Install Atlassian CLI with Homebrew

This is a follow up to introduction to Atlassian CLI.

In this post you will learn how to create custom Homebrew formula, install Atlassian CLI via Homebrew tap and customize tools for you company environment.

If you don’t care about all the details and steps involved, you can jump right to Summary section.


Homebrew (aka “brew”) is a missing package manager for OS X. After you install it, you need to update your PATH. By default /usr/local/bin is not in the system path, so modify your ~/.bash_profile before you continue.

Why Brew?

A perfectly valid question. Why would you go into all the trouble of creating formula, when you could just unzip, copy and update PATH, or even write a simple shell script to do that.

Well, Homebrew does all that and then much more. After initial installation upgrading the tools is as easy as brew update && brew upgrade. It also makes installation and upgrade process easier to other people in your organization. And finally, it’s just cool.

OK, Let’s Brew!

Create Formula

You could use brew create <link> command, but that will create formula in /usr/local/Library/Formula. Instead let’s create it manually.

Let’s say our company is called i4nApps (I know, it’s a weird name…), so create new Ruby file

With contents like this

These are the basics of brewing.

  • Your custom formula class needs to subclass Formula class.
  • version in our case is “3.9.0”, that’s the latest Atlassian CLI Client version at the moment of writing this post.
  • homepage points to Atlassian Marketplace page.
  • url is used to download source code. Note a bit of tweaking at the end of the link #{version.to_s.delete('.')}, that’s to remove dots.
  • sha1 obviously is SHA-1 calculated for file downloaded from url.
  • install method is where you do all the installation magic once the source is downloaded and unzipped.
  • test is used to test formula after installation. Normally you just execute main program installed by the formula, in our case it can be jira.

Now let’s take advantage of the fact that Homebrew formula is just a Ruby class and add few more custom lines to use later.

  • release will be used for managing multiple releases for same version
  • java_version will come handy for setting JAVA_HOME environment variable. Default is “1.6” but you can user JAVA_VERSION environment variable to override default settings.

Atlassian CLI Client Compatibility page claims that “Client requires Java 1.6 (recommended) or above.” I have had problems using it with Java 1.7, so in this guide we’ll stick with 1.6.


Once execution enters install method, the source is already downloaded and unzipped. Things that you do in install method occur in temporary directory created by Homebrew.

This is the place to run things like ./configure and make. However in our case we have no source code to compile. Atlassian CLI is basically a collection of JAR files with shell wrappers for them.

Our job is to cleanup first, then patch and rename some scripts and finally move the whole bunch to /usr/local. /usr/local is also called prefix, this is the location where Homebrew installs all packages, additionally there’s a special prefix variable available in the formula.


So let’s cleanup. Since we are installing on OS X, we don’t need all the Windows stuff.

As an improvement, this could be a good place to remove examples.

Patch and Move

Now it’s the time to mention one of the things done wrong in Atlassian CLI tools package. There’s a reason for having all those folders like lib, libexec, etc and so on. In Homebrew world each of those folders serves a special purpose. Yet the most important folder of all is missing, that is bin!

Remember that part where you added /usr/local/bin to your PATH? When Homebrew installs a package it copies things from temp folder to prefix (/usr/local), bin is copied too. Every executable in the bin becomes available system-wide because of the way you updated PATH.

In case of Atlassian CLI, all the shell scripts are sitting in the root folder, bin is not there at all. This needs to be fixed. We will do it in 2 steps

  • Create bin folder and move scripts to it
  • Patch the scripts

The order doesn’t really matter. Patching is required because each shell script is a wrapper around JAR file and contains relative path to that JAR. So if you move the shell script, you have to update the relative path as well.

Here we replace relative path to lib with ../lib. We also set JAVA_HOME here using java_home OS X utility and java_version method. This is to be sure Java version is as we expect it.

We just moved all the .sh scripts to bin folder. I also prefer to drop the .sh part. Finally all feels too ambiguous, so rename it to atlassian-all.

Install to Prefix

We can finally install everything to prefix (/usr/local), that’s where prefix variable is used


This part is optional. Unless you customize the scripts you will have to use --server, --user and --password switches each time you call commands, this is to provide server, username and password.

Of course this can be solved with aliases, but then you’d have to configure aliases on each build box. Anyway, the developers of the CLI package offer you another solution. As I said, this part is optional, if you don’t need customization you can skip to next section.

The (which we renamed to atlassian and moved to bin) is there for customization. Have a look inside that file

This is where you can customize your Atlassian products username and password, as well as additional JVM settings. That’s usual practice for organizations, you have a special user account (service account) than can access the whole range of products with single username and password.

And there’s another block of code like this, which is used to customize Atlassian products server urls.

You will need to replace all the https://*** with your company urls. If you have multiple instances of same product in your organization, you can add another elif block for that. For example you are in the middle of migration from Confluence server to a new instance, for a while you want to be able to use both, so add another block like this

In this example there won’t be multiple instances for same product, but it would be possible to customize scripts to handle that case as well.

So let’s write some Ruby again. For the company called i4nApps we will create a nested class I4nAppsEnv that will contain all the company specific environment settings.

username and password methods pick up values from ATLAS_USERNAME and ATLAS_PASSWORD environment variables. Set those when running brew install or brew upgrade.

Next the server method returns server url for each product type.

Finally patch method patches the shell script the way we want it.

  • Replace default username and password with values provided via environment variables
  • Replace all the server urls with your company urls

You have to add one more line to install method in the formula

Make sure to put this line before is moved and renamed.

The nested class is used because Homebrew only expects one formula file. If you have other files used as an external dependencies, Homebrew will not fetch them from repository when running tap command.

Push to SCM

We are done with the formula. It’s time now to push it to a repository. Whatever is you favorite SCM - use it. In this example we will use Git repository hosted with Stash. For example


Tap, Install and Upgrade


One of the ways to install Homebrew packages from custom repositories is to use Taps.

There’s a number of rules to follow when creating your taps. That mostly matters if you plan to share this formula with the rest of the world. For internal use in your organization you can neglect some of these rules.

But there’s a trade off as well. Since we didn’t name the tap repository properly, we won’t be able to use tap command like brew tap username/repository. Instead we will do same actions as tap does only with few lines of shell script.

brew tap clones the repository from GitHub and puts it into the taps directory. This is how you can do it directly


Now you can install, this part is simple


To upgrade you need to update brew repositories, including the taps, then upgrade the specific package.


  • Create formula Ruby file and put it into a repository


  • Create a Homebrew tap, install and upgrade

Published: May 30 2014

blog comments powered by Disqus