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Quickstart (Hello, World!)

In this section, we'll take a look at how easy it is to get started with a simple Hello World program in Jac. Ensure that jaseci is installed before proceeding with the quickstart guide.

  1. Create a new directory for your project called hello_jac
  2. Create a file called hello.jac within the directory created in the previous step.
  3. Give hello.jac the following contents:
walker init {
std.out("Hello, World!");
  1. Navigate to the hello_jac directory using your terminal.
  2. Run the program with the following command: jsctl jac run hello.jac
  3. This should print the following string to the console: Hello World

Let's get into the details. walker is the keyword used to define a Walker. init is a reserved word; in this case, it provides the entry point to the jac program. Therefore, once the compiler encounters walker init {} it starts the program execution. Line 2 contains the std library for standard operation and out() is a module for printing. Simply put, the command std.out() displays the string Hello World as an output in your terminal.


In the quickstart section, the run command was used to prompt the execution of the hello.jac program. We only recommend doing this for very small programs. Using the run command on larger programs may increase run time.

How the run command works

When you use the run command on a .jac file, the program is sent to Jaseci to be compiled (larger programs take longer to compile). After compilation, Jaseci then runs the program.

Using the build command

To ensure that our Jac programs runs fast, it's recommended that you build programs first using the jac build command and then run them.

To build the hello.jac program from the Quick start section, run the following command:

jsctl jac build hello.jac

Running the above command will build the program and output a file called hello.jir. This is our compiled jac program.

You can then run the compiled hello.jac program with:

jsctl jac run hello.jir

You'll notice how fast it runs. Instantly!

The Jaseci shell

You hate the idea of typing jsctl every time you want to do something... There is a shell for this. Let's learn more.

  1. To access the shell, type jsctl in your terminal and hit Enter.

You'll get the following output:

Starting Jaseci Shell...
jaseci >

If you're still in the hello_jac directory, try building or running the hello.jac program, this time without typing jsctl in front of the commands:

run: jac run hello.jac

build: jac build hello.jac

Getting help

  1. To see a list of commands you can run with the jaseci shell, type help and press Enter. You'll see the following output:
jaseci > help

Documented commands (type help <topic>):
actions booktool global jsorc logout prometheus sentinel wapi
alias clear graph load ls publogin service
apply config info logger master reset user
architype edit jac login object script walker
Undocumented commands:
exit help quit

To get help on a particular command, type: help NAME_OF_COMMAND

For example, to see all the commands for jac, type: help jac

You should see an output like:

Usage: jac [OPTIONS] COMMAND [ARGS]...

Group of `jac` commands

--help Show this message and exit.

build Command line tooling for building executable jac ir
run Command line tooling for running all test in both .jac code files...
test Command line tooling for running all test in both .jac code files...

Visualizing a graph

As you get to know Jaseci and Jac, you'll want to try things and tinker a bit. In this section, we'll get to know how jsctl can be used as the main platform for this play. A typical flow will involve jumping into shell-mode, writing some code, running that code to observe its output, visualizing the state of the graph, and rendering that graph in dot to see its visualization.

Using Graphiz

Now that we have Graphiz installed, let's use it.

  1. In the hello_jac directory that you created earlier, create a file called fam.jac and give it the following content:
node man;
node woman;

edge mom;
edge dad;
edge married;

walker create_fam {
root {
spawn here ++> node::man;
spawn here ++> node::woman;
--> node::man <+[married]+> --> node::woman;
take -->;
woman {
son = spawn here <+[mom]+ node::man;
son +[dad]+> <-[married]->;
man {
std.out("I didn't do any of the hard work.");

Don't worry if that looks confusing. As you learn the Jac language, this will become clearer.

  1. Let's "register" a sentinel based on our Jac program. A sentinel is the abstraction Jaseci uses to encapsulate compiled walkers and archetype nodes and edges. You can think of registering a sentinel as compiling your jac program. The walkers of a given sentinel can then be invoked and run on arbitrary nodes of any graph. Let's register fam.jac

  2. Open the jaseci shell by typing jsctl

  3. Run the following command to register a sentinel: sentinel register -name fam -code fam.jac -set_active true

You should see the following output:

jaseci > sentinel register -name fam -code fam.jac -set_active true
2022-03-21 13:56:29,443 - INFO - compile_jac: fam: Processing Jac code...
2022-03-21 13:56:29,558 - INFO - register: fam: Successfully registered code
"version": null,
"name": "fam",
"kind": "generic",
"jid": "urn:uuid:04385141-7d65-4467-bf51-d251bb9e5a84",
"j_timestamp": "2022-03-21T17:56:29.443318",
"j_type": "sentinel"
"context": {},
"anchor": null,
"name": "root",
"kind": "generic",
"jid": "urn:uuid:9df56101-f831-4791-8326-ca6657b4b23c",
"j_timestamp": "2022-03-21T17:56:29.443427",
"j_type": "graph"

This output shows that the sentinel was created. Note that we've also made this the "active" sentinel that will be used as the default setting for any calls to the Jaseci Core APIs that require a sentinel be specified.

At this point, Jaseci has registered our code and we are ready to run walkers!

  1. Now let's run our walker on the root node of the graph we created and see what happens!

Run the following command:

walker run -name create_fam

You should see the following output:

walker run -name create_fam
I didn't do any of the hard work.

But how do we visualize that the graph produced by the program is right? If you've guessed it, we can use the Jaseci dot feature to take a look at our graph!!

Run the following command:

graph get -mode dot -o

You should see the following output:

jaseci > graph get -mode dot -o
strict digraph root {
"n0" [ id="9df56101f83147918326ca6657b4b23c", label="n0:root" ]
"n1" [ id="011d88ae58744e5a87ca27fd6875ce3e", label="n1:man" ]
"n2" [ id="2099b359f4024a94bc167dead2b8d15d", label="n2:woman" ]
"n3" [ id="efa326feadc94b2fad2399e787907885", label="n3:man" ]
"n0" -> "n1" [ id="10b075a1b3714ff986f9cbb37160f601", label="e0" ]
"n1" -> "n2" [ id="a7bae4f6c8ae4a3496cd8f942bb40aa8", label="e1:married", dir="both" ]
"n3" -> "n1" [ id="35a76964f7144e9aba04200368cdab29", label="e2:dad" ]
"n3" -> "n2" [ id="285d4f89f6144b2ca208807d8471fa54", label="e3:mom" ]
"n0" -> "n2" [ id="4caffc3f14884965b48d64a005d57427", label="e4" ]
[saved to]

To see a pretty visual of the graph itself, we can use the dot command from Graphiz. Exit the shell by typing exit and then run the following command:

dot -Tpdf -o fam.pdf

A new file called fam.pdf will now appear in the hello_jac directory. Open this file to see your graph!