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CouchDB 1.0 onwards

Building CouchDB from source on Windows requires 4 different compilers and attention to detail. Significant effort goes into setting up the toolchain correctly to compile Erlang/OTP from source, so that the subsequent Erlang and CouchDB builds ends up with matching Visual C++ Runtime components and a valid Side-by-Side (SxS) configuration.

This wiki page has been superseded by the INSTALL.Windows file in the CouchDB source tree, and a community-provided build process.

The remaining notes are provided for historic reference only.

CouchDB 0.10 to 0.11.2

As of couchdb 0.10, support for Windows is included in the standard build process. View README in the root of the source tree for information about the dependencies and how to configure the build process. In summary, you will need to:

After executing 'make install', you will find a couchdb directory structure inside your erlang directory - that is, the couch build process simply installs its libraries into the erlang binaries you previously build. This directory structure should be ready to roll - it can be zipped up, packaged by an installer, etc.

Prior to CouchDB 0.10

CouchDB does not natively install on Windows but it is possible to install it by hand. Be aware that many unit tests fail due to IO-related features that aren't supported by Erlang on Windows.

Please update this guide as needed, we aim to collect feedback and roll the procedure into the official build.

These instructions currently refer to paths as they'd be set up in a default installation of Erlang OTP 5.7.1, with the couchDB distribution installed at

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0


You will need the following software installed on your system:

Install CouchDB as an Erlang Library Directory

After installing Erlang you should having something similar to:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1

Copy the whole CouchDB source tree to:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0

Make the following empty directories:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\mochiweb-0.01\ebin

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0\ebin

Provide ICU to Erlang

From ICU copy icu*.dll (and libeay32.dll for older versions of ICU) to:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\erts-5.7.1\bin

Build SpiderMonkey

The SpiderMonkey distribution's Windows build stuff is broken. See this blog post for a working js.mak file. Don't bother trying to import the project file into a contemporary Visual Studio; just use the Visual Studio command line tools with the js.mak file referred to above.

CouchDB uses a custom JavaScript driver, which provides unicode and buffering improvements. In the SpiderMonkey distribution, rename src/js.c to src/js.c.bak, and copy C:\Program Files\erl5.6.3\lib\couchdb-0.8.1\src\couchdb\couch_js.c from the CouchDB distribution to src/js.c in the SpiderMonkey distribution. Before running nmake, edit the new js.c and change #include <jsapi.h> to #include "jsapi.h".

Once you've built js.exe and js32.dll, copy them both to

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\erts-5.7.1\bin

and rename js.exe to couch_js.exe.

Here are the binaries built according to the blog post: couchbd_spidermonkey_1.7_win32_32bit.zip . Just unzip the contents to the bin directory.

Build couchdb/couch_erl_driver.c

This is a wrapper to provide ICU features to CouchDB.

Here is a binary (no worry! MS bleeding-edge technology proved!) built against ICU 4.2 in 32-bit Windows: couch_erl_driver.dll

The simplest way to build a DLL is to create a Win32 DLL project in an IDE, add couch_erl_driver.c into the project, and change project settings to include the Erlang ERTS and ICU4C header paths.

You must also include the various ICU *.lib files to the MSVC linker as inputs. MSVC doesn't know how to create a DLL with unresolved names. In Visual Studio 2008 this can be accomplished by right clicking on the project, choosing properties, expanding the Linker node in the left panel, selecting Input, and adding the following to the 'Additional Dependencies' field:

The erlang include paths for this build for example were


Make the following empty directory:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0\priv

Copy the DLL to:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0\priv\couch_erl_driver.dll

Erlang Compilation

Create a the following file:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0\src\Emakefile

Add the following content:

{'./couchdb/*', [{outdir,"../ebin"}]}.
{'./mochiweb/*', [{outdir,"../../mochiweb-0.01/ebin"}]}.

Launch erl (or werl) and execute the following command to change working directory:

cd("C:/Program Files/erl5.7.1/lib/apache-couchdb-0.9.0/src").

Execute this command to compile CouchDB:



Copy the following file:

C:\Program Files\erl5.7.1\lib\apache-couchdb-0.9.0\etc\couchdb\default.ini.tpl.in

To this location:

C:/Program Files/erl5.7.1/bin/default.ini

or to this location:

C:/Program Files/erl5.7.1/lib/couchdb-0.9.0/default.ini

Edit the file to look something like this:

database_dir = c:/data/couch
view_index_dir = c:/data/couch
util_driver_dir = C:/Program Files/erl5.7.1/lib/apache-couchdb-0.9.0/priv
ConsoleStartupMsg=Apache CouchDB is starting.
max_document_size = 4294967296 ; 4 GB
max_attachment_chunk_size = 4294967296 ; 4GB
os_process_timeout = 5000 ; 5 seconds. for view and external servers.
max_dbs_open = 100

port = 5984
bind_address =
authentication_handler = {couch_httpd, default_authentication_handler}
WWW-Authenticate = Basic realm="administrator"

file = c:/logs/couch.log
level = info

view_manager={couch_view, start_link, []}
external_manager={couch_external_manager, start_link, []}
db_update_notifier={couch_db_update_notifier_sup, start_link, []}
query_servers={couch_query_servers, start_link, []}
httpd={couch_httpd, start_link, []}
stats_aggregator={couch_stats_aggregator, start, []}
stats_collector={couch_stats_collector, start, []}

/ = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_welcome_req, <<"Welcome">>}
favicon.ico = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_favicon_req, "C:/Program Files/erl5.7.1/lib/apache-couchdb-0.9.0/share/www"}

_utils = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_utils_dir_req, "C:/Program Files/erl5.7.1/lib/apache-couchdb-0.9.0/share/www"}
_all_dbs = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_all_dbs_req}
_active_tasks = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_task_status_req}
_config = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_config_req}
_replicate = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_replicate_req}
_uuids = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_uuids_req}
_restart = {couch_httpd_misc_handlers, handle_restart_req}
_stats = {couch_httpd_stats_handlers, handle_stats_req}

_design = {couch_httpd_db, handle_design_req}
_temp_view = {couch_httpd_view, handle_temp_view_req}

_view = {couch_httpd_view, handle_view_req}
_show = {couch_httpd_show, handle_doc_show_req}
_list = {couch_httpd_show, handle_view_list_req}

Make sure that the database_dir exists and that the LogFile can be created.


Launch erl (or werl) and execute the following command:


If you encounter any trouble, set the [log] 'level' to 'debug' in local.ini

To check that everything has worked point Firefox web browser to and run the test suite.

Windows Service Permissions

Should several tests fail with "permission errors", check the Windows service parameters. You will need to be logged in from an Administrator account to do this.

See also:

Building_from_source_on_Windows (last edited 2012-09-04 08:52:22 by OliverTonnhofer)