Edit on GitHub

Developer Tips & Tricks

Install pre-reqs 

Check that you have recent versions of the basic dependencies installed:

On Windows:

On Mac, to build the Mac app:

  • Install Xcode (v12+)
  • Install the Xcode commandline tools, via the IDE or run xcode-select --install

On Linux, to build the Linux app:

  • sudo apt-get install libgtk-3-dev
  • sudo apt-get install libwebkit2gtk-4.0-dev

Clone the project source code 

Clone the GitHub repo here.

VSCode Setup 

Here’s a recommended dev-test loop using VSCode:

  • Open a bash terminal window to the project folder
  • Run make prebuild to npm install
    • Do this again when dependencies change in webapp/package.json
  • Run cd webapp && npm run watchdev
    • This will auto-build the webapp on file changes
  • Open VSCode
    • Install the Go and ESLint VSCode extensions if you haven’t already
  • Hit F5 and select Go: Launch Server
    • Or, press Cmd+P and type debug <space> and pick the option
  • Open a browser to http://localhost:8000
    • The port is configured in config.json

You can now edit the webapp code and refresh the browser to see your changes.

Debugging the web app 

You can use your favorite browser to debug the webapp code. With Chrome, open the dev tools with Cmd+Alt+I (Ctrl+Alt+I in Windows).

  • npm run watchdev builds the dev package, which includes source maps from js to typescript
  • In the Chrome devtools source tab, press Cmd+P to jump to a source file

As a starting point, add a breakpoint to the render() function in BoardPage.tsx, then refresh the browser to walk through page rendering.

Debugging the server 

Debug the Go code in VSCode. This is set up automatically when you launch the server from there.

To start, add a breakpoint to handleGetBlocks() in server/api/api.go, then refresh the browser to see how data is retrieved.

Localization / Internationalization / Translation 

We use i18n to localize the web app. Localized string generally use intl.formatMessage.

When adding or modifying localized strings, run npm run i18n-extract in webapp to rebuild webapp/i18n/en.json.

Translated strings are stored in other json files under webapp/i18n, e.g. es.json for Spanish.


By default, data is stored in a sqlite datebase focalboard.db. You can view and edit this directly using sqlite3 focalboard.db from bash.

Unit tests 

Before checking-in commits, run: make ci, which is simlar to the ci.yml workflow and includes:

  • Server unit tests: make server-test
  • Webapp eslint: cd webapp; npm run check
  • Webapp unit tests: cd webapp; npm run test
  • Webapp UI tests: cd webapp; npm run cypress:ci

glhf! :)