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ABS Tools

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Inside this repository we develop the core tools of the ABS modelling language. The current language manual is at

To compile the command-line compiler and manual, run ./gradlew assemble (See for more information).

To run the ABS collaboratory (a browser-based IDE for ABS) locally using Docker, execute the following command:

docker run -p 8080:80 --rm abslang/collaboratory:latest

Then connect your browser to http://localhost:8080/. It is not necessary to clone the repository or compile the toolchain to run the ABS collaboratory in this way.

To run the absc compiler locally using docker, create a script such as and put it in your path.


  • frontend - the ABS compiler and runtime support. See for installation instructions.

  • abs-docs - the ABS language manual, available online at To generate the manual locally, run make manual.

    • abs-docs/ReferenceManual - an older LaTeX ABS reference manual, now mostly of historical interest

    • abs-docs/Ott - a formal grammar for a large subset of ABS, written in Ott

  • org.abs-models.releng - Files used by Jenkins and Buckminster for continuous integration at

  • abs-unit - demonstration, description and initial ideas about the ABSUnit (a unit testing framework for ABS) (with Maven dependencies management)

  • various leftovers from previous projects, to be evaluated and reactivated or pruned

Note for Windows Users

Please clone the archive without line ending conversion (unfortunately activated by default on Windows). Use -c core.autocrlf=false as argument for the initial git clone command, i.e.,

git clone -c core.autocrlf=false

Otherwise, running the tools inside Docker will fail with obscure error messages.

Working with the repository

Consider rebasing instead of merging your changes:

git pull --rebase

This avoids spurious "merge branch to master" commits.

git pull --rebase will, in case both you and the remote repository have new commits, replay your local commits on top of upstream changes instead of adding a new local commit that merges the master and origin/master branches. Conflicts have to be resolved per patch (via git add + git rebase --continue) instead of in one go, but we get a cleaner history.