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Fabric CA Developer's Guide

This is the Developer's Guide for Fabric CA, which is a Certificate Authority for Hyperledger Fabric.

See User's Guide for Fabric CA for information on how to use Fabric CA.


  • Go 1.15+ installation or later
  • GOPATH environment variable is set correctly
  • docker version 17.03 or later
  • docker-compose version 1.11 or later
  • A Linux Foundation ID (see create a Linux Foundation ID)

Contribution guidelines

You are welcome to contribute to Fabric CA!

The following are guidelines to follow when contributing:

  1. See the general information about contributing to fabric.

  2. To run the unit tests manually:

    # cd $GOPATH/src/
    # make unit-tests

    The test coverage for each package must be 75% or greater. If this fails due to insufficient test coverage, then you can run gencov to get a coverage report to see what code is not being tested. Once you have added additional test cases, you can run go test -cover in the appropriate package to see the current coverage level.

    WARNING: Running the unit-tests may fail due to too many open file descriptors. Depending on where the failure occurs, the error message may not be obvious and may only say something similar to "unable to open database file". Depending on the settings on your host, you may need to increase the maximum number of open file descriptors. For example, the OSX default per-process maximum number of open file descriptors is 256. You may issue the following command to display your current setting:

    # ulimit -n

    And the following command will increase this setting to 65536:

    # ulimit -n 65536

    Please note that this change is only temporary. To make it permanent, you will need to consult the documentation for your host operating system.

Package overview

  1. cmd/fabric-ca-server contains the main for the fabric-ca-server command.
  2. cmd/fabric-ca-client contains the main for the fabric-ca-client command.
  3. lib contains most of the code. a) server.go contains the main Server object, which is configured by serverconfig.go. b) client.go contains the main Client object, which is configured by clientconfig.go.
  4. util/csp.go contains the Crypto Service Provider implementation.
  5. lib/dbutil contains database utility functions.
  6. lib/ldap contains LDAP client code.
  7. lib/spi contains Service Provider Interface code for the user registry.
  8. lib/tls contains TLS related code for server and client.
  9. util contains various utility functions.

Additional info


See FVT tests for information on functional verification test cases.

Updating the cfssl vendored package

Following are the steps to update cfssl package using version 1.0.8 of govendor tool.

  • Remove cfssl from vendor folder

    • cd $GOPATH/src/
    • govendor remove
    • rm -rf
  • Clone cfssl repo

  • Add cfssl from $GOPATH to the vendor folder

    • cd $GOPATH/src/
    • govendor add^
    • You can optionally specify revision or tag to add a particular revision of code to the vendor folder
      • govendor add^@abc12032
  • Remove sqlx package from cfssl vendor folder. This is because certsql.NewAccessor (called by fabric-ca) requires sqlx.db object to be passed from the same package. If we were to have sqlx package both in fabric-ca and cfssl vendor folder, go compiler will throw an error

    • rm -rf
  • Remove the packages that are added to the fabric-ca vendor folder that are not needed by fabric-ca


Hyperledger Project source code files are made available under the Apache License, Version 2.0 (Apache-2.0), located in the LICENSE file. Hyperledger Project documentation files are made available under the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC-BY-4.0), available at

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