A control freak's best friend.
Switch branches/tags
Nothing to show
Clone or download
Fetching latest commit…
Cannot retrieve the latest commit at this time.
Failed to load latest commit information.



Welcome to the wonderful world of clojail! Clojail is a library for sandboxing Clojure code. Why is this useful? Well, for tons of reasons. I've personally used a sandbox for two different projects, such as Try Clojure and sexpbot. I've seen a wiki-like website where the pages were Clojure code evaluated in a sandbox.

One of the primary reasons for writing clojail is to replace clj-sandbox in my own personal projects. I'm also trying my best to make sure that it's useful for other people and their unpredictable needs as well. If you have any questions, ideas, or feedback, shoot me a message here on Github or in an email. Feedback of all kind is welcome!

This project is very new. The sandbox appears to work properly, but that does not mean it will. The more people that use and test this project, the faster it'll be totally secure. Note that I am using this library in my own projects, and if I find any security flaws or any are reported to me, they will be fixed as fast as possible. If you find what you think is a bug, create an issue here on Github.


You can get this library from clojars via cake or leiningen. The instructions are the same.

First, add [clojail "0.1.0"] to your :dependencies in project.clj. After than, just run cake deps or lein deps if you use Leiningen.

Because clojail employs the JVM's built in sandboxing, you'll need to have a ~/.java.policy file to define permissions for your own code. If you don't do this, you'll get security exceptions. I've included a very liberal example.policy file that you can just copy over to ~/.java.policy.

Once you've got that set up, you can play with the sandbox. Let's create a sandbox:

(ns my.project
  (:use clojail.core)) ; Pull in the library.

(def tester #{'alter-var-root java.lang.Thread}) ; Create a blacklist.
(def sb (sandbox tester :timeout 5000))

You have just created a new sandbox. This sandbox will trigger whenever java.lang.Thread or alter-var-root is used in code. Anything else will pass the sandbox and be executed. Simple enough, right? Also, the :timeout bit is an optional argument. We've just lowered the timeout time to 5000 milliseconds, or 5 seconds. The default is 10000.

This sandbox isn't very secure. Let's create a new sandbox using the secure-tester in clojail.testers. This sandbox should be more secure. Can't promise total security however, since I can't test everything.

(ns my.project
  (:use [clojail core testers]))

; Don't bother with changing :timeout unless you want to. It was purely for demonstrational purposes.
(def sb (sandbox secure-tester))

Alright, cool. Now we have a supposedly secure sandbox. How do we use it? Simple! sb is now bound to a function that takes code and executes it in the sandbox.

(sb '(+ 3 3)) ; Returns 6
(sb '(def x)) ; Fails because def is not allowed in our sandbox.

Play around with it a bit.

(sb '(println "blah")) ; Returns nil

Wait... nil? It's doing the right thing and printing output to out and returning nil. However, for our purposes, maybe we want to get the output of sb as a string. Luckily, the sandbox accounts for that possibility and allows for you to provide, after the code to execute, a hashmap of vars to values. Here is how we can use that to get the output of sb as a string:

(let [writer (java.io.StringWriter.)] 
  (sb '(println "blah") {#'*out* writer}) (str writer)) ; Returns "blah\n"

There we go! Great!

Clojail can also create sandboxes based on a whitelist and a combination of whitelist and blacklist.

(def sb (sandbox {:whitelist #{'println '+}})) ; Creates a new sandbox based on a whitelist.

If you try to evaluate anything in the sandbox that isn't whitelisted, it'll go boom.

You can also supply a blacklist along with the whitelist.

(def sb (sandbox {:whitelist #{'println '+} :blacklist #{'println}}))

This sandbox whitelists println and then blacklists it, essentially doing absolutely nothing.

Well, that's about all folks. I hope my library is to your liking, and I hope it's useful in your own projects. Remember to not hesitate to give me feedback!


A tester is either a set of symbols, packages, and classes, in which case it's a blacklist, or it's a map with keys :whitelist and :blacklist (not necessarily both) bound to sets defining a blacklist and/or whitelist.

A nice feature of clojail is that you can blacklist (or whitelist) entire Java packages. Don't want anything in the java.lang.reflect package? Fine:

(use '[clojail.testers :only [p]])
(def reflect-blacklist #{(p "java.lang.reflect")})

Now you have a tester that will scream murder if someone tries to execute code using any classes from the reflect package.


Clojail is licensed under the same thing that Clojure is. See LICENSE.