Moving to the new DAML assistant

We’ve released a new command-line tool for working with the DAML SDK: DAML Assistant, or daml. Many of its commands are similar to the old SDK Assistant (da), but there are some changes:

  • Simplified installation process: curl -sSL | sh for Linux and Mac

  • Overhaul and simplification of templates:

    • daml new takes arguments in a consistent order:
      • daml new proj creates a new project named proj with a skeleton template
      • daml new proj quickstart-java creates a new project with the quickstart-java template
    • daml new templates are built-in to the SDK
    • Mix-in template mechanism is gone (da add)
    • No more publishing or subscribing of templates on Bintray: use Github and git clone to distribute templates outside of the SDK
  • Use daml build to compile your project into a DAR

  • daml start components don’t run in the background, and you stop them with ctrl+c

    As a result, there are no equivalents to da stop and da restart

  • No da run equivalent, but:

    • daml sandbox is the same as da run sandbox --
    • daml navigator is the same as da run navigator --
    • daml damlc is the same as da run damlc --
  • daml.yaml configuration file replaces da.yaml - read more about this in the next section

Migrating a da project to daml

Migrating with daml init

You can migrate an existing project using the daml init command. To use it, go to the project root on the command line and run daml init. This will create a daml.yaml file based on da.yaml.

Some things to keep in mind when using daml init to migrate projects:

  • If your project uses an SDK version prior to 0.12.15, the generated daml.yaml will use SDK version 0.12.15 instead. Support for previous SDK versions in the new assistant is limited.
  • daml.yaml adds exposed-modules and dependencies fields, which are needed for daml build. Depending on your DAML project, may have to adjust these fields in the generated daml.yaml.

Migrating manually

To migrate the project manually:

  1. Upgrade your project to SDK version 0.12.15 or later.

  2. Convert your project’s da.yaml file into a daml.yaml file.

    The two files are very similar: daml.yaml is the project section of da.yaml, plus some additional packaging information. Here is an example of a daml.yaml file, from the quickstart-java template:

    sdk-version: 0.12.14
    name: my_project
    source: daml
    scenario: Main:setup
    - Alice
    - Bob
    - USD_Bank
    - EUR_Bank
    version: 1.0.0
    - Main
    - daml-prim
    - daml-stdlib

    Here is the corresponding da.yaml file:

      sdk-version: 0.12.12
      scenario: Main:setup
      name: foobar
    source: daml
      - Alice
      - Bob
      - USD_Bank
      - EUR_Bank
    version: 2

The extra fields in daml.yaml are related to the new packaging functionality in damlc. When you build a DAML project with daml build (or daml start) it creates a .dar package from your project inside the dist/ folder. (You can supply a different target location by passing the -o option.) To create the package properly, the new config file daml.yaml needs the following additional fields that were not present in da.yaml:

  • version: The version number for the DAML project, which becomes the version number for the compiled package.
  • exposed-modules: When the .dar file is built, this determines what modules are exposed for users of the package.
  • dependencies: The DAML packages that this project depends on. daml-prim and daml-stdlib together give access to the basic definitions of DAML - you should add them both as dependencies. Additional dependencies can only be added by giving the path to the .dar file of the other package.

You can now use daml commands with your project.

Switching from old commands to new ones

This section goes through the da commands, and gives the daml equivalent where there is one.

Managing versions and config

Old command Purpose New equivalent
da setup Initialize the SDK No longer needed: this is handled by the installer
da upgrade Upgrade SDK version daml install <version>
da list List installed SDK versions daml version
da use Set the default SDK version No direct equivalent; you now set the new SDK version (sdk-version: X.Y.Z) in your project config file (daml.yaml) manually
da config Query and manage config No equivalent: view and edit your config files directly
da uninstall Uninstall the SDK Currently no equivalent for this
da update-info Show assistant update channel information No longer needed

Running components

Old command Purpose New equivalent
da start Start Navigator and Sandbox daml start
da stop Stop running Navigator and Sandbox ctrl+c
da restart Shut down and restart Navigator and Sandbox ctrl+c and daml start
da studio Launch DAML Studio daml studio
da navigator Launch Navigator No direct equivalent; daml navigator is equivalent to da run navigator
da sandbox Launch Sandbox No direct equivalent; daml sandbox is equivalent to da run sandbox
da compile Compile a DAML project into a .dar file daml build
da run <component> Run an SDK component daml navigator, daml sandbox, etc as above
da path <component> Show the path to an SDK component No equivalent
da status Show a list of running services No longer needed: components no longer run in the background

Managing templates and projects

Old command Purpose New equivalent
da template Manage SDK templates No longer needed: use git clone for templates instead
da project new Create an SDK project daml new, or use git clone
da project add Add a template to the current project No longer needed: use git clone instead
da new Create a new project from template daml new <target path> <name of template>
da subscribe Subscribe to a template namespace No longer needed: use git clone instead
da unsubscribe Unsubscribe from a template namespace No longer needed: use git clone instead

Docs and feedback

Old command Purpose New equivalent
da docs Display the documentation No longer needed: you can access the docs at, which includes a PDF download for offline use
da feedback Send us feedback No longer needed: see Support for how to give feedback.
da config-help Show help about config files No longer needed: config files are documented on this page
da changelog Show release notes No longer needed: see the Release notes