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Build From Source

This document describes how to set up your development environment to build and test the Azure Static Web Apps CLI. In the documentation we may refer to it interchangeably as SWA CLI or simply as swa.

Please review the Contribution Guidelines if you plan to contribute back to the project codebase (by fixing issues, editing docs etc.).

1. Build Requirements

Install Git


Installation Guide: Follow the GitHub's Guide to Installing Git guidance for setup. :::

The SWA CLI codebase contains both source code and documentation files for the project - all hosted in the same GitHub repository.

You will need to install Git (command-line utility) or GitHub Desktop (IDE for Windows/macOS only) to work with our codebase. This allows you to:

  • fork and clone the SWA CLI codebase for local development
  • maintain source code and version control over files in your fork
  • streamline pull request (PR) workflows to contribute back changes

If you're new to Git, we recommend the and follow the instructions for your preferred development platform (Linux, Windows, macOS or other), to set this up.

Install Node.js

Installation Guide: Follow the Downloading & installing Node.js and npm guidance for setup. :::

The SWA CLI is written in JavaScript/TypeScript and built for execution in a Node.js runtime on the desktop. The SWA CLI is also packaged and distributed as @azure/static-web-apps-cli in the npm registry.

You will need to install Node.js to preview, run, and test, the SWA CLI. You'll also need to install npm to handle package dependencies and configure scripts to streamline developer workflows with Node.js.

This allows you to:

  • use npm install to install SWA CLI dependencies in package.json.
  • use npm run to execute "scripts" defined in package.json
  • use npm test to run the "test" script in package.json
  • use npm run format to format source when getting ready to PR.

We strongly agree with the recommendation to use the Node Version Manager (nvm) to manage your installs - nvm makes it easy to install, and switch between, multiple versions of Node, directly from the command line.


Version Requirements: Installed versions must meet the engines requirements for this project.

The engines object defines the minimum versions of Node.js and npm that are required for SWA CLI, in this package.json. The object looks something like this:

  "engines": {
"node": ">=14.0.0",
"npm": ">=6.0.0"

This indicates that the current SWA CLI works with a minimum version of Node.js v14.0.0 and npm v6.0.0. Check your current dev environment versions by using the --version option. Here's an example of usage:

$ node --version

$ npm --version

Need to change versions to meet requirements? Use nvm:

// List locally-installed versions
nvm list

// Switch to an installed version (if requirement met)
nvm use <installed-version>

// .. Or find version to install (that meets requirement)
nvm ls-remote

// .. And install it locally
nvm install <remote-version>

// .. Then validate install worked
nvm which <remote-version>

// .. And switch to use it
nvm use <remote-version>

2. Clone The Project

Once you've met the build requirements, you can download the SWA CLI codebase and configure it for local development using these steps:


The SWA CLI codebase is hosted here on GitHub and contains both the source code and the documentation files for the project.

First, fork the repository and clone it for local development.

git clone{YOUR_GITHUB_ACCOUNT}/static-web-apps-cli.git

Optionally, clone a specific branch using -b BRANCH_NAME:

git clone -b BRANCH_NAME{YOUR_GITHUB_ACCOUNT}/static-web-apps-cli.git

Next, switch your working directory to the SWA CLI project root:

cd static-web-apps-cli

Next, add an upstream remote pointing back to the original SWA CLI repository. This makes it easier to fetch updates and contribute PRs.

git remote add upstream

3. Build The Project

Install Deps

The package.json file describes the project's dependencies. Use the following command to setup your local development environment. The process may take a few minutes.

npm install

Build Dist

To build the SWA CLI distribution, run the folllowing command. This may take a few minutes.

npm run build

On successful completion, it creates a dist/ folder with the following contents (output cleaned up for clarity).

$  ls dist


Validate CLI

Validate that the CLI build works by running the following command:

node dist/cli/bin.js -h

You should see something like this. Your exact output will depend on the release version you are working with.

Welcome to Azure Static Web Apps CLI

Usage: swa [command] [options]

-v, --version output the version number
-V, --verbose [prefix] enable verbose output. Values are: silly,info,log,silent (default: "log", preset: "log")
-c, --config <path> path to swa-cli.config.json file to use (default: "swa-cli.config.json")
-cn, --config-name <name> name of the configuration to use
-g, --print-config print all resolved options (default: false)
-h, --help display help for command

login [options] login into Azure
start [options] [configName|outputLocation|appDevserverUrl] start the emulator from a directory or bind to a dev server
deploy [options] [configName|outputLocation] deploy the current project to Azure Static Web Apps
init [options] [configName] initialize a new static web app project
build [options] [configName|appLocation] build your project

Type "swa" to get started and deploy your project.



You have successfully built and run the SWA CLI in your local env.

4. Prep Contributions

If you forked the project with the intent of contributing back to the original codebase, we have three steps you need to take:

  1. Review the Contribution Guidelines
  2. Test your changes against a local project
  3. Format your source to align with our guidelines

Run Tests

Use this command to run all test suites on your project's PR-ready branch before you initiate the pull request.

npm test

The process may take a few minutes to complete all test suites - track progress by monitoring the (verbose) test output. A successful run will likely end with something like this:

Test Suites: 27 passed, 27 total
Tests: 5 skipped, 423 passed, 428 total
Snapshots: 5 passed, 5 total
Time: 37.658 s

A good way to validate the changes you make is to use with with a real application project that can benefit from using the Static Web Apps CLI. The npm link command can help you setup your local development environment to do this transparently.

Using npm link

Run the following command in the root folder where package.json is located:

npm link ./

Once command completes successfully,run swa from any directory on your local development system.

cd <some-project-dir>
swa --h

You should see the swa output reflect the version and functionality provided by the locally-built distribution previously linked. You can now test the swa capability with real projects in your local development device, to validate your changes.

How does npm link work?

The npm link docs have more detail, but here's a short overview that can help you debug any issues with usage later.

  1. Your local dev environment has a global folder for installed node packages. It's located at {prefix}/lib/node_modules/ - find the prefix for your local dev setup using npm prefix -g.

  2. Installing a package xyz globally (e.g., with npm -g install xyz) creates a subfolder {prefix}/lib/node_modules/xyz - making it possible for local projects with this dependency, to find and use it transparently.

  3. For a local implementation of xyz, use npm link ./ in the root folder (location of package.json). This converts {prefix}/lib/node_modules/xyz to a symbolic link to your local distribution, making it the default for resolving that dependency.


The npm unlink command is an alias for npm uninstall which may not work as intuitively as you might expect (see issue). As recommended there,

  • use npm unlink **-g** to remove symbolic link from global folder
  • verify there is no symlink at {prefix}/lib/node_modules/<pkg> :::

Watch Mode

When making multiple changes to project source files, you might want to get instantaneous feedback on how these impact the project build. Use the following command instead of npm run build:

npm run watch

You should see console output similar to that shown below. Now, as you make changes to files (and save them), the project will be automatically rebuilt and status updated on the terminal.

Starting compilation in watch mode...

Found 0 errors. Watching for file changes.

4. Format Source

SWA CLI uses prettier to format the source code. We require code to be formatted properly in the Pull Request (PR) - else the CI workflow will fail and your PR cannot be merged. To resolve this, run this command to format all source code

npm run format

A better approach is to configure the settings in your preferred IDE to auto-format your source code files on each Save. Check out the relevant links for popular IDEs below. Don't see your favorite IDE listed? Try contributing to the project!!.





Sublime Text


Visual Studio

VS Code