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A Developer Pill

Announcing a new tool for developers.

November 15, 2022

A Developer Pill

Update ~2023.2.16

The developer pill process has been automated and the most up-to-date developer pill is available at

Prior pills are available by timestamp, and we will have a Resources page listing those for your convenience soon.

The content currently remains %base %citadel %autoprop %docs %garden %webterm %argo %cliff, with soon as the upstream source for UF/Tlon desks.

You can boot a ship using the latest developer pill by either downloading the pill and using the -B flag, or using the -u flag with the URL.

A pill is a bootstrap sequence to launch an Urbit ship for the first time. For most of Urbit's history, developers and users have typically used the supplied standard pill for booting their ships. Core developers would produce custom pills as a matter of testing changes in Arvo, but otherwise alternative pills were mostly ignored.

Today the Urbit Foundation unveils a new developer-oriented pill, which contains tools out-of-the-box to ease development and encourage best practices.


The current pill contains the desks:

  • %argo from ~dister-dozzod-middev
  • %base from ~mister-dister-dozzod-dozzod
  • %citadel from ~dister-dozzod-middev
  • %cliff from ~paldev
  • %docs from ~pocwet
  • %garden from ~mister-dister-dozzod-dozzod
  • %webterm from ~mister-dister-dozzod-dozzod


To use the pill, boot your developer ship with the -B option and the current pill. (We will timestamp developer pills and maintain a public changelog.)

urbit -B dev-20221111.pill -F zod

Alternatively, use the -u flag and the URL of the source pill.

urbit -u -F zod

When serving with web pages, we also recommend considering using tooling such as ~paldev's Suite (namely Rudder) and Quartus’ Schooner.

We expect the developer pill to evolve over time as new apps come out and newer libraries and practices supersede others.

Build Details

This brass pill was built using a slightly modified pill builder (to include /dia and /doc folders in /gen/brass.pill). A few minor changes are made to the standard desks:

  • %argo has %language-server activated.
  • %citadel has %citadel-cli activated.

No desks relying on glob-ames can be installed without modification, as Ames is not visible to a development fakeship.

The pill was built as a brass pill, e.g.:

.brass/pill +brass %base %argo %citadel %cliff %docs %garden %webterm


If there are other developer-friendly apps that come online in the future, let us know and we'll be happy to consider them.


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