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Last pushed: 2 months ago
Short Description
Container for loading testdata for local development
Full Description

Community Platform (Zen) Local Development

Instructions for setting up local development for the CoderDojo Community. There are four main parts to setting up your local development environment:

  • Install the tools (docker, docker-compose, etc)
  • Setting up the Community Platform code
  • Loading test data into your fresh setup
  • Making code changes

Not what you were looking for?

Please visit the our documentation repository
for more information about the project. We log issues in the documentation repository here.

Install Tools

To develop for Zen you need the following tools installed:

  • Docker Docker engine version 1.13.0 - Zen's
    development environment run completely in docker giving each mircoservice its own container
  • Docker-compose version 1.10.0 or higher - this is used
    to start the containers and set the env variables
  • You also need to have Git installed in order to get the Community Platform
    code from GitHub.

Code Setup

Next step is to get the Community Platform code cloned and up and running. To do that you clone this
repo and each micro service:

On Linux or mac run:

$ git clone && cd cp-local-development
$ ./setup_repo

On Windows run:

$ git clone && cd cp-local-development
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-zen-platform
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-zen-frontend
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-events-service
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-dojos-service
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-users-service
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-badges-service
$ git clone workspace-zen/cp-translations

You may have permission errors on Windows in which case you need to change ownership to yourself.


To first set up the local development environment run from the cp-local-development folder:

$ docker-compose up localdev

This will build the containers and add the test data. To start zen from then on
you just have to run

docker-compose up zen

To restart a container run

docker-compose restart $service

To Stop the containers just run.

docker-compose stop

Note that you can also run services individually if you wish, e.g. docker-compose up dojos
Once docker looks to be running all the services ok (you'll see a lot of stack traces in the output if they are not running ok!) you should be able to hit localhost:8000 in your browser. If this is your first time running, you should see the world map but with no dojo markers, these will appear when we install some test data.

Note that the Forums and Badges will not be operable in local development mode, to run these, you need to install both NodeBB and BadgeKit locally.

Test Data

To reload the test data just run docker-compose down -v && docker-compose up localdev. This will delete the current
database and reload all testdata.
When all the test data is loaded, you should see Dojos appearing when you refresh your home page.
The different users you can login with are listed in this file

End to End Tests

You can run the e2e tests by running docker-compose run --rm test
It means, it'll wipe your test database and start the e2e tests.

Making code changes and working locally

When you initialise a system, it creates a workspace-<systemName> folder for each system, e.g. workspace-zen. If you open this directory in your code editor you will see all the code repositories that make up this system, e.g. cp-zen-platform, cp-dojos-service, cp-users-service, cp-countries-service, etc. When you first set it up, the init command will checkout the default branch for that system, e.g. my-zen-branch for each service. From then on, it's up to you to manage the contents of this directory, e.g. creating branches, changing branches, etc. The run command will simply run whatever is in those directories, it doesn't care about what branch they're on, etc.

Creating your own forks

  • Please note that you will need to fork each of the repositories manually so that you can put in a pull request. I.e. you will need to have your own version of each repo e.g. tangentfairy/cp-zen-platform so that you can put a pull request into the parent repository at CoderDojo/cp-zen-platform. Read more about forks here.
  • You will need to fork:

You can read more about the repositories and system architecture in this document.

Once forked, link your newly forked repository to the original one:

$ # add the forked repository as local
$ # git remote add local<your-username>/<repository-name>

$ # As an example, if you have forked cp-zen-platform and your github username is JaneDoe
$ git remote add local

Development workflow

Then, a typical development workflow would be:

$ cd ./workspace-zen/cp-zen-platform
$ git checkout -b my-new-branch
$ # make changes to code in your editor of choice. Any time code changes in a service the `run` command will automatically reload the service
$ git push -u local my-new-branch
$ # to pull request, code review, merge, etc on github

To update your forked repository:

$ # grab latest code changes from the common repository
$ git fetch origin

$ # then integrate them with your local codebase (like "git pull" which is fetch + merge)
$ git merge origin/master master

$ # or, better, replay your local work on top of the fetched branch
$ # like a "git pull --rebase"
$ git rebase origin/master

The localdev tool

This tool is designed to make it as easy as possible to on-board new developers to the Community Platform. It is also designed to be cross platform, so developers can contribute to the community on their OS of choice, e.g. Windows, Mac & Linux.

The system.js file is a mixture of code and data, and it's where the 'systems' are defined (just 'zen' now). At its core, each System contains a set of Services, and each service has its own code repository on github. When each command starts, it prints out the full information of the system it's using, e.g.

zen: {
  services: [{
    name: 'cp-dojos-service',
    test: {
      name: 'test-dojo-data',
      port: 11301,
      host: process.env.CD_DOJOS || 'localhost',

Environment values

localdev has four places where environment variables can be set:

  • env vars that are global to all systems, these are read first
  • env vars that are system specific, these are read next
  • env vars that are service specific, these are read next
  • local setup specific variables, these are read last

Settings at any level will override existing settings, so for example anything you set in your local setup will override any previous setting.

See system.js for global, system and service environment variables.

To set local environment variables, set them in the docker-compose.yml:


To create a clean test database add the env variable ZENTEST=true to the testdata container before
running docker-compose up localdev. This


localdev uses the Debug module, to get extra debug information, run commands prefixed with 'DEBUG=localdev:* ..', e.g.

DEBUG=localdev:* ./localdev.js run zen


Still having issues? Check out our troubleshooting doc.

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