When you boot an urbit, we transfer the current version of the Arvo operating environment to your urbit over our network. That is, the source for the system lives on your urbit. Here we'll take a brief tour through the structure of a base Arvo desk.
Looking at the top level of the Arvo repo, or any urbit desk that has been mounted to unix, we see something like:
app/ arvo/ gen/ lib/ mar/ ren/ sec/ sur/ sys/ tests/ web/ web.md
Running the command
+ls % from your urbit's Dojo produces something similar:
~your-urbit:dojo> +ls % LICENSE/txt app/ gen/ lib/ mar/ ren/ sec/com/ sur/ sys/ tests/ web/
Let's step through, directory by directory.
This is where the Arvo kernel lives.
Hoon is our programming language. Since Hoon compiles itself, the language is actually specified in this source file.
Zuse is the Arvo standard library.
This is the source file for the central Arvo event dispatcher.
Vanes are sort of like kernel modules. These are worth listing one by one:
Ames is our network protocol.
Behn is a simple timer.
Clay is our filesystem.
Dill is our terminal driver.
Eyre is our webserver.
Ford is our build system.
Gall is our application model.
Jael is our secret vault.
Xmas is the new Ames, which will go live in our next big release.
That's it. That's the whole system.
This is where Gall apps live. Gall apps are stateful
servers, sort of like unix daemons. One familiar one is
app/hall.hoon which is
the source code for Hall, the Urbit messaging transport
layer. And there's also
app/dojo.hoon — that's your shell.
gen/ holds generators. Generators are short Dojo scripts.
lib/ holds shared libraries for programs.
lib/sole is a good
example — that's the console library that's shared by both Dojo in the
command line, and the Dojo web client.
This is where marks live. Marks are data type definitions used by Ford. A mark is like a mime-type, but specified in executable code.
These are web renderers. A renderer handles web requests of a particular type.
Default web requests in urbit are handled as a
.urb, which is caught
urb.hoon renderer. This wraps the request in our default
JS and adds some routing magic for certain paths.
Here are security drivers that Urbit uses to log into the APIs of various non-Urbit services.
sur/ contains shared data structures. Files in
sur are like header
files in C.
tests/ is the conventional place to put tests that use the +test generator and
Here are files publicly accessible to the web, as made possible by Eyre.
This is the homepage for your urbit. You'll see it at