This section goes into greater detail on how to build and reuse the components of Hue.

Quick Start


  • The OS specific install instructions are listed in the install guide
  • Python 2.7+ (Python 3 support tracked in HUE-8737)
  • Django (1.11 already included in the distribution)
  • Java (Java 1.8) (should go away after HUE-8740)
  • Node.js (10.0+)

Build & Start

Build once:

# If you are using Python 3.5+, set PYTHON_VER before the build, like
export PYTHON_VER=python3.8

# Mac user might need to set

make apps

The dependencies documentation is here to help for troubleshooting build issues.

Then start the dev server (which will auto reload on file changes):

./build/env/bin/hue runserver

If you are changing JavaScript or CSS files, also start:

npm run dev

Once build, in order to avoid the database is locked errors, you also need to connect Hue to a transactional database. It is recommended to use MySQL or PostGreSQL for development.

Open the desktop/conf/pseudo-distributed.ini file in a text editor. Add the following options (and modify accordingly) for your MySQL setup:

Directly below the [[database]] line, add the following.


Read more about how configurations work.

First SQL queries!

Here is how to point the Editor to MySql or Apache Hive and execute your first SQL queries. For other supported databases refer to the connectors.


In desktop/conf/pseudo-distributed.ini, below the [[interpreters]] section of of [notebook].

options='{"url": "mysql://${USER}:${PASSWORD}@localhost:3306/hue"}'

Apache Hive

You can connect to an existing Hive instance or setup a new one locally. An easy way to setup one is with Docker. You could use this container for Hive 2.3.2 -

git clone
cd docker-hive
docker-compose up -d

Just follow the above 3 steps and you would have a running Hive instance on jdbc:hive2://localhost:10000.

Now under Hue open desktop/conf/pseudo-distributed.ini file in a text editor, and modify the following options.

Directly below the [[beeswax]] line, add the following:

# Host where HiveServer2 is running.

# Port where HiveServer2 Thrift server runs on.


Below the [[interpreters]] of [notebook], add:


Restart Hue, open the Editors and start typing your first queries!

Dev environment

Visual Code

Adding ‘hue’ as a workspace, then:

Recommended extensions:


First step is to configure pycharm to use the Hue virtual environment at ./build/env/env Pycharm virtualenv

Second step is to configure the debug configuration Pycharm debug


First step is to configure Eclipse to use the Hue virtual environment at ./build/env/env Eclipse interpreter

Second step is to configure the debug configuration Eclipse debug Eclipse debug arguments Eclipse debug interpreter

Development Process


During the development process if you are facing any problem then, it is recommended to check your issues at and If the solution is not found then, feel free to create an issue at

Here is a tutorial about how to use the code review tool Review Board for a better productivity!


Hue project uses Review Board and Pull Requests for code reviews. For more complex patches it's advisable to use RB than a plain pull request on github. The advantage of Pull Request is that the CI (syntax check, tests…) automatically runs for you. Along with the web app, a command line tool named RBTool is used to make things easier.

Create accounts in, and and share the usernames

Then, join the ‘hue’ group in your account

Then download the Review Board tools and install it.

If you've never used git and github before, there are bunch of things you need to do before going further.

Now, clone cloudera/hue:

git clone

Then, go inside your git repository:

[email protected]:~/projects/hue$ rbt setup-repo

Enter the Review Board server URL:

Use the Git repository 'hue' (git:// [Yes/No]: yes

Create '/home/romain/projects/hue/.reviewboardrc' with the following?



BRANCH = "master"

[Yes/No]: yes

Config written to /home/romain/projects/hue/.reviewboardrc

Create a new branch with the jira id (HUE-XXX) as the branch name:

git checkout master
git pull --rebase origin master
git checkout -b HUE-XXX

Then make your changes in code:

git add <file>
git diff --cached
git commit -m "HUE-XXX <Ticket summary>"

Post a review

We have wrapped up the typical submission in a dedicated tools/scripts/hue-review script prefilled with all the details of the commits:

Now we post the review:

tools/scripts/hue-review HEAD~1..HEAD <reviewers> "HUE-XXX [component] <Ticket summary>" --bugs-closed=HUE-XXX
  • Above command must return the review link as given in below example.
  • Goto the review link and varify details & press publish. All the reviewers will be informed with an email.


tools/scripts/hue-review HEAD~1..HEAD romain,enricoberti,erickt "HUE-2123 [beeswax] Handle cancel state properly" -bugs-closed=HUE-2123

Review request #4501 posted.

Et voila! Here is our review


If you have more than one diff, update HEAD~1..HEAD accordingly (e.g. HEAD~2..HEAD)

Now go to the ticket and add a comment with content

  • Ticket summary
  • Review @ review link

Update a review

Modify the previous commit diff:

git add <file>
git commit --amend

Update the review:

rbt post -u -r <Review-board-id> HEAD~1..HEAD
  • Again, goto the review link and varify details & press publish.

Ship It

Once we get ship it from at least one reviewer, we can push the changes to master

git rebase origin/master
git push origin HEAD:ci-commit-master-<yourname>
  • The push will auto run the tests and push it to master
  • Must see testing running @
    • Two builds would be made - One for Python 2.7 and another for Python 3.6
    • If successful, the change would be auto merged to master
    • On failure, we will get a mail
    • Runs usually take 10-20 min
  • Once merged mark the review as submitted - Close > Submitted
  • Add the commit link to the ticket and mark it as resolved


For lightweight issues, Github pull requests are also welcomed! To learn how pull request works please refer this link.


We hope that Review Board and these commands will make your life easier and encourage you to contribute to Hue 😉

As usual feel free to send feedback on the hue-user list or @gethue!

API Server

From 30,000 feet

From up on high

Hue, as a “container” web application, sits in between your Hadoop installation and the browser. It hosts all the Hue Apps, including the built-in ones, and ones that you may write yourself.

The Hue Server

Web Back-end

Hue is a web application built on the Django python web framework. Django, running on the WSGI container/web server (typically CherryPy), manages the url dispatch, executes application logic code, and puts together the views from their templates. Django uses a database (typically MySql or PostGres) to manage session data, and Hue applications can use it as well for their “models”. (For example, the saved Editor stores saved queries in the database.)

In addition to the web server, some Hue applications run daemon processes “on the side”. Some examples are the Celery Task Server, Celery Beat.

Reference Architecture

Interacting with external services

Interacting with Hadoop

Hue provides some APIs for interacting with external services like Databases of File storages. These APIs work by making REST or Thrift calls.

An Architectural View


A Hue application may span three tiers: (1) the UI and user interaction in the client's browser, (2) the core application logic in the Hue web server, and (3) external services with which applications may interact.

The absolute minimum that you must implement (besides boilerplate), is a “Django view” function that processes the request and the associated template to render the response into HTML.

Many apps will evolve to have a bit of custom JavaScript and CSS styles. Apps that need to talk to an external service will pull in the code necessary to talk to that service.

File Layout

The Hue “framework” is in desktop/core/ and contains the Web components. desktop/libs/ is the API for talking to various Hadoop services. The installable apps live in apps/. Please place third-party dependencies in the app's ext-py/ directory.

The typical directory structure for inside an application includes:

    for Python/Django code

    for configuration (``.ini``) files to be installed

    for static HTML/js resources and help doc

    for data to be put through a template engine

    for localizations in multiple languages

For the URLs within your application, you should make your own which will be automatically rooted at /yourappname/ in the global namespace. See apps/about/src/about/ for an example.



Hue uses a typed configuration system that reads configuration files (in an ini-style format). By default, Hue loads all *.ini files in the build/desktop/conf directory. The configuration files have the following format:

# This is a comment
[ app_name ]          # Same as your app's name
app_property = "Pink Floyd"

[[ section_a ]]         # The double brackets start a section under [ app_name ]
a_weight = 80         # that is useful for grouping
a_height = 180

[[ filesystems ]]       # Sections are also useful for making a list
[[[ cluster_1 ]]]       # All list members are sub-sections of the same type
namenode_host = localhost
# User may define more:
# [[[ cluster_2 ]]]
# namenode_host =


Your application's is special. It provides access to the configuration file (and even default configurations not specified in the file). Using the above example, your should define the following:

A desktop.lib.conf.Config object for app_property, such as:

MY_PROPERTY = Config(key='app_property', default='Beatles', help='blah')

You can access its value by MY_PROPERTY.get().

A desktop.lib.conf.ConfigSection object for section_a, such as:

SECTION_A = ConfigSection(key='section_a',
        AWEIGHT=Config(key='a_weight', type=int, default=0),
        AHEIGHT=Config(key='a_height', type=int, default=0)))

You can access the values by SECTION_A.AWEIGHT.get().

A desktop.lib.conf.UnspecifiedConfigSection object for filesystems, such as:

FS = UnspecifiedConfigSection(
        nn_host=Config(key='namenode_host', required=True))

An UnspecifiedConfigSection is useful when the children of the section are not known. When Hue loads your application's configuration, it binds all sub-sections. You can access the values by:

cluster1_val = FS['cluster_1'].nn_host.get()
all_clusters = FS.keys()
for cluster in all_clusters:
    val = FS[cluster].nn_host.get()

Application can automatically detect configuration problems and alert the admin. To take advantage of this feature, create a config_validator function in your

def config_validator(user):
  config_validator(user) -> [(config_variable, error_msg)] or None
  Called by core check_config() view.
  res = [ ]
  if not REQUIRED_PROPERTY.get():
    res.append((REQUIRED_PROPERTY, "This variable must be set"))
  if MY_INT_PROPERTY.get() < 0:
    res.append((MY_INT_PROPERTY, "This must be a non-negative number"))
  return res

Saving documents

Each app used to have its own model to store its data (e.g. a saving a SQL query, query history…). All the models have been unified into a single Document2 model in the desktop app:


The Document2 model provides automatically creation, sharing and saving. It persists the document data into a json field, which limits the need ot database migrations and simplifies the interaction with the frontend.

Document2 is based on Django Models are Django's Object-Relational Mapping framework.

Walk-through of a Django View

Django Request

Django is an MVC framework, except that the controller is called a “view” and the “view” is called a “template”. For an application developer, the essential flow to understand is how the “” file provides a mapping between URLs (expressed as a regular expression, optionally with captured parameters) and view functions. These view functions typically use their arguments (for example, the captured parameters) and their request object (which has, for example, the POST and GET parameters) to prepare dynamic content to be rendered using a template.

Templates: Django and Mako

In Hue, the typical pattern for rendering data through a template is:

from desktop.lib.django_util import render

def view_function(request):
  return render('view_function.mako', request, dict(greeting="hello"))

The render() function chooses a template engine (either Django or Mako) based on the extension of the template file (".html” or “.mako”). Mako templates are more powerful, in that they allow you to run arbitrary code blocks quite easily, and are more strict (some would say finicky); Django templates are simpler, but are less expressive.

Authentication Backends

Hue exposes a configuration flag (“auth”) to configure a custom authentication backend. See writing an authentication backend for more details.

In addition to that, backends may support a manages_passwords_externally() method, returning True or False, to tell the user manager application whether or not changing passwords within Hue is possible.


Applications may define permission sets for different actions. Administrators can assign permissions to user groups in the UserAdmin application. To define custom permission sets, modify your app's to create a list of (identifier, description) tuples:

  ("delete", "Delete really important data"),
  ("email", "Send email to the entire company"),
  ("identifier", "Description of the permission")

Then you can use this decorator on your view functions to enforce permission:

@desktop.decorators.hue_permission_required("delete", "my_app_name")
def delete_financial_report(request):

Using and Installing Thrift

Right now, we check in the generated thrift code. To generate the code, you'll need the thrift binary version 0.9.0. Please download from

The modules using Thrift have some helper scripts like for regenerating the code from the interfaces.


After upgrading the version of Hue, running these two commands will make sure the database has the correct tables and fields.

./build/env/bin/hue migrate

Debugging Tips and Tricks

  • Set DESKTOP_DEBUG=1 as an environment variable if you want logs to go to stderr as well as to the respective log files.

  • Use runserver. If you want to set a CLI breakpoint, just insert __import__("ipdb").set_trace() into your code.

  • Django tends to restart its server whenever it notices a file changes. For certain things (like configuration changes), this is not sufficient. Restart the server whole-heartedly.

  • We recommend developing with the Chrome console.

  • Special environment variables

    DESKTOP_LOGLEVEL= level can be DEBUG, INFO, WARN, ERROR, or CRITICAL. When specified, the console logger is set to the given log level. A console logger is created if one is not defined.

    DESKTOP_DEBUG A shorthand for DESKTOP_LOG_LEVEL=DEBUG. Also turns on output HTML validation.

    DESKTOP_PROFILE Turn on Python profiling. The profile data is saved in a file. See the console output for the location of the file.

    DESKTOP_LOG_DIR=$dir Specify the HUE log directory. Defaults to ./log.

    DESKTOP_DB_CONFIG=$db engine:db name:test db name:username:password:host:port Specify alternate DB connection parameters for HUE to use. Useful for testing your changes against, for example, MySQL instead of sqlite. String is a colon-delimited list. Point to an Impalad and trigger the Impala tests.

User Interface (UI)

Developing applications for Hue requires a minimal amount of CSS (and potentially JavaScript) to use existing functionality.

In a nutshell, front-end development is using:


The javascript files are currently being migrated to webpack bundles, during this process some files will live under src/desktop/static/ and some will live under src/desktop/js

For changes to the files under src/desktop/js the following applies:

First make sure all third-party dependencies defined in package.json are installed into node_modules/

npm install

Also run this after making changes to package.json, adding new third-party dependencies etc.

To generate the js bundles run:

npm run webpack
npm run webpack-workers
npm run webpack-login

During development the bundles can be autogenerated when it detects changes to the .js files, for this run:

npm run dev

Before sending a review with changes to the bundles run:

npm run lint-fix

and possibly fix any issues it might report.


Hue uses Bootstrap version 2.0 CSS styles and layouts. They are highly reusable and flexible. Your app doesn't have to use these styles, but if you do, it'll save you some time and make your app look at home in Hue.

After changing the CSS in a .less file, rebuilding with:

npm run less

Or run in watch mode that will generate the .css on any change to the .less files:

npm run less-dev

After less changes make sure linting is run with:

npm run less-lint


You should create an icon for your application that is a transparent png sized 24px by 24px. Your file should point to your icon via the ICON variable. The create_desktop_app command creates a default icon for you.

Hue ships with Twitter Bootstrap and Font Awesome 3 ( so you have plenty of scalable icons to choose from. You can style your elements to use them like this (in your mako template):

<!-- show a trash icon in a link -->
<a href="#something"><i class="icon-trash"></i> Trash</a>

Static files

For better performances, Hue uses the Django staticfiles app. If in production mode, if you edit some static files, you would need to run this command or make apps. No actions are needed in development mode.

./build/env/bin/hue collectstatic


The short story

Run the API unit tests

./build/env/bin/hue test unit

Open a pull request which will automatically trigger a CircleCi unit test run.

How to run just some parts of the tests, e.g.:

build/env/bin/hue test specific impala
build/env/bin/hue test specific impala.tests:TestMockedImpala
build/env/bin/hue test specific impala.tests:TestMockedImpala.test_basic_flow

Run the user interface tests:

npm run test

Running the API tests

The test management command prepares the arguments (test app names) and passes them to nose (django_nose.nose_runner). Nose will then magically find all the tests to run.

Tests themselves should be named * These will be found as long as they're in packages covered by django. You can use the unittest frameworks, or you can just name your method with the word “test” at a word boundary, and nose will find it. See apps/hello/src/hello/ for an example.

To run the unit tests (should take 5-10 minutes):

build/env/bin/hue test fast

To run all the tests (unit and integration), use:

build/env/bin/hue test all

To run only tests of a particular app, use:

build/env/bin/hue test specific <app>


build/env/bin/hue test specific filebrowser

To run a specific test, use:

build/env/bin/hue test specific <app><module>:<test_func>
build/env/bin/hue test specific <app><module>:<class>


build/env/bin/hue test specific useradmin.tests:test_user_admin
build/env/bin/hue test specific useradmin.tests:AdminTest

To run a specific test in a class, use:

build/env/bin/hue test specific <app><module>:<class><test_func>


When running the tests and seeing an error similar to:

ValueError: The file 'desktop/js/bundles/hue/vendors~hue~notebook~tableBrowser-chunk-f7c8562ecf79bc8f1f16.js' could not be found with < object at 0x7faf77042630>.

Re-building the collection of static files should fix it:

./build/env/bin/hue collectstatic

Running the UI tests

The tests are next to the file under test, the filename of the test has to end with .test.ts or .test.js.

someFile.js         <- File under test
someFile.test.ts    <- File containing tests

Run all the tests once with:

npm test

Run tests from a specific file once:

npm test -- foo.test.js

To run the tests in watch mode:

npm run test-dev

While in watch mode Jest will detect changes to all files and re-run related tests. There are also options to target specific files or tests. Press ‘w’ in the console to see the options.

Note: on certain OS like Ubuntu, running the tests via a global jest seems to not hang your system

npm install jest --global


jest --testPathIgnorePatterns=[]
jest calciteAutocompleteParser --testPathIgnorePatterns=[]

How to update snapshot tests:

jest --updateSnapshot

Testing KO Js components

koSetup provides utilities to test Knockout components and bindings using jsdom from jest.

An example of component test:

import { koSetup } from 'jest/koTestUtils';

import 'ko/someComponent';

describe('ko.someComponent.js', () => {
  const setup = koSetup(); // Adds the necessary setup and teardown

  it('should render component', async () => {
    const someParams = {}

    const element = await setup.renderComponent('someComponent', someParams);


  it('should change after observable update', async () => {
    const someParams = { visible: ko.observable(false) };
    const wrapper = await setup.renderComponent('someComponent', someParams);

    someParams.visible(true); // Or trigger some event on an elmement etc.
    await setup.waitForKoUpdate(); // Waits for re-render


An example of a binding test:

import ko from 'knockout';
import { koSetup } from 'jest/koTestUtils';
import './ko.myBinding';

describe('ko.myBinding.js', () => {
  const setup = koSetup();

  it('should toggle observable', async () => {
    const viewModel = { testObservable: ko.observable(false) };
    const wrapper = await setup.renderKo(
      '<div class="click-test" data-bind="myBinding: testObservable"></div>',


    await setup.waitForKoUpdate();



Add the following options:

./build/env/bin/hue test unit --with-xunit --with-cover

For js run:

npm run test-coverage

Continuous Integration (CI)

CircleCi automatically run the unit tests (Python, Javascript, linting) on branch updates and pull requests. Branches containing ci-commit-master will try to be auto pushed to master if the run is green and the Github permissions match. This logic is described in the config.yml.

The runs happen in an image based on latest Hue's image.

Note: until the desktop/ext-py dependencies are moved to a requirement.txt, adding new Python modules will require adding them first to the Docker image by building a Hue branch which has them.

Integration tests

To not fail on integration tests, Hue would need to be configured to point to a live cluster, or you could install the mini cluster (only once) with:

./tools/jenkins/ slow

Note: the integration tests are going to be ported to a more modern CI with dependencies provided by containers.

Those are tagged with integration either at the class or method level:

class BeeswaxSampleProvider(object):
  integration = True

  def test_add_ldap_users_case_sensitivity(self):
    if is_live_cluster():
      raise SkipTest('HUE-2897: Cannot yet guarantee database is case sensitive')


Historically, the same thing used to be done with the requires_hadoop tag:

from nose.plugins.attrib import attr

def your_test():


The checklist below details the steps. Then send the release notes to the Forum, hue-user, !


Update the versions to the next release (current release +1):

:100644 100644 4db6d5f... f907d04... M	VERSION
:100644 100644 9332f95... 45b28ad... M	desktop/libs/librdbms/java/pom.xml
:100644 100644 551f62f... 694f021... M	maven/pom.xml
:100644 100644 658d54a... 671ce01... M  package.json

How to count the number of commits since the last release:

git log --oneline --since=2019-08-01 | grep 'release' -n -i
git log --oneline -449 > commits.txt

cat commits.txt | sed 's/\(HUE\-[[:digit:]][[:digit:]][[:digit:]][[:digit:]]\)/\[\1\]\(https:\/\/\/browse\/\1\)/' | sed 's/^\(.*\)/* \1/' >

And add them and the authors to the release notes:

git log --pretty="%an" | sort | uniq | sed 's/^\(.*\)/* \1/' > authors.txt

Pushing the release branch:

git push origin HEAD:branch-4.7.0

Tagging the release:

git tag -a release-4.7.0 -m "release-4.7.0"
git push origin release-4.7.0

Building the tarball release:

make prod

Source of the release:

Push to the CDN:

scp hue-4.7.0.tgz [email protected]:/var/www/


Other things to update:


docker build -t gethue/hue:4.7.0 -f tools/docker/hue/Dockerfile
docker tag gethue/hue:4.7.0 gethue/hue:latest
docker images
docker login
docker push gethue/hue
docker push gethue/hue:4.7.0

docker build . -t gethue/nginx:4.7.0 -f tools/docker/nginx/Dockerfile;
docker tag gethue/nginx:4.7.0 gethue/nginx:latest
docker push gethue/nginx
docker push gethue/nginx:4.7.0


Documentation is currently being auto refreshed every morning of the week and run as a container.

The manual process otherwise would be to build it and push it to the docs host.


ssh [email protected]
cd /var/www/
mkdir 4.7.0
rm latest; ln -s 4.7.0 latest

scp -r docs/docs-site/public/* [email protected]:/var/www/

scp -r hue-4.6/build/release/prod/hue-4.7.0.tgz [email protected]:/var/www/

NPM registry

To publish gethue to NPM registry, the following command would have to be run. Kindly refrain from using npm publish.

npm run publish-gethue


Dev Docker

Try basic changes in 3 minutes without compiling Hue locally hence avoiding the setting up of dependencies:

git clone
cd hue
cp desktop/conf/pseudo-distributed.ini.tmpl desktop/conf/pseudo-distributed.ini

Then edit the [[database]] section to specify a proper database, here MySql:

host= # Don't use 'localhost' if Docker

Then map the local Hue source code into the running container (so that local edits are seen in the running Hue):

sudo docker run -it -v $PWD/apps:/usr/share/hue/apps -v $PWD/desktop:/usr/share/hue/desktop -v $PWD/desktop/conf/pseudo-distributed.ini:/usr/share/hue/desktop/conf/z-hue.ini --network="host" gethue/hue

Note: code updates won’t be seen after the Docker container runs. For this Hue would need to be started in dev server mode by replacing the line by

./build/env/bin/hue runserver

and recompiling the Docker image. It will then auto-restart on Python code changes. For JavaScript, those would need to be compiled.


Install Hugo. Each page has a link to its own source file in the top right corner.

Build the source and see live changes:

cd docs/docs-site

hugo serve

Check for links not working (e.g. returning a 404) with muffet, a fast link checker crawler. It recommended to use the check links script.

The posts manual and continuous integration contain more information about it.

And then to build the static site just do:


and grab the public directory.

Blog & Website

Like for the Documentation install hugo. The content for each language is in its own directory.

Blog posts are located in docs/gethue/content/en/posts.

Build it and see live changes:

cd docs/gethue

hugo serve

Will automatically start one server for each language domain.

SQL Autocomplete

Install a patched jison:

git clone
cd jison
npm install -g .

Then run:

make sql-all-parsers

Ace Editor

After modifying files under tools/ace-editor run the following to build ace.js

npm install
make ace

Language references

The tools for generating the embedded language reference manuals can be found under hue/tools/sql-docs/


The Hive documentation is generated directly from the Hive wiki by using an exported epub file.

  1. Goto

  2. Click the three dots ‘…’ in the upper right corner

  3. Click ‘Export to EPUB’

  4. In the Hue folder run:

     node tools/sql-docs/hiveExtractor.js --epub /path/to/epub/file


The Impala documentation is generated from the ditamap files in the Impala GitHub repo.

  1. Clone the Impala repo next to hue from

  2. In the Hue folder run:

     node tools/sql-docs/docExtractor.js -c hue -f ../impala/docs/ -d impala_langref.ditamap,impala_keydefs.ditamap,impala.ditamap -o desktop/core/src/desktop/static/desktop/docs/impala/ -m desktop/core/src/desktop/templates/impala_doc_index.mako


How to update all the messages and compile them:

make locales

How to update and compile the messages of one app:

cd apps/beeswax
make compile-locale

How to create a new locale for an app:

cd $APP_ROOT/src/$APP_NAME/locale
$HUE_ROOT/build/env/bin/pybabel init -D django -i en_US.pot -d . -l fr