

t = `echo -n text1`
echo("[ $t ]")
# Output: [ text1 ]

seq = `seq 5`.lines()
# Output: ['1','2','3','4','5']

proc = $(seq 3)
each(inspect(proc), echo)
# ProcessesPipeline
#   cp: CommandsPipeline
#   cp:   command[0]: <Command options={} redirects=[] argv=[seq,3]>
#   pipe_in: null
#   pipe_out: null
#   processes[0]: Process
#   processes[0]:   command = <Command options={} redirects=[] argv=[seq,3]>
#   processes[0]:   pid = 77309
#   processes[0]:   exit_code = 0
#   processes[0]:   exit_signal = null
#   processes[0]:   redirects[0]: <ProcessRedir fd=1 marker=null datum=<CollectingPipeFromChildToParentProcess read_fd=4 write_fd=5>>
#   processes[0]:   output on fd 1, stdout (3 lines):
#   processes[0]:     1
#   processes[0]:     2
#   processes[0]:     3
#   processes[0]:   output on fd 2, stderr (0 lines):

data = ``echo '{"a": 1}'``
echo("Parsed data: $data, a is ${data.a}")
# Output: Parsed data: {a=1}, a is 1

Assignment shortcuts

These are syntactically equivalent expressions:

a = a + 1      a += 1
a = a - 1      a -= 1
a = a * 1      a *= 1
a = a / 1      a /= 1
a = a % 1      a %= 1
a = a.f()      a .= f()    a = f(a)
a = a.f(b)     a .= f(b)   a = f(a, b)

Language gotchas

This section will be expanded as I get feedback :)

NGS should not be your first language

I do not recommend NGS as your first language. Python, for example, would be a much better choice. Programming experience is assumed prior to using NGS.

Watch the version

NGS is under development. Breaking changes can happen. If you do anything important with NGS, it’s preferable to note the git revision you are using for reproducible installation. The plan is to stop breaking NGS when it reaches version 1.0.0. From that version, the behaviour will be common - patch level increase for fixes, minor for improvements, major for breaking changes.

Keyword arguments gotchas

Keyword arguments implementation is preliminary so:

# Keyword arguments are silently ignored if corresponding positional argument is passed.
kwargs = {"a": 10}
F f(a, **kw) a; f(1, **kwargs) == 1

# Keyword arguments for existing named parameters cause parameters not to match
kwargs = {"a": 10}
F f(a) a; f(1, **kwargs) == 1

# **kwargs silently override (consistent with literal hash) previous named arguments
kwargs = {"a": 10}
F f(a=1) a; f(a=10, **kwargs) == 1

# For speed and implementation simplicity reasons, the **kw parameter has all keys,
# even if some of them matched and used for parameters.
# This is somewhat likely to change in the future.
kwargs = {"a": 10}
F f(a=1, **kw) [a, kw]; f(**kwargs) == [10, {"a": 10}]

Namespaces gotchas

Since by default all variables are local, the following example will not add method to some_global_name multimethod but will create namespace-local some_global_name multimethod.

myns = ns {
    F some_global_name() ...

# Only available as myns::some_global_name(...)
# Global some_global_name(...) will not be able to access the
# above implementation.

The correct version to add method to a global multimethod is

ns {
    global some_global_name
    F some_global_name() ...

# Available as global some_global_name(...)

Comments syntax gotchas

Comments syntax is implemented in many places but not everywhere. If you get syntax error regarding comment, move it to somewhere nearby.

Mutable default parameter gotchas

The code below will probably not do what was intended. Note that the default parameter value is only computed once, at method definition time.

F f(x, a:Arr=[]) {

echo(f(10))  # [10]
echo(f(20))  # [10,20]

Same happens in Python and hence already described:

Type system is only used for multi-dispatch

Consider the code:

F f(x:Int=null) {

The x:Int only says that when calling f, the parameter x must be of type Int.
It does not mean that x must be Int inside f. Even the default value can be of different type.


Handlers are called by NGS when a certain condition occurs.

A handler is a MultiMethod. Like with any other multimethod, you can override what it does by defining your own method with the same name further down in the code. Since standard handlers are defined in stdlib.ngs which is typically loaded first, your own methods will be "further down".


method_not_found_handler is called when a multimethod was called but no method matched the arguments. Use F method_not_found_handler(callable:Fun, *args) ... to add your behaviours.


global_not_found_handler is called on attempt to read from an undefined global variable. Uses NGS_PATH when looking up the appropriate file.


A hook is a Hook object. Some hooks are called by NGS when a certain condition occurs. You are free to create and use your own hooks. When called, it executes all registered methods. The main difference vs calling a MultiMethod is that using hook you get accumulative behaviour instead of overriding behaviour.

User-defined hook example:

    h = Hook()
    h.push({ echo("A") })
    h.push({ echo("B") })
# Outputs one per line: A, B

Another way is to add named hook handlers (also a practical example):

exit_hook['cleanup_temp_files'] = F(exit:Exit) {
    # remove my temp files


exit_hook is called when NGS is about to exit. Typical cases are:

Method signature: exit_hook(exit:Exit). Exit currently has two keys: exit_code (Int) and exceptions (Arr). stdlib.ngs defines one standard exit hook.

$ ngs -pi 'exit_hook.Hash()'
Hash of size 1
  [print_exception] = <UserDefinedMethod <anonymous>(exit:Exit) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:5345>


Methods such as filter, filterk, filterv, etc take a pattern argument, somewhat similar to Ruby.
Traditionally, such methods (functions) took a method (function) as the predicate argument instead.
A predicate function is a function with one parameter and that returns a boolean.

Using pattern as opposed to predicate allows more dense (meaning per characters of code) expressions.

NGS higher-order methods (functions) that have pattern parameters compare items to patterns using the =~ operator:

F filter(e:Eachable1, pattern=Bool.constructors) {
    t = typeof(e)
    ret = t()
    e.each(F(elt) {
        if elt =~ pattern

This behaviour allows defining how any given type behaves as a pattern. Several built-in types have =~ method defined for them.
Here are some examples of how patterns shorten the code:

# Same as {...}.filterk(F(k) k ~ /^b/)
{"a1": 1, "a2": 2, "b1": 10}.filterk(/^b/)  # {"b1": 10}

# Same as {...}.filter(F(elt) elt.x == 7)
[{"x": 10, "y": 20}, {"x": 7, "y": 30}].filter({"x": 7})  # [{x=7, y=30}]

# Same as {...}.filter(F(t) t is Str)
["abc", 1, "def"].filter(Str)  # [abc,def]

One can easily define how a type behaves as a pattern: define appropriate =~ method.
Here is the =~ method that allows .filter(SomeType) such as .filter(Str) example above:

F =~(x, t:Type) x is t

Note that using a method as pattern is still possible:

[1,2,11].filter(F(x) x > 10)  # [11]

That is because =~ method uses the given function as predicate:

F =~(x, f:Fun) f(x)


Iterators give more flexibility and control as opposed to each iteration.

The iterator protocol

Iterators must implement the following methods:

When for x in EXPR { BODY } syntax is used, it is equivalent to the following:

_hidden_iter = Iter(EXPR)
while _hidden_iter {
    x =

Referencing the iterator in the BODY

Since Iter(x:Iter) is defined as x, you can use the following solution if you want to use the for syntax and have access to the iterator:

for x in my_iter=Iter(EXPR) {
    BODY # can manipulate my_iter for advanced control

The above works as follows: my_iter=Iter(EXPR) is an assignment which evaluates to an Iter object. for uses Iter on that value to get an iterator but it is the same iterator that my_iter references.

Built-in iterators

See Iter type documentation to see which iterators are available in NGS.

Executing external programs

When a command (more precisely commands pipeline) is parsed, an CommandsPipeline object is created. Then depending on the syntax, appropriate method is called with the CommandsPipeline argument. The methods are: $(), ``, and ````.

The syntactic options for executing external programs are:

Note that if you want just to construct the command and not run it

External commands are represented with type CommandsPipeline, which defines what should be run. In the simple case, there is exactly one command. In more complex cases CommandsPipeline references several programs and pipes between them, for example constructed by $(my_prog_1 | my_prog_2 | my_prog_3) . When CommandsPipeline is started being executed, a new object of type ProcessesPipeline is created using the appropriate CommandsPipeline as a blueprint. ProcessesPipeline has a cp field, which references the corresponding CommandsPipeline.

$ ngs -pi '$(ls | wc -l)'
  cp: CommandsPipeline
  cp:   command[0]: <Command options={} redirects=[] argv=[ls]>
  cp:      pipe[1]: <CommandsPipe options={} name=|>
  cp:   command[1]: <Command options={} redirects=[] argv=[wc,-l]>
  pipe_in: null
  pipe_out: null
  processes[0]: Process
  processes[0]:   command = <Command options={} redirects=[] argv=[ls]>
  processes[0]:   pid = 77369
  processes[0]:   exit_code = 0
  processes[0]:   exit_signal = null
  processes[0]:   redirects[0]: <ProcessRedir fd=1 marker=null datum=<WritingPipeBetweenChildren read_fd=4 write_fd=5>>
  processes[0]:   output on fd 1, stdout (0 lines):
  processes[0]:   output on fd 2, stderr (0 lines):
  processes[1]: Process
  processes[1]:   command = <Command options={} redirects=[] argv=[wc,-l]>
  processes[1]:   pid = 77370
  processes[1]:   exit_code = 0
  processes[1]:   exit_signal = null
  processes[1]:   redirects[0]: <ProcessRedir fd=1 marker=null datum=<CollectingPipeFromChildToParentProcess read_fd=6 write_fd=7>>
  processes[1]:   redirects[1]: <ProcessRedir fd=0 marker=null datum=<ReadingPipeBetweenChildren read_fd=4 write_fd=5>>
  processes[1]:   output on fd 1, stdout (1 lines):
  processes[1]:           75
  processes[1]:   output on fd 2, stderr (0 lines):

Substitution of command line arguments

$(ls $fname)      # $var_name - expands to exactly one argument
$(ls ${ EXPR })   # ${ EXPR } - expands to exactly one argument
$(ls $*fnames)    # $*var_name - expands to zero or more arguments
$(ls $*{ EXPR })  # $*{ EXPR } - expands to zero or more arguments

EXPR above can be a single expression or any number expressions, new-line or ; separated, value of the last one is used for the substitution.

The examples above show $() syntax but the substitution works the same for all syntaxes mentioned in syntactic options for executing external programs.


Rationale: it is sometimes desirable to alter the behaviour of execution of an external program.
NGS provides syntax for passing arbitrary key-value pairs to augment CommandsPipeline or Command.


In both cases, the values must follow the colon immediately, no spaces allowed. Missing value defaults to true.


WARNING: unrecognized options are silently ignored.

Input/Output Redirections

Redirections are represented by the CommandRedir type. When a command is parsed and converted to CommandsPipeline, each Command gets a (possibly empty) list of redirections (in the .redirects property)

Redirections syntax (based on bash syntax):

Running external programs examples:

$ ngs -pi '$(ok: ls xxx)'
ls: xxx: No such file or directory
  cp: CommandsPipeline
  cp:   command[0]: <Command options={ok=true} redirects=[] argv=[ls,xxx]>
  pipe_in: null
  pipe_out: null
  processes[0]: Process
  processes[0]:   command = <Command options={ok=true} redirects=[] argv=[ls,xxx]>
  processes[0]:   pid = 77460
  processes[0]:   exit_code = 1
  processes[0]:   exit_signal = null
  processes[0]:   redirects[0]: <ProcessRedir fd=1 marker=null datum=<CollectingPipeFromChildToParentProcess read_fd=4 write_fd=5>>
  processes[0]:   output on fd 1, stdout (0 lines):
  processes[0]:   output on fd 2, stderr (0 lines):
$ ngs -pi '$(ok: ls xxx 2>${true})'
  cp: CommandsPipeline
  cp:   command[0]: <Command options={ok=true} redirects=[<CommandRedir 2 > true>] argv=[ls,xxx]>
  pipe_in: null
  pipe_out: null
  processes[0]: Process
  processes[0]:   command = <Command options={ok=true} redirects=[<CommandRedir 2 > true>] argv=[ls,xxx]>
  processes[0]:   pid = 77477
  processes[0]:   exit_code = 1
  processes[0]:   exit_signal = null
  processes[0]:   redirects[0]: <ProcessRedir fd=1 marker=null datum=<CollectingPipeFromChildToParentProcess read_fd=6 write_fd=7>>
  processes[0]:   redirects[1]: <ProcessRedir fd=2 marker=> datum=<CollectingPipeFromChildToParentProcess read_fd=4 write_fd=5>>
  processes[0]:   output on fd 1, stdout (0 lines):
  processes[0]:   output on fd 2, stderr (1 lines):
  processes[0]:     ls: xxx: No such file or directory

Exit codes handling when running external programs

Immediately after an external program finishes, it’s exit code (and in future, possibly other aspects) is checked using finished_ok multimethod. The multimethod returns a Bool. If it’s false, an exception is thrown.

For unknown programs, finished_ok returns false for non-zero exit code and hence an exception is thrown. This behaviour can be modified with the ok: option of the command.

NGS knows about some of external programs (false, test, fuser, ping) which might return non-zero exit codes which do not indicate an error. These commands do not cause exceptions for exit code one.

If there is a particular program that you are using which also returns non-zero exit codes which should not cause an exception, you should add your own method finished_ok which handles that program. Please consider contributing this addition back to NGS.

External program boolean value

When converting to Bool, for example in the expression if $(test -f my_file) { ... }, all processes in the ProcessesPipeline must exit with code zero in order to get true, otherwise the result of converting to Bool is false.

Constructing command line arguments

While it’s feasible to construct an array with command line arguments for a program, Argv makes this task much easier by supporting common cases such as omitting a command line switch which has no corresponding value to use.

See Argv multimethod.


Globbing is not implemented yet.

Accessing environment variables

On NGS startup, the global variable ENV is populated with the environment variables. ENV is a Hash object.

echo(ENV["HO" + "ME"])

ENV is also passed to external programs.

    ENV.HOME = "/home/fake"

NGS exit codes

Both regular results of running a program and exceptions are converted to exit code using ExitCode MultiMethod.

Built in methods of ExitCode do the following conversion:

Special cases:

Customizing translation of your types/objects to exit code

Define F ExitCode(t:MyType) {...} method that returns Int to customize the exit code.

Declarative primitives

Some of NGS libraries (currently only AWS) implement declarative primitives approach. Declarative primitives approach is to expose functions to manipulate resources in an idempotent way. Similar to configuration management systems, exposed resources are manipulated by declaring their desired state. Unlike configuration management systems, this approach does not deal with dependencies and order resolution. Declarative primitives approach provides convenient scripting facility, not a configuration management system.

Related methods


Resources references are created using constructors, such as AWS::Vpc. Resources references are of type which is a subtype of ResDef.

my_vpc = AWS::Vpc()                # Reference to all VPCs that can be fetched using AWS CLI
echo(my_vpc)                       # Output: <Aws::Vpc anchor={regions=null, Tags={}}>
echo(AWS::Vpc().typeof())          # Output: <Type Vpc>
echo(AWS::Vpc().typeof().parents)  # Output: [<Type ResDef>]


find - find the specified resources. Almost never should be called manually. expect, converge, each and other methods run find automatically if needed (if it did not run previously on the reference).

my_vpc = AWS::Vpc().find()
# Output:
#   <Aws::Vpc vpc-ef...,vpc-ef...,vpc-bf... anchor={regions=null, Tags={}}>

Empty result is not an exception for find.


expect - check that referenced resources exist. Throw an exception otherwise. Used to assert assumptions about the system. If you write a script that for example counts on exactly one VPC that matches your description to exist, I strongly recommend to be explicit and state your expectation as .expect(1).

my_vpc = AWS::Vpc().expect() # If no VPCs exist - throws exception
# Output:
#   <Aws::Vpc vpc-ef...,vpc-ef...,vpc-bf... anchor={regions=null, Tags={}}>

# Find VPCs with name tag "XX"
my_vpc = AWS::Vpc({"Name": "XX"}).expect() # If no VPCs exist - throws exception
# ... Exception of type AssertFail occurred ...

# Find VPCs with the given tag
my_vpc = AWS::Vpc({"aws:cloudformation:stack-name": "edge-vpc"}).expect(1)
# Would throw exception if there was not exactly one resources matching the description
# Output:
#   <Aws::Vpc vpc-ef... anchor={regions=null, Tags={aws:cloudformation:stack-name=edge-vpc}}>


converge - Creates or updates resources if needed in order to match given properties.

Example from production code, shortened for brevity:

# Library that describes ELB creation. The system has several ELBs which are similarly configured.
# The library contains this common configuration.
ns(c=converge) {
    F converge(env, role, dns=null) {
        edge_vpc_anchor = {'aws:cloudformation:stack-name': 'edge-vpc'}
        vpc = AWS::Vpc(edge_vpc_anchor).expect(1)
        tags = {'env': env, 'role': role, 'creator': 'system/images/elb.ngs'}

        # Anchor: name + vpc_id
        elb_sg = AWS::SecGroup("https-server", vpc)
        elb = AWS::Elb("${env}-${role}")

        # ---> Converge happens here <---
        # Load balancer is either created or updated here
            Tags = tags + if dns { {'DNS': dns} } else { {} },
            ListenerDescriptions = ...,
            Subnets = AWS::Subnet(edge_vpc_anchor).expect(2),
            SecurityGroups = elb_sg,
            HealthCheck = ...,
            Instances = AWS::Instance({'env': env, 'role': role}).expect()


delete deletes referenced resources.

# Delete referenced resources, in this case one specific load balancer

# Delete all unused load balancers


Anchors describe which resources are referenced.

As you probably have noticed, resource references, which are created using constructors, get some parameters. These parameters are called "Anchor". Note that all parameters passed to the constructors are called "Anchor" collectively.

Examples of Anchors:

Any combination of explicit tags and resource-specific properties is possible.


Properties describe the desired state of resources. The parameters to converge are properties. See the converge example above.

Planned future changes


This section is planned to grow over time.

MethodNotFound exception

$ ngs -pi 'map(1,2,3)'
Exception of type MethodNotFound occurred

# Means the parameters did not match any of the existing methods.
# See which methods are defined:

ngs -pi map
    Array of size 7
      [0] = <UserDefinedMethod map(e:Eachable, mapper:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:242>
      [1] = <UserDefinedMethod map(arr:Arr, n:Int, mapper:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:1600>
      [2] = <UserDefinedMethod map(h:Hash, mapper:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:2209>
      [3] = <UserDefinedMethod map(fb:FullBox, mapper:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:2550>
      [4] = <UserDefinedMethod map(eb:EmptyBox, mapper:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:2555>
      [5] = <UserDefinedMethod map(s:Success, fun:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:2762>
      [6] = <UserDefinedMethod map(f:Failure, fun:Fun) at /usr/local/lib/ngs/stdlib.ngs:2771>