#cli #sync #download #tools

bin+lib tool-sync

tool-sync is a CLI tool that manages installation of other CLI tools from GitHub Releases by downloading binaries and storing them in a local directory

2 unstable releases

0.2.0 Sep 20, 2022
0.1.0 Aug 29, 2022

#932 in Command line utilities

MPL-2.0 license



GitHub CI Latest GitHub release MPL-2.0 license

tool-sync is a CLI tool that solves one problem:

📥 Download pre-built binaries of all your favourite tools with a single command.

tool-sync embraces the idea that configuring your personal development environment should be as easy as possible. And the life is pretty easy when all the tools are simple executables.

So why not simply download all the executables you use and put them in a single place??? 🚀 😱

tool-sync demo

ℹ️ DISCLAIMER: tool-sync is developed and maintained in free time by volunteers. The development may continue for decades or may stop tomorrow. You can use GitHub Sponsorship to support the development of this project.

Quick start guide

With tool-sync, you can install all the tools you use by following three simple steps:

  1. Install tool-sync.
  2. Configure tool-sync by describing all the tools you want.
  3. Run tool sync.

That's all! 🥳

The tool sync command does the following:

  1. Fetches the information about tools from GitHub Releases
  2. Automatically guesses the asset name from your OS for common tools
  3. Downloads and unpacks assets
  4. Copies binaries from unpacked assets to the location of your choice


tool-sync has several distinguished features that allows you to manage your personal toolbox easily:

  • 🚀 Installs the latest version of tools by default
  • 🧹 Helps you to avoid boilerplate configuration for popular tools
  • 📜 Configures via a simple TOML file
  • ☸️ Cross-platform: works on Linux🐧, macOS🍏 and Windows💠
  • 🪶 No runtime dependencies: doesn't require any other tools to do the job


Currently, tool-sync has a few limitations:

  • Supports downloading pre-built binaries only from GitHub Releases
  • Doesn't support other configuration besides downloading the binary (e.g. copying additional assets or setting up auto-completion)
  • Doesn't avoid downloading of the same version

Project goals

This project is created in pursue of the following goals. Feature requests not compatible with the following list of goals might be rejected.

  1. Learning Rust.
    • I like learning by creating new things. I'm learning a lot while working on tool-sync and at the same time I find this tool useful for myself! So, please, don't ask "Why create another package manager?". It's not even a package manager 😒
  2. Single-command batch installation.
    • Another tool-sync is to be able to configure it once and forget about it (ideally forever) and use with the minimal overhead. Installing lots of tools with a single command helps achieving this goal.
  3. Informative messages.
    • When something doesn't work, it should be clear "Why?" and "How to fix it?". tool-sync strives to provide good error messages (but this is an endless work).


You can install tool-sync directly from GitHub releases in a few steps:

  1. Go to the latest release.
  2. Download an asset for your OS.
  3. Unpack the tool executable to a desired location.

Good news, you only need to do this once! tool-sync will automatically manage future installations of itself (if you add it to your config).

ℹ️ Installing pre-built binaries for tool-sync is the recommended option because they are:

  • Statically linked (so they work out-of-the-box on every system)
  • Stripped (so their size is reduced)

From crates

You can use cargo to install the latest published version of tool-sync from crates:

cargo install tool-sync

From sources

You can install the latest version of tool-sync from sources (requires git and cargo):

git clone https://github.com/chshersh/tool-sync
cd tool-sync
cargo build --release
./target/release/tool --version


Before using tool-sync, you need to configure it by specifying the location for downloading the tools and listing all the tools you want.

By default tool-sync reads the configuration from from the $HOME/.tool.toml path. But you can specify a custom location via the --config=/path/to/my/config flag.

Quick start

tool-sync has a command to generate a default configuration with examples and field description. Simply generate it into a file and edit it:

tool default-config > ~/.tool.toml  # generate the default config
vim ~/.tool.toml                    # open it with an editor of your choice

Simple example

Below you can find a simple configuration example:

# a directory to store all tools
store_directory = "~/.local/bin"

# the following tools will be installed in 'store_directory'

ℹ️ tool-sync automatically expands the tilde ~ and environment variables (e.g $HOME) in the store_directory field.

You can also quickly copy the above configuration to the default path by running the following command (Unix-only):

curl https://raw.githubusercontent.com/chshersh/tool-sync/main/example-tool-sync-config.toml > ~/.tool.toml

The above example config lists some tools natively supported by tool-sync and therefore they don't require extra configuration.

Advanced configuration

To specify a tool not supported by tool-sync, add a TOML table entry and list all the required fields like in the example below:

owner    = "XAMPPRocky"  # GitHub username
repo     = "tokei"       # GitHub repository
exe_name = "tokei"       # Executable name inside the asset

# uncomment to download a specific version or tag
# tag = "12.1.1"

# Asset name to download on linux OSes
asset_name.linux = "x86_64-unknown-linux-musl"

# Uncomment if you want to install on macOS as well
# asset_name.macos = "apple-darwin"

# Uncomment if you want to install on Windows as well
# asset_name.windows = "x86_64-pc-windows-msvc"

ℹ️ tool-sync searches asset name using the substring search. That's why you don't need to specify the full asset name in the config, only the minimal part required for identifying the asset. However, tool-sync doesn't guarantee you to find the asset you need if multiple assets from the GitHub release match the substring.

All fields in each tool section are

  • required for unknown tools,
  • optional for known tools.

This means that you can override only some of the fields for known tools.

This can be helpful if e.g. you want to install a custom version of ripgrep from a forked repository. To do this, specify only the repository owner in the config:

owner = "me"


Install all the tools specified in ~/.tool.toml:

tool sync

Install all the tools from config in a different location:

tool --config=path/to/my/config.toml sync

Install a tool that is hardcoded in the known tools list:

tool install ripgrep

Print the default config to stdout:

tool default-config

Run tool --help for more details.

:octocat: If you hit the limit for downloading assets or want to download assets from private repositories, create a personal access token and export it as the GITHUB_TOKEN environment variable.


This section contains tool-sync comparison to existing alternatives:

  1. Manual download: you can download GitHub releases manually without using any extra tools.

    • Pros
      • No extra tools required, only your browser and unpack utility
    • Cons
      • Tedious manual process
  2. GitHub CLI: you can download assets from releases using the GitHub CLI tool gh.

    gh release download --repo chshersh/tool-sync v0.0.0 --pattern='*linux*'
    tar -xvf tool-x86_64-unknown-linux-gnu.tar.gz
    ./tool --version
    • Pros
      • Using a more common tool (that you probably have)
    • Cons
      • Can't download multiple tools with a single command
      • Can't guess the asset name by your OS
  3. home-manager: provides a full-featured solution for managing a user environment using the Nix package manager.

    • Pros
      • Supports more than downloading tools from GitHub Releases
      • Access to the bigger Nix ecosystem
    • Cons
      • More complicated solution
      • Requires learning and using Nix
  4. topgrade: a CLI tool for automatically upgrading everything you have on your system. Its similar to tool-sync in a sense that it uses the latest version but it relies on existing packages managers and doesn't install new tools.

    • Pros
      • Leverages your existing package managers and their configuration
      • Support plugins, editor configs and much more besides executable tools
    • Cons
      • Only updates, doesn't install new
  5. cargo-binstall:

    • Pros
      • Installs more Rust tools than tool-sync without configuration
      • Builds a tool from sources if it doesn't provide a binary release
    • Cons
      • Supports only Rust tools
      • Doesn't install multiple tools with a single command
  6. dra: the closest alternative to tool-sync. It's a CLI tool, written in Rust, that allows downloading individual releases easily.

    • Pros
      • Convenient interface for downloading a single release
    • Cons
      • Can't download multiple tools with a single command
      • Can't guess the asset name by your OS
  7. clyde: another alternative to tool-sync

    • Pros
      • Package integrity checks
      • Supports man pages
      • Doesn't require to select a location for installing tools
    • Cons
      • Tools can't be installed if not added in a central repository
      • Can't install multiple tools with a single command
      • Has runtime dependencies: git and tar

Adding a new tool

tool-sync contains a database of common tools and provides easier support for them. It's possible to add more tools (and you can suggest them!). The following list contains guidelines for including a new tool. They don't serve as gatekeeping criteria but more as points system:

  • 6 months passed since the tool release
    • So that the database won't be populated with fresh tools that are never supported
  • At least 3 releases
    • To ensure stable naming scheme for assets
  • Commonly used tool
    • tool-sync strives to be generic so it might not want to support a DNA analysis CLI tool which is useful only for a specific group
  • The tool-sync author find the tool helpful
    • In the end, there're people behind tool-sync who maintain this project while the rest of the world benefits from it for free. At least, tool-sync authors decide what they want to use and whether they want to support a tool indefinitely.

For contributors

Check CONTRIBUTING.md for contributing guidelines.



Use cargo to build the project and run all tests:

cargo build
cargo test

Pre-commit hooks

There is a predefined .pre-commit-config.yaml that you can install using pre-commit. This will make sure the linting checks are run locally before committing changes.

Update the default config golden test

When changing the format of the default configuration, run the following command to quickly update the golden default-config.toml test:

cargo run -- default-config > tests/default-config.toml


~264K SLoC