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Develop in the Cloud


The new and refreshed Cloud IDE is now GA. It includes performance upgrades, ergonomics improvements, and some delightful enhancements!

Review the new Cloud IDE features to learn more.

The dbt Cloud integrated development environment (IDE) is a single interface for building, testing, running, and version-controlling dbt projects from your browser. With the Cloud IDE, you can compile dbt code into SQL and run it against your database directly.

The IDE leverages the open-source dbt-rpc plugin to recompile only the changes made in your project.


To develop in the Cloud IDE, make sure you have the following:

Start up and work retention in the IDE

Start up process Work retention

There are three start-up states when using or launching the Cloud IDE:

  • Creation start This is the state where you are starting the IDE for the first time. You can also view this as a cold start (see below), and you can expect this state to take longer because the git repository is being cloned.
  • Cold start This is the process of starting a new develop session, which will be available for you for three hours. The environment automatically turns off three hours after the last activity with the rpc server. This includes compile, preview, or any dbt invocation, however, it does not include editing and saving a file.
  • Hot start This is the state of resuming an existing or active develop session within three hours of the last activity.

The Cloud IDE needs explicit action to save your changes. There are three ways your work is stored:

  • Unsaved, local code Any code you write is automatically available from your browser’s storage. You can see your changes but will lose them if you switch branches or browsers (another device or browser).
  • Saved but uncommitted code When you save a file, the data gets stored in your local storage (EFS storage). If you switch branches but don’t commit your saved changes, you will lose your changes.
  • Committed code This is stored in the branch with your git provider and you can check out other (remote) branches.

Set up and access the Cloud IDE


New to dbt? Check out our Getting Started guide to build your first dbt project in the Cloud IDE!

In order to start experiencing the great features of the Cloud IDE, you need to first set up your Development environment and Development credentials.

If you’re new to dbt, you will automatically add this during the project setup. However, if you have an existing dbt Cloud account, you may need to create a development environment and credentials manually to use the Cloud IDE.

Review the steps below to set up your development environment and credentials:

Development environment

  1. Create a development environment and choose Deploy and then Environments from the top left. Click Create Environment.
Creating a new environment for the Analytics project

Creating a new environment for the Analytics project

  1. Enter an environment name that would help you identify it among your other environments (for example, Nate's Development Environment).
  2. Choose Development as the Environment Type.
  3. You can also select which dbt Version to use at this time. For compatibility reasons, we recommend that you select the same dbt version that you plan to use in your deployment environment.
  4. Click Save to finish creating your Development environment.
Creating a development environment

Creating a development environment

Developer credentials

The IDE uses developer credentials to connect to your data platform. These developer credentials should be specific to your user and they should not be super user credentials or the same credentials that you use for your production deployment of dbt.

Follow the below steps to set up your developer credentials:

  1. Go to the Credentials section.

  2. Select the relevant project in the list.

  3. Click Edit on the bottom right of the page

  4. Enter your developer credentials and then click Save.

Great job, you should now be able to access the Cloud IDE by clicking Develop on the navigation to start developing!

Configure developer credentials in your Profile

Configure developer credentials in your Profile

Access the Cloud IDE

Now that you've set up your development environment and credentails, you should be able to access the Cloud IDE:

  1. Log in with your dbt Cloud account. If you don't have one, sign up for an account for free.
  2. Click Develop at the top of the page
  3. Make sure you've already initialized your project
  4. Start developing and use the image and guide below to familiarize yourself with the Cloud IDE and its features:
Cloud IDE overview

Cloud IDE overview

1.File TreeThe file tree allows you to organize your project and manage your files and folders. Click the three-dot menu associated with the file or folder to create, rename, or delete it. Note: This function is unavailable if you’re on the main branch.
2.EditorThis is where you edit your files. You can use the tab for each editor to position it exactly where you need it.
3.IDE git buttonThe git button in the IDE allows you to apply the concept of version control to your project and you can execute git commands directly in the IDE.
4.Command barYou can enter and run commands from the command bar at the bottom of the IDE. Use the rich model selection syntax to execute dbt commands directly within dbt Cloud. You can also view the history, status, and logs of previous runs by clicking History on the left of the bar.
5.Status barThis area provides you with useful information about your IDE and project status. You also have additional options like restarting or recloning your repo.
This is where you can preview, compile or build your dbt project, as well as see the results and the DAG.
7.Lineage tabYou can see how models are used as building blocks from left to right to transform your data from raw sources into cleaned-up modular derived pieces and final outputs on the far right of the DAG. You can access files in the Lineage tab by double-clicking on a particular model. Expand the DAG into fullscreen to view the DAG view differently. Note: The default view is +model+, however, you can change it to 2+model+2.
8.Change branches and view documentationChange branches in fewer clicks and focus on developing. You can generate and view your documentation for your dbt project in real time. You can inspect and verify what your project's documentation will look like before you deploy your changes to production.
9.File state indicatorsThe file state indicators will indicate and track any action or changed made in your project. The indicators M, U, and • appear to the right of your file or folder name, and also under the Changes section.
10.Format buttonThis is where you can format your dbt project code. The new Format button formats your file and is powered by sqlfmt.

Build, compile, and run projects

You can build, compile, run , and test dbt projects by using the command bar. The Cloud IDE will update in real time when you run models, tests, seeds, and operations.

If a model or test fails, you can review the logs to find and fix the issue.

You can also use dbt's rich model selection syntax to run dbt commands directly within dbt Cloud.

Preview, compile, or build your dbt project. Use the lineage tab to see your DAG.

Preview, compile, or build your dbt project. Use the lineage tab to see your DAG.

Build, run and test your dbt project

Build, run and test your dbt project

Build and view your project's docs

The dbt Cloud IDE makes it possible to view documentation for your dbt project while your code is still in development. With this workflow, you can inspect and verify what your project's generated documentation will look like before your changes are released to production.

To generate your project’s documentation (docs) in the IDE, run dbt docs generate in the command bar. This command generates the docs for your dbt project as it currently exists in development.

After you generate a successful run, you can view your documentation for your dbt project in real time by clicking View Docs or the book icon above the file tree.

You can view the latest version of your documentation rendered in a new browser window, and inspect and verify what your project's documentation will look like before you deploy your changes to production.

Is there a cost to using the Cloud IDE?
Not at all! You can use dbt Cloud when you sign up for the Free Developer plan, which comes with one developer seat. If you’d like to access more features or have more developer seats, you can upgrade your account to the Team or Enterprise plan. See dbt pricing plans for more details.
Can I be a contributor to dbt Cloud?
Anyone can contribute to the dbt project. And whether it's a dbt package, a plugin, dbt-core, or this documentation site, contributing to the open source code that supports the dbt ecosystem is a great way to level yourself up as a developer, and give back to the community. See Contributing for details on what to expect when contributing to the dbt open source software (OSS).
What is the difference between developing on the Cloud IDE and on the CLI?
There are two main ways to develop with dbt: using the web-based IDE in dbt Cloud or using the command-line interface (CLI) in dbt Core:
dbt Cloud IDE dbt Cloud is a web-based application that allows you to develop dbt projects with the IDE, includes a purpose-built scheduler, and provides an easier way to share your dbt documentation with your team. The IDE is a faster and more reliable way to deploy your dbt models and provides a real-time editing and execution environment for your dbt project.
dbt Core CLI The command line interface (CLI) uses dbt Core, an open-source software that’s freely available. You can build your dbt project in a code editor, like Jetbrains or VSCode, and run dbt commands from the command line.
What type of support is provided with dbt Cloud?
The global dbt Support team is available to help dbt Cloud users by email or in-product live chat. Developer and Team accounts offer 24x5 support, while Enterprise customers have priority access and options for custom coverage.
If you have project-related or modeling questions, review our Support page or dbt Community Slack to get help as well.