Building Akka

Building Akka

This page describes how to build and run Akka from the latest source code.

Get the source code

Akka uses Git and is hosted at Github.

You first need Git installed on your machine. You can then clone the source repositories:

For example:

git clone git://
git clone git://

If you have already cloned the repositories previously then you can update the code with git pull:

git pull origin master

SBT - Simple Build Tool

Akka is using the excellent SBT build system. So the first thing you have to do is to download and install SBT. You can read more about how to do that in the SBT setup documentation.

The SBT commands that you’ll need to build Akka are all included below. If you want to find out more about SBT and using it for your own projects do read the SBT documentation.

The Akka SBT build file is project/build/AkkaProject.scala with some properties defined in project/

Building Akka

First make sure that you are in the akka code directory:

cd akka

Fetching dependencies

SBT does not fetch dependencies automatically. You need to manually do this with the update command:

sbt update

Once finished, all the dependencies for Akka will be in the lib_managed directory under each module: akka-actor, akka-stm, and so on.

Note: you only need to run update the first time you are building the code, or when the dependencies have changed.


To compile all the Akka core modules use the compile command:

sbt compile

You can run all tests with the test command:

sbt test

If compiling and testing are successful then you have everything working for the latest Akka development version.

Publish to local Ivy repository

If you want to deploy the artifacts to your local Ivy repository (for example, to use from an SBT project) use the publish-local command:

sbt publish-local

Publish to local Maven repository

If you want to deploy the artifacts to your local Maven repository use:

sbt publish-local publish

SBT interactive mode

Note that in the examples above we are calling sbt compile and sbt test and so on. SBT also has an interactive mode. If you just run sbt you enter the interactive SBT prompt and can enter the commands directly. This saves starting up a new JVM instance for each command and can be much faster and more convenient.

For example, building Akka as above is more commonly done like this:

% sbt
[info] Building project akka 1.3.1 against Scala 2.9.1
[info]    using AkkaParentProject with sbt 0.7.6 and Scala 2.7.7
> update
[info] == akka-actor / update ==
[success] Successful.
[info] Total time ...
> compile
> test

SBT batch mode

It’s also possible to combine commands in a single call. For example, updating, testing, and publishing Akka to the local Ivy repository can be done with:

sbt update test publish-local

Building Akka Modules

See the Akka Modules documentation.


If you are managing dependencies by hand you can find the dependencies for each module by looking in the lib_managed directories. For example, this will list all compile dependencies (providing you have the source code and have run sbt update):

cd akka
ls -1 */lib_managed/compile

You can also look at the Ivy dependency resolution information that is created on sbt update and found in ~/.ivy2/cache. For example, the .ivy2/cache/se.scalablesolutions.akka-akka-remote-compile.xml file contains the resolution information for the akka-remote module compile dependencies. If you open this file in a web browser you will get an easy to navigate view of dependencies.