Forgot to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable? If you use multiple versions of Java in your development environment, perhaps you wished there was a better way to switch from one to the other, instead of remembering to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable.

Introducing jEnv:

jEnv is a command line tool to help you forget how to set the JAVA_HOME environment variable


Here are the steps to install jEnv in your development environment.

Simply clone the jEnv repository from GitHub.

git clone ~/.jenv

You need Homebrew (package manager for Mac OS X).

/usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"

Install jEnv using brew.

brew install jenv


Update your command line environment with jEnv specific configuration.

export JAVA_HOME="$HOME/.jenv/versions/`jenv version-name`"
alias jenv_set_java_home='export JAVA_HOME="$HOME/.jenv/versions/`jenv version-name`"'


Next you'll need to add the JAVA home directory paths to your jEnv environment. To list all the JVM versions and architectures in your environment, run:

/usr/libexec/java_home -V

You may get an output similar to (e.g. on Mac OS X):

Matching Java Virtual Machines (3):
    11.0.1, x86_64:	"OpenJDK 11.0.1"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/openjdk-11.0.1.jdk/Contents/Home
    1.8.0_192, x86_64:	"Java SE 8"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_192.jdk/Contents/Home
    1.8.0_101, x86_64:	"Java SE 8"	/Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_101.jdk/Contents/Home

Based on the JVM list above you may add the JAVA home directory paths to your jEnv environment, e.g.:

jenv add /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/openjdk-11.0.1.jdk/Contents/Home
jenv add /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_192.jdk/Contents/Home

Now your jEnv environment is ready to manage the various JVM versions in your development environment.

jenv versions

The aforementioned command would yield an output similar to:


You can set specific versions of JVM per workspace directory. Assuming you have a directory with a Java code base requiring JVM 1.8, you can switch to that directory and set the JVM version of choice, e.g.:

jenv local 1.8

You may still choose a default global version of JVM on your system, e.g. 11:

jenv global 11

Happy Java coding!