Running Multiple Versions of Grails

There may be times when you have to run multiple versions of Grails in your local development environment. It may be because you supporting multiple Grails applications each running different version, or you would like to test your prime Grails app in different version before shipping to customer, or you just grabbed some Grails application from internet( ‘into wild’) and like try out. For whatever reason, in this post i describe one setup that auto detects version of the application and runs it in appropriate Grails version.

Pre-requisite: Unix based machine

General Idea

We set up so that when ‘grails’ command is called, it runs a script. This script will read the version from Grails application( you want to run and forwards all of the commands to the appropriate grails version to run.

All of the multiple Grails framework versions are installed in ‘/DevTools/grails’ folder in a format grails-x.x.x.

From the multiple Grails versions, we have chosen one version as default one  and defined env variable GRAILS_HOME that points to it.

Step 1 – Create Script

Create file ‘grails’ in some folder you choose. Make this file executable by running ‘chmod u+x filename’

Next, copy past the following:



if [ -f ];then
 export GRAILS_VERSION=`grep app.grails.version | sed -E 's/.*=(.*)/\1/'`
 export GRAILS_HOME="$DEV_TOOLS/grails/grails-$GRAILS_VERSION"
 echo " found, using \$GRAILS_HOME of $GRAILS_HOME"
 echo " NOT found, leaving \$GRAILS_HOME as $GRAILS_HOME"

if [ ! -d $GRAILS_HOME ]; then
 if [ ! $GRAILS_HOME = $GRAILS_DEFAULT ] && [ -d $GRAILS_DEFAULT ]; then
        echo "Unable to find $GRAILS_HOME. Switching back to default $GRAILS_DEFAULT"
        echo "ERROR: Unable to find \$GRAILS_HOME directory at $GRAILS_HOME"
        exit 1


Make sure to adjust the highlighted line 8 to point to your folder where all of the different Grails versions are located for you.

Step 2 – Setup ‘grails’ Command to Run Script

Update your PATH variable to include the folder containing the script – grails you created in Step 1.

Note: make sure you restart command line terminal to ensure your new updated env variable PATH is loaded

Running Different Versions

Afterwards, when command ‘grails something’ is called, then it goes to your ‘grails’ script. The scripts searches through the file for the version. Once found, it checks if this version is stored in your machine. If it is not, it runs the default version you have set in ‘GRAILS_HOME’ variable.

There may be times you need to run ‘grails-debug’ command. If that is the case you then change your setup as follows:
1. Rename ‘grails’ script to ‘grails-version’
2. Create new file named ‘grails’ and add the following:

grails-version grails $*

3. Create new file named ‘grails-debug’ and add the following:

grails-version grails-debug $*

Note:make sure you make new scripts executable like step 2

So this will forward ‘grails’ and ‘grails-debug’ commands to versioning script before running either of the commands

Useful Links

Unix Shell Scripting Tutorial

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