Build from Source

This article describes how to build and install NNI from source code.


Fetch source code from GitHub:

git clone
cd nni

Upgrade to latest toolchain:

pip install --upgrade setuptools pip wheel


Please make sure python and pip executables have correct Python version.

For Apple Silicon M1, if python command is not available, you may need to manually fix dependency building issues. (GitHub issue | Stack Overflow question)

Development Build

If you want to build NNI for your own use, we recommend using development mode.

python develop

This will install NNI as symlink, and the version number will be 999.dev0.

Then if you want to modify NNI source code, please check contribution guide.

Release Build

To install in release mode, you must first build a wheel. NNI does not support setuptools’ “install” command.

A release package requires jupyterlab to build the extension:

pip install jupyterlab==3.0.9

You need to set NNI_RELEASE environment variable to the version number, and compile TypeScript modules before “bdist_wheel”.

In bash:

export NNI_RELEASE=2.0
python build_ts
python bdist_wheel

In PowerShell:

python build_ts
python bdist_wheel

If successful, you will find the wheel in dist directory.


NNI’s build process is somewhat complicated. This is due to setuptools and TypeScript not working well together.

Setuptools require to provide package_data, the full list of package files, before running any command. However it is nearly impossible to predict what files will be generated before invoking TypeScript compiler.

If you have any solution for this problem, please open an issue to let us know.

Build Docker Image

You can build a Docker image with Dockerfile:

export NNI_RELEASE=2.7
python build_ts
python bdist_wheel -p manylinux1_x86_64
docker build --build-arg NNI_RELEASE=${NNI_RELEASE} -t my/nni .

To build image for other platforms, please edit Dockerfile yourself.

Other Commands and Options


If the build fails, please clean up and try again:

python clean

Skip compiling TypeScript modules

This is useful when you have uninstalled NNI from development mode and want to install again.

It will not work if you have never built TypeScript modules before.

python develop --skip-ts