Setup IDE for developing StarRocks

Some people want to become StarRocks contributor, but are troubled by the development environment, so here I write a tutorial about it.

What is a perfect development toolchain?

  • Support one click to compile FE and BE.
  • Support code jump in Clion and IDEA.
  • All variables in the IDE can be analyzed normally without red lines.
  • Clion can enable its analysis function normally.
  • Support FE and BE debug.


I use a MacBook(M1) for local coding and a remote server for compiling & testing StarRocks. (Remote server uses Ubuntu 22, at least need 16GB RAM).

The overall idea is to write code on the MacBook, then automatically synchronize the code to the server through the IDE, and use the server to compile and develop StarRocks.

MacBook Setup

Thrift 0.13

There is no 0.13 version of Thrift in brew repository, you can use the following command:

brew tap-new $USER/local-tap
brew extract --version='0.13.0' thrift $USER/local-tap
brew install thrift@0.13.0

You can check whether Thrift is installed successfully with the following command:

$ thrift -version
Thrift version 0.13.0


Just use the latest version v3 directly, because the latest version of Protobuf is compatible with the v2 version of the Protobuf protocol in StarRocks.

brew install protobuf


brew install maven

OpenJDK 1.8 or 11

brew install openjdk@11


MacOS comes with it, no installation is needed.

Setup system env

export JAVA_HOME=xxxxx
export PYTHON=/usr/bin/python3

Ubuntu22 server setup

Clone StarRocks code

git clone https://github.com/StarRocks/starrocks.git

Install required tools for compilation

sudo apt update
sudo apt install gcc g++ maven openjdk-11-jdk python3 python-is-python3 unzip cmake bzip2 ccache byacc ccache flex automake libtool bison binutils-dev libiberty-dev build-essential ninja-build

Setup JAVA_HOME env

export JAVA_HOME=/usr/lib/jvm/java-11-openjdk-amd64

Do a compilation of StarRocks

cd starrocks/

The first time compile needs to compile thirdparty, it will require some time.

You have to use gcc for the first compilation, currently, thirdparty can't compile success in clang.

IDE Setup


FE development is simple because you can compile it in MacOS directly. Just enter fe folder and run the command mvn install -DskipTests

Then you can use IDEA to open fe folder directly, everything is ok.

Local debug

The same as other Java applications.

Remote debug

In Ubuntu server, run with ./start_fe.sh --debug, then use IDEA remote debug to connect it. The default port is 5005, you can change it in start_fe.sh scripts.

Debug java parameter: -agentlib:jdwp=transport=dt_socket,server=y,suspend=n,address=*:5005 is just copied from IDEA.



It is recommended to run mvn install -DskipTests first in fe folder to ensure that thrift and protobuf in the gensrc directory are compiled correctly.

Then you need to enter gensrc folder, run make clean and make commands respectively, otherwise Clion can't detect thrift's output files.

Use Clion to open be folder.

Enter Settings, add Toolchains. Add a remote server first, then setup Build Tool, C and C++ Compiler separately.


In Settings / Deployment. Change folder mappings.


In Settings / Cmake. Change Toolchain to be the remote toolchain just added. Add the following environment variables:


Notice: Be careful not to check Include system environment variables

ide-4 ide-5

From here on, all setup is complete. After Clion and the remote server are synchronized for a while, the code jump will work normally.


BE debug is a little difficult, you have to use gdb in your remote server. Of course, you can use gdb server + Clion remote gdb, but I don't recommend it, it's too stuck.

We need to change start_backend.sh script from:

if [ ${RUN_BE} -eq 1 ]; then
    echo "start time: "$(date) >> $LOG_DIR/be.out
    if [ ${RUN_DAEMON} -eq 1 ]; then
        nohup ${STARROCKS_HOME}/lib/starrocks_be "$@" >> $LOG_DIR/be.out 2>&1 </dev/null &
        ${STARROCKS_HOME}/lib/starrocks_be "$@" >> $LOG_DIR/be.out 2>&1 </dev/null


if [ ${RUN_BE} -eq 1 ]; then
    echo "start time: "$(date) >> $LOG_DIR/be.out
    if [ ${RUN_DAEMON} -eq 1 ]; then
        nohup ${STARROCKS_HOME}/lib/starrocks_be "$@" >> $LOG_DIR/be.out 2>&1 </dev/null &
        gdb -tui ${STARROCKS_HOME}/lib/starrocks_be

Then just run ./bin/start_be.sh without any flag.

If you face the error report when debugging for lakehouse, just add handle SIGSEGV nostop noprint pass in ~/.gdbinit.


Of course, you can use LLVM tools to development be.

Ubuntu LLVM installtion refer to:https://apt.llvm.org/

Then use the command: CC=clang-15 CXX=clang++-15 ./build.sh to compile be. But the premise is that your thirdparty has been compiled with gcc.


Feel free to contribute codes to StarRocks. 🫵