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TIL: SDKMan - The Software Development Kit Manager

· 2 min read
Hampus Londögård

I've decided to not only write blogs but also small snippets, here comes the first one.


SDKMan is a tool to install, set and swap JDK.
SDKMan actually supports more than the Java JDK, among supported tooling is Java, Groovy, Scala, Kotlin and Ceylon. Ant, Gradle, Grails, Maven, SBT, Spark, Spring Boot, Vert.x and many others also supported.

It's written in Bash, only requires curl & zip/unzip.

So what SDKMan simplifies is

  1. Installation of different JDKs, Gradle versions and so on
  2. Swapping between JDKs
  3. Allowing local (by folder basis) JDK-versions


We start by installation


If you need a more detailed guide go to this page.
Downloading SDKMan
$ curl -s \"\" | bash

Installing $ source \"$HOME/.sdkman/bin/\"

Verification $sdk version - should return something along sdkman X.Y.Z


Install JDK$sdk install javaInstalls the latest stable version of Java JDK
Install specific version$sdk install scala 2.12.1Install scala 2.12.1
Install local version$sdk install groovy 3.0.0-SNAPSHOT /path/to/groovy-3.0.0-SNAPSHOTInstalls a JDK you have locally to the SDKMan. The version name must be unique!
Remove version$sdk uninstall scala 2.11.6
List candidates$sdk list javaLists all java candidates that are installable through SDKMan
Use version$sdk use scala 2.12.1Use the version said, this only changes the current shell
Default version$sdk default scala 2.11.1Changes version for all subsequent shells
Current version$sdk currentLists all currently selected versions

Remember to point your JDK to the ./sdkman/candidates/java/current path. Do the same for your IDE, such as IntelliJ-IDEA.


I've got different projects where I need to use different java versions. In one project I need JDK 14 to include jpackage and another one I'm forced to use JDK 8 (legacy system), to swap between these has never been simpler!


jEnv is a great alternative. According to some more JDK versions exists (haven't checked myself), but overall it seems that SDKMan is the preferred alternative.
Looking at GitHub one can clearly see that SDKMan is more popular, both by stars, latest commit and forks - which should be a decent enough to make a choice.

One thing I've learned both through work and my personal projects is that often it's better to make an non-optimal decision rather than trying to find the perfect solution, because diving into the pile of research to perfection will take much more time than just getting started.

-Hampus Londögård