Building Kotlin on Windows


For the second time, I tried today to build the Kotlin GitHub project. Again, after hours of frustration I have failed. This issue is mainly for info, as I only have limited time available and I certainly don’t have days of my spare time to work with anyone to figure it out.

For starters, the “update dependencies” step, simply did not complete successfully. After many attempts, I found I needed the very latest ant build (not ant 1.8 as claimed). I also had to remove all chmod sections (despite the attempts in the file to not run chmod on Windows).

I then suffered again trying to use IntelliJ IDEA. I remain completely baffled as to how anyone finds this IDE even vaguely usable. Every click on the UI is followed by a massive wait (anything up to a minute) before anything happens. There is no feedback on whether I actually clicked it on not, frequently leading to multiple clicks.

Opening the Kotlin root module does indeed load the project, but it does not self-host, with the tools jar yet another gotcha. (And the readme refers to menu items that don’t exist…) The “disable android plugin” section in the readme is unclear as to what that really means. By the time I managed to get it to get reasonably far down a build, it still had test failures. And eventually it ground the whole machine to a halt that task manager struggled to kill.

Summary. Yes, I’m grumpy. But Kotlin has wasted hours of my life again today. Feel free to file this in the grumpy pile, as right now I can’t see how I can be at all positive about the language.


On my Mac, performance with default settings is fine, also for the Kotlin project.

PS: Having used both IntelliJ and Eclipse for extended periods, I’m often baffled as to how anyone finds Eclipse even vaguely usable, relative to IntelliJ. :slight_smile:


Hi Stephen,

I’m really curious - why did you approach Kotlin from the direction of building it yourself? What were you trying to accomplish?


I want to prototype a new language feature to see how feasible it is. The ability to build a project also tends to be a good sign of the project’s health.

FWIW, I just cloned and built the Ceylon language in less than 15 minutes (having never looked at it before).


I think that any bootstrapped compiler is inherently non-trivial to build. It’s true that Kotlin’s build procedure is in places harder than it might need to be, and simplifying it hasn’t been enough of a priority for us.

That said, it looks like most of your complaints have to do with IntelliJ IDEA, and your experience of using IntelliJ IDEA to build Kotlin does not seem to match the experience of anyone on our team (and we do have people on the team using Windows as the main development OS, as well as CI builds running on Windows machines - so I’m really surprised to hear that you ran into problems with ‘chmod’ in the Ant builds.)

Also note that the Kotlin readme is not a guide to using IntelliJ IDEA. We assume that people who read it are either familiar with using the IDE or are capable of discovering by themselves what the instructions like “disabling the Android plugin” mean.