Hof Creators are code generator modules intended for one-time bootstrapping from a few inputs. Use them to give your users one-liners for getting started or to provide reusable application blueprints.

Running hof create

hof create is run by users who provide the url to a git repository.

> terminal

$ hof create

The user is presented with an interactive prompt you design. Their answers provide the input to your generator, which should output the files they need to get started using your project. The process is flexible enough for any git repository to provide the creator experience, so what you generate does not have to be hof related.

Adding a Creator to your repository

To add a creator to a git repository, we have to set up a CUE module and hof generator, and then push a tag.

  1. initialize a CUE repository in your project (hof mod init cue <repo-url>)
  2. add a creator.cue at the root of your repository to hold the generator
  3. fill in the generator, templates, and prompt
  4. test the creator locally
  5. tag and push

There are a number of options for how to organize a creator, provide the prompt and inputs, and conditionally ask questions or output files. More information is provided below.

Example Creator

The following is the creator from the hofmod-cli generator in the video above.


package creators

import (

// A creator is a generator
Creator: gen.#Generator & {

	// The create section
	Create: {

		// pre|post messages
		Message: {
			// printed before input prompting
			Before: "Creating a new Go Cli"

			let name =
			// printed after successfully running
			After: """
			Your new Cli generator is ready, run the following
			to generate the code, build the binary, and run \(name).

			now run 'make first'    (cd to the --outdir if used)

		// Input schema
		Input: {
			name:      string
			repo:      string
			about:     string
			releases:  bool | *false
			updates:   bool | *false
			telemetry: bool | *false

		// Prompt configuration, a list of questions
		Prompt: [{
			Name:       "name"
			Type:       "input"
			Prompt:     "What is your CLI named"
			Required:   true
			Validation: common.NameLabel
			Name:       "repo"
			Type:       "input"
			Prompt:     "Git repository"
			Default:    ""
			Validation: common.NameLabel
			Name:       "about"
			Type:       "input"
			Prompt:     "Tell us a bit about it..."
			Required:   true
			Validation: common.NameLabel
			Name:       "releases"
			Type:       "confirm"
			Prompt:     "Enable GoReleaser tooling"
			Default:    true

		// conditional prompts based on prior inputs
		if Input.releases == true {
			Name:       "updates"
			Type:       "confirm"
			Prompt:     "Enable self updating"
			Default:    true

		if Input.releases == true {
			Name:       "telemetry"
			Type:       "confirm"
			Prompt:     "Enable telemetry"

	// The user input is embedded the only input
	In: {

	// the commont template directories can be found under
	// the directory '{repo}/creators/{templates,partials,...}'
	gen.#SubdirTemplates & { #subdir: "creators" }

	// the files which will be generated
	Out: [...gen.#File] & [ 
		for file in [
			"cli.cue",            // starting CUE for the cli code generator
			"cue.mods",           // CUE module file
			"cue.mod/module.cue", // CUE module file
			"Makefile",           // for an easy post-create command for the user
		]{ TemplatePath: file, Filepath: file }

Learn More

As we were saying, a creator is a hof generator with a Create field, run as a one-time code generation. The main new part is the prompt where you can ask the user for inputs. These then form the input value to code generation, and at this point, the creator is like any other generator

Users then run hof create <repo>@<tag> to bootstrap full applications or features to an existing application. Since creators are just generators, you can create the files needed for CI/CD, deployment, security, or other system. You can output CUE files and many hof generators will also provide creators to bootstrap the initial files needed to use their module.

To learn more about writing creators, prompts, and how to give your users one-line bootstrapping or application blueprints, see the hof create section

Creator vs Generator Module

Under the hood, a Creator is a one-time Generator Module with an optional prompt. To decide when to use one versus the other…

Use a Creator when:

  • You expect users to run the generation process just once
  • Your users need to quickly bootstrap an application based on a few inputs
  • You want a hof create one-liner to give your users

Use a Module when:

  • You expect your users to run code generation iteratively, as part of their application development
  • You want your users to add or change features and then regenerate their code
  • If you want to give them the ability to change or add features from your app skeleton, then hof gen is the way to go. Full generators were designed for an iterative, ongoing experience during software development.