This project is a Java implementation of the Jupyter messaging protocol, suited for JVM languages which implement the JSR223 ScriptEngine specification. For those languages it provides an alternative to Jupyter kernel wrappers written and tty-style communication.


My original motivation was to build a Jython kernel for Jupyter, which could reliably handle I/O, including streams and which supported all the MIME types Jupyter can display in its ouput cells. An already existing kernel wrapper for Jython using a tty interface had I/O issues, in particular it scrambled input from stdin with output from stdout. Since the kernel wrapper looked inscrutable and its author already took some countermeasures which, after all, didn't capture many relevant use cases, I decided for another approach, which drops the Jupyter-to-terminal communication entirely.

The new kernel should

Later I also added a kernel for Clojure.

Getting started

Building the project

After having cloned this project repository, switch to the project directory and build the project with ant

~/home/my/repo/to/jupyter-kernel-jsr223 $ ant

If ant complaints with an exception and the message

org.apache.tools.ant.taskdefs.optional.junit.JUnitTask was not found    

you have to add an ant-optional dependency to ant. E.g. on Ubuntu you install

$ sudo apt-get install ant-optional

The project directory should now contain a dist folder showing the following content ( modulo changes in version numbers ):

├── javadoc
├── jupyter-kernel-jsr223.jar
├── lib
│   ├── commons-cli-1.2.jar
│   ├── jeromq-0.3.6.jar
│   └── json.jar

Installing kernels and kernel specs

Since jupyter-kernel-jsr223 couples to language implementations only through jsr223 interfaces the project is light on dependencies. In reverse this also means one has to install language interpreters separately and add their paths in the kernelspec file kernel.json. A template for such a file can be found at:

├── kernel.json

Please open the README for further information.

After the classpath and the options have been properly set, create a new directory e.g.

    └── my
        └── jython_kernel
            └── kernel.json

For kernel installation type

$ jupyter kernelspec install /home/my/jython_kernel

Finally control the kernel installation with

$ jupyter kernelspec list

Using the kernel

The jupyter-kernel-jsr223 library has been tested only with the Jupyter notebook and I don't intend to support any other way to access it in the near future. If your installation worked correctly you can now launch your Jupyter notebook and should see something like the following image when you want to create a new notebook


Creating non-JSR223 compliant kernels

Internally a JSR223 compliant ScriptEngine is created using the ScriptEngineManager factory function getEngineByName. If no implementation of the desired ScriptEngine interface is available, the function returns null and the kernel launcher fails.

However it is easily possible to build a non-JSR223 compliant kernel library which depends on jupyter-kernel-jsr223.jar.



import org.jupyterkernel.console.IInteractiveConsole;

class MyConsole implements IInteractiveConsole
    // implement the methods of IInteractiveConsole


import org.jupyterkernel.kernel.Session;
import org.jupyterkernel.kernel.Kernel;

class MySession extends org.jupyterkernel.kernel.Session
    public void setKernel(String kernelName)
        this.kernel = new Kernel(kernelName, new MyConsole());

    public static void main(String[] args) throws FileNotFoundException,
        MySession session = new MySession();
        if (args==null || args.length == 0) {
        else {
            Session.runKernel(session, args);

Alternatively you can also derive MyConsole from InteractiveConsole if you want to reuse methods.