To build Gerrit from source, you need:

  • A Linux or macOS system (Windows is not supported at this time)

  • A JDK for Java 8|9|10|11|…​

  • Python 2 or 3

  • Node.js (including npm)

  • Bower (sudo npm install -g bower)

  • Bazel -launched with Bazelisk

  • Maven

  • zip, unzip

  • gcc


Bazelisk includes a Bazel version check and downloads the correct bazel version for the git project/repository. Bazelisk is the recommended bazel launcher for Gerrit. Once Bazelisk is installed locally, a bazel symlink can be created towards it. This is so that every bazel command seamlessly uses Bazelisk, which then runs the proper bazel binary version.



On MacOS, ensure that "Java for MacOS X 10.5 Update 4" (or higher) is installed and that JAVA_HOME is set to the required Java version.

Java installations can typically be found in "/System/Library/Frameworks/JavaVM.framework/Versions".

To check the installed version of Java, open a terminal window and run:

java -version

Java 12 support

Java 12 (and newer) is supported through vanilla java toolchain Bazel option. To build Gerrit with Java 12 and newer, specify vanilla java toolchain and provide the path to JDK home:

  $ bazel build \
    --define=ABSOLUTE_JAVABASE=<path-to-java-12> \
    --javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:absolute_javabase \
    --host_javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:absolute_javabase \
    --host_java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_vanilla \
    --java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_vanilla \

To run the tests, --javabase option must be passed as well, because bazel test runs the test using the target javabase:

  $ bazel test \
    --define=ABSOLUTE_JAVABASE=<path-to-java-12> \
    --javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:absolute_javabase \
    --host_javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:absolute_javabase \
    --host_java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_vanilla \
    --java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_vanilla \

To avoid passing all those options on every Bazel build invocation, they could be added to ~/.bazelrc resource file:

$ cat << EOF > ~/.bazelrc
> build --define=ABSOLUTE_JAVABASE=<path-to-java-12>
> build --javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:absolute_javabase
> build --host_javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:absolute_javabase
> build --host_java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_vanilla
> build --java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_vanilla

Now, invoking Bazel with just bazel build :release would include all those options.

Java 11 support

Java 11 is supported through alternative java toolchain Bazel option. To build Gerrit with Java 11, specify JDK 11 java toolchain:

  $ bazel build \
      --host_javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:remote_jdk11 \
      --javabase=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:remote_jdk11 \
      --host_java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_java11 \
      --java_toolchain=@bazel_tools//tools/jdk:toolchain_java11 \

Node.js and npm packages

Building on the Command Line

Gerrit Development WAR File

To build the Gerrit web application:

  bazel build gerrit

The output executable WAR will be placed in:


Gerrit Release WAR File

To build the Gerrit web application that includes the PolyGerrit UI, core plugins and documentation:

  bazel build release

The output executable WAR will be placed in:


Headless Mode

To build Gerrit in headless mode, i.e. without the PolyGerrit UI: Web UI:

  bazel build headless

The output executable WAR will be placed in:


Extension and Plugin API JAR Files

To build the extension, plugin and acceptance-framework JAR files:

  bazel build api

The output archive that contains Java binaries, Java sources and Java docs will be placed in:


Install {extension,plugin,acceptance-framework}-api to the local maven repository:

  tools/maven/ install

Install gerrit.war to the local maven repository:

  tools/maven/ war_install


  bazel build plugins:core

The output JAR files for individual plugins will be placed in:


The JAR files will also be packaged in:


To build a specific plugin:

  bazel build plugins/<name>

The output JAR file will be be placed in:


Note that when building an individual plugin, the package is not regenerated.

Using an IDE.


The Gerrit build works with Bazel’s IntelliJ plugin. Please follow the instructions on IntelliJ Setup.


Generating the Eclipse Project

Create the Eclipse project:


and then follow the setup instructions.

Refreshing the Classpath

If an updated classpath is needed, the Eclipse project can be refreshed and missing dependency JARs can be downloaded by running again. For IntelliJ, you need to click the Sync Project with BUILD Files button of Bazel plugin.


To build only the documentation for testing or static hosting:

  bazel build Documentation:searchfree

The html files will be bundled into in this location:


To build the executable WAR with the documentation included:

  bazel build withdocs

The WAR file will be placed in:


Running Unit Tests

  bazel test --build_tests_only //...

Debugging tests:

  bazel test --test_output=streamed --test_filter=com.gerrit.TestClass.testMethod  testTarget

Debug test example:

  bazel test --test_output=streamed //javatests/com/google/gerrit/acceptance/api/change:api_change

To run a specific test group, e.g. the rest-account test group:

  bazel test //javatests/com/google/gerrit/acceptance/rest/account:rest_account

To run only tests that do not use SSH:

  bazel test --test_env=GERRIT_USE_SSH=NO //...

To exclude tests that have been marked as flaky:

  bazel test --test_tag_filters=-flaky //...

To exclude tests that require a Docker host:

  bazel test --test_tag_filters=-docker //...

To exclude tests that require very recent git client version:

  bazel test --test_tag_filters=-git-protocol-v2 //...

To ignore cached test results:

  bazel test --cache_test_results=NO //...

To run one or more specific groups of tests:

  bazel test --test_tag_filters=api,git //...

The following values are currently supported for the group name:

  • annotation

  • api

  • docker

  • edit

  • elastic

  • git

  • git-protocol-v2

  • notedb

  • pgm

  • rest

  • server

  • ssh


Successfully running the Elasticsearch tests requires Docker, and may require setting the local virtual memory on linux and macOS.

On macOS, if using Docker Desktop, the effective memory value can be set in the Preferences, under the Advanced tab. The default value usually does not suffice and is causing premature container exits. That default is currently 2 GB and should be set to at least 5 (GB).

If Docker is not available, the Elasticsearch tests will be skipped. Note that Bazel currently does not show the skipped tests.


Dependency JARs are normally downloaded as needed, but you can download everything upfront. This is useful to enable subsequent builds to run without network access:

  bazel fetch //...

When downloading from behind a proxy (which is common in some corporate environments), it might be necessary to explicitly specify the proxy that is then used by curl:

  export http_proxy=http://<proxy_user_id>:<proxy_password>@<proxy_server>:<proxy_port>

Redirection to local mirrors of Maven Central and the Gerrit storage bucket is supported by defining specific properties in, a file that is not tracked by Git:

  echo download.GERRIT = >>
  echo download.MAVEN_CENTRAL = >>

The file may be placed in the root of the gerrit repository being built, or in ~/.gerritcodereview/. The file in the root of the gerrit repository has precedence.

Building against unpublished Maven JARs

To build against unpublished Maven JARs, like PrologCafe, the custom JARs must be installed in the local Maven repository (mvn clean install) and maven_jar() must be updated to point to the MAVEN_LOCAL Maven repository for that artifact:

   name = 'prolog-runtime',
   artifact = 'com.googlecode.prolog-cafe:prolog-runtime:42',
   repository = MAVEN_LOCAL,

Building against artifacts from custom Maven repositories

To build against custom Maven repositories, two modes of operations are supported: with rewrite in and without.

Without rewrite the URL of custom Maven repository can be directly passed to the maven_jar() function:


    name = 'gitblit',
    artifact = 'com.gitblit:gitblit:1.4.0',
    sha1 = '1b130dbf5578ace37507430a4a523f6594bf34fa',
    repository = GERRIT_FORGE,

When the custom URL has to be rewritten, then the same logic as with Gerrit known Maven repository is used: Repo name must be defined that matches an entry in file:

  download.GERRIT_FORGE =

And corresponding WORKSPACE excerpt:


    name = 'gitblit',
    artifact = 'com.gitblit:gitblit:1.4.0',
    sha1 = '1b130dbf5578ace37507430a4a523f6594bf34fa',
    repository = GERRIT_FORGE,

Building against SNAPSHOT Maven JARs

To build against SNAPSHOT Maven JARs, the complete SNAPSHOT version must be used:

   name = "pac4j-core",
   artifact = "org.pac4j:pac4j-core:3.5.0-SNAPSHOT-20190112.120241-16",
   sha1 = "da2b1cb68a8f87bfd40813179abd368de9f3a746",

To accelerate builds, several caches are activated per default:

  • ~/.gerritcodereview/bazel-cache/downloaded-artifacts

  • ~/.gerritcodereview/bazel-cache/repository

  • ~/.gerritcodereview/bazel-cache/cas

Currently none of these caches have a maximum size limit. See this bazel issue for details. Users should watch the cache sizes and clean them manually if necessary.

NPM Binaries

Parts of the PolyGerrit build require running NPM-based JavaScript programs as "binaries". We don’t attempt to resolve and download NPM dependencies at build time, but instead use pre-built bundles of the NPM binary along with all its dependencies. Some packages on come with their dependencies bundled, but this is the exception rather than the rule. More commonly, to add a new binary to this list, you will need to bundle the binary yourself.

We can only use binaries that meet certain licensing requirements, and that do not include any native code.

Start by checking that the license and file types of the bundle are acceptable:


  npm install -g license-checker && \
  rm -rf /tmp/$package-$version && mkdir -p /tmp/$package-$version && \
  cd /tmp/$package-$version && \
  npm install $package@$version && \
  license-checker | grep licenses: | sort -u

This will output a list of the different licenses used by the package and all its transitive dependencies. We can only legally distribute a bundle via our storage bucket if the licenses allow us to do so. As long as all of the listed license are allowed by Google’s standards. Any by_exception_only, commercial, prohibited, or unlisted licenses are not allowed; otherwise, it is ok to distribute the source. If in doubt, contact a maintainer who is a Googler.

Next, check the file types:

  cd /tmp/$package-$version
  find . -type f | xargs file | grep -v 'ASCII\|UTF-8\|empty$'

If you see anything that looks like a native library or binary, then we can’t use the bundle.

If everything looks good, create the bundle, and note the SHA-1:

  $gerrit_repo/tools/js/ $package $version && \
  sha1sum $package-$version.tgz

This creates a file named $package-$version.tgz in your working directory.

Any project maintainer can upload this file to the storage bucket.

Finally, add the new binary to the build process:

      name = "some-npm-package",
      repository = GERRIT,

  # lib/js/npm.bzl
    "some-npm-package": "1.2.3",

  NPM_SHA1S = {
    "some-npm-package": "<sha1>",

To use the binary from the Bazel build, you need to use the wrapper script. For an example, see the use of crisper in tools/bzl/js.bzl.

Google Remote Build Support

The Bazel build can be used with Google’s Remote Build Execution.

This needs the following setup steps:

gcloud auth application-default login
gcloud services enable  --project=${PROJECT}

Create a worker pool. The instances should have at least 4 CPUs each for adequate performance.

gcloud alpha remote-build-execution worker-pools create default \
    --project=${PROJECT} \
    --instance=default_instance \
    --worker-count=50 \
    --machine-type=n1-highcpu-4 \

To use RBE, execute

bazel test --config=remote \
    --remote_instance_name=projects/${PROJECT}/instances/default_instance \