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Software Requirements

To build and install Soufflé, the following software must be installed:

  • cmake (version 3.15 or greater)
  • Python 3
  • A C++ compiler supporting C++17: GNU C++, clang++, Microsoft Visual Studio
  • OpenMP (optional)
  • GNU Bison (version 3.0.4 or greater)
  • flex
  • DoxyGen (optional)
  • git (optional)
  • libffi (optional)
  • libncurses (optional)
  • libsqlite3 (optional)
  • mcpp (optional)
  • swig (optional)
  • zlib (optional)


CMake configuration options

All available options can be found by browsing the source code, see souffle/CMakeLists.txt. Below is a table of the most relevant.

To specify build options, run cmake -S . -B build -D<option>=<value>. Alternatively, run ccmake build to start cmake with a terminal GUI interface that lets you configure the options.

Option Default Description
CMAKE_BUILD_TYPE Release Release, Debug
SOUFFLE_DOMAIN_64BIT OFF Support 64-bit integer and float values in Datalog tuples instead of default’s 32-bit
SOUFFLE_SWIG OFF Support all SWIG builds
SOUFFLE_USE_CURSES ON Support terminal-UI based provenance display
SOUFFLE_USE_LIBFFI ON Support c++ functors with arbitrary number of arguments. When OFF limitations applies on the number of arguments in c++ functors supported by the interpreter engine, see StatelessFunctorMaxArity and CALL_STATEFULL in source code.
SOUFFLE_USE_OPENMP ON Support parallel evaluation with OpenMP
SOUFFLE_USE_ZLIB ON Support compress file I/Os
SOUFFLE_SANITISE_MEMORY OFF Build with memory sanitiser
SOUFFLE_SANITISE_THREAD OFF Build with thread sanitiser

Ubuntu/Debian Dependencies

On a Ubuntu/Debian system the following command installs the necessary dependencies to compile and build Soufflé:

sudo apt install \
  bison \
  build-essential \
  clang \
  cmake \
  doxygen \
  flex \
  g++ \
  git \
  libffi-dev \
  libncurses5-dev \
  libsqlite3-dev \
  make \
  mcpp \
  python \
  sqlite \

Linux Build

Support for C++17 is required. This support is present in GNU C++ version 7 or greater and Clang++ version 7 or greater.

The Soufflé project follows cmake conventions for configuring, installing and building software. If you are not familiar with cmake, please refer to the following document for configuring, building, testing, and installing a project.

You can build Soufflé by typing:

cd souffle
cmake -S . -B build ## example of options: -DCMAKE_BUILD_TYPE=Release -DSOUFFLE_DOMAIN_64BIT=ON
cmake --build build

This may take up some time. However, this may be sped up with, for instance:

cmake --build build -j8

which will run cmake with 8 jobs at a time.

MAC OS X Build

MAC OS X does not have OpenMP/C++ nor GNU Bison version 3.0.2 or higher installed by default. OpenMP is not required to build Soufflé, but does improve runtime for large Datalog programs by parallelising the execution.

We recommend brew to install the required tools for building Soufflé. Run the following commands prior to executing cmake:

brew update
brew install cmake bison libffi mcpp pkg-config
brew reinstall gcc
brew link bison --force
brew link libffi --force
export PKG_CONFIG_PATH=/usr/local/opt/libffi/lib/pkgconfig/

Note: Be careful with the search path for bison, so it points to the correct one. By default, macOS includes bison 2.3 at /usr/bin/bison, however brew installs the newer version to /usr/local/bin/bison. This can be done by prepending this directory to the path, however, this can break other systems - PATH=/usr/local/bin:$PATH. Also note that the version of gcc installed may be different, so g++-8 may need to be changed.

Soufflé is built by

cd souffle
cmake -S . -B build
cmake --build build

This may take up some time. However, this may be sped up with, for instance:

cmake --build build -j8

which will run cmake with 8 jobs at a time.

Windows & Visual Studio Build

See .github/workfloww/VS-CI-Tests.yml for an example of how to build and test on Windows with Visual Studio 2019 using package managers Chocolatey and vcpkg to resolve dependencies.

Testing Soufflé


  cd build

Numerous unit tests and regression tests are performed. This may take up to 45min. However, this may be sped up with, for instance:

ctest -j8

which will run 8 jobs at a time.

For more control, -R <regex> allows you to run tests that matches the regular expression; -L <regex> allows you to run tests with labels matching the regular expression, use --print-labels to show all available labels; --rerun-failed allows you to run only the tests that failed previously.

cd build
# run tests in interpreted mode (fast)
ctest -L interpreted -VV --output-on-failure
# run tests in compiled mode (slower)
ctest -LE interpreted -VV --output-on-failure

For more options please type ctest --help.

Installing Soufflé

If you would like to install Soufflé in your system, specify an installation directory with -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<install-dir>. The executable, scripts, and header files will be stored in the directory <install-dir>. Use an absolute path for <install-dir>. Type

 cd souffle
 cmake -S . -B build -DCMAKE_INSTALL_PREFIX=<install-dir>
 cmake --build build --target install

to install Soufflé. By setting the path variable


the Soufflé commands souffle and souffleprof are available to the users.


With CMake, you can easily integrate the Soufflé project with your IDE/editor. For example, if you are using clangd, simply run cmake -DCMAKE_EXPORT_COMPILE_COMMANDS=1 to generate the configuration file.