RFC 147 Overview

The RFC-147 draft is not yet publicly available. It used to be called RFC-132, which can be found in an early specification draft

This is an overview of its main features:

Standard way to implement and run commands for any OSGi 4.2 framework

Commands are registered via service attributes, you don’t have to register a specific service. This allows commands to be registered by existing services, just by adding the new attributes:

 Dictionary<String, Object> dict = new Hashtable<String, Object>();
 dict.put(CommandProcessor.COMMAND_SCOPE, "shell");
 dict.put(CommandProcessor.COMMAND_FUNCTION, new String[] {"sleep", "grep"});
 context.registerService(name, service, dict);

Scope is used to provide a namespace for commands. The commands above can be invoked as shell:sleep and shell:grep. If the scope is omitted (e.g. sleep and grep) then the first matching command is invoked.

Commands can have any signature

Arguments are coerced to call the best matching method using reflection. A CommandSession argument is inserted if required:

public void sleep(long millis) throws InterruptedException{

public void sleep(String[] args) throws Exception;

public boolean grep(CommandSession session, String[] args) throws Exception;

The CommandSession interface provides methods for executing commands and getting and setting session variables:

 public interface org.apache.felix.service.command.CommandSession {
     Object execute(CharSequence commandline) throws Exception;
     Object get(String name);
     void put(String name, Object value);

Easy to use interactively - no unnecessary syntax

  • basic commands

   g! echo hello world
   hello world
  • session variables

   g! msg = "hello world"
   g! echo $msg
   hello world
  • execution quotes () - similar to bash backquotes

   g! (bundle 1) location

Lists, maps, pipes and closures

  • lists - []

   g! list = [1 2 a b]
  • maps - []

   g! map = [Jan=1 Feb=2 Mar=3]
   Jan                 1
   Feb                 2
   Mar                 3
  • pipes - |

   g! bundles | grep gogo
       2|Active     |    1|org.apache.felix.gogo.command (0.6.0)
       3|Active     |    1|org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime (0.6.0)
       4|Active     |    1|org.apache.felix.gogo.shell (0.6.0)
  • closures - {}

   g! echo2 = { echo xxx $args yyy }
   g! echo2 hello world
   xxx hello world yyy

Leverages existing Java capabilities, via reflection

  • exception handling - console shows summary, but full context available

   g! start xxx
   E: Cannot coerce start[xxx] to any of [(Bundle)]
   g! $exception printstacktrace
   java.lang.IllegalArgumentException: Cannot coerce start[xxx] to any of [(Bundle)]
           at org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime.shell.Reflective.method(Reflective.java:162)
           at org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime.shell.Command.execute(Command.java:40)
           at org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime.shell.Closure.execute(Closure.java:211)
           at org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime.shell.Closure.executeStatement(Closure.java:146)
           at org.apache.felix.gogo.runtime.shell.Pipe.run(Pipe.java:91)
  • add all public methods on java.lang.System as commands:

   g! addcommand system (loadClass java.lang.System)
   g! system:getproperties
   java.version        1.5.0_19
   java.class.path     bin/felix.jar
   user.language       en
   sun.os.patch.level  unknown
   os.version          10.6.2

Easy to implement and test commands without needing OSGi

Command implementations don’t need to reference any OSGi interfaces. They can use System.in, System.out and System.err, just as you would in a trivial Java application. The ThreadIO service transparently manages the singleton System.out etc, so that each thread sees the appropriate stream:

 public void cat(String[] args) throws Exception {
     for (String arg : args) {
         IOUtil.copy(arg, System.out);

Normal commands can provide control primitives

 public void each(CommandSession session, Collection<Object> list, Function closure) throws Exception {
     for (Object x : list) {
         closure.execute(session, null);


 g! each [Jan Feb Mar] { echo $it | grep . }
The default echo command returns a String and does not write to System.out. Also, by default, the console prints the results of each command, so echo appears to behave as you would expect. However, the console does not see the each closure above, so the result of echo would not be seen. This is why it is piped into grep, as the result of the command as well as its output is written to a pipeline.