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Learn How to Use Open Liberty with Maven, Gradle, Docker, and Kubernetes

Open Liberty: A Lightweight Java Runtime for Cloud-Native Microservices

Are you looking for a fast, flexible, and easy-to-use Java runtime for developing and deploying cloud-native microservices? If so, you might want to check out Open Liberty, an open source project that provides a lightweight, modular, and composable framework for building modern Java applications.

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Open Liberty is based on the platforms, as well as other popular frameworks like Spring Boot.

Some of the main features and benefits of Open Liberty are:

  • It is fast to start up, with a low memory footprint and live reload for quick iteration.

  • It is flexible, with a dynamic configuration that adapts to changes without restarting the server.

  • It is lightweight, with a modular architecture that lets you run only what you need.

  • It is open, with a transparent development process and a vibrant community of contributors and users.

  • It is cloud-native, with support for containers, Kubernetes, service mesh, observability, and more.

In this article, we will show you how to download Open Liberty and run a simple application on it. Let's get started!

How to download Open Liberty

To use Open Liberty, you need to have Java SE 8 or later installed on your machine. You can use any compatible Java implementation, such as OpenJDK, AdoptOpenJDK, IBM SDK, or Oracle JDK.

You also need to have a Java IDE, such as Eclipse, IntelliJ IDEA, or Visual Studio Code, or a build tool, such as Maven or Gradle, depending on how you want to create and manage your projects.

There are different ways to download Open Liberty, depending on your preferences and needs. Here are some of the most common options:

Maven or Gradle dependency

If you are using Maven or Gradle to build your projects, you can add Open Liberty as a dependency in your pom.xml or build.gradle file. This way, you can easily manage the version and configuration of Open Liberty for each project.

For example, to add Open Liberty as a Maven dependency, you can use the following snippet:

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<dependency> <groupId>io.openliberty</groupId> <artifactId>openliberty-runtime</artifactId> <version>[,</version> <type>zip</ type></dependency>

To add Open Liberty as a Gradle dependency, you can use the following snippet:

dependencies libertyRuntime group: 'io.openliberty', name: 'openliberty-runtime', version: '[,'

You can also use the to simplify the tasks of creating, configuring, and running Open Liberty servers and applications.

Runtime package

If you prefer to download Open Liberty as a standalone package, you can go to the and choose the version and format that suits you best. You can download Open Liberty as a zip file, a tar.gz file, or a jar file.

Once you have downloaded the package, you can extract it to a location of your choice. You will see a folder called wlp, which contains the Open Liberty runtime and some sample applications.

Docker image

If you are using Docker to run your applications, you can pull the official Open Liberty image from . You can choose from different tags, such as kernel, full, javaee8, or microProfile4, depending on the features that you need.

For example, to pull the latest Open Liberty image with the full set of features, you can use the following command:

docker pull openliberty/open-liberty:full

You can also build your own custom image using the Open Liberty base image and adding your own features and applications. You can find more information on how to do that in the .

How to verify the download

To verify that you have downloaded Open Liberty correctly, you can run the following command in a terminal:

wlp/bin/server version

This will show you the version and edition of Open Liberty that you have installed. For example, you might see something like this:

Open Liberty on Eclipse OpenJ9 VM, version 11.0.12+7 (en_US)

How to run Open Liberty

Now that you have downloaded Open Liberty, you are ready to run it and create your first application. Here are the basic steps that you need to follow:

How to create a server

A server is an instance of Open Liberty that runs your applications and provides various services and features. To create a server, you can use the server create command:

wlp/bin/server create myServer

This will create a folder called myServer under the wlp/usr/servers directory, which contains the configuration and logs for your server.

How to configure features and applications

To configure your server, you need to edit the server.xml file that is located in the wlp/usr/servers/myServer folder. This file defines the features and applications that your server will use.

A feature is a set of capabilities that provide specific functionality for your applications, such as security, database access, web services, or microservice APIs. You can specify which features you want to enable by using the <featureManager> element in your server.xml file.

An application is a Java program that runs on your server and provides some business logic or user interface. You can specify which applications you want to deploy by using the <application> element in your server.xml file.

For example, if you want to enable the MicroProfile 4.1 feature and deploy a web application called myApp.war, you can use the following server.xml file:

<server description="My Server"> <featureManager> <feature>microProfile-4.1</feature> </featureManager> <application location="myApp.war" type=" war" name="myApp" context-root="/myApp"/> </server>

You can find more information on how to configure your server and use different features and applications in the .

How to start and stop the server

To start your server, you can use the server start command:

wlp/bin/server start myServer

This will launch your server in the background and print a message when it is ready to accept requests. You can also use the --clean option to start your server with a clean slate, deleting any cached data or temporary files.

To stop your server, you can use the server stop command:

wlp/bin/server stop myServer

This will gracefully shut down your server and print a message when it is done. You can also use the --force option to force your server to stop immediately, without waiting for any active requests to finish.

You can find more information on how to start and stop your server and use different options and modes in the .


In this article, we have learned what Open Liberty is and how to download and run it. We have also seen how to create, configure, and deploy a simple web application using Open Liberty.

Open Liberty is a


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