This document describes the concept of Editions.

What Is An Edition

An Edition, is in principle, a list of library versions that should be compatible with each other. An Edition specifies the engine version and a set of library versions that can be used together.

If a library included in an Edition depends on another library, that other library must also be included in that Edition and the version at which it is included must be compatible with the library that depends on it. Each Edition may only include a single version of each library.

Thus, when a library is to be installed, its version is uniquely determined by the selected Edition. A curated Edition file will guarantee that all libraries are compatible which simplifies version resolution - the exact version that is specified in the Edition is always used.

The Edition File

The Edition file is a YAML file that can contain the following fields:

  • engine-version which should be a semantic versioning string specifying the engine version that should be associated with that edition,
  • repositories which defines the repositories which are sources of library packages, its format is described below,
  • extends which can contain a name of another Edition that this Edition extends,
  • libraries which defines the libraries that this Edition should include, its format is described below.

Every field is optional, but for an Edition file to be valid it must specify at least the engine version to be used (either by specifying it directly or extending another edition that specifies it).


The repositories field is a list of repository objects.

Each object must have:

  • a name field which specifies the name under which this repository will be referred to in the rest of the file,
  • a url field which specifies the URL of the root of that repository.

The name can be any string which only needs to be consistent with the names used in the package definitions. The only reserved name is local, which is a special repository name, as explained below.


The libraries field defines the set of libraries included in the edition.

Each library is represented by an object that must have:

  • a name field which is the fully qualified name of the library (consisting of its prefix and the name itself),
  • a repository field which specifies which repository this package should be downloaded from. The repository field should refer to the name of one of the repositories defined in the edition or to local,
  • a version field which specifies which exact package version should be used when the library is imported; it is normally required, but if the repository is set to local, the version must not be specified as the version will only depend on what is available in the local repository,
  • an optional hash that can be included to verify the integrity of the package.

The hash field is currently not implemented.

Extending the Editions

An edition may extend another one by using the extends property specifying the name of the edition that is to be extended. Henceforth we will call the edition that is being extended ‘the parent edition’ and the other one ‘the local edition’.

The current edition inherits all configuration of the parent edition, but it can also override specific settings.

If the engine-version is specified in the current edition, it overrides the engine version that was implied from the parent edition.

If the current edition specifies its libraries, they are added to the set of available libraries defined by the parent edition. If the current edition defines a library that has the same fully qualified name as a library that was already defined in the parent edition, the definition from the current edition takes precedence. This is the most important mechanism of extending editions that allows to override library settings.

The libraries defined in the current edition can refer to the repositories defined both in the current edition and in the parent. However, if the current edition defines a repository with the same name as some repository defined in the parent edition, the definition from the current edition takes precedence for the package definitions of the current definition, but the package definitions in the parent edition are not affected (they still refer to the definition from the their own edition). So you can shadow a repository name, but you cannot override it for libraries from the parent edition - instead libraries whose repository should be changed must all be overridden in the current edition.

Extending editions can be arbitrarily nested. That is, an edition can extend another edition that extends another one etc. The only limitation is that obviously there can be no cycles in the chain of extensions. Multiple extensions are resolved as follows: first the parent edition is completely resolved (which may recursively need to first resolve its parents etc.) and only then the current edition applies its overrides.

An Example Configuration

extends: 2021.4
engine-version: 1.2.3
  - name: secondary
    url: https://example.com/
  - name: Foo.Bar
    version: 1.0.0
    repository: secondary

The edition file shown above extends a base edition file called 2021.4. It overrides the engine version set in the parent edition to 1.2.3. Moreover it adds a library Foo.Bar from the secondary repository, or if 2021.4 included the library Foo.Bar, its definition is overridden with the one provided here.

Edition Resolution

The edition configuration for a project is loaded from the edition section in its package.yaml configuration. This ‘per-project’ edition has no assigned names, but it can refer to other editions by their names (when extending them). These editions are resolved using the logic below:

  1. Each <edition-name> corresponds to a file <edition-name>.yaml.
  2. First, the custom edition search paths are scanned for a matching edition file. These paths can be defined by the ENSO_EDITION_PATH environment variable. If it is not defined, it defaults to <ENSO_HOME>/editions.
  3. If none is found above, the cached/bundled edition search paths are checked. These consist of the directory $ENSO_DATA_DIRECTORY/editions, editions directories in installed engines and the editions directory in the currently running engine.

By default, downloaded editions are downloaded to $ENSO_DATA_DIRECTORY/editions, but also editions bundled with any available engines can be loaded.

See The Enso Distribution for definitions of the directories.

Updating the Editions

The global user configuration file should contain a list of URLs specifying edition providers that should be used. By default (if the field is missing), it will default to our official edition provider, but users may add other providers or remove the official one.

When enso update-editions is called or when requested by the IDE, these providers are queried and any new edition files are downloaded to the $ENSO_DATA_DIRECTORY/editions directory. Editions are assumed to be immutable, so edition files that already exist on disk are not redownloaded.

Library Resolution

Below are listed the steps that are taken when resolving an import of library Foo.Bar:

  1. If and only if the project has prefer-local-libraries set to true and if any directory on the library path contains Foo/Bar, that local instance is chosen as the library that should be used, regardless of the version that is there;
  2. Otherwise, the list of libraries defined directly in the edition section of package.yaml of the current project is checked, and if the library is defined there, it is selected.
  3. Otherwise, any parent editions are consulted; if they too do not contain the library that we are searching for, an error is reported.
  4. Once we know the library version to be used:
    1. If the repository associated with the library is local, the library path is searched for the first directory to contain Foo/Bar and this path is loaded. If the library is not present on the library path, an error is reported.
    2. Otherwise, the edition must have defined an exact <version> of the library that is supposed to be used.
    3. If the library is already downloaded in the local repository cache, that is the directory $ENSO_DATA_DIRECTORY/lib/Foo/Bar/<version> exists, that package is loaded.
    4. Otherwise, the library is missing and must be downloaded from its associated repository (and placed in the cache as above).

By default, the library path is <ENSO_HOME>/libraries/ but it can be overridden by setting the ENSO_LIBRARY_PATH environment variable. It may include a list of directories (separated by the system specific path separator); the first directory on the list has the highest precedence.

In particular, if prefer-local-libraries is false, and the edition does not define a library at all, when trying to resolve such a library, it is reported as not found even if a local version of it exists. That is because auto-discovery of local libraries is only done with prefer-local-libraries set to true. In all other cases, the local repository overrides should be set explicitly.