Justed stumbled across CRaSH and although it looks mighty interesting, I'm wondering why a Java developer should invest time & energy into learning (yet another) shell language. What sort of standard- and cool-applications can CRaSH be used for? Is this like a Groovy-version of Jython?

I guess, when the dust settles, I'm looking for CRaSH's "wow" factors. I'm sure they're there, but after spending ~20 minutes perusing the documentation I'm just not seeing them. Thanks in advance!

  • It is just another implementation of a very old trick. I've been embedding debugging/prototyping shells into my applications ever since Fortran. Any scripting language with a REPL would be sufficient (I actually used Jython this way, as well as Iron Python for .NET).
    – SK-logic
    Jul 4, 2012 at 10:53

1 Answer 1


Possible Uses

Fast Prototyping

You could do this with Groovy or others, so that's not a very strong point, but as CRaSH gives you code-level access to the JVM and the processes it runs, it may come in handy to just keep a JVM running and experiment with small code snippets (for instance, using it as a REPL to implement solutions to StackOverflow questions).

The JCR extension would seem potentially useful to supplement this, by giving you shell access to remote repositories, and contains a notion of workspace to separate projects.

Interacting with a Running Process

I could see this being an interesting use case. I don't know of many good process inspection command-line tools for JVM processes, apart from the JDK-packaged ones. CRaSH might help in interacting with them in novel ways.

For instance, you can use the Attach Mode to attach to a running JVM, and then use the thread command to ls, dump or interrupt threads.

You could also write some additional control commands for non-programmers to use CRaSH to perform routine maintenance and monitoring.

Content Repository Management

The JCR extension seems to be very interesting as well, as it would give a Java-scriptable access to remote development environments. It could also simply allow content-editors to access and edit remote content, when used in the context of CMS-type apps built on top of a JCR-capable content repository.

What Others Say About CRaSH


Basically, I see it as a power-user or administrator interface to JVM processes, built on top of Groovy and networking protocols. So it combines the power of scripting with a nice facade and some built-in connectors.

Note on Flexibility

I agree with SK-logic: most of this can be done with most JVM-languages, and they provide more and flexibility. But CRaSH might provide a shorter path to achieving such goals.

The same applies to the JCR extension capabilities: you can achieve this by glueing together a few age-old and time-tested tools. But this might be a shorter and simpler path (like commands for the heroku platform, or PaaS services, for instance).

  • You can use any scripting language with a REPL for debugging a running process. Of course you have to plug your own telnet/ssh listener there.
    – SK-logic
    Jul 4, 2012 at 10:54
  • @SK-logic: you can, but you would need to code in some of the actions. Whereas here it seems like CRaSH attempts to already give you some control, treating the JVM as a system (which it is) to allow you to nagivate it and query and update its properties. To me that seems potentially interesting. I haven't tried it yet, but probably will soon-ish.
    – haylem
    Jul 4, 2012 at 10:59
  • in Jython you can instantiate any JVM class, call any method, etc. - just same as in this shell. It is interesting, yes, but not unique.
    – SK-logic
    Jul 4, 2012 at 11:32
  • @SK-logic: nobody said it was unique either. And I know you can instantiate objects with Jython (or JRuby, or Groovy, or Clojure, or Scala, ...), but the point is that it's a programming activity. It's totally different than from giving a user interface to people that may not be programmers, or who may not want to have to type in code, but just simpler, more familiar commands. I think you see this too much from the eye of a developer.
    – haylem
    Jul 4, 2012 at 12:16
  • @haylem - thanks (+1)! However, your answer is just a little too vague for me to give it the final green check. Can you please clarify a few things: (1) what do you mean (specifically) by "fast prototyping"? And (2) What JVM properties can you modify while it is running? Can you list 2 or 3 specific use cases here - where a CRSH scripter would do such a thing, and why? I'm just having a problem "seeing the forest through the trees." Thanks again!
    – herpylderp
    Jul 4, 2012 at 12:50

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