Using Gremlin through Groovy

jbmusso edited this page Jul 11, 2016 · 36 revisions

Attention: this Wiki hosts an outdated version of the TinkerPop framework and Gremlin language documentation.

Please visit the Apache TinkerPop website and latest documentation.


Gremlin Groovy works by using the metaprogramming facilities provided by Groovy. Groovy is used to compile Gremlin syntax down to raw Java Pipes.

Groovy Classes with Gremlin

If you are using Groovy classes, its trivial to access Gremlin. In this way, your Java code and your Gremlin/Groovy code seamless interact through standard class mechanisms (i.e. method invocations). There is a Groovy class called Gremlin.groovy. To use Gremlin while in Groovy, simply invoke Gremlin.load().

class SimpleExample {
  static {
  public List exampleMethod() {
    Graph g = TinkerGraphFactory.createTinkerGraph()
    def results = []
    return results

Java Classes talking to Groovy Classes with Gremlin

Here is a typical used pattern when mixing Gremlin/Groovy and Java classes. In this example, the Java class calls the methods of the Groovy class as if it were a Java class. This is one of the benefits of Groovy—it works seamlessly within a larger Java project while providing useful language features and, of course, Gremlin.

// a Groovy class
class GraphAlgorithms {
  static {

  public static Map<Vertex, Integer> eigenvectorRank(Graph g) {
    Map<Vertex,Integer> m = [:]; int c = 0'x').out.groupCount(m).loop('x') {c++ < 1000}.iterate()
    return m

// a Java class
public class GraphFramework {
  public static void main(String[] args) {
    System.out.println(GraphAlgorithms.eigenvectorRank(new Neo4jGraph("/tmp/graphdata")));

Finally, if you build with Maven2, here are some useful snippets that you can add to your pom.xml


Gremlin and Groovy Shell

Gremlin shell ( is basically the Groovy shell wrapped to have the Gremlin look and feel and some other small tweaks. For example, do \h at the gremlin> prompt to get the Groovy shell help.

To get the version of Gremlin do: -v
gremlin x.y.z-SNAPSHOT

To initialize Gremlin with a script that executes at startup do: init.groovy

Starting Gremlin with a script is useful for initializing the environment with User Defined Steps or other settings.

To simply execute a script without starting the console do: -e do-some-work.groovy

Use of External Jars

External jar files can be used within Gremlin in one of two ways:

  1. Manually copy the jar files to the Gremlin path (i.e. the GREMLIN_HOME/lib directory.
  2. Gremlin.use() (which utilizes Grape) from the Gremlin prompt.

Using Gremlin.use() is helpful in that it helps handle versions and dependencies of the library being used automatically. Consider the following example utilizing gmongo:

gremlin> Gremlin.use('com.gmongo','gmongo','1.2')

In either approach (manual jar copy or Grape), classes to be used must first be imported prior to use:

gremlin> import com.gmongo.GMongo
==>import com.tinkerpop.gremlin.*
==>import com.tinkerpop.gremlin.pipes.filter.*
==>import com.gmongo.GMongo
gremlin> mongo = new GMongo()

In addition to simply pulling in dependencies, Gremlin.use() also tries to load Console Plugins from the dependencies. Plugins can do things like extend the Gremlin language or auto-import certain classes so that they don’t need to be done manually.

The following code sample shows how to view the list of imported dependencies via Gremlin.use():

gremlin> Gremlin.deps()
==>{group=com.gmongo, module=gmongo, version=1.2}

NOTE – Be aware that Gremlin.use() may not properly update SNAPSHOT dependencies. How well that works is generally dependent on the underlying dependency resolver and the local environment. The surefire way to deal with SNAPSHOT dependencies is to delete them from the Grape cache prior to calling Gremlin.use().

NOTE – You can add other Maven repositories directly with Grape as follows:

Grape.addResolver([name: 'sonatype-snapshots', root: '', m2Compatible: 'true'])

Use from Groovy Shell

Its recommended that you use for terminal work, however, this subsection is provided for those that use Groovy shell exclusively.

marko:~$ groovysh
Groovy Shell (1.7.2, JVM: 1.6.0_22)
Type 'help' or '\h' for help.
groovy:000> com.tinkerpop.gremlin.groovy.Gremlin.load()