Java 11 as CLI tool. No compilation. No pacakging.

Since java 11 it is possible to run java programs without the need to compile it.That allows to useas a CLI language.

Albert Lacambra BasilAlbert Lacambra Basil

Since JDK 11 It is possible to run Java code without any compilation. That gives us the possibility to use java files as CLI scripts.

In this way, I will use it to orchestrate bash commands using java while executing bash commands.

To do that, we need:

  1. Pass parameters to our scripts.

  2. Execute shell commands.

Use of CREST to manage scripts parameters

Crest, as defined by tomitribe is a “Command-line API styled after JAX-RS”. For example, the declaration of a “ls” command would look like:

 public void ls(@Option("a") boolean all, @Option("h") boolean human, @Option("l") boolean list, URI path) {

Crest has a lot of options of useful options. Check his site

Now, we are able to create a java command easily. We only miss its implementation. It can be pure java based or we could want to call some other powerfull shell commands.

Execute shell commands from java

We want now run a native shell command. That means:

  1. Call the command

  2. Pass parameters

  3. Capture result code

  4. Capture result output

 * command: shell command with parameters included
 * stdOutConsumer: it receives the stdout response as lines.
 * errConsumer: it receives the stderr response as lines.
public CompletableFuture<Process> executeCommand(String command, Consumer<String> stdOutConsumer, Consumer<String> errConsumer) {

    Process p;

    try {
      p = Runtime.getRuntime().exec(command);
      run(p::getInputStream, stdOutConsumer);
      run(p::getErrorStream, errConsumer);
      return p.onExit();
    } catch (IOException e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);

private void run(Supplier<InputStream> streamSupplier, Consumer<String> streamConsumer) {
    try (InputStream stream = streamSupplier.get()) {
      StringBuilder currentLine = new StringBuilder();
      int nextChar;
      while ((nextChar = != -1) {
        if (nextChar == '\n') {
        currentLine.append((char) nextChar);
    } catch (IOException e) {
      throw new RuntimeException(e);

Here, I am passing the standard output text to the Consumers<> line per line.

Calling our script. No compilation. No pacakging.

To run everything together without the need to compile, you must add the CREST dependencies into the classpath:

java -cp /path/to/tomitribe-crest-api-0.10.jar:/path/to/tomitribe-crest-0.10.jar:/path/to/tomitribe-util-1.0.0.jar \

/path/to/blogs-posts-code/cli/src/main/java/tech/lacambra/blog/cli/ ls -la .

One useful use case is small DB backups scripts. I use java to check, create and delete folders and create proper logs while using native mysqldump command to execute the DB backup

you can get the full code on github.