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depstar Clojure CI

Builds JARs, uberjars, does AOT, manifest generation, etc for deps.edn projects (forked from healthfinch/depstar and enhanced).

For support, help, general questions, use the #depstar channel on the Clojurians Slack.

Basic Usage

Note: these instructions assume you have at least version of the Clojure CLI installed. See Clojure Tools Releases for details about the functionality in recent CLI releases.

Install this tool to an alias in your project deps.edn or user-level deps.edn (in ~/.clojure/ or ~/.config/clojure/):

 :aliases {
  ;; build an uberjar (application) with AOT compilation by default:
  :uberjar {:replace-deps {com.github.seancorfield/depstar {:mvn/version "2.0.216"}}
            :exec-fn hf.depstar/uberjar
            :exec-args {:aot true}}
  ;; build a jar (library):
  :jar {:replace-deps {com.github.seancorfield/depstar {:mvn/version "2.0.216"}}
        :exec-fn hf.depstar/jar
        :exec-args {}}
  ;; generic depstar alias, use with jar or uberjar function name:
  :depstar {:replace-deps {com.github.seancorfield/depstar {:mvn/version "2.0.216"}}
            :ns-default hf.depstar
            :exec-args {}}

Create an uberjar by invoking depstar with the desired jar name:

clojure -X:uberjar :jar MyProject.jar
# or:
clojure -X:depstar uberjar :jar MyProject.jar

An uberjar created by that command can be run as follows:

java -cp MyProject.jar clojure.main -m project.core

If you want to be able to use java -jar to run your uberjar, you'll need to specify the main class (namespace) in the uberjar and you'll probably want to AOT compile your main namespace. See the sections below for more information about both of those.

Create a (library) jar by invoking depstar with the desired jar name:

clojure -X:jar :jar MyLib.jar
# or:
clojure -X:depstar jar :jar MyLib.jar

Note: depstar assumes that directories it finds on the classpath contain the source of your library and .jar files are ignored (for an uberjar, everything on the classpath is included). If you have :local/root and/or :git/url dependencies in your library, depstar will see those as directories and will include them in your (library) JAR. You can either use the :exclude option to omit such code from your JAR or you can use the :paths-only true option (new in 2.0.206) which tells depstar to use :paths and :extra-paths from the project basis (instead of using the classpath). You may well have good reasons for including such dependencies as source code in your library JAR, e.g., those dependencies aren't published somewhere your library's users could depend on.

Note: if you have a user.clj file on your default classpath -- in any folders that are in :paths in your deps.edn -- Clojure will attempt to load that at startup, before running depstar. In such cases, you will likely need to add :replace-paths [] along with :replace-deps in your aliases for depstar.

If you want to deploy a library to Clojars (or Maven Central), you're going to also need a pom.xml file -- see below. For deployment to Clojars, please read the Clojars Verified Group Names policy.

If you want to see all of the files that are being copied into the JAR file, add :verbose true after the JAR filename.


By default, depstar computes a classpath from the system and project deps.edn files (and, optionally, the user deps.edn file) and then walks that classpath to find resources to add to the JAR:

  • For each directory on the classpath, the contents of that directory are copied (recursively) to the output JAR as individual files.
  • If :jar-type :thin (via the hf.depstar/jar exec-fn), JAR files on the classpath are ignored, otherwise (:jar-type :uber, via the hf.depstar/uberjar exec-fn), each JAR file on the classpath is expanded and its contents are copied to the output JAR as individual files.
  • Other types of files on the classpath are ignored (a warning is printed unless the file is on the excluded list, see below).

By default, only the system and project deps.edn files are used (as if the :repro true option is provided). This is intended to correspond to the CLI's -Srepro option that ignores the user deps.edn file. If the :repro false option is provided instead, the user deps.edn file is also used.

If you need to adjust the computed classpath, based on aliases, you can supply a vector of aliases to the :aliases exec argument of depstar. This classpath is used for both the AOT compilation process and for the JAR building.

For example, you can add web assets into an uberjar by including an alias in your project deps.edn:

{:paths ["src"]
 :aliases {:webassets {:extra-paths ["public-html"]}}}

Then invoke depstar with the chosen aliases:

clojure -X:uberjar :jar MyProject.jar :aliases '[:webassets]'
# or:
clojure -X:depstar uberjar :jar MyProject.jar :aliases '[:webassets]'

You can also pass an explicit classpath into depstar and it will use that instead of the computed classpath for building the JAR:

clojure -X:uberjar :classpath '"'$(clojure -Spath -A:webassets)'"' :jar MyProject.jar
# or:
clojure -X:depstar uberjar :classpath '"'$(clojure -Spath -A:webassets)'"' :jar MyProject.jar

Note: the -Sdeps argument to clojure only affects how the initial classpath is computed to run a program -- it cannot affect the classpath depstar itself computes from the deps.edn files. If you need to use -Sdeps, for example to specify alternate repos for dependencies, use the :classpath approach shown above.

When building a library JAR (not an uberjar), ou can tell depstar to use only the :paths and :extra-paths from the project basis instead of the classpath by using the :paths-only true option (new in 2.0.206). This can be useful when you have :local/root and/or :git/url dependencies and you don't want them considered.


If you are building an uberjar, the manifest (META-INF/MANIFEST.MF) will declare the Main-Class (specified by the :main-class option, or clojure.main if omitted).

depstar does no AOT compilation by default -- use the :aot true option to enable AOT compilation (see below).

If you build an uberjar without :main-class (as in the pom.xml examples below), you can run the resulting file as follows:

clojure -X:uberjar :jar MyProject.jar
java -jar MyProject.jar -m project.core

If you build an uberjar with :main-class (and AOT compilation), you can run the resulting file as follows:

clojure -X:uberjar :aot true :jar MyProject.jar :main-class project.core
java -jar MyProject.jar

AOT Compilation

You can specify namespaces to be AOT-compiled using the :compile-ns exec argument. Namespaces specified by :compile-ns will be compiled even for thin JAR files, allowing you to build libraries that include :gen-class-generated .class files. depstar creates a temporary folder for the class files and adds it to the classpath roots automatically so that all the classes produced by compilation are added to the JAR. :compile-ns accepts a vector of namespace symbols or regular expressions to match namespaces. It will also accept the keyword :all instead of a vector and it will attempt to find all the Clojure namespaces in source files in directories on the classpath (which normally corresponds to your own project's source files, but will also include :local/root dependencies and :git/url dependencies, since those show up as directories on the classpath).

clojure -X:jar :jar MyProject.jar :compile-ns '[project.core]'

If you are building an uberjar, you can specify :main-class to identify the namespace that contains a -main function (and a (:gen-class) entry in the ns form) and then specify :aot true and depstar will default :compile-ns to a vector containing just that main namespace symbol.

The :main-class option also specifies the name of the class that is identified as the Main-Class in the manifest instead of the default (clojure.main).

# build the uberjar with AOT compilation
clojure -X:uberjar :jar MyProject.jar :aot true :main-class project.core
# Main-Class: project.core
java -jar MyProject.jar

This will compile the project.core namespace, which must have a (:gen-class) clause in its ns form, into a temporary folder, add that temporary folder to the classpath (even when you specify an explicit classpath with :classpath -- see above), build the uberjar including everything on the classpath, with a manifest specifying project.core as the main class.

Remember that AOT compilation is transitive so, in addition to your project.core namespace with its (:gen-class), this will also compile everything that project.core requires and include those .class files (as well as the sources). See the :exclude option for ways to exclude unwanted compiled .class files.

AOT compilation is performed in a subprocess so the JVM options in effect when you run depstar do not affect the actual compilation of the code going into the JAR file. By default, the compilation process uses the same classpath computed as described above, using :aliases if provided. Sometimes, you might need the classpath for compilation to be slightly different than the classpath used for building the JAR: in that case you can use :compile-aliases (new in 2.0.211) to specify aliases that are used to compute a classpath just for AOT compilation, and then the JAR is built using the regular classpath (above). The :jvm-opts exec argument lets you pass a vector of strings into that subprocess to provide JVM options that will apply during compilation, such as enabling direct linking:

clojure -X:uberjar :jar MyProject.jar \
    :aot true :main-class project.core \
    :jvm-opts '[""]'

That is equivalent to the following :exec-args:

  :exec-args {:aot true :main-class project.core
              :jvm-opts [""]}


If you are creating a library and intend to deploy it to Clojars or a similar repository, you will need a pom.xml file.

If there is a pom.xml file in the current directory, depstar will attempt to read it and figure out the group ID, artifact ID, and version of the project. It will use that information to generate in the JAR file, as well as copying that pom.xml file into the JAR file. You can specify :pom-file as an exec argument if you want to use a different pom file.

When generating, depstar will attempt to run git rev-parse HEAD in the same directory as the pom.xml file and will add revision=<SHA> to the list of properties if successful.

You can also specify the :group-id, :artifact-id, and/or :version as exec arguments and those values will override what is in the pom.xml file. The pom.xml file will be updated to reflect those values. If the pom.xml file contains a VCS <tag>..</tag> that matches the version, with any optional prefix, it will also be updated (so <version> and <tag> will stay in sync). Again, if you intend to deploy a library to Clojars, please read the Clojars Verified Group Names policy.

You can suppress the consumption of the pom.xml file with the :no-pom true option.

You can generate a minimal pom.xml file using the clojure -Spom command (and that will also update the dependencies in an existing pom.xml based on deps.edn). depstar can run this for you, using the same computed project basis that it uses for building the JAR file: specify the :sync-pom true exec argument to perform this step:

  • If no pom.xml file exists (where :pom-file specifies or else in the current directory), you will also need to specify :group-id, :artifact-id, and :version, and a minimal pom file will be created. Your group ID should generally be a reverse domain name, such as net.clojars.username, com.github.username, com.mycompany, etc.
  • If a pom.xml file already exists (per :pom-file or in the current directory), it will be updated to reflect the latest dependencies from the project basis, and any :group-id/:artifact-id pair and/or :version supplied as exec arguments.

If you build an uberjar with a pom.xml file present and do not specify :no-pom true, you can run the resulting file as follows:

# if pom.xml file is already present:
# build the uberjar without AOT compilation
clojure -X:uberjar :jar MyProject.jar

# else ask depstar to create it for you:
# build the uberjar without AOT compilation
clojure -X:uberjar :sync-pom true \
        :group-id myname :artifact-id myproject \
        :version '"1.2.3"' :jar MyProject.jar

# Main-Class: clojure.main
java -jar MyProject.jar -m project.core

See the :main-class option above if you want java -jar to run your main function by default instead of requiring the -m option.

You can use the :pom-file exec argument to specify a path to the pom.xml file if it is not in the current directory.

Excluding Files

By default, the following files are excluded from the output JAR:

  • project.clj
  • .keep
  • **/*.pom
  • module-info.class
  • META-INF/**/*.MF, also *.SF, *.RSA, and *.DSA
  • META-INF/INDEX.LIST, META-INF/DEPENDENCIES, optionally with .txt suffix

In addition, depstar accepts an :exclude option: a vector of strings to use as regular expressions to match other files to be excluded. re-matches is used so these should be a complete match for the full relative path and filename. For example, if you wanted to exclude clojure.core.specs.alpha code from your JAR, you would specify :exclude '["clojure/core/specs/alpha.*"]' -- note .* at the end so it matches the entire filename.

Other Options

The Clojure CLI added an -X option (in to execute a specific function and pass a hash map of arguments. See Executing a function that takes a map in the Deps and CLI reference for details.

depstar supports this via hf.depstar/jar and hf.depstar/uberjar which both accept a hash map that mirrors the legacy command-line arguments (of -M invocations for depstar 1.0 -- although several of the -X exec arguments have no equivalent in the legacy command-line arguments):

  • :aliases -- if specified, a vector of aliases to use while computing the classpath roots from the deps.edn files
  • :aot -- if true, perform AOT compilation (like the legacy -C / --compile option)
  • :artifact-id -- if specified, the symbol used for the artifactId field in pom.xml and when building the JAR file; your pom.xml file will be updated to match!
  • :classpath -- if specified, use this classpath instead of the (current) runtime classpath to build the JAR (like the legacy -P / --classpath option)
  • :compile-aliases -- if specified, a vector of aliases to use while computing the classpath roots to use for AOT compilation; otherwise the same classpath is used for both AOT compilation as for JAR building; new in 2.0.211
  • :compile-fn -- if specified, this function is used instead of clojure.core/compile: this is intended to support scenarios where some additional code needs to be run around AOT compilation (such as when working with cljfx)
  • :compile-ns -- if specified, a vector of symbols and regexes to match namespaces to compile, and whose .class files to include in the JAR file; may also be the keyword :all as a shorthand for a vector of all namespaces in source code directories found on the classpath
  • :debug-clash -- if true, print warnings about clashing jar items (and what depstar did about them; like the legacy -D / --debug-clash option)
  • :exclude -- if specified, should be a vector of strings to use as regex patterns for excluding files from the JAR (like the legacy -X / --exclude option)
  • :group-id -- if specified, the symbol used for the groupId field in pom.xml and when building the JAR file (this should generally be a reverse domain name); your pom.xml file will be updated to match!
  • :jar -- the name of the destination JAR file (may need to be a quoted string if the path/name is not valid as a Clojure symbol; like the legacy -J / --jar option)
  • :jar-type -- can be :thin or :uber -- defaults to :thin for hf.depstar/jar and to :uber for hf.depstar/uberjar (and can therefore be omitted in most cases)
  • :jvm-opts -- an optional vector of JVM option strings that should be passed to the java subprocess that performs AOT compilation
  • :main-class -- the name of the main class for an uberjar (can be specified as a Clojure symbol or a quoted string; like the legacy -m / --main option; used as the main namespace to compile if :aot is true)
  • :manifest -- an optional hash map of additional properties to add to MANIFEST.MF, e.g., :manifest {:class-path "/path/to/some.jar"} will add the line Class-Path: /path/to/some.jar that file
  • :no-pom -- if true, ignore the pom.xml file (like the legacy -n / --no-pom option)
  • :paths-only -- if true, only use :paths and :extra-paths from the project basis (and do not treat :local/root and :git/url as providing source dependencies); new in 2.0.206
  • :pom-file -- if specified, should be a string that identifies the pom.xml file to use (an absolute or relative path)
  • :repro -- defaults to true, which excludes the user deps.edn from consideration; specify :repro false if you want the user deps.edn to be included when computing the project basis and classpath roots
  • :sync-pom -- if true, will run the equivalent of clojure -Spom to create or update your pom.xml file prior to building the JAR file
  • :verbose -- if true, be verbose about what goes into the JAR file (like the legacy -v / --verbose option)
  • :version -- if specified, the symbol used for the version field in pom.xml and when building the JAR file (and also for the VCS tag field if matches the current version field with a prefix of v); your pom.xml file will be updated to match!

You can make this shorter by adding :exec-fn to your alias with some of the arguments defaulted since, for a given project, they will likely be fixed values:

  ;; a new :uberjar alias to build a project-specific JAR file:
  :uberjar {:replace-deps {com.github.seancorfield/depstar {:mvn/version "2.0.216"}}
            :exec-fn hf.depstar/uberjar
            :exec-args {:jar "MyProject.jar"
                        :aot true
                        :main-class project.core}}

Now you can just run:

clojure -X:uberjar

You can choose to override those on the command-line if you wish:

clojure -X:uberjar :jar '"/tmp/MyTempProject.jar"'

For convenience, you can specify the JAR file as a Clojure symbol (e.g., MyProject.jar above) if it could legally be one and depstar will convert it to a string for you. Per the CLI docs, you would normally specify string arguments as "..." values, that need to be wrapped in '...' because of shell syntax (so the quoted string is passed correctly into clojure).

As of 2.0.206, depstar allows the value of any exec argument to be a keyword which is then looked up as an alias in the full project basis (including your user deps.edn file). For example:

  ;; using an alias as a value for :jvm-opts:
   {com.github.seancorfield/depstar {:mvn/version "2.0.216"}}
            :exec-fn hf.depstar/uberjar
            :exec-args {:jar "MyProject.jar"
                        :aot true
                        :jvm-opts :direct-linking
                        :main-class project.core}}
  :direct-linking [""]

My Deployment Process

My libraries all follow a MAJOR.MINOR.COMMITS pattern for versioning, but this process could apply to your preferred versioning scheme as well.

When I'm getting ready to cut a new release, and I have all the enhancements and bug fixes committed and pushed, I perform one last commit with the following updates:

  • Run git pull to ensure I have the latest changes locally.
  • Select a version number for the release
    • For me, that's figured out by running git rev-list --count HEAD and adding one to get the COMMITS part of the release I'm about to make, as well as deciding whether MAJOR/MINOR also need an update (generally not).
  • Update the file to list the new release version and date and ensure all the changes since the previous release are documented.
  • Update the and other documentation to show the new version number everywhere.
  • Build the JAR file, also specifying :sync-pom true :version '"x.y.z"' to update the <version> and SCM <tag> in the pom.xml file at the same time.
  • Perform one last full test suite pass!
  • Verify all the diffs, then git add, git commit, and git push.
  • Then I draft a new release on GitHub and use the information in in the release notes, and cut the release on GitHub.
  • Now I git pull, check that only a new tag came back.
  • Perform a final full test suite pass (yes, even though I just ran it before the git push/git pull cycle -- I'm paranoid, okay?).
  • If I'm double-publishing a library (under different group names, as I'm encouraging users to start using the new verified group name for my library):
    • clojure -X:jar :group-id old-group-name && clojure -X:deploy
    • (ignore the warning from depstar about a non-reverse-domain-name group)
    • clojure -X:jar :group-id && clojure -X:deploy
    • (this ensures I leave the repo with the new, verified, group name -- check with git status that no files are dirty)
  • Else this command is sufficient:
    • clojure -X:jar && clojure -X:deploy

Note: all my libraries have :jar and :deploy as aliases in their deps.edn files which supply appropriate default values for the :exec-args. For example, from clj-new:

    ;; override the example :jar alias with a specific one:
    :jar {:replace-deps {com.github.seancorfield/depstar {:mvn/version "2.0.216"}}
          :exec-fn hf.depstar/jar
          :exec-args {:jar "clj-new.jar" :sync-pom true}}
    :deploy {:replace-deps {slipset/deps-deploy {:mvn/version "0.1.5"}}
            :exec-fn deps-deploy.deps-deploy/deploy
            :exec-args {:installer :remote :artifact "clj-new.jar"}}

I use a generic name for the JAR file so it doesn't need to be updated: both depstar and deps-deploy use the <groupId>, <artifactId>, and <version> information from pom.xml to ascertain the correct coordinates and version to use. If your project was created initially by clj-new, it should also have :jar and :deploy aliases in the deps.edn file that was generated.

depstar and CI Environments

If you are using depstar in a CI environment, you are probably trying to ensure that you can pre-cache dependencies so they are not downloaded on every run. You can use the -P option on the clojure CLI script to "prepare" dependencies: it will fetch all the dependencies and compute the classpath but will not run main/exec functions.

Since depstar fetches dependencies at runtime, you will likely need two such "prepare" commands: one for your project's dependencies and one for depstar itself, since the recommended way to use depstar is via an alias that uses :replace-deps.

If you provide any :aliases to depstar when building JARs, remember to use those in the "prepare" command for your project.

If you build your JAR like this:

clojure -X:uberjar

and your :uberjar alias has :aliases in the :exec-args of [:extra :stuff] then you will need the following two "prepare" commands for your CI pre-cache step:

# cache depstar's own dependencies:
clojure -P -X:uberjar
# cache your project's build dependencies:
clojure -P -A:extra:stuff

Debugging depstar Behavior

If you are seeing unexpected results with depstar and the :verbose true option doesn't provide enough information, you can enable "debug mode" with either DEPSTAR_DEBUG=true as an environment variable or depstar.debug=true as a JVM property. Be warned: this is very verbose!

Deploying a Library

After you've generated your JAR file as above with a pom.xml file, you can use the mvn command below to deploy to Clojars (or other Maven-like repositories) -- or you could use deps-deploy -- see below.

Deploying with Maven

mvn deploy:deploy-file -Dfile=MyProject.jar -DpomFile=pom.xml -DrepositoryId=clojars -Durl=

This assumes that you have credentials for your chosen repository in your ~/.m2/settings.xml file. It should look like this (with your username and token):


If you only want to install the artifact locally (for use in local development, similar to lein install), you can use the following mvn command:

mvn install:install-file -Dfile=MyProject.jar -DpomFile=pom.xml

After that you can require the dependency coordinates as usual, using the group ID, artifact ID, and version that you had setup in the pom.xml file.

Deploying with deps-deploy

As noted above, you could also use deps-deploy to deploy your JAR file to Clojars. Add the following alias to your deps.edn file:

    ;; version 0.1.5 was the most recent as of 2021-01-29:
    :deploy {:replace-deps {slipset/deps-deploy {:mvn/version "RELEASE"}}
             :exec-fn deps-deploy.deps-deploy/deploy
             :exec-args {:installer :remote :artifact "MyProject.jar"}}


clojure -X:deploy

This expects your Clojars username to be in the CLOJARS_USERNAME environment variable and your Clojars token to be in the CLOJARS_PASSWORD environment variable.


This project follows the version scheme MAJOR.MINOR.COMMITS where MAJOR and MINOR provide some relative indication of the size of the change, but do not follow semantic versioning. In general, all changes endeavor to be non-breaking (by moving to new names rather than by breaking existing names). COMMITS is an ever-increasing counter of commits since the beginning of this repository.

Latest stable release: 2.0.216


The use and distribution terms for this software are covered by the Eclipse Public License 2.0


Builds JARs, uberjars, does AOT, manifest generation, etc for deps.edn projects


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