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A CLI to add common aliases and features to deps.edn-based projects.


See the New Clojure project quickstart blog post for a gentle introduction into neil.


Homebrew (Linux and macOS)

$ brew install babashka/brew/neil

Scoop (Windows)

$ scoop bucket add scoop-clojure
$ scoop install neil

For detailed information about scoop installer check scoop-clojure.


$ nix-shell -p neil

# Alternatively, if your nix channel doesn't have neil yet:
$ nix-shell -I nixpkgs=channel:nixos-unstable -p neil


Add the following alias to your global or project-local deps.edn:

:neil {:deps {io.github.babashka/neil {:git/tag "v0.1.41"
                                       :git/sha "77288d4"}}
       :main-opts ["-m" "babashka.neil"]}

Then invoke clj -M:neil.


  • Install babashka
  • Download the neil script to somewhere on your PATH. In Windows, also download the neil.bat script and place it in the PATH.


As we're still finding out the best UX, neil may undergo breaking changes from version to version.


Type neil to see the help:

Usage: neil <subcommand> <options>

Most subcommands support the options:
  --alias      Override alias name.
  --deps-file  Override deps.edn file name.


  dep    Alias for `neil dep add`.
  test   adds cognitect test runner to :test alias.
  build  adds build.clj file and :build alias.
  kaocha adds kaocha test runner to :kaocha alias.
  nrepl  adds nrepl server to :nrepl alias.

  add: Adds --lib, a fully qualified symbol, to deps.edn :deps.
    Run `neil dep add --help` to see all options.

  search: Search Clojars for a string in any attribute of an artifact
    Run `neil dep search --help` to see all options.

  upgrade: Upgrade libs in the deps.edn file.
    Run `neil dep upgrade --help` to see all options.

  versions: List available versions of a library (Clojars libraries only)
    Run `neil dep versions -h` to see all options.

  update: Alias for `upgrade`.

  list   Lists commonly-used licenses available to be added to project. Takes an optional search string to filter results.
  search Alias for `list`
  add    Writes license text to a file
    --license The key of the license to use (e.g. epl-1.0, mit, unlicense). --license option name may be elided when license key is provided as first argument.
    --file    The file to write. Defaults to 'LICENSE'.

  Create a project using deps-new
    Run `neil new --help` to see all options.

  Commands for managing the :version key in the deps.edn project config.
    Run `neil version --help` to see all options.

  Run tests. Assumes `neil add test`. Run `neil test --help` to see all options.

add dep

This will add the newest version of clj-kondo to the :deps map in deps.edn:

$ neil add dep :lib clj-kondo/clj-kondo

The :lib keyword may be elided if the libname is the first argument after dep:

$ neil add dep clj-kondo/clj-kondo

The add dep command will always overwrite an existing dependency.

To add a git library from Github you can use :sha to provide a SHA or :latest-sha to pick the latest sha from the default branch:

$ neil add dep org.babashka/sci :latest-sha true

add build

To add related features, use:

$ neil add build :deps-deploy true

After that you can run tasks like:

$ clojure -T:build uber
$ clojure -T:build deploy

If you didn't use the full app template when starting your project, then you'll need to configure a couple things in order to get a working uberjar. See the uberjar section here.

add test

$ neil add test

This will add the Cognitect test-runner to your deps.edn so you can execute:

$ clojure -X:test

A similar option is supported for kaocha:

$ neil add kaocha

To change the alias you can provide an option like:

$ neil add kaocha :alias kaocha2

dep search

Search Clojars for a string in any attribute of an artifact:

$ neil dep search "babashka.nrepl"
:lib babashka/babashka.nrepl :version 0.0.6

Note that Clojars stores the namespace and name of a library as separate attributes, so searching for a ns-qualified library will not necessarily return any matches:

$ neil dep search "babashka/babashka.nrepl"
Unable to find babashka/babashka.nrepl on Clojars.

But a search string can be matched in a library's description:

$ neil dep search "test framework"

will return libraries with 'test framework' in their description.

license list

List/search for licenses that can be added to a project with neil. This functionality uses Github's license API, which is also used by With no search term, a list of commonly-used licenses is returned:

$ neil license list
:license agpl-3.0 :name GNU Affero General Public License v3.0
:license apache-2.0 :name Apache License 2.0

A search term can be added to filter the commonly-used list with a case-insensitive search against the license name:

$ neil license list "lesser general"
:license lgpl-2.1 :name GNU Lesser General Public License v2.1

The full collection of available licenses can be found in the license API repo.

license search is an alias for license list.

license add

Retrieve license text from Github's license API and write it to a file. See the license list help for details on available licenses.

$ neil license add :license mit :file myproj/license.txt

Will write the MIT license to the file myproject/license.txt. The :license keyword can be left out if the license key is the first argument, and :file defaults to LICENSE, so a minimal usage:

$ neil license add epl-1.0

Will create a LICENSE file in the current directory with the EPL 1.0 text.

Emacs Integration

neil.el is a companion Emacs package.

Load it using your preferred Emacs package manager, e.g., for Doom Emacs:

;; packages.el

(package! neil :recipe (:host github :repo "babashka/neil" :files ("*.el")))

;; config.el

(use-package! neil
  (setq neil-prompt-for-version-p nil
        neil-inject-dep-to-project-p t))

Github's Rate Limit

Github's API has a 60 hit/hour rate-limit. The workaround for this is creating a personal access token and setting two env vars:



  • Add bb.edn-related features for invoking test and build tasks
  • Option to add cljs-test-runner


If this project shows potential to you, I'd be happy to discuss and receive contributions.


See neil.rb for the brew Formula. You can install this formula locally with:

$ brew reinstall --build-from-source ./neil.rb

Or install a development version with bbin:

$ bbin install . --as neil-dev --main-opts '["-m" babashka.neil/-main]'

You can choose your own binary name with the --as YOUR_BINARY option. Rebuilding is not required when installing with bbin - any changes to src/babashka/neil.clj will count the next time you run neil-dev (YOUR_BINARY).


Copyright © 2022 Michiel Borkent

Distributed under the MIT License. See LICENSE.