Installing, Building, and Running chidb

The source code for chidb can be found in the following GitHub repository:

To work on the assignments, all you need to do is clone this repository. However, please note that your instructor may give you more specific instructions on how to get the chidb code.

Software Requirements

chidb has a number of software requirements. If you are doing the chidb assignments as part of a class, it’s likely that this software is already installed on your school’s computers. If so, you can skip this section, unless you want to run chidb on your own computer.


Building the chidb code requires the GNU build system (commonly referred to as “Autotools”). Although you do not need to understand how the GNU build system toolchain works, you do need the following tools installed on your machine:

These tools are typically installed by default on most UNIX systems, and also available as packages.

Other dependencies

chidb also requires that the following tools or libraries be installed:

These tools are not typically installed by default on most UNIX systems, but they are readily available as packages on most package managers.


The first time you download the chidb code to your machine, you must run the following from the root of the chidb code tree:


This will verify whether you have the necessary tools to build chidb and will also generate a number of files.

Next, run the following:


This will verify whether your machine has all the necessary libraries to build chidb. More specifically, you will see errors if Check, Lex, Yacc, or Editline are not installed.

You only need to run ./configure once. Once it has run successfully, you will be able to build the chidb code by running:


By default, make will only print the names of the files it is building. To enable a more verbose output (including the exact commands that make is running during the build process), just run make like this:

make V=1

This will generate two files:

  • chidb: The chidb shell (described in Testing your Implementation)
  • ./.libs/ and ./.libs/ The libchidb and libchisql libraries. Any applications that wants to use the chidb API calls must link with these libraries. It is also possible to link only with chidb’s SQL parser, although the API for this is currently not documented.


To check whether chidb built correctly, just run the following:


You should see the following prompt:


Take into account that you won’t be able to do much with the chidb shell until you’ve implemented substantial portions of the project. Testing your Implementation describes ways in which you can test your code before it’s complete enough for the shell to work.