It’s pretty common when doing Java development to need mutiple versions installed alongside each other. With Brew and Jenv, switching Java versions between projects becomes easy.

Set up the versions cask

First you need to tap the versions cask:

$ brew tap caskroom/versions

Now you can see multiple versions of the Java cask:

$ brew cask search java
==> Exact Match
java ✔
==> Partial Matches
charles-applejava                           eclipse-java
java-jdk-javadoc                            java6
java8                                       netbeans-java-ee
netbeans-java-se                            yourkit-java-profiler

Install desired Java versions

Now we have the versions cask, we can install our desired version of Java, e.g.:

$ brew cask install java8

At this point, you can not easily switch between the different Java versions, and the most recent Java version will be used.

Install and set up Jenv

Jenv allows you to manage the environment for multiple Java installs, and works well with Brew’s managed versions of Java.

$ brew install jenv

To enable the Jenv shims and autocompletion:

$ echo 'if which jenv > /dev/null; then eval "$(jenv init -)"; fi' >> ~/.bash_profile

Now restart your shell by either re-opening Terminal, or running the following:

$ exec $SHELL -l

Add JVMs to Jenv

Add your JVMs to Jenv as follows:

$ jenv add /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk-9.0.4.jdk/Contents/Home/
$ jenv add /Library/Java/JavaVirtualMachines/jdk1.8.0_162.jdk/Contents/Home/

By default, Jenv will be using the system installed version of Java, which will be the latest one.

You can override this globally by running:

$ jenv global oracle64-1.8.0.162

or if you just want to affect a particular project:

$ jenv local oracle64-1.8.0.162

Check it works

$ java -version

Enable Maven shim

If you’re using Maven on the CLI, you will want to enable the Maven shim, otherwise it will still be using the system version of Java:

$ jenv enable-plugin maven

Command Reference

See the Jenv site for more details.