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docs/contributing/dev-setup.rst | 219 lines | 5.9 KiB | text/x-rst | RstLexer |

Development setup

RhodeCode Enterprise runs inside a Nix managed environment. This ensures build environment dependencies are correctly declared and installed during setup. It also enables atomic upgrades, rollbacks, and multiple instances of RhodeCode Enterprise running with isolation.

To set up RhodeCode Enterprise inside the Nix environment, use the following steps:

Setup Nix Package Manager

To install the Nix Package Manager, please run:

$ curl | sh

or go to and follow the installation instructions. Once this is correctly set up on your system, you should be able to use the following commands:

  • nix-env
  • nix-shell


Update your channels frequently by running nix-channel --update.

Switch nix to the latest STABLE channel


nix-channel --add nixpkgs

Followed by:

nix-channel --update

Install required binaries

We need some handy tools first.


nix-env -i nix-prefetch-hg
nix-env -i nix-prefetch-git

Clone the required repositories

After Nix is set up, clone the RhodeCode Enterprise Community Edition and RhodeCode VCSServer repositories into the same directory. RhodeCode currently is using Mercurial Version Control System, please make sure you have it installed before continuing.

To obtain the required sources, use the following commands:

mkdir rhodecode-develop && cd rhodecode-develop
hg clone
hg clone


If you cannot clone the repository, please contact us via

Install some required libraries

There are some required drivers and dev libraries that we need to install to test RhodeCode under different types of databases. For example in Ubuntu we need to install the following.

required libraries:

sudo apt-get install libapr1-dev libaprutil1-dev
sudo apt-get install libsvn-dev
sudo apt-get install mysql-server libmysqlclient-dev
sudo apt-get install postgresql postgresql-contrib libpq-dev
sudo apt-get install libcurl4-openssl-dev

Enter the Development Shell

The final step is to start the development shells. To do this, run the following command from inside the cloned repository:

#first, the vcsserver
cd ~/rhodecode-vcsserver

# then enterprise sources
cd ~/rhodecode-enterprise-ce


On the first run, this will take a while to download and optionally compile a few things. The following runs will be faster. The development shell works fine on both MacOS and Linux platforms.

Create config.nix for development

In order to run proper tests and setup linking across projects, a config.nix file needs to be setup:

# create config
mkdir -p ~/.nixpkgs
touch ~/.nixpkgs/config.nix

# put the below content into the ~/.nixpkgs/config.nix file
# adjusts, the path to where you cloned your repositories.

  rc = {
   sources = {
    rhodecode-vcsserver = "/home/dev/rhodecode-vcsserver";
    rhodecode-enterprise-ce = "/home/dev/rhodecode-enterprise-ce";
    rhodecode-enterprise-ee = "/home/dev/rhodecode-enterprise-ee";

Creating a Development Configuration

To create a development environment for RhodeCode Enterprise, use the following steps:

  1. Create a copy of vcsserver config:
    cp ~/rhodecode-vcsserver/configs/development.ini ~/rhodecode-vcsserver/configs/dev.ini
  2. Create a copy of rhodocode config:
    cp ~/rhodecode-enterprise-ce/configs/development.ini ~/rhodecode-enterprise-ce/configs/dev.ini
  3. Adjust the configuration settings to your needs if needed.


It is recommended to use the name dev.ini since it's included in .hgignore file.

Setup the Development Database

To create a development database, use the following example. This is a one time operation executed from the nix-shell of rhodecode-enterprise-ce sources

paster setup-rhodecode dev.ini \
    --user=admin --password=secret \ \

Compile CSS and JavaScript

To use the application's frontend and prepare it for production deployment, you will need to compile the CSS and JavaScript with Grunt. This is easily done from within the nix-shell using the following command:


When developing new features you will need to recompile following any changes made to the CSS or JavaScript files when developing the code:

grunt watch

This prepares the development (with comments/whitespace) versions of files.

Start the Development Servers

From the rhodecode-vcsserver directory, start the development server in another nix-shell, using the following command:

pserve configs/dev.ini

In the adjacent nix-shell which you created for your development server, you may now start CE with the following command:

pserve --reload configs/dev.ini


--reload flag will automatically reload the server when source file changes.

Run the Environment Tests

Please make sure that the tests are passing to verify that your environment is set up correctly. RhodeCode uses py.test to run tests. While your instance is running, start a new nix-shell and simply run make test to run the basic test suite.

Need Help?

Join us on Slack via or post questions in our Community Portal at