Source code of openLCA
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This repository contains the source code of the openLCA application. openLCA is a Java application that runs on the Eclipse Rich Client Platform (Eclipse RCP). This project depends on the olca-modules and olca-update projects which are plain Maven projects that contain the core functionalities (e.g. the model, database access, calculations, and data exchange) and update logic for databases.

This repository has the following sub-projects:

  • olca-app: contains the source code of the openLCA RCP application.
  • olca-app-build: contains the build scripts for compiling openLCA and creating the installers for Windows, Linux, and MacOS.
  • olca-app-html: contains the source code for the HTML views in openLCA (like the start page or the report views).
  • olca-app-runtime: contains the build scripts for creating the Eclipse RCP runtime for openLCA.

See also the README files that are contained in these sub-projects.

Building from source

openLCA is an Eclipse RCP application with parts of the user interface written in HTML5 and JavaScript. To compile it from source you need to have the following tools installed:

When you have these tools installed you can build the application from source via the following steps:

Install the openLCA core and update modules

The core and update modules contain the application logic that is independent from the user interface and can be also used in other applications. These modules are plain Maven projects and can be installed via mvn install. See the olca-modules and olca-updates repositories for more information.

Get the source code of the application

We recommend that to use Git to manage the source code but you can also download the source code as a zip file. Create a development directory (the path should not contain whitespaces):

mkdir olca
cd olca

and get the source code:

git clone

Your development directory should now look like this:


Building the HTML pages

To build the HTML pages of the user interface navigate to the olca-app-html folder:

cd olca-app/olca-app-html

Then install the Node.js modules via npm (npm is a package manager that comes with your Node.js installation):

npm install

This will create a folder olca-app-html/node_modules with the dependent modules. After this, you can create the html package via Gulp:


This will build and package the HTML files to olca-app/olca-app/html/

Prepare the Eclipse workspace

Download the current Eclipse package for RCP and RAP developers (to have everything together you can extract it into your development directory). Create a workspace directory in your development directory (e.g. under the eclipse folder to have a clean structure):


After this, open Eclipse and select the created workspace directory. Import the projects into Eclipse via Import > General > Existing Projects into Workspace (select the olca/olca-app directory). You should now see the olca-app, olca-app-build, and olca-app-runtime projects in your Eclipse workspace.

Loading the target platform and

The file in the olca-app project contains the definition of the target platform of the openLCA RCP application. Just open the file with the Target Editor and click on Set as target platform on the top right of the editor.

This will download the resources of the target platform into your local workspace and, thus, may take a while. Unfortunately, setting up and configuring Eclipse can be quite challenging. If you get errors like Unable locate installable unit in target definition, this discussion may help.

Copy the Maven modules

Go back to the command line and navigate to the olca-app/olca-app folder:

cd olca-app/olca-app

and run

mvn package

This will copy the installed openLCA core modules and dependencies (see above) to the folder olca-app/olca-app/libs.

Add the JavaFX-SWT bridge

Since version 1.6, openLCA uses JavaFX components (e.g. the JavaFX WebView or charting components). The Java runtime contains a JavaFX-SWT bridge with which it is possible to embed JavaFX components in SWT applications. This bridge is contained in the library jfxswt.jar which you need to add to the Java runtime in Eclipse.

To do this, open the preferences for the installed Java runtimes Window > Preferences > Java > Installed JREs, select the enabled JRE and click on Edit. In the upcoming dialog, click on Add External JARs and select the jre/lib/jfxswt.jar library from the respective Java installation.

Test the application

Refresh your Eclipse workspace (select all and press F5). Open the file olca-app/openLCA.product within Eclipse and click on the run icon. openLCA should now start.

If you want to build an installable product, see the description in the olca-app-build sub-project or simply use the Eclipse export wizard (Export/Eclipse product).

Build the database templates

The openLCA application contains database templates that are used when the user creates a new database (empty, with units, or with all reference data). There is a Maven project olca-refdata that creates these database templates and copies them to the olca-app/olca-app/db_templates folder from which openLCA loads these templates. To build the templates, navigate to the refdata project and run the build:

cd olca-app/olca-refdata
mvn package

Building with Eclipse Oxygen and Julia libraries

For Windows, it is now possible to build openLCA so that it runs on the Eclipse Oxygen platform and uses some math libraries for high performance computing from the Julia project. This is currently tested with Eclipse Oxygen 3A package for RCP/RAP development.

The initial steps for this build are the same as before:

  • install/update the openLCA core and update modules
  • build the HTML pages
  • build the database templates

The current master branch of the olca-app project contains now a new target platform definition olca-app/olca-app/ When you open this file the first time with the Eclipse Target Editor, Eclipse will download the resources of this target platform into your workspace. You may get errors like Unable locate installable unit in target definition when Eclipse fails to download some resources or the like (for possible fixes, see here). But when it is downloaded it should work quite stable. Click on the Set as Target Platform link in the upper right corner of the Target Editor to use this as the target platform.

To build the Windows version, we currently use the standard PDE Export wizard. Click on the olca-app project and then on Export... from the context menu. Select Plug-in Development > Eclipse Product from the export wizard and select the following options in the export dialog:

  • Configuration: /olca-app/openLCA.product (should be the default)
  • Root directory: openLCA
  • Synchronize before exporting: yes [x]
  • Destination directory: choose the olca-app-build/build folder of this project
  • Generate p2 repository: no [ ] (would be just overhead)
  • Export for multiple platforms: yes [x]
  • (take the defaults for the others)

In the next page, select the platforms for which you want to build the product. However, only the Windows x86_64 version is currently fully supported. After the export, you need to run the package script to copy resources like the Java runtime, Julia libraries, etc. to the application folder and to create the installers. The layout of the build folder (with tools and runtime libraries) is the same as for the old build (see the olca-app-build project) but additionally contains a julia folder which contains the julia libraries.

The distribution packages for Linux and macOS are still build as before. There is a olca_platform branch which contains the build configuration for the old target platform. Switch to this branch and merge the current master into this branch and the old build should work.


Unless stated otherwise, all source code of the openLCA project is licensed under the Mozilla Public License, v. 2.0. Please see the LICENSE.txt file in the root directory of the source code.