Building SpiderMonkey 1.8.0 rc1 on Windows XP with Visual C++ 2008 / 9.0

Finding this note in SpiderMonkies documentation was a huge NO NO for me, because a dependency on Autoconf 2.13 is *worse* then a dependency on Autotools in general.

As I said I would, I investigated Windows/MSVC builds with SpiderMonkey before completing and utterly refusing to ever use the thing ^_^. This is a summery of my findings.

A lot of people are still using Visual C++ 7.1/2003.NET or 8.0/2005 versions, while I however use the Express Edition of Visual C++ 9.0/2008 for Windows builds, which generally means no pre-compiled libs binaries are available. That’s ok, since I prefer to evaluate the buildability of a dependency before I commit to using it…. hehe. One perk of doing most of my coding under FreeBSD, no need to buy a Professional Edition of Visual Studio :-D. I think this post should apply to most versions of Microsoft’s compiler, +/- differences in compiler flags.

The proper build requires MinGW, MSys, GNU Make, and a suitable copy of Visual C++.

MSys is required because of UNIX tools, such as uname, sed, and countless others are used by the build system; which also seems to depend on GNU Make.

Open the Visual Studio command prompt, or call  %VS90COMNTOOLS%vsvars32.bat from your current cmd session (VS90 = 2008 fyi; adapt as needed for older/newer versions). Then execute a MSys RXVT terminal from that. You do that by running the msys.bat script in the MSys root with the -rxvt argument, example:

+> C:DevFilesMSYS1.0msys.bat -rxvt

which will close the cmd session and open RXVT.

Change over to the js/src directory of where you extracted SpideryMonkey to, and run make on the projects makefile:

bash $ pushd /C/DevFiles/Libraries/SpiderMonkey/1.8.0rc1/js/src/
bash $ make BUILD_OPT=1 -f Makefile.ref

The BUILD_OPT causes an optimised release build to be made, default seems to be debug builds; read the Makefiles and Wiki for details on that.

Now for an example app to test, to see if more then js.exe works!

bash $ cat > test.c

#include "jsapi.h"

/* The class of the global object. */
static JSClass global_class = {
    JS_PropertyStub, JS_PropertyStub, JS_PropertyStub, JS_PropertyStub,
    JS_EnumerateStub, JS_ResolveStub, JS_ConvertStub, JS_FinalizeStub,

/* The error reporter callback. */
void reportError(JSContext *cx, const char *message, JSErrorReport *report)
    fprintf(stderr, "%s:%u:%sn",
            report->filename ? report->filename : "",
            (unsigned int) report->lineno,

int main(int argc, const char *argv[])
    /* JS variables. */
    JSRuntime *rt;
    JSContext *cx;
    JSObject  *global;

    /* Create a JS runtime. */
    rt = JS_NewRuntime(8L * 1024L * 1024L);
    if (rt == NULL)
        return 1;

    /* Create a context. */
    cx = JS_NewContext(rt, 8192);
    if (cx == NULL)
        return 1;
    JS_SetOptions(cx, JSOPTION_VAROBJFIX);
    JS_SetVersion(cx, JSVERSION_LATEST);
    JS_SetErrorReporter(cx, reportError);

    /* Create the global object. */
    global = JS_NewObject(cx, &global_class, NULL, NULL);
    if (global == NULL)
        return 1;

    /* Populate the global object with the standard globals,
       like Object and Array. */
    if (!JS_InitStandardClasses(cx, global))
        return 1;

    /* Your application code here. This may include JSAPI calls
       to create your own custom JS objects and run scripts. */

    /* Cleanup. */
    return 0;

bash $ $ cl -nologo -DXP_WIN  -I.. -MD -Fetest test.c js32.lib
bash $ ./test.exe

footnote: that test.c is just the minimal app example from the user guide, here. Also note that using /dos style switches with cl under bash/rxvt, doesn’t seem to work (it’s converted to file names).

I’ll need to do some further testing but everything appears to be working fine.

4 thoughts on “Building SpiderMonkey 1.8.0 rc1 on Windows XP with Visual C++ 2008 / 9.0”

  1. Doesn't work for me:

    $ make BUILD_OPT=1 -f Makefile.ref config/ No such file or directory
    cat: ../../dist/WINNT6.1_OPT.OBJ/nspr/Version: No such file or directory
    make: *** No rule to make target `config/'. Stop.

    I'm using Visual Studio 2008, MSYS 1.0.11, MinGW 5.1.6

  2. A better solution Tim, given the Makefiles design, would be to copy to

    If you look closer at the build system spidermonkey is using, you will notice that they already use the same XP/2K mixed configuration for Windows 2000, XP, and Vista, which are WINNT5.0 through 6.0.

    Either the codebase has it's reasons, or the people who wrote the thing, were to lazy to even adjust WINVER accordingly. (-DWINVER=0x500 means Windows 2000 fyi.)

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