sg - the Sourcegraph developer tool

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sg is the CLI tool that Sourcegraph developers can use to develop Sourcegraph. Learn more about the tool's overall vision in sg Vision, and how to use it in the usage section.


  1. Run the following to download and install sg:

    curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSLf | sh
  2. In your clone of sourcegraph/sourcegraph, start the default Sourcegraph environment:

    sg start
  3. Once the enterprise-web process has finished compilation, open https://sourcegraph.test:3443 in your browser.

A more detailed introduction is available in the development quickstart guide.


Run the following command in a terminal:

curl --proto '=https' --tlsv1.2 -sSLf | sh

That will download the latest release of sg from here, put it in a temporary location and run sg install to install it to a permanent location in your $PATH.

Manually building the binary

If you want full control over where the sg binary ends up, use this option.

In the root of sourcegraph/sourcegraph, run:

go build -o ~/my/path/sg ./dev/sg

Then make sure that ~/my/path is in your $PATH.


Once set up, sg will automatically check for updates and update itself if a change is detected in your local copy of origin/main.

To force a manual update of sg, run:

sg update

In order to temporarily turn off automatic updates, run your commands with the -skip-auto-update flag:

sg -skip-auto-update [cmds ...]

On the next command run, if a new version is detected, sg will auto update before running.


See configuration to learn more about configuring sg behaviour.


You can get help about commands in a variety of ways:

sg help # show all available commands

# learn about a specific command or subcommand
sg <command> -h
sg <command> --help


If you have used sg setup, you should have autocompletions set up for sg. To enable it, type out a partial command and press the Tab key twice. For example:

sg start<tab><tab>

To get autocompletions for the available flags for a command, type out a command and - and press the Tab key twice. For example:

sg start -<tab><tab>

Both of the above work if you provide partial values as well to narrow down the suggestions. For example, the following will suggest run sets that start with web-:

sg start web-<tab><tab>

sg start - Start dev environments

# Run default environment, Sourcegraph enterprise:
sg start

# (macOs only) Automatically add exceptions to the system firewall 
sg start -add-to-macos-firewall

# List available environments (defined under `commandSets` in `sg.config.yaml`):
sg start -help

# Run the enterprise environment with code-intel enabled:
sg start enterprise-codeintel

# Run the environment for Batch Changes development:
sg start batches

# Override the logger levels for specific services
sg start --debug=gitserver --error=enterprise-worker,enterprise-frontend enterprise

sg run - Run single commands

# Run specific commands:
sg run gitserver
sg run frontend

# List available commands (defined under `commands:` in `sg.config.yaml`):
sg run -help

# Run multiple commands:
sg run gitserver frontend repo-updater

sg test - Running test suites

# Run different test suites:
sg test backend
sg test backend-integration
sg test frontend
sg test frontend-e2e

# List available test suites:
sg test -help

# Arguments are passed along to the command
sg test backend-integration -run TestSearch

sg doctor - Check health of dev environment

# Run the checks defined in sg.config.yaml
sg doctor

sg live - See currently deployed version

# See which version is deployed on a preset environment
sg live cloud
sg live k8s

# See which version is deployed on a custom environment
sg live

# List environments:
sg live -help

sg migration - Run or manipulate database migrations

# Migrate local default database up all the way
sg migration up

# Migrate specific database down one migration
sg migration down --db codeintel

# Add new migration for specific database
sg migration add --db codeintel 'add missing index'

# Squash migrations for default database
sg migration squash

sg rfc - List or open Sourcegraph RFCs

# List all RFCs
sg rfc list

# Search for an RFC
sg rfc search "search terms"

# Open a specific RFC
sg rfc open 420

sg ci - Interact with Sourcegraph's continuous integration

Interact with Sourcegraph's continuous integration pipelines on Buildkite.

# Preview what a CI run for your current changes will look like
sg ci preview

# Check on the status of your changes on the current branch in the Buildkite pipeline
sg ci status
# Check on the status of a specific branch instead
sg ci status --branch my-branch
# Block until the build has completed (it will send a system notification)
sg ci status --wait
# Get status for a specific build number
sg ci status --build 123456 

# Pull logs of failed jobs to stdout
sg ci logs
# Push logs of most recent main failure to local Loki for analysis
# You can spin up a Loki instance with 'sg run loki grafana'
sg ci logs --branch main --out
# Get the logs for a specific build number, useful when debugging
sg ci logs --build 123456 

# Manually trigger a build on the CI with the current branch
sg ci build 
# Manually trigger a build on the CI on the current branch, but with a specific commit
sg ci build --commit my-commit
# Manually trigger a main-dry-run build of the HEAD commit on the current branch
sg ci build main-dry-run
sg ci build --force main-dry-run
# Manually trigger a main-dry-run build of a specified commit on the current ranch
sg ci build --force --commit my-commit main-dry-run
# View the available special build types
sg ci build --help

sg teammate - Get current time or open their handbook page

# Get the current time of a team mate based on their slack handle (case insensitive).
sg teammate time @dax
sg teammate time dax
# or their full name (case insensitive)
sg teammate time thorsten ball

# Open their handbook bio
sg teammate handbook asdine

sg secret - Interact with sg secrets

# List all secrets stored in your local configuration. 
sg secret list

# Remove the secrets associated with buildkite (sg ci build)
sg secret reset buildkite

sg lint - Run linters against local code

# Run all possible checks 
sg lint

# Run only go related checks
sg lint go

# Run only shell related checks
sg lint shell

# Run only client related checks
sg lint client

# List all available check groups 
sg lint --help

sg db - Interact with your local Sourcegraph database(s)

# Reset the Sourcegraph 'frontend' database
sg db reset-pg

# Reset the 'frontend' and 'codeintel' databases
sg db reset-pg -db=frontend,codeintel

# Reset all databases ('frontend', 'codeintel', 'codeinsights')
sg db reset-pg -db=all

# Reset the redis database
sg db reset-redis

# Create a site-admin user whose email and password are [email protected] and sourcegraph.
sg db add-user -name=foo

sg update - Update sg itself

# Manually update sg
sg update


Default sg behaviour is configured through the sg.config.yaml file in the root of the sourcegraph/sourcegraph repository. Take a look at that file to see which commands are run in which environment, how these commands set setup, what environment variables they use, and more.

To modify your configuration locally, you can overwrite chunks of configuration by creating a sg.config.overwrite.yaml file in the root of the repository. It's .gitignored so you won't accidentally commit those changes.

If an sg.config.overwrite.yaml file exists, its contents will be merged with the content of sg.config.yaml, overwriting where there are conflicts. This is useful for running custom command sets or adding environment variables specific to your work.

You can run sg run debug-env to see the environment variables passed sg's child processes.

Configuration examples

Changing database configuration

In order to change the default database configuration, the username and the database, for example, create an sg.config.overwrite.yaml file that looks like this:

  PGUSER: 'mrnugget'
  PGDATABASE: 'my-database'

That works for all the other env variables in sg.config.yaml too.

Defining a custom environment by setting a commandset

You can customize what boots up in your development environment by defining a commandSet in your sg.config.overwrite.yaml.

For example, the following defines a commandset called minimal-batches that boots up a minimal environment to work on Batch Changes:

      - docker
      - redis
      - postgres
      - enterprise-frontend
      - enterprise-worker
      - enterprise-repo-updater
      - enterprise-web
      - gitserver
      - searcher
      - symbols
      - caddy
      - github-proxy
      - zoekt-indexserver-0
      - zoekt-indexserver-1
      - zoekt-webserver-0
      - zoekt-webserver-1
      - batches-executor-firecracker

With that in sg.config.overwrite.yaml you can now run sg start minimal-batches.

Attach a debugger

To attach the Delve debugger, pass the environment variable DELVE=true into sg. Read more here

Offline development

Sometimes you will want to develop Sourcegraph but it just so happens you will be on a plane or a train or perhaps a beach, and you will have no WiFi. And you may raise your fist toward heaven and say something like, "Why, we can put a man on the moon, so why can't we develop high-quality code search without an Internet connection?" But lower your hand back to your keyboard and fret no further, you can develop Sourcegraph with no connectivity by setting the OFFLINE environment variable:

OFFLINE=true sg start

Contributing to sg

Want to hack on sg? Great! Here's how:

  1. Read through the sg Vision to get an idea of what sg should be in the long term.
  2. Explore the sg source code.
  3. Look at the open sg issues.

When you want to hack on sg it's best to be in the dev/sg directory and run it from there:

cd dev/sg
go run . -config ../../sg.config.yaml start

The -config can be anything you want, of course.

Have questions or need help? Feel free to open a discussion! Sourcegraph teammates can also leave a message in #dev-experience.

Dockerized sg

A sourcegraph/sg Docker image is available:

# ... 
COPY --from /usr/local/bin/sg ./sg
# ...

Development tips

  • Due to #29222, you might need to set CONFIGURATION_MODE: 'empty' if you encounter errors where sg tries to connect to frontend.