A julialang environment builder (like python's virtualenv)

First Commit


Last Touched

8 days ago

Commit Count

86 commits



Build Status codecov.io Project Status: Active - The project has reached a stable, usable state and is being actively developed.

A package for managing julia sandboxes like python's virtualenv (with a little influence from pyenv and virtualenvwrapper)

Supports: StatsBase StatsBase


With Julia

The ideal way to install playground is via the registered julia package. However, this requires that you already have julia installed on your system.

Installing the julia package

julia> Pkg.add("Playground")

NOTE: As of v0.0.6 you will need to run


prior to running Pkg.add or Pkg.build if you'd like the compiled playground executable to be installed into the common ~/.playground/bin/ path.

Running the playground script


Recommended: add the playground bin directory to your path by editing your ~/.bashrc, ~/.zshrc, ~/.tcshrc, etc.

echo "PATH=~/.playground/bin/:$PATH" >> ~/.bashrc

This will make the playground script and all managed julia versions easily accessible.

Currently, some of the dependencies in Playground.jl such as Options.jl and ArgParse.jl throw deprecation warnings. If you'd like to ignore these warnings until new versions of these packages are release just add --depwarn=no to the shebang in ~/.playground/bin/playground. If you're running linux you'll need to change this line to #!/usr/bin/julia --depwarn=no as env in linux can only take 1 argument otherwise the process will stall.

Without Julia

As of v0.0.6 and up binary releases of playground are available for download here, which will allow you to run playground without having an existing julia install.


  1. Download the tar.gz file for your platform into your desired install location (ie: ~/bin)
  2. Go to that directory (cd ~/bin)
  3. Extract the build (tar -xvzf ~/bin/playground-osx.tar.gz)
  4. cd playground && ./INSTALL.sh
  5. Create an alias that sets the LD_LIBRARY_PATH and calls the script. This should be placed in your shell rc file, so if your default shell is bash then you'd add alias playground="LD_LIBRARY_PATH=~/bin/playground ~/bin/playground/playground" to your ~/.bashrc file.

NOTE: This alias hack with LD_LIBRARY_PATH is only necessary due to an issue in the binaries created with BuildExecutable.jl. In future releases it should only be necessary for ~/bin/playground to be on your search path (ie: in your PATH variable).

Making Binary Executables

If you'd like to build you own playground binary executables you'll have a few more steps. First, add BuildExecutable

julia> Pkg.add("BuildExecutable")

If you're on linux you may want to install the latest master release which will handle installing patchelf for you.

julia> Pkg.clone("https://github.com/dhoegh/BuildExecutable.jl")

In order to tell the Playground.jl build script to create a binary executable you'll need to run

julia> ENV["PLAYGROUND_BIN_EXEC"] = true

prior to calling Pkg.build("Playground").

Usage (subcommands)

install (Unix only)

To install a binary julia version from http://julialang.org/downloads/.

# playground install download  --labels label1 label2
playground install download 0.3 --labels julia-0.3

To make an existing build available to playgrounds.

# playground install link  --labels label1 label2
playground install link /path/to/julia/binary --labels julia-src

[TODO] To build and install a julia version from source.

playground install build --url https://github.com/MyUser/julia.git --rev dev --labels julia-wip

This is less of a priority as most individuals can just manual build from source and use playground install link to make their build available. Similarly, this particular subcommand will be more brittle as it depends on the success of the julia build process.

NOTE: Along with the provided labels, all install cmds will automatically create symlinks for the full version and commit eg: julia-0.3.11 and julia-128797f.


To create a new playground using your existing julia install in your current working directory.

playground create

This will automatically create a .playground folder (default specified in ~/.playground/config.yml)

To create a new playground in a specific directory.

playground create /path/of/new/playground

Alternatively, you can name your playgrounds to make them available without remembering where they're stored.

playground create --name research-playground

NOTE: If both a directory and a --name are supplied the playground will be created in the provided directory and linked to ~/.playground/share/<name>. Otherwise, the playground will be created directly in ~/.playground/share/<name>.

To create a playground with a default julia-version. The julia version supplied must already be installed with methods listed above.

playground create /path/of/new/playground --name nightly-playground --julia-version julia-nightly

To create a new playground with pre-existing requirements using REQUIRE or DECLARE files.

playground create --requirements /path/to/REQUIRE/or/DECLARE/file

If the basename of the file is not REQUIRE or DECLARE you can still specify the requirement type.

playground create --requirements /path/to/requirements/file --req-type DECLARE

If using DECLARE files you should make sure that DeclarativePackages.jl is already installed.


To activate a given playground simply run.

playground activate /path/to/your/playground


playground activate --name myproject

NOTE: On Unix systems, activate will try and open a new shell using you SHELL environment variable and a modified copy of your ~/.<shell>rc file. Otherwise, it will fall back to using sh -i.


To see what install julia-versions and playgrounds (named ones) are available.

playground list


If you've removed some a source julia-version or have deleted playground folders and would like playground to clean up any broken symlinks.

playground clean


If you'd like to remove a julia-version or playground you can run.

playground rm [playground-name|julia-version] --dir /path/to/playgrounds

which will delete the specified playground or julia-version and make sure that all related links have been cleaned up. Warning: Deleting julia versions may break playgrounds that depend on that version. If this occurs you can either manually recreate the julia symlink with ln -s ~/.playground/bin/<julia-version> /path/to/playground/bin/julia or better yet recreate the playground.


For the most part, Playground.jl provide its virtualized environments by simply manipulating environment variables and symlinks to julia binaries/playgrounds. However, in order to do this it needs to create its own folder for managing these symlinks. By default Playground.jl creates its own config folder in ~/.playground. This folder is structured as follows.

|-- .playground/
    |-- config.yml
    |-- bin/
        |-- playground
        |-- julia
        |-- julia-stable
        |-- julia-nightly
        |-- julia-0.3
        |-- julia-0.4
    |-- share/
        |-- myproject
        |-- testing
        |-- research
    |-- src/
        |-- julia-038-osx10
    |-- tmp/
        |-- julia-0.3.8-osx10.7+.dmg
  • bin: contains all the symlinks to installed julia versions (and also the playground script itself)
  • share: contains all the named playgrounds or links to named playgrounds.
  • src: contains the extracted binary builds and cloned julia repos.
  • tmp: just contains the raw julia binary downloads


The config.yml file provides a mechanism for configuring default behaviour. This file is setup during installation.

# This is just default location to store a new playground.
# This is used by create and activate if no --name or --path.
default_playground_path: .playground

# Default shell prompt when you activate a playground.
default_prompt: "\e[0;35m\u@\h:\W (playground)> \e[m"

# Default git settings when using install build
default_git_address: "https://github.com/JuliaLang/julia.git"
default_git_revision: master

# Allows you to isolate shell and julia history to each playground.
isolated_shell_history: true
isolated_julia_history: true


  • More thorough test coverage
  • Full windows support including install
  • install build support. html julia-observer-html-cut-paste-2__work