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Clojure provides the clojure command line tool for:

  • Running an interactive REPL (Read-Eval-Print Loop)
  • Running Clojure programs
  • Evaluating Clojure expressions

The clojure CLI is written in bash. This is a port of that tool written in Clojure itself.


  • Available as executable compiled with GraalVM
  • Run directly from source with babashka or the JVM
  • Similar startup to bash
  • Easy installation on all three major platforms including Windows
  • Works in cmd.exe on Windows


Linux and macOS:

$ bash <(curl -s
$ deps
Clojure 1.10.1


C:\> PowerShell -Command "iwr -useb | iex"
C:\> deps.exe
Clojure 1.10.1


Reasons why I made this:

  • The port was done as proof of concept for babashka. The entire bash script was ported to Clojure successfully and runs just as fast with bb.

  • This offers an arguably easier way to get going with deps.edn based projects in CI. Just download an installer script, execute it with bash or Powershell and you're set. Installer scripts are provided for linux, macOS and Windows.

  • Windows users might find the deps.exe executable of value if they have trouble getting their system up and running. It works with cmd.exe unlike the current Powershell based approach.

  • This repo might be a place to experiment with features that are not available in the original clojure command. Most notably it offers an -Scommand option which allows other programs to be started than just the JVM version of Clojure, e.g. babashka or planck.

  • Arguably bash and Powershell are less attractive languages for Clojure developers than Clojure itself. This repo provides the clojure bash script as a port in Clojure. It can be used as a binary, script (deps.clj), uberjar or library.

  • This repo can be seen as a proof of concept of what is possible with GraalVM and Clojure.


Experimental, but in a usable state. Breaking changes might happen to the non-standard functionality. Feedback and PRs are welcome.


There are three ways of running:

  • as a compiled binary called deps which is tailored to your OS
  • as a script file called deps.clj using bb or clojure
  • as a JVM library or uberjar (see Github releases).


The binary version of deps.clj, called deps (without the .clj extension), only requires a working installation of java.

Manual download

Binaries for linux, macOS and Windows can be obtained on the Github releases page.

Linux and macOS

Install using the installation script on linux or macOS:

$ bash <(curl -s /tmp
$ /tmp/deps
Clojure 1.10.1


On Windows you might want to install deps.clj using scoop.

Alternatively you can install deps.exe using by executing the following line:

C:\> PowerShell -Command "iwr -useb | iex"
C:\> deps.exe
Clojure 1.10.1

It's automatically added to your path. In Powershell you can use it right away. In cmd.exe you'll have to restart the session for it to become available on the path.

When you get a message about a missing MSVCR100.dll, also install the Microsoft Visual C++ 2010 Redistributable Package (x64) which is also available in the extras Scoop bucket.


The script, deps.clj, requires a working installation of java and additionally bb or clojure.

It can simply be downloaded from this repo:

$ curl -sL -o /tmp/deps.clj
$ chmod +x /tmp/deps.clj
$ bb /tmp/deps.clj
Clojure 1.10.1

Tools jars

This project will look in $HOME/.deps.clj/<clojure-version>/ClojureTools for clojure-tools-<clojure-version>.jar, exec.jar and example-deps.edn. If it cannot it find those files there, it will try to download them from this location. You can override the location of these jars with the CLOJURE_TOOLS_DIR environment variable. If the download fails for some reason, you can try to download the zip yourself and unzip it at the expected location.

Extra features

The deps.clj script adds the following features compared to the clojure tool:

 -Sdeps-file    Use this file instead of deps.edn
 -Scommand      A custom command that will be invoked. Substitutions: {{classpath}}, {{main-opts}}.

It also is able to pick up proxy information from environment variables.


One of the use cases for deps.clj is invoking a different command than java.

Given this deps.edn:

  {:extra-paths ["test"]
   :extra-deps {borkdude/spartan.test {:mvn/version "0.0.4"}}
   :main-opts ["-m" "spartan.test" "-n" "borkdude.deps-test"]}}}

you can invoke bb like this:

$ deps.clj -A:test -Scommand "bb -cp {{classpath}} {{main-opts}}"
Ran 3 tests containing 3 assertions.
0 failures, 0 errors.

If you use -Scommand often, an alias can be helpful:

$ alias bbk='rlwrap deps.clj -Scommand "bb -cp {{classpath}} {{main-opts}}"'
$ bbk -A:test
Ran 3 tests containing 3 assertions.
0 failures, 0 errors.

The bbk alias is similar to the clj alias in that it adds rlwrap.

Additional args are passed along to the command:

$ bbk -e '(+ 1 2 3)'

Of course you can create another alias without rlwrap for CI, similar to the clojure command:

$ alias babashka='deps.clj -Scommand "bb -cp {{classpath}} {{main-opts}}"'

This approach can also be used with planck or lumo:

$ alias lm='deps.clj -Scommand "lumo -c {{classpath}} {{main-opts}}"'
$ lm -Sdeps '{:deps {medley {:mvn/version "1.2.0"}}}' -K \
  -e "(require '[medley.core :refer [index-by]]) (index-by :id [{:id 1} {:id 2}])"
{1 {:id 1}, 2 {:id 2}}


The -Sdeps-file option may be used to load a different project file than deps.edn.

Proxy environment variables

deps.clj supports setting a proxy server via the "standard" environment variables (the lowercase versions are tried first):

  • http_proxy or HTTP_PROXY for http traffic
  • https_proxy or HTTPs_PROXY for https traffic

This will set the JVM properties -Dhttp[s].proxyHost and -Dhttp[s].proxyPort.

The format of the proxy string supported is http[s]://[username:password@]host:port. Any username and password info is ignored as not supported by the underlying JVM properties.

Developing deps.clj

For running locally, you can invoke deps.clj with clojure (totally meta right?). E.g. for creating a classpath with deps.clj, you can run:

$ clojure -M -m borkdude.deps -Spath

or with lein:

$ lein run -m borkdude.deps -Spath

To run jvm tests:

$ script/jvm_test

To run with babashka after making changes to src/borkdude/deps.clj, you should run:

$ script/gen_script.clj

and then:

$ ./deps.clj -Spath
# or
$ bb deps.clj -Spath

To run as an executable, you'll first have to compile it. First, download a GraalVM distro. The compile script assumes that you will have set GRAALVM_HOME to the location of your GraalVM installation. Currently this project uses java-11-20.1.0.

$ export GRAALVM_HOME=/Users/borkdude/Downloads/graalvm-ce-java11-20.1.0/Contents/Home

The script also assumes that you have lein installed.

Run the compile script with:

$ script/compile

If everything worked out, there will be a deps binary in the root of the project.

To run executable tests:

$ script/exe_test


Copyright © 2019-2020 Michiel Borkent

Distributed under the EPL License. See LICENSE.

This project is based on code from clojure/brew-install which is licensed under the same EPL License.

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