9. Glossary

Project: a source tree with a standard layout, including a src directory for the main body of Julia code, a test directory for testing the project, a docs directory for documentation files, and optionally a deps directory for a build script and its outputs. A project will typically also have a project file and may optionally have a manifest file:

  • Project file: a file in the root directory of a project, named Project.toml (or JuliaProject.toml), describing metadata about the project, including its name, UUID (for packages), authors, license, and the names and UUIDs of packages and libraries that it depends on.

  • Manifest file: a file in the root directory of a project, named Manifest.toml (or JuliaManifest.toml), describing a complete dependency graph and exact versions of each package and library used by a project.

Package: a project which provides reusable functionality that can be used by other Julia projects via import X or using X. A package should have a project file with a uuid entry giving its package UUID. This UUID is used to identify the package in projects that depend on it.


For legacy reasons, it is possible to load a package without a project file or UUID from the REPL or the top-level of a script. It is not possible, however, to load a package without a project file or UUID from a project with them. Once you've loaded from a project file, everything needs a project file and UUID.

Application: a project which provides standalone functionality not intended to be reused by other Julia projects. For example a web application or a command-line utility, or simulation/analytics code accompanying a scientific paper. An application may have a UUID but does not need one. An application may also set and change the global configurations of packages it depends on. Packages, on the other hand, may not change the global state of their dependencies since that could conflict with the configuration of the main application.


Projects vs. Packages vs. Applications:

  1. Project is an umbrella term: packages and applications are kinds of projects.
  2. Packages should have UUIDs, applications can have UUIDs but don't need them.
  3. Applications can provide global configuration, whereas packages cannot.

Environment: the combination of the top-level name map provided by a project file combined with the dependency graph and map from packages to their entry points provided by a manifest file. For more detail see the manual section on code loading.

  • Explicit environment: an environment in the form of an explicit project file and an optional corresponding manifest file together in a directory. If the manifest file is absent then the implied dependency graph and location maps are empty.

  • Implicit environment: an environment provided as a directory (without a project file or manifest file) containing packages with entry points of the form X.jl, X.jl/src/X.jl or X/src/X.jl. The top-level name map is implied by these entry points. The dependency graph is implied by the existence of project files inside of these package directories, e.g. X.jl/Project.toml or X/Project.toml. The dependencies of the X package are the dependencies in the corresponding project file if there is one. The location map is implied by the entry points themselves.

Registry: a source tree with a standard layout recording metadata about a registered set of packages, the tagged versions of them which are available, and which versions of packages are compatible or incompatible with each other. A registry is indexed by package name and UUID, and has a directory for each registered package providing the following metadata about it:

  • name – e.g. DataFrames
  • UUID – e.g. a93c6f00-e57d-5684-b7b6-d8193f3e46c0
  • repository – e.g. https://github.com/JuliaData/DataFrames.jl.git
  • versions – a list of all registered version tags

For each registered version of a package, the following information is provided:

  • its semantic version number – e.g. v1.2.3
  • its git tree SHA-1 hash – e.g. 7ffb18ea3245ef98e368b02b81e8a86543a11103
  • a map from names to UUIDs of dependencies
  • which versions of other packages it is compatible/incompatible with

Dependencies and compatibility are stored in a compressed but human-readable format using ranges of package versions.

Depot: a directory on a system where various package-related resources live, including:

  • environments: shared named environments (e.g. v1.0, devtools)
  • clones: bare clones of package repositories
  • compiled: cached compiled package images (.ji files)
  • config: global configuration files (e.g. startup.jl)
  • dev: default directory for package development
  • logs: log files (e.g. manifest_usage.toml, repl_history.jl)
  • packages: installed package versions
  • registries: clones of registries (e.g. General)

Load path: a stack of environments where package identities, their dependencies, and entry points are searched for. The load path is controlled in Julia by the LOAD_PATH global variable which is populated at startup based on the value of the JULIA_LOAD_PATH environment variable. The first entry is your primary environment, often the current project, while later entries provide additional packages one may want to use from the REPL or top-level scripts.

Depot path: a stack of depot locations where the package manager, as well as Julia's code loading mechanisms, look for registries, installed packages, named environments, repo clones, cached compiled package images, and configuration files. The depot path is controlled by the Julia DEPOT_PATH global variable which is populated at startup based on the value of the JULIA_DEPOT_PATH environment variable. The first entry is the “user depot” and should be writable by and owned by the current user. The user depot is where: registries are cloned, new package versions are installed, named environments are created and updated, package repositories are cloned, newly compiled package image files are saved, log files are written, development packages are checked out by default, and global configuration data is saved. Later entries in the depot path are treated as read-only and are appropriate for registries, packages, etc. installed and managed by system administrators.