This section describes how to build Spoofax from scratch, on the command-line.

Cloning the source code

Clone the source code from the spoofax-releng repository with the following commands:

git clone
cd spoofax-releng
git submodule update --init --remote --recursive

Cloning and updating submodules can take a while, since we have many submodules and some have a large history.

Start a build

To build Spoofax, simply execute:

./b build all

This downloads the latest Stratego/XT, and builds Spoofax. If you also want to build Stratego/XT from scratch, execute:

./b build -st all

The -s flag build Stratego/XT instead of downloading it, and -t skips the Stratego/XT tests since they are very lengthy. The all part of the command indicates that we want to build all components. If you would only like to build the Java components of Spoofax, and skip the Eclipse plugins, execute:

./b build java

Use ./b build to get a list of components available for building, and ./b build --help for help on all the command-line flags and switches.


If you have opened a project in the repository in Eclipse, you must turn off Project ‣ Build Automatically in Eclipse, otherwise the Maven and Eclipse compilers will interfere and possibly fail the build. After the Maven build is finished, enable Build Automatically again.

Updating the source code

If you want to update the repository and submodules, execute:

git pull --rebase
./b checkout
./b update

The git pull command will update any changes in the main repository. The ./b checkout command will check out the correct branches in all submodules, because Git does not do this automatically. The ./b update command will update all submodules.

Switching to a different branch

Switching to a different branch, for example the spoofax-release branch, is done with the following commands:

git checkout spoofax-release
git pull --rebase
git submodule update --init --remote --recursive
./b checkout
./b update


Resetting and cleaning

If updating or checking out a branch of submodule fails (because of unstaged or conflicting changes), you can try to resolve it yourself, or you can reset and clean everything. Reset and clean all submodules using:

./b reset
./b clean


Resetting and cleaning DELETES UNCOMMITTED AND UNPUSHED CHANGES, which can cause PERMANENT DATA LOSS. Make sure all your changes are committed and pushed!

Weird compilation errors

If you get any weird compilation errors during the build, make sure that Project ‣ Build Automatically is turned off in Eclipse.