If you want to automate several commands from your native shell, it will be faster to use our recipe command that allows you to run several CommandBox commands at once. This will allow you to only load the CommandBox engine once for all those commands, but still be dumped back at your native prompt when done. Recipes can also just be useful for a series of commands you run on a regular basis.

Read more about the recipe command in our Command API docs.


Think of a recipe as a simple batch file for Windows or a shell script for Unix. It's just a text file where you place one command on each line and they are executed in order. Enter the commands exactly as you would from the interactive shell.

Technically a recipe can have any file extension, but the default recommendation is .boxr which stands for "box recipe". Lines that start with a pound and whitespace characters (e.g. "# My Comments") will be ignored as comments. The pound character followed immediately by word-like characters is the mechanism for invoking CFML functions.


# Start with an empty folder
rm mySite --recurse --force
mkdir mySite
cd mySite

# Initialize this folder as a package
init name=mySite version=1.0.0 slug=mySlug

# Scaffold out a site and a handler
coldbox create app mySite
coldbox create handler myHandler index

# Add some required package
install coldbox
install cbmessagebox,cbstorages,cbvalidation

# Set the default port
package set defaultPort=8081

# Start up the embedded server

Get Cooking

Execute your recipe with the recipe command, giving it the path to the recipe file.

recipe buildSite.boxr

If any commands in the recipe stop and ask for input, the recipe will pause until you supply that input. All commands that have confirmations, etc should have a --force flag for this purpose so you can run them headlessly without requiring your input. See the rm command above for an example.

Spice It Up

You can also bind the recipe with arguments that will be replaced inside of your recipe at run time. Pass any arguments as additional parameters to the recipe command and they will be passed along to the commands in your recipe.

Named arguments

If you use named arguments to the recipe command, they will be accessible via environment variables inside the recipe as ${arg1Name}, ${arg2Name}, etc.

Consider the following recipe:


echo "Hello there, ${name}, You've won a ${prize}!"

You would call it like so:

recipe recipeFile=notifyWinner.boxr name=Luis prize="NEW CAR"


Hello there, Luis, You've won a NEW CAR!

Note, all parameters to the recipe command needed to be named, including the recipeFile.

Positional Parameters

Now let's look at the same recipe set up to receive positional parameters.

echo "Hello there, ${1}\n You've won a ${2}!"

You would call it like so:

recipe notifyWinner.boxr Luis "NEW CAR"


Hello there, Luis, You've won a NEW CAR!

Missing Args

If an argument is not passed, you can use the default value mechanism:

echo "Hello there, ${name:human}, You've won a ${prize:something cool}!"

Is there an echo in here?

You can use echo on and echo off in recipes to control whether the commands output to the console as they are executed. This can be useful for debugging or confirming the success of commands with no output. Echo is on by default.

Note, echo off doesn't suppress the output of the commands, just the printing of the command and its arguments prior to execution. This does not use the actual echo command and is a feature that only applies during the execution of recipes.

# Now you see me
echo on

# Now you don't
echo off


echo off

Exiting a recipe

You can use the exit command in a recipe and instead of leaving the entire shell, the recipe will simply stop execution right there. If an exit code is passed, it will because the exit code of the recipe command as well as the entire shell.

exit 1

Any command that errors or returns a non-0 exit code will end the recipe immediately and the recipe command will inherit that exit code. This line in a recipe will stop the recipe if there is not a foobar property in your box.json, but not before outputting a message.

package show foobar || echo "Missing property!" && exit 999

On The Fly Commands

In addition to passing a file path to the recipe command for execution, you can also pipe the contents of a file directly into the command. if the input does not match a file path, it is assumed to be executable commands.

echo myCommands.txt | recipe

This can also give you some interesting ability to do dynamic evaluation of command strings.

set cmd=version
echo ${cmd} | recipe

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