HBase uber shell
Clojure Shell
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Hubris is abbreviation for Hbase UBeR Interface Shell and is HBase shell on steroids, providing alternative to quite limited hbase shell command.

Key features:

  • speed - much faster startup and runtime than JRuby version, as code is compiled to java bytecode
  • familiar - execute commands as you did in old hbase shell
  • extendible - you can easily add your own commands, writing Clojure script and putting it in appropriate directory. Check Extending Hubris.
  • connectible - connect to local HBase instance or remote by simply running connect HOSTNAME
  • ... (here should comes other features after they gets implemented ;))


To start hubris shell, simply run

$ <hubris-install-dir>/bin/hubris

Running help inside shell would give you available commands you can use, like:

Hbase UBeR Interactive Shell; enter 'help<RETURN>' to see available commands or 'exit<RETURN>' to quit.
hubris> help<ENTER>

help                 Show help.

exit                 Exit from shell.

println              Same as print followed by (newline)

clojure-mode-on      Go into clojure mode. In this mode you have full access to clojure shell and language.


For now, the main difference from hbase shell is that you explicitly must connect to database, buy running connect command. If executed without parameters, it will try to connect to HBase served on localhost; otherwise on host given as parameter.

Hubris provides two modes:

  • plain mode - you executed commands in form as you did in hbase shell
  • clojure mode - gives you access to Clojure REPL, from where you can use hubris or HBase API by writing Clojure code

By default, hubris starts in plain mode and typing 'clojure-mode-on' will switch you to Clojure mode, like

hubris> clojure-mode-on
You are now in clojure mode. To return back, type '(hubris.repl/clojure-mode false)'.
Clojure 1.1.0

As message indicate, executing (hubris.repl/clojure-mode false) will return you back to plain mode.


Hubris comes in two versions:

  • normal - without bundled dependencies (Clojure, Hadoop, Hbase and etc.)
  • big - with all dependencies

Normal version is marked as hubris-VERSION.tar.gz and the big one as hubris-VERSION-full.tar.gz.

To use normal version, you must create lib directory inside unpacked hubris folder and copy clojure, clojure-contrib, hadoop and hbase jars (with all their dependencies). Without doing this, you would get this error:

Exception in thread "main" java.lang.NoClassDefFoundError: clojure/lang/IFn
Caused by: java.lang.ClassNotFoundException: clojure.lang.IFn
        at java.net.URLClassLoader$1.run(URLClassLoader.java:217)
        at java.security.AccessController.doPrivileged(Native Method)
        at java.net.URLClassLoader.findClass(URLClassLoader.java:205)
        at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(ClassLoader.java:321)
        at sun.misc.Launcher$AppClassLoader.loadClass(Launcher.java:294)
        at java.lang.ClassLoader.loadClass(ClassLoader.java:266)
Could not find the main class: hubris.core. Program will exit

This means required jars (in this case clojure jars) are not found.

Alternative to copying all these dependencies is to simply export CLASSPATH with all named jars, where hubris will happily pick them up. Or, if you would like to use different folder or location than lib in currently unpacked folder, simply export HUBRIS_LIB to target location.

With explicitly setting dependent jars, hubris can reuse already installed libraries, without providing duplicate one.

If you are not comfortable with this feature or find problem using normal version, just download the big one (hubris-VERSION-full.tar.gz).


Copyright (c) Sanel Zukan. The project is licensed under EPL 1.0.