A rough guide on how to develop molgenis in IntelliJ IDEA. This was created using IntelliJ IDEA 2016.1 Ultimate, courteously provided to us by JetBrains on an open source license. Most of the time we use the latest IntelliJ version.


Before you start, make sure the following middleware is installed on your system.

  • Java 8 JDK (latest version available from Oracle)
  • Maven >= 3.1.0 (The built-in maven version of IntelliJ is too old to compile molgenis.)
  • Apache Tomcat 7 or 8
  • PostGreSQL server.
  • ElasticSearch See quickstart for details

Create a database called omx with a user molgenis that has full permissions on the database.

Molgenis settings

You'll need a file. In your home dir, create a folder .molgenis. In it create a folder called omx. Put a file in there called and fill it with this information:


Set the maven home dir in IntelliJ

  • Open Preferences, Build Execution Deployment, Maven
  • Set the home dir to where your >= 3.1.0 maven installation lives.

Creating the molgenis project

  • File, New, Project from version control, Git (or Github)
  • Pick for the repository URL.
  • In the Event log: Non-managed pom.xml file found. Choose "Add as Maven Project". (You'll also see 'JPA framework is detected'. Ignore that.)

You now should have a Project called molgenis with a module for each maven module.

Set the project JDK

Open File, Project Structure. For the entire project:

  • (Add and) select Java 8 JDK.
  • Set language level to Java 8.

Create maven run configuration

For normal operation, IntelliJ can compile the sources for you. But some classes get generated so you'll need to run the maven build at least once.

  • Run, Edit Configurations...
  • Press +, add new maven run config, call it molgenis [clean install]
  • Set the project location as run directory
  • Command line is clean install
  • In the tool bar, select the molgenis[clean install] configuration and press the play button. Molgenis now should compile and test. In particular the molgenis-core-ui module may take a while the first time it is run.

Build in IntelliJ

Build, Make project should work fine now and spew out no errors, only warnings.

Java Code Style settings

  • In the root folder of the molgenis project, you'll find eclipse-java-molgenis-style.xml. Open Settings, Editor, Code Style, and import it as the molgenis profile. Select it for the molgenis project.

Deploy / Run in Tomcat server

  • Run, Edit configurations..., +, Tomcat, Local.
  • Call it molgenis-app [exploded]
  • (Add and) select your Tomcat installation
  • VM options: -Dmolgenis.home=<path to dir containing> -Xmx4g
  • Deployment: Select + -> artifact -> molgenis-app:war exploded
  • Application context: Select /
  • Go back to the first tab, you should now have more options in the update and frame deactivation pulldowns.
  • Select On Update: Redeploy, don't ask (This is the action that will triggered when you press the blue reload button in the run view)
  • Select On frame deactivation: Update resources (This is the action that will be triggered whenever you tab out of IntelliJ) (If you get update classes and resources to work, let us know!!)
  • Select your favorite browser in the pulldown.
  • Save the configuration
  • In the tool bar, select the molgenis-app [exploded] configuration and press the play button.

This'll build and deploy molgenis to tomcat and open it in the browser. Whenever you tab from molgenis to the browser, all modified resources will be copied to the deployed exploded war. A browser reload should display the changes.


See also the MOLGENIS Security settings

Webpack watch run configuration

  • Open molgenis-core-ui/target/classes/js.
  • Right-click the dist folder, Mark directory as..., cancel exclusion.
  • Open molgenis-core-ui/package.json
  • Select the scripts / watch key in the json configuration
  • Right-click it and select the NPM create watch option from the menu.
  • SaveIn the tool bar, select the npm watch configuration and press the play button to start webpack watch.

Now, whenever you make changes to one or more JavaScript files, the corresponding js bundle file will get rebuilt by the npm watch task. Once it's built, tab out of IntelliJ to trigger a refresh of the exploded war. As soon as IntelliJ loses focus, you'll see a task progress bar in the bottom right corner of IntelliJ. Wait for that task to finish and then refresh the browser. The changes will be loaded.

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