Drip is a launcher for the Java Virtual Machine that provides much faster
startup times than the
java command. The
drip script is intended to be a
drop-in replacement for the
java command, only faster.
Drip is a single bash script and a little bit of C and Java code. It is intended to work with any JVM-based language and anywhere bash is available.
How does it work?
Unlike other tools intended to solve the JVM startup problem (e.g. Nailgun,
Cake), Drip does not use a persistent JVM. There are many pitfalls to using a
persistent JVM, which we discovered while working on the Cake build tool for
Clojure. The main problem is that the state of the persistent JVM gets dirty
over time, producing strange errors and requiring liberal use of
whenever any error is encountered, just in case dirty state is the cause.
Instead of going down this road, Drip uses a different strategy. It keeps a fresh JVM spun up in reserve with the correct classpath and other JVM options so you can quickly connect and use it when needed, then throw it away. Drip hashes the JVM options and stores information about how to connect to the JVM in a directory with the hash value as its name.
The following instructions assume that
~/bin is on your
$PATH. If that is
not the case, you can substitute your favorite location.
Standalone — We recommend this to get started quickly.
curl -L http://drip.flatland.org > ~/bin/drip chmod 755 ~/bin/drip
Checkout — If you want to hack on Drip or follow the latest development, this is the way to go.
git clone https://github.com/flatland/drip.git cd drip && make prefix=~/bin install
Homebrew — This is a convenient way to brew drip on OS X.
brew install drip
Note: Installing brew requires
gcc. Here are instructions
for how to install it on OS X Mountain Lion.
You can call
drip with the same arguments as
java. Try it. The first time
drip with new arguments, it will take as long as a plain
command, because it has to spin up a JVM from scratch, but after that it will be
For example, to start a Clojure repl with drip:
drip -cp clojure.jar clojure.main
The Drip JVM will eventually shut itself down if you never connect to it. The
time limit defaults to four hours, but you can change this by setting the
DRIP_SHUTDOWN environment variable before calling
drip to set a timeout, in
DRIP_SHUTDOWN=30 drip -cp clojure.jar clojure.main
This creates a Clojure repl as usual, either by starting up a new one or connecting to a waiting JVM. But the JVM that is spun up to serve future requests with the same classpath will have a 30-minute timeout to deactivation.
JVM Language Integration
For more information about how to integrate Drip with your favorite JVM language, check out the wiki.
Drip supports the following advanced settings.
By default, Drip only loads your main class at startup, but you can tell Drip to run additional code at startup. This can be used to load classes or execute any initialization code you like. For a language like Clojure, which compiles code on-the-fly, this can be used to precompile commonly used code by requiring it.
To tell Drip how to initialize a new JVM, use the
DRIP_INIT_CLASS environment variables.
DRIP_INIT should be a
newline-separated list of args to be passed to the
main() function of
DRIP_INIT_CLASS defaults to the main class the JVM was
Sometimes, you need to set Java system properties, but you don't want them to be included in the JVM options used for hashing. In this case, use two dashes instead of one, and the options won't be passed to the JVM at startup, instead they will be passed at runtime. Keep in mind that any system properties passed this way will not be set during initialization.
Drip passes all environment variables exported at runtime to the JVM and merges
them into the map returned by
System.getenv. Keep in mind that the environment
isn't modified until we connect to the JVM; during initialization, the
environment will be derived from the previous process that launched the spare
Drip is licensed under the EPL Eclipse Public License. See LICENSE for details.