Setting up Bahmni Dev Environment

Tips for coding in Bahmni

  1. This document will help people setup their machine so that one can perform development on Bahmni.
  2. Don't get intimidated. Be pro-active, ask questions on OpenMRS Talk, and take help whenever required. One step at a time, and you should be good.
  3. This document was written for Mac OS X, but should be equivalent on Linux. Will need slightly different commands for Windows, but essentially the steps will be same. Windows users may use packages like WinSCP to connect to the virtual machine, create soft links, view/modify json files.
  4. If you would like to contribute as a volunteer to Bahmni, and need some potential tasks to pick, please check out our Open Community Volunteer Board (or the newbie tickets). Also read Contributing to Bahmni for ways in which you can contribute (besides coding).

  5. To submit code to Bahmni, you will need to follow the PR model, commonly used in most open source projects. If you are unfamiliar with this, please also read this before making any code changes locally.
  6. Be respectful and friendly. 


  1. The Bahmni EMR is a client-side application, built in AngularJS and HTML, and it interacts with the OpenMRS back end using REST web services. 
  2. Bahmni also includes a regular OpenMRS module called bahmni-core that provides additional server-side functionality. 
  3. Bahmni team has forked OpenELIS for Lab Test Workflow, and reporting. And the team has written modules for OpenERP (Odoo) for Inventory and Billing. 
  4. To integrate all three sub-systems (OpenMRS, OpenERP and OpenELIS) the team wrote an ATOM Feed based integration module, that allows data to flow across the three sub-systems.
  5. You can refer to Bahmni Architecture here: Architecture 

Vagrant box setup

Virtual box setup

First ensure that Bahmni Virtual Box (and Vagrant) are already installed and running on your machine. Follow steps mentioned here: Bahmni Virtual Box. Once you have vagrant box setup, then Bahmni will be running inside the vagrant box, but accessible from your host machine's browser using the URL Also, your code folder will be shared and editable from both the guest machine, and the host machine. This means, that you can now use your favourite IDE on your host machine to edit code, and compile and then you can run the changes from inside the Vagrant box.


Note that these steps are needed ONLY IF you are going to modify EMR UI code, and do development on Bahmni product. If you only want to perform implementation specific changes, like changes to registration screen, create observation forms/templates, add fields to screen, etc, then you DO NOT need to setup the Development Environment. In that case, you only need to work with the implementation-config folder specific to your implementation, and modify only files inside that folder to see changes in the UI.

As an implementer, the files that you modify, should be then copied in /var/www/bahmni_config folder. Or you can alternatively, create a soft link where /var/www/bahmni_config points to your implementation-config folder so that changes you make to files in your implementation-config folder will immediately get reflected inside the vagrant box. The command to do that is:

# Soft Link bahmni_config to default-config folder
sudo ln -s /bahmni/default-config /var/www/bahmni_config

The installation of software development tools like Ruby, Node.JS, Maven, etc is only needed in case you plan to contribute to Bahmni EMR UI Code, or to Bahmni-Core / OpenMRS modules.

One time setup steps

To get started as a Developer, who will contribute to Bahmni Hospital Management system, you need to install appropriate libraries, pull the code from GIT, compile the code, and then link your vagrant sub-folders, to your code folders - so that any changes you make to the Bahmni code will reflect in vagrant box. If you don't link the folders, then you will need to copy the compiled artifacts to the right location in the vagrant box. 


Dependencies to Install

If you are new to Git/Github, please check out this video to understand Git/Github better:

Please ensure that the following dependencies are installed on your machine:

  1. Git version control

  2. Yarn

  3. Node.js (v10.11.0)

  4. Oracle (Sun) JDK 8

  5. Maven

  6. Ruby v2.1 (or above) - Needed by Compass to compile the SCSS files.

  7. Install Firefox to run tests in bahmni apps.

  8. Talisman as a Pre-Commit Hook. (It is highly recommended to setup talisman for secret scanning)

TIP: node can be easily installed using nvm

Install Compass

gem install compass # you may need to use sudo to install Ruby gem compass ...

If you have problems with the installation, e.g. of compass, please have a look here: Troubleshooting development tool installation problems

Clone the code

Clone bahmni code into a folder (shown here as /Projects/bahmni). Each clone command creates a sub-folder with the repository name.

cd /Projects/bahmni
# clone the default configuration (some folks may choose their project specific config like jss-config)
git clone
# clone Bahmni EMR UI project
git clone
# clone the Bahmni Core backend project
git clone
# clone the common java utils used across the project
git clone

Clone all the Bahmni related repos using a Script

The script below helps to clone all the Bahmni related repos one by one.

# This command will clone all repositories of Bahmni to /tmp/src/bahmni path. It will create /tmp/src/bahmni path if its not already there
curl -s > /tmp/
bash /tmp/ -d /tmp/src/bahmni


jq has to be installed to run the script above. Check this URL to install jq:

Prepare and Build Bahmni EMR UI

The following commands will build the Bahmni EMR UI application. Make sure yarn have been installed on your machine as mentioned on top of this document.

# Go into the UI directory
cd openmrs-module-bahmniapps/ui

# Install dependencies (Installed node dependencies into node_modules. UI dependencies are installed in node_modules/@bower_components and create a soft link to app/components).
yarn install

# Run tests, and check test coverage (required before the next step)
yarn clean test

# Build the application (into dist folder)
yarn default

Sample build log

You can see how a sample build output will look here on GoCD for Bahmni (use your GitHub account to authenticate).

Create Links to your Host Machine Folders for EMR UI

Now link your host machine compiled code with the Vagrant filesystem, so that Apache running inside Vagrant picks up your compiled code (basically softlinks are created inside Vagrant)

When you link the folders, the script below will delete the current UI code from the Virtual Box. If you mess up the Virtual box, and need to reset it, just do a vagrant destroy and a vagrant up to restore it back. Of course, any changes you made inside the Virtual Box will get lost.

Linking EMR UI folders

Linking EMR UI to vagrant
# Do this from inside the vagrant box (use 'vagrant ssh' to enter it)


# rename the original folder for backup
sudo mv /var/www/bahmniapps /var/www/bahmniapps-original

# (Option 1 - Simple) Create a link to your UI 'dist' folder
# - run the 'yarn default' build command (from your dev machine) to see your changes reflected
sudo ln -s /bahmni/openmrs-module-bahmniapps/ui/dist/ /var/www/bahmniapps

# (Option 2 - Advanced) Create a link to your UI 'app' folder
# - changes to HTML and JS files will be reflected immediately
# - run the 'yarn compass' command (from your dev machine) to see CSS changes reflected
sudo ln -s /bahmni/openmrs-module-bahmniapps/ui/app /var/www/bahmniapps
# Make the user bahmni owner of this new link
sudo chown -h bahmni:bahmni /var/www/bahmniapps

You will notice that after executing the above link commands, new soft links will get created in /var/www inside your vagrant box, linking to your machine. 



Linking Implementation Configuration Folder

Linking config to vagrant
# Do this from inside the vagrant box (use 'vagrant ssh' to enter it)
# backup the original config folder
sudo mv -b /var/www/bahmni_config /var/www/bahmni_config-original
# Link your config folder (here we are linking the default-config folder)
sudo ln -s /bahmni/default-config /var/www/bahmni_config
# Make bahmni user the owner for this new link
sudo chown -h bahmni:bahmni /var/www/bahmni_config 


If you destroy your vagrant, and perform a vagrant up again, then these soft links will also be removed and you will need to run the link commands again.

Development on the Bahmni AngularJS app

You have checked out the Bahmni application code (remember, it’s a client-side AngularJS application) on your local machine at


You may use whatever development tools you prefer, for editing html + js + css. If you are going to be working on both client-side and server-side code, you’ll probably want to use a Java IDE like IntelliJ or Eclipse. But if you’re purely working on the client-side app you can use something more web-focused.

Editing HTML files

(If you took the simple linking approach) Edit HTML files and run `yarn default` to see your changes reflected.

(If you took the advanced linking approach) You can directly edit HTML files and see the changes reflected.

Editing JS files

(If you took the simple linking approach) Edit javascript files and run `yarn default` to see your changes reflected.

(If you took the advanced linking approach) You can directly edit javascript files and see the changes reflected.

Editing CSS files

In Bahmni, CSS is written using SASS, and therefore after you edit a .scss file you need to compile everything by going to openmrs-module-bahmniapps/ui and running:

# if you took the simple linking approach
yarn default

# if you took the advanced linking approach
yarn compass

For example, edit the file /Project/bahmni/openmrs-module-bahmniapps/ui/app/styles/bahmni-helper/_base.scss by changing the color of the body element from $text to #ff0000, then build with `yarn default`.

Developing OpenMRS Java modules


Note that these steps are needed ONLY IF you are going to modify OpenMRS code or plan to write a new module.

All OpenMRS modules that Bahmni uses (as third party modules), or those created by Bahmni team themselves, are stored in either: /home/bahmni/.OpenMRS/modules (old location) or in /opt/openmrs/modules (new location) folder. Check your vagrant box to see the current location. If you want to change or add a new OpenMRS/Bahmni module, you should perform the following steps.

If you have an older vagrant box (from atlas), then openmrs service may not exist. Instead the service name will be tomcat.

Replacing an OpenMRS OMOD module
# Stop OpenMRS
sudo systemctl stop openmrs
# Copy the module to the modules directory
cp module_name.omod /opt/openmrs/modules
# For older installations prior to 0.81, copy to the older modules directory
cp module_name.omod /home/bahmni/.OpenMRS/modules
# Start OpenMRS
sudo systemctl start openmrs

Debug / Extend Bahmni Java modules

This section is for implementers who wish to debug / extend Bahmni Java modules

Building an OpenMRS / Bahmni Module
# Go to the appropriate project directory
cd bahmni-core
# Build the module using maven
mvn clean install 

Debugging Code Running in Tomcat

Set up Host - Guest Port Connection for Debug

After that you will need to connect the port 8000 of your guest and host, by editing the VagrantFile on the host OS in bahmni-vagrant folder.

# Halt the virtual machine if it's already running
cd /Projects/Bahmni/bahmni-vagrant
vagrant halt

# Add this line in your Vagrantfile in the folder /Projects/Bahmni/bahmni-vagrant :forwarded_port, guest: 8000, host: 8000

#Restart the virtual machine
vagrant up

Restart Tomcat to run in debug mode

To debug code running in tomcat, you need to start tomcat in debug mode, so that it opens a port for you to connect your IDE to it (via Remote Debugger). You will need to do the following: 

Debugging through vagrant
# Log into your Vagrant box using ssh or PuTTY
cd bahmni-vagrant
vagrant ssh
# Restart openmrs in debug mode. By default, openmrs opens port 8000 for java debugging 
# CAUTION: It is to be noted that, alternate usage of systemctl and service command may lead to inconsistency of the openmrs service being started. 
sudo service openmrs stop
sudo service openmrs debug

# Stop iptables so that host machine can connect to port 8000 successfully
sudo service iptables stop

# Optional. From your host machine. Run following command and check if port 8000 is open. 
nmap -v -sT

Now on the host OS you can open the Remote Debugger in Eclipse/IntelliJ (or any IDE), and connect to port 8000 to debug your code.

Debug ports for Bahmni related projects

To debug other projects, the required forward port should be set in vagrantfile as mentioned above


Debug Port

Audit Log










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