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Use system tools with asdf version manager
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help maintain this lib

Generic plugin for versioning system tools with asdf.


This is a plugin for tools that have No ASDF installer (maybe because the package is hosted at a private location, or perhaps things that you already installed with a vendor package manager, eg brew on OSX which supports many installed versions).

Or maybe things that can only be installed with some GUI interaction and for which creating an asdf installer would be a bit complicated, eg Android tools, AWS or Google Cloud tools.

For example, many systems already come with perl installed (two versions on my system). Or on OSX where you can install the java tools via many methods, like the official package from, or by using other methods like brew, macports, or sdk managers like sdkman or jabba, there are lots of ways to get things installed on your system, and ASDF wont ever replace them all.

In these cases you might still want to use the convenient ASDF .tool-versions file to enable the right tool per project or system wide, so that you just cd into the working directory of your like and let asdf select the right executable for you.


The first thing you have to do is to think of a good name. That is the name of the tool you will be selecting versions for. Say jdk, perl, android, etc.

## READ above before copy-paste this line
# You can execute this as many times as you want with different names
$ asdf plugin-add NAME

This can be anything, from now on, these examples will be for jdk.

$ asdf plugin-add jdk


Now if you execute asdf list-all jdk you will notice it will only say link. That is because we cannot possibly know which versions are available. And actually, this plugin will let you install ANY version you give to it. So it's up to you to use a meaningful version.

In my case, I have the following jdks 1.8 which I downloaded from the java website and 1.9 which was installed with brew install Caskroom/versions/java9-beta

$ ls /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/
jdk1.8.0_111.jdk jdk-9.jdk

To use them, lets tell ASDF about their existance with:

$ asdf install jdk 1.9
Link your system binaries to /Users/vic/.asdf/installs/jdk/1.9/bin

As previously mentioned, this plugin lets you install any version, actually it just creates a bin/ directory for you. The idea is that we link (hence the plugin name) our versioned binaries into that bin/ directory directory.

# linking all the java tools into the 1.9 versioned bin/
$ ln -vs /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-9.jdk/Contents/Home/bin/* /Users/vic/.asdf/installs/jdk/1.9/bin/

# after this, just reshim
$ asdf reshim jdk

And we are done, you can create a .tool-versions in the current directory by using asdf local jdk 1.9. See the asdf documentaion for more on managing versions.

The advantage of using this plugin is that even if you have lots of binaries on /usr/local/bin, by hand-picking and linking them inside the plugin's bin/ directory, you get shims for free. The following is the travis test we use, linking perl.

# perla is spanish for perl
$ asdf plugin-add perla
$ asdf install perla 5.18
$ ln -s /usr/bin/perl5.18 ~/.asdf/installs/perla/5.18/bin/perla
$ asdf reshim
$ asdf local perla 5.18
$ perla -v
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