Glazier is a set of batch files, scripts and toolchains designed to ease building CouchDB on Windows. It's as fully automated as possible, with most of the effort required only once.

Glazier uses the MS Visual Studio 2017 toolchain as much as possible, to ensure a quality Windows experience and to execute all binary dependencies within the same runtime.

We hope Glazier simplifies using Erlang and CouchDB for you, giving a consistent, repeatable build environment.

Base Requirements

Note that the scripts you'll run will modify your system extensively. We recommend a dedicated build machine or VM image for this work:

  • 64-bit Windows 7+. As of CouchDB 2.0 we only support a 64-bit build of CouchDB.
    • We like 64-bit Windows 10 Enterprise N (missing Media Player, etc.) from MSDN.
    • Apply Windows Updates and reboot until no more updates appear.
    • If using a VM, shutdown and snapshot your VM at this point.

Install Dependencies

Start an Administrative PowerShell console. Enter the following:

mkdir C:\Relax\
cd C:\Relax\
Set-ExecutionPolicy Bypass -Scope Process -Force; [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol = [System.Net.ServicePointManager]::SecurityProtocol -bor 3072; iex ((New-Object System.Net.WebClient).DownloadString(''))
choco feature enable -n allowGlobalConfirmation
choco install git
git clone

You should go get lunch. The last step will take over an hour, even on a speedy Internet connection.

At this point, you should have the following installed:

  • Visual Studio 2017 (Build Tools, Visual C++ workload, native desktop workload)
  • Windows 10 SDK (10.1)
  • NodeJS (LTS version)
  • wget.exe
  • NASM
  • Cyg-get (for cygwin)
  • WiX Toolset
  • Python 3
    • Python packages sphinx, docutils, pygments, nose, hypothesis, and sphinx_rtd_theme
  • GNU Make
  • NSSM
  • GPG4Win (for signing releases)
  • checksum
  • archiver
  • Dependency Walker
  • unzip
  • NSIS
  • NuGet
  • VSSetup
  • MozillaBuild setup (3.3)
  • VCPkg (, which built and installed:
    • OpenSSL (at time of writing, 1.1.1)
    • ICU (at time of writing, 61)
  • Cygwin (used for building Erlang), plus some packages required for Erlang builds

Building Erlang

This section is not presently automated because it requires switching between PowerShell and Cygwin. It should be possible to automate (PRs welcome!)

We generally need to build a version of Erlang that is not distributed directly by Ericsson. This may be because we require patches that are released after the binaries are built.

For CouchDB 3.0, we build against Erlang

In the same PowerShell session, enter the following:

cd c:\relax
git clone
cd otp
git checkout OTP-
export PATH="/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft SDKs/Windows/v10.0A/bin/NETFX 4.8 Tools/x64:/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/BuildTools/VC/Tools/MSVC/14.16.27023/bin/HostX64/x64:/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/NSIS:/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Windows Kits/10/bin/10.0.18362.0/x64:$PATH"
which cl link mc lc mt nmake rc

This should produce the following output:

/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/BuildTools/VC/Tools/MSVC/14.16.27023/bin/HostX64/x64/cl
/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/BuildTools/VC/Tools/MSVC/14.16.27023/bin/HostX64/x64/link
/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Windows Kits/10/bin/10.0.18362.0/x64/mc
/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft SDKs/Windows/v10.0A/bin/NETFX 4.8 Tools/x64/lc
/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Windows Kits/10/bin/10.0.18362.0/x64/mt
/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Microsoft Visual Studio/2017/BuildTools/VC/Tools/MSVC/14.16.27023/bin/HostX64/x64/nmake
/cygdrive/c/Program Files (x86)/Windows Kits/10/bin/10.0.18362.0/x64/rc

Continue by entering the following. This takes a while, maybe 30-60 minutes at the otp_build steps, so be sure to have your favourite beverage on hand while you watch.

cd /cygdrive/c/relax/otp
eval `./otp_build env_win32 x64`
./otp_build autoconf 2>&1 | tee build_autoconf.txt
./otp_build configure --with-ssl=/cygdrive/c/relax/vcpkg/installed/x64-windows --without-javac --without-debugger --without-wx --without-ic --without-odbc --without-et --without-cosEvent --without-cosEventDomain --without-cosFileTransfer --without-cosNotification --without-cosProperty --without-cosTime --without-cosTransactions --without-orber --without-observer 2>&1 | tee build_configure.txt
./otp_build boot -a  2>&1 | tee build_boot.txt
./otp_build release -a  2>&1 | tee build_release.txt
./otp_build installer_win32  2>&1 | tee build_installer_win32.txt
release/win32/otp_win64_*.exe /S

You now have a full install of Erlang on your system.

Installing Elixir

CouchDB uses Elixir for tests. If you intend to run the test suite (you should!), install Elixir now by running the following in the same PowerShell prompt:

arc unarchive .\
copy .\Precompiled\* 'C:\Program Files\erl9.3.3.14\' -Recurse  -Force
del Precompiled -Recurse

Building SpiderMonkey

This section is not currently automated, due to the need for Mozilla's separate build environment. It should be possible to automate (PRs welcome!)

From the same PowerShell prompt, enter the following:


At the MozillaBuild prompt, enter the following:

cd /c/relax
git clone
cd gecko-dev
git checkout esr60
cd js/src
sed -i -E "s/(VC\.Tools\.x86\.x64')/\1, '-products', '*'/g" ../../build/moz.configure/toolchain.configure
mkdir build_OPT.OBJ
cd build_OPT.OBJ
../configure --disable-ctypes --disable-ion --disable-jemalloc --enable-optimize --enable-hardening --with-intl-api --build-backends=RecursiveMake --with-visual-studio-version=2017 --with-system-icu --disable-debug --enable-gczeal --target=x86_64-pc-mingw32 --host=x86_64-pc-mingw32 --prefix=/c/relax/vcpkg/installed/x64-windows

The sed command adds support for building with just the VS Build Tools, which are sufficient for just SpiderMonkey. (Otherwise, you need to download an additional 9GB of Visual Studio. Bleah.) The build should take about 15 minutes.

Back in PowerShell, copy the binaries to where our build process expects them:

copy C:\relax\gecko-dev\js\src\build_OPT.OBJ\js\src\build\*.pdb C:\relax\vcpkg\installed\x64-windows\bin
copy C:\relax\gecko-dev\js\src\build_OPT.OBJ\dist\bin\*.dll C:\relax\vcpkg\installed\x64-windows\bin
copy C:\relax\gecko-dev\js\src\build_OPT.OBJ\dist\include\* C:\relax\vcpkg\installed\x64-windows\include -Recurse -ErrorAction SilentlyContinue

Building CouchDB itself

You're finally ready. You should snapshot your VM at this point!

Open a new PowerShell window. Set up your shell correctly (this step works if you've closed your PowerShell window before any of the previous steps, too):


Then, start the process:

cd c:\relax
git clone
cd couchdb
git checkout <tag or branch of interest goes here>
&.\configure.ps1 -SpiderMonkeyVersion 60
make -f

You now have built CouchDB!

To run the tests:

make -f check

Finally, to build a CouchDB installer:

make -f release
cd c:\relax

The installer will be placed in your current working directory.

You made it! Time to relax. :D

If you're a release engineer, you may find the following commands useful too:

checksum -t sha256 apache-couchdb.#.#.#-RC#.tar.gz
checksum -t sha512 apache-couchdb.#.#.#-RC#.tar.gz
gpg --verify apache-couchdb.#.#.#-RC#.tar.gz.asc


Why Glazier?

@dch first got involved with CouchDB around 0.7. Only having a low-spec Windows PC to develop on, and no CouchDB Cloud provider being available, he tried to build CouchDB himself. It was hard going, and most of the frustration was trying to get the core Erlang environment set up and compiling without needing to buy Microsoft‘s expensive but excellent Visual Studio tools. Once Erlang was working he found many of the pre-requisite modules such as cURL, Zlib, OpenSSL, Mozilla’s SpiderMonkey JavaScript engine, and IBM's ICU were not available at a consistent compiler and VC runtime release.

There is a branch of glazier that has been used to build each CouchDB release.

UNIX-friendly shell details

Our goal is to get the path set up in this order:

  1. erlang and couchdb build helper scripts
  2. Microsoft VC compiler, linker, etc from Windows SDK
  3. cygwin path for other build tools like make, autoconf, libtool
  4. the remaining windows system path

It seems this is a challenge for most environments, so glazier gets this all right for you by running the MSVC environment, then tacking on the things Erlang expects at the end of the path.

Overall, the desired order for your $PATH is:

  • Erlang build helper scripts
  • Visual C++ / .NET framework / SDK
  • Ancillary Erlang and CouchDB packaging tools
  • Usual cygwin unix tools such as make, gcc
  • Ancillary glazier/relax tools for building dependent libraries
  • Usual Windows folders %windir%;%windir%\system32 etc
  • Various settings form the otp_build script

More details are at erlang on github

Windows silent installs

Here are some sample commands, supporting the new features of the 3.0 installer.

Install CouchDB without a service, but with an admin user:password of admin:hunter2:

msiexec /i apache-couchdb-3.0.0.msi /quiet ADMINUSER=admin ADMINPASSWORD=hunter2 /norestart

The same as above, but also install and launch CouchDB as a service:

msiexec /i apache-couchdb-3.0.0.msi /quiet INSTALLSERVICE=1 ADMINUSER=admin ADMINPASSWORD=hunter2 /norestart

Unattended uninstall of CouchDB:

msiexec /x apache-couchdb-3.0.0.msi /quiet /norestart

Unattended uninstall if the installer file is unavailable:

msiexec /x {4CD776E0-FADF-4831-AF56-E80E39F34CFC} /quiet /norestart

Add /l* log.txt to any of the above to generate a useful logfile for debugging.