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Compiling ArangoDB under Windows


I want to compile ArangoDB under Windows.

Note: For this recipe you need at least ArangoDB 2.4; it also works for 2.5 and above. For ArangoDB version before 2.4 look at the old Compiling ArangoDB under Windows.


While compiling ArangoDB under Linux is straight forward - simply execute configure and make - compiling under Windows is a bit more demanding.


For this recipe you need to install the following programs under Windows:

  • cygwin

    You need at least make from cygwin. Cygwin also offers a cmake. Do not install this version. The unit tests require the bash.

    You should also issue these commands to generate user informations for the cygwin commands:

      mkpasswd > /etc/passwd
      mkgroup > /etc/group

    Turning ACL off (noacl) for all mounts in cygwin fixes permissions troubles that may appear in the build:

      # /etc/fstab
      #    This file is read once by the first process in a Cygwin process tree.
      #    To pick up changes, restart all Cygwin processes.  For a description
      #    see
      # noacl = Ignore Access Control List and let Windows handle permissions
      C:/cygwin64/bin  /usr/bin   ntfs      binary,auto,noacl           0  0
      C:/cygwin64/lib  /usr/lib   ntfs      binary,auto,noacl           0  0
      C:/cygwin64      /          ntfs      override,binary,auto,noacl  0  0
      none             /cygdrive  cygdrive  binary,posix=0,user,noacl   0  0
  • cmake

    Either version 2.8.12, 3.0.2 or 3.1.2 should work. Attention - pitfall: the cygwin version doesn’t work.

  • python

    Either 2.x version should work - it’s used to run V8s GYP. Make sure you add python.exe to your path environment variable; restarting your running shell may be necessary.

  • Visual Studio Express 2013 for Windows Desktop

    More recent versions, such as Visual Studio Community 2015 don’t work yet.

    Please note that there are different versions of Visual Studio. The Visual Studio for Windows will not work. You need to install Visual Studio (Express) for Windows Desktop. You must configure your path in such a way that the compiler can be found. One way is to execute the vcvarsall.bat script from the VC folder.

  • Nullsoft Scriptable Install System

  • Ruby (for the unittests, if you intend to run them)

  • procdump (for the unittests; run once to accept the eula)

  • GitLink to adjust the pdb files to github

  • WinDbg (in the section “Standalone Debugging Tools for Windows (WinDbg)”) to get automated backraces during unittest runs. Hint: Add its install path to the PATH environment.

Cygwin will create proprietary files as placeholders by default instead of actually symlinking files. The placeholders later tell Cygwin where to resolve paths to. It does not intercept every access to the placeholders however, so that 3rd party scripts break. Windows Vista and above support real symlinks, and Cygwin can be configured to make use of it:

# use actual symlinks to prevent documentation build errors
# (requires elevated rights!)
export CYGWIN="winsymlinks:native"

Note that you must run Cygwin as administrator or change the Windows group policies to allow user accounts to create symlinks (gpedit.msc if available).

BTW: You can create symlinks manually on Windows like:

mklink /H target/file.ext source/file.ext
mklink /D target/path source/path
mklink /J target/path source/path/for/junction

And in Cygwin:

ln -s source target

Use bundled Python and other executables

To use the bundled python 2.6, even if there’s another python installation on your machine, use the following shell command in the Cygwin environment to extend the environment path (non-permanent):

export PATH=absolute/path/to/python_26:$PATH

Note that the build scripts aren’t compatible with Python 3.x!

Add more paths if needed to make commands like ebook-convert available:

export PATH="/cygdrive/c/Program Files/Calibre2:absolute/path/to/python_26:$PATH"

Colons are used to separate individual paths (path1:path2). $PATH contains the current environment paths, and must be used at the end of the export command to not take precedence over the newly added paths.

Building the required libraries

First of all, start a bash from cygwin and clone the repository using the corresponding branch, e.g. for ArangoDB 2.6:

git clone -b 2.6

and switch into the directory arangodb-windows-libraries. This repository contains the open-source libraries which are needed by ArangoDB:

  • etcd from CoreOS
  • getopt
  • libev
  • linenoise
  • openssl
  • regex
  • zlib

In order to build the corresponding 32bit and 64bit versions of these libraries, execute

make install
make 3rdParty

This will create a folder WindowsLibraries containing the headers and libraries.

Building ArangoDB itself

Clone the repository

and copy the previously created WindowsLibraries folder into this directory ArangoDB.

Next you need to build Google’s V8 version, that is part of ArangoDB. This version contains V8 and ICU. Switch into the directory


and execute

make -f Makefile.v8-windows
make -f Makefile.v8-windows install

Now switch back into the ArangoDB root folder and execute

make pack-win32


make pack-win64

in order to build the installer file for either 32 bit or 64 bit.

Development builds

For development builds which are able to run the unit tests run

make pack-win64-relative

Since most of the scripts assume they’re running on a unix system, some directories are treated as mandatory and thus have to be created on the drive where you checked out your source:

mkdir -p /cygdrive/c/var/tmp/

You probably already downloaded and installed Ruby. Now we need to install the httparty and rspec gems. In order to use gem, you need to Install certificates. Once you did that you can run:

gem install httparty rspec

The bin/rspec.bat created by gem is not sufficient for being run by the unittesting facility; replace it with something like this:

IF NOT "%~f0" == "~f0" GOTO :WinNT
@"C:\Program Files (x86)\Rub21-x64\bin\ruby.exe" "C:/Program Files (x86)/Ruby21-x64/bin/rspec" %1 %2 %3 %4 %5 %6 %7 %8 %9
@"C:\Program Files (x86)\Ruby21-x64\bin\ruby.exe" "C:/Program Files (x86)/Ruby21-x64/bin/rspec" %*

You can then run the unittests like that:

bash ./scripts/unittest all --skipBoost true --skipGeo true

Executables only

If you do not need the installer file, you can use the cmake to build the executables. Instead of make pack-win32 use

mkdir Build32
cd Build32
cmake -G "Visual Studio 12" ..

This will create a solution file in the Build32 folder. You can now start Visual Studio and open this solution file.

To build the 64 bit version, use

mkdir Build64
cd Build64
cmake -G "Visual Studio 12 Win64" ..

Alternatively use cmake to build the executables.

cmake --build . --config Release

In order to execute the binaries you need to copy the ICU datafile into the directory containing the executable

cp WindowsLibraries/64/icudtl.dat Build64/bin/Debug/icudt54l.dat

If you intend to use the machine for development purposes, it may be more practical to copy it somewhere else:

cp WindowsLibraries/64/icudtl.dat /cygdrive/c/Windows/icudt54l.dat

And configure your environment (yes this instruction remembers to the hitchhikers guide to the galaxy…) so that ICU_DATA points to c:\\Windows. You do that by opening the explorer, right click on This PC in the tree on the left, choose Properties in the opening window Advanced system settings, in the Popup Environment Variables, another popup opens, in the System Variables part you click New, And Key: :ICU_DATA to value: c:\\Windows


Authors: Frank Celler, Wilfried Goesgens and CoDEmanX.

Tags: #windows