Integrations for various editors, etc., and how to write your own


If you’ve followed the setup instructions, you have your shell configured to load the Shadowenv from a directory when you move into it, but this doesn’t automatically make IDEs or other non-terminal-based applications work the way you would hope they would. We’ve built extensions for a variety of popular text editors and IDEs to make them behave approximately the same way as the Shadowenv shell integration:

Building Integrations

Building your own Shadowenv integration is not terribly difficult. All of our integrations—shell hooks and editor plugins alike—just call shadowenv hook with some arguments and apply the result to the process environment.

shadowenv hook has a few different output modes: default and --fish for shells; --json and --pretty-json for languages with good JSON support; and --porcelain for environments where parsing a simple binary protocol is simpler than parsing JSON.

For the most part, you’re probably going to want to use --json. One important concept to understand about the way we build Shadowenv integrations is that Shadowenv will instruct the calling process to export all of the variables it sets (“exporting” a variable means that it will be inherited by child processes: really it means that the variable is an actual environment variable, not just a variable somewhere in the process’s own memory).

Previous versions of Shadowenv (prior to 2.0.0) had a special-case for the variable __shadowenv_data, which was listed as an “unexported” variable, to be set only in the process managing the environment.

When receiving data from Shadowenv 1.3.x and earlier, you will see something like:

$ shadowenv hook --pretty-json ''
  "exported": {},
  "unexported": {
    "__shadowenv_data": "..."

However, with 2.0.0 and later, you will simply see:

$ shadowenv hook --pretty-json ''
  "schema": "v2",
  "exported": {
    "__shadowenv_data": "...",
    "...": "..."
  "unexported": {}

Note that we’ve added a “schema” field, and that schema v3 will almost certainly remove the “unexported” element, so make sure not to depend on its presence.

Our suggestion moving forward into 2.0.0 and later is to treat “unexported” values read from 1.3.2 and earlier the same as “exported” values.

You can look at any or all of the editor integrations above for a roadmap to implementing your own, but here’s a minimal example in Ruby to get you started.


$shadowenv_data = nil

def on_some_event
  stdout, stderr, stat = Open3.capture3(
    'shadowenv', 'hook', '--json', $shadowenv_data,
  raise(stderr) unless stat.success?

  data = JSON.parse(stdout)

  # Don't assume this will exist: it will go away in schema v3.
  data.fetch('unexported', {}).each do |name, value|
    ENV[name] = value

  data['exported'].each do |name, value|
    ENV[name] = value