Creating a development environment#

To test out code changes, you’ll need to build Xorbits from source, which requires a C/C++ compiler, Node.js, and Python environment. It’s recommended to also install the pre-commit hooks.

Step 1: install a C compiler#

How to do this will depend on your platform. If you choose to user Docker in the next step, then you can skip this step.


You will need Build Tools for Visual Studio 2022.


You DO NOT need to install Visual Studio 2022. You only need “Build Tools for Visual Studio 2022” found by scrolling down to “All downloads” -> “Tools for Visual Studio”. In the installer, select the “Desktop development with C++” Workloads.

Alternatively, you can install the necessary components on the commandline using vs_BuildTools.exe

Alternatively, you could use the WSL and consult the Linux instructions below.


To use the conda-based compilers, you will need to install the Developer Tools using xcode-select --install. Otherwise information about compiler installation can be found here:


For Linux-based conda installations, you won’t have to install any additional components outside of the conda environment. The instructions below are only needed if your setup isn’t based on conda environments.

Some Linux distributions will come with a pre-installed C compiler. To find out which compilers (and versions) are installed on your system:

# for Debian/Ubuntu:
dpkg --list | grep compiler
# for Red Hat/RHEL/CentOS/Fedora:
yum list installed | grep -i --color compiler

GCC (GNU Compiler Collection), is a widely used compiler, which supports C and a number of other languages. If GCC is listed as an installed compiler nothing more is required.

If no C compiler is installed, or you wish to upgrade, or you’re using a different Linux distribution, consult your favorite search engine for compiler installation/update instructions.

Let us know if you have any difficulties by opening an issue or reaching out on our contributor community, join slack in Community.

Step 2: install Node.js#

To build Xorbits web UI, you will need Node.js. It is recommended to install Node.js with nvm .


The minimum supported Node.js version is 18.

Step 3: create an isolated environment#

Before we begin, please:

Option 2: using Docker#

Unless you have a specific requirement to install additional Python libraries, it is highly recommended to use the Xorbits image available on our Dockerhub. It includes the complete environment required to run Xorbits.

The images available on Dockerhub include versions for all supported Python versions, with the suffix py<python_version>. For the image tag prefixes, nightly-main represents the latest code from Xorbits GitHub repository on a daily basis, while v<release_version> represents version numbers for each release. You can choose to pull the image based on your specific requirements.

If you indeed need to manually build Xorbits image, Xorbits provides a DockerFile in the python/xorbits/deploy/docker directory to build a Docker image with a full Xorbits development environment.

Docker Commands

Build the Docker image:

# Switch the current working directory to the top-level "xorbits" directory
$ cd xorbits

# Build the image
docker build -t xorbits-dev --progress=plain -f python/xorbits/deploy/docker/Dockerfile . --build-arg PYTHON_VERSION=<your_python_version>

Run Container:

# Run a container and bind your local repo to the container
# This command assumes you are running from your local repo
# but if not alter ${PWD} to match your local repo path
docker run -it --rm xorbits-dev /bin/bash

Even easier, you can integrate Docker with the following IDEs:

Visual Studio Code

You can use the DockerFile to launch a remote session with Visual Studio Code, a popular free IDE, using the .devcontainer.json file. See for details.

PyCharm (Professional)

Enable Docker support and use the Services tool window to build and manage images as well as run and interact with containers. See for details.

Step 4: build and install Xorbits#

You can now run:

# Build and install Xorbits
python -m pip install -e ".[dev]"
python build_ext -i
python build_web

At this point you should be able to import Xorbits from your locally built version:

$ python
>>> import xorbits
>>> print(xorbits.__version__)  # note: the exact output may differ

This will create the new environment, and not touch any of your existing environments, nor any existing Python installation.


You will need to repeat this step each time the web UI or C extensions change, or if you did a fetch and merge from upstream/main.