Aliases & Catalogs

To avoid remembering long paths and to enable easy launch of jbang scripts there is an alias command to setup and manage aliases to actual scripts.

jbang alias add hello https://github.com/jbangdev/jbang-examples/blob/HEAD/examples/helloworld.java

will add an alias named hello pointing to that github url which then can be run using jbang hello.

jbang alias list

will show you all the aliases that are defined locally.

Implicit Alias Catalogs

The aliases you create are stored locally (see Local Alias Catalogs), but Jbang can also use remote catalogs. You can access those catalogs explicitly (see Catalogs) but it is much easier to use what we call "implicit catalogs", which are aliases that have a special format and Jbang is smart enough to know where to find their definition.

Examples:

jbang hello@jbangdev will run the alias hello as defined in jbang-catalog.json found in https://github.com/jbangdev/jbang-catalog.

This allows anyone to provide a set of jbang scripts defined in their github, gitlab or bitbucket repositories.

The full format is <alias>@<user/org>(/repository)(/branch)(~path) allowing you to do things like:

Table 1. Implicit Catalog Examples:
Command Description

jbang hello@acme

hello alias found in acme/jbang-catalog/jbang-catalog.json of the default branch searched on github, gitlab and bitbucket in that order.

jbang hello@acme/mycatalog

hello found in acme/mycatalog/jbang-catalog.json searched on github, gitlab and bitbucket in that order.

jbang hello@acme/mycatalog/dev

hello found in acme/mycatalog/jbang-catalog.json in the dev branch searched on github, gitlab and bitbucket in that order.

jbang hello@acme~experimental

hello found in acme/jbang-catalog/experimental/jbang-catalog.json

Local Alias Catalogs

Jbang will also look in the current directory for a jbang-catalog.json file and if it exists it will look up any aliases in there too. In fact it will look in several places in the following order:

  1. Current directory, ./jbang-catalog.json

  2. In .jbang/jbang-catalog.json

  3. In the parent directory, ../jbang-catalog.json

  4. In the parent’s .jbang directory, ../.jbang/jbang-catalog.json`

  5. And repeating steps 3 and 4 recursively upwards to the root of the file system

  6. As the last step it will look in $HOME/.jbang/jbang-catalog.json

Jbang will use any aliases defined in those files, but on top of that it will also look at the aliases defined in any catalogs mentioned in those files as well. Aliases defined in the file have preference over aliases found in any catalogs defined in the same file.

When you create aliases using jbang alias add, or add catalogs using jbang catalog add the same ordering will be used to determine where to store the alias or catalog. Btw, this will only take into account existing files! So if no jbang-catalog.json file exists in the local directory it will not be created for you, but Jbang will keep looking until it finds a file to use (as a last option it will always be written to $HOME/.jbang/jbang-catalog.json).

This means that if you want to write the alias to jbang-catalog.json in your local folder you will either have to create the file first (eg by running touch jbang-catalog.json) or by explicitly specifying the file location:

jbang alias add -f jbang-catalog.json hello https://github.com/jbangdev/jbang-examples/blob/HEAD/examples/helloworld.java

Btw, the flag --show-origin is very useful when listing aliases to find out where exactly an alias is defined:

jbang alias list --show-origin

Catalogs

Catalogs are lists of Aliases as defined in the previous section, but while the alias command is used to manage aliases within a catalog, the catalog command is for managing references to catalogs. This is mostly useful when dealing with remote catalogs. You can for example add a catalog like this:

jbang catalog add --name demo https://github.com/jbangdev/jbang-catalog/blob/HEAD/jbang-catalog.json

or simply by using the same "implicit" catalog system described in Implicit Alias Catalogs:

jbang catalog add --name demo jbangdev

The aliases in that catalog are now available by adding @demo to their names. For example:

$ jbang alias list demo
env@demo = Dump table of Environment Variables
gavsearch@demo = Search search.maven.org for maven artifacts.
hello@demo = Script that says hello back for each argument
properties@demo = Dump table of System properties
$ jbang run hello@demo World!
[jbang] Building jar...
Hello World!

In fact, it’s possible to run the alias just by using jbang run hello, the @demo part is only necessary when trying to disambiguate between aliases with the same name from different catalogs.

You can list the available catalogs by running:

jbang catalog list

NB: The output will not only show the catalogs you defined yourself but also the ones that get added implicitly when running aliases as described in the section Implicit Alias Catalogs.