IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition official JetBrains project

These instructions will help you build IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition from source code, which is the basis for IntelliJ Platform development. The following conventions will be used to refer to directories on your machine:

  • <USER_HOME> is your home directory.
  • <IDEA_HOME> is the root directory for the IntelliJ source code.
  • <JDK_16_HOME> is the root directory for the 1.6 JDK, which is optional.
  • <JDK_18_HOME> is the root directory for the 1.8 JDK.

Getting IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition Source Code

IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition source code is available from by either cloning or downloading a zip file (based on a branch) into <IDEA_HOME>. The default is the master branch.

The master branch contains the source code which will be used to create the next major version of IntelliJ IDEA. The branch names and build numbers for older releases of IntelliJ IDEA can be found on the page of Build Number Ranges.

If you intend to make open source contributions to the IntelliJ Platform, see Contributing to the IntelliJ Project for more information.

Speed Tip: If the complete repository history isn’t needed then using a shallow clone (git clone --depth 1) will save significant time.

These Git operations can also be done through the IntelliJ IDEA user interface.

IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition requires additional Android modules from separate Git repositories. To clone these repositories, run one of the getPlugins scripts located in the <IDEA_HOME> directory. These scripts clone their respective master branches.

  • for Linux or macOS.
  • getPlugins.bat for Windows.

Note: Always git checkout the intellij-community, android, and android/tools-base Git repositories to the same branches/tags.

Building IntelliJ Community Edition

Version 2018.2 or newer of IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition or IntelliJ IDEA Ultimate Edition is required to build and develop for the IntelliJ Platform.

Opening the IntelliJ Source Code for Build

Using IntelliJ IDEA File | Open, select the <IDEA_HOME> directory.

IntelliJ Build Configuration

JDK version 1.8 (u91 or newer) is required for building and developing for IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition.

  1. Using IntelliJ IDEA, configure a JDK named “1.8”, pointing to <JDK_18_HOME>.
    • If not already present, add <JDK_18_HOME>/lib/tools.jar to the Classpath tab for the 1.8 JDK.
  2. Also configure a JDK named “IDEA jdk” (case sensitive), pointing to <JDK_16_HOME>. If you don’t want to install JDK 1.6 then you may configure IDEA jdk to point to <JDK_18_HOME>. However, you must be careful to avoid using Java 8 APIs in IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition modules that use IDEA jdk.
    • If not already present, add the corresponding path for tools.jar to the Classpath for “IDEA jdk” JDK.
  3. If the Maven Integration plugin is disabled, add the path variableMAVEN_REPOSITORY” pointing to <USER_HOME>/.m2/repository directory.
  4. Speed Tip: If you have enough RAM on your computer, configure the compiler settings to enable the “Compile independent modules in parallel” option. Also set the “User-local build process VM options” to -Xmx2G. These changes will greatly reduce the compile time.

Building the IntelliJ Application Source Code

To build IntelliJ IDEA Community Edition from source, choose Build | Build Project from the main menu.

To build installation packages, run the ant command in <IDEA_HOME> directory. See the build.xml file for details.

Running IntelliJ IDEA

To run the IntelliJ IDEA built from source, choose Run | Run from the main menu. This will use the preconfigured run configuration “IDEA”.

To run tests on the build, apply these setting to the Run | Edit Run Configurations… | Defaults | JUnit configuration tab:

  • Working dir: <IDEA_HOME>/bin
  • VM options:
    • -ea
    • -Djava.system.class.loader=com.intellij.util.lang.UrlClassLoader
    • -Didea.config.path=../test-config
    • -Didea.system.path=../test-system

You can find other helpful information at The contribute section of that site describes how you can contribute to IntelliJ IDEA.

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