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Build Status


Spoke is an open source text-distribution tool for organizations to mobilize supporters and members into action. Spoke allows you to upload phone numbers, customize scripts and assign volunteers to communicate with supporters while allowing organizations to manage the process.

Spoke was created by Saikat Chakrabarti and Sheena Pakanati, and is now maintained by

The latest version is 2.0.0 (see release notes) which we recommend for production use, while our main branch is where features still in development and testing will be available.

Deploy to Heroku


Follow up instructions located here.

Please let us know if you deployed by filling out this form here

Getting started


  1. Install either sqlite (or another knex-supported database)
  2. Install the Node version listed in .nvmrc. NVM is one way to do this (from the spoke directory):
    nvm install
    nvm use
  3. Install yarn.
  1. Install the packages.
    yarn install
  2. Create a real environment file:
    cp .env.example .env
  • This creates a copy of .env.example, but renames it .env so the system will use it. Make sure you use this new file.

Filling out your .env file

You now have a .env file to fill out. For more details on environment variables you can change, see the environment variable reference.

There are some common environment variables you will want to adjust:

  1. To skip using the SMS provider (useful for development), set DEFAULT_SERVICE=fakeservice.
  2. Determine which database to use and set the necessary variables, listed in the reference.
  1. Determine which authentication system you want to use. For development, there are a few ways authenticate.

Getting the app running

At this point, you should be ready to start your app in development mode.

  1. Run yarn dev to create and populate the tables.
    • Wait until you see both "Node app is running ..." and "webpack: Compiled successfully." before attempting to connect. (make sure environment variable JOBS_SAME_PROCESS=1)
  2. Go to http://localhost:3000 to load the app. (Note: the terminal will say it's running on port 8090 -- don't believe it :-)
  3. As long as you leave SUPPRESS_SELF_INVITE= blank in your .env you should be able to invite yourself from the homepage.
    • If you DO set that variable, then spoke will be invite-only and you'll need to generate an invite. Run:
      echo "INSERT INTO invite (hash,is_valid) VALUES ('abc', 1);" |sqlite3 mydb.sqlite
      # Note: When doing this with PostgreSQL, you would replace the `1` with `true`
    • Then use the generated key to visit an invite link, e.g.: http://localhost:3000/invite/abc. This should redirect you to the login screen. Use the "Sign Up" option to create your account.
  4. You should then be prompted to create an organization. Create it.
  5. See the Admin and Texter demos to learn about how Spoke works.
  6. See Getting Started with Development below.


For development, you can set DEFAULT_SERVICE=fakeservice to skip using an SMS provider (Twilio or Nexmo) and insert the message directly into the database.

To simulate receiving a reply from a contact you can use the Send Replies utility: http://localhost:3000/admin/1/campaigns/1/send-replies, updating the app and campaign IDs as necessary. You can also include "autorespond" in the script message text, and an automatic reply will be generated (just for fakeservice!)


Twilio provides test credentials that will not charge your account as described in their documentation. To setup Twilio follow our Twilio setup guide.

Getting started with Docker

Docker is optional, but can help with a consistent development environment using postgres.

  1. cp .env.example .env and see the "Filling out your .env file" section above for some possible tweaks
  2. Build and run Spoke with docker-compose up --build
    • You can stop docker compose at any time with CTRL+C, and data will persist next time you run docker-compose up.
  3. Go to localhost:3000 to load the app.
    • But if you need to generate an invite, run:
      docker-compose exec postgres psql -U spoke -d spokedev -c "INSERT INTO invite (hash,is_valid) VALUES ('<your-hash>', true);"
    • Then use the generated key to visit an invite link, e.g.: http://localhost:3000/invite/<your-hash>. This should redirect you to the login screen. Use the "Sign Up" option to create your account.
  4. You should then be prompted to create an organization. Create it.
  5. When done testing, clean up resources with docker-compose down, or docker-compose down -v to completely destroy your Postgres database & Redis datastore volumes.

More Documentation

Deploying Minimally

There are several ways to deploy documented below. This is the 'most minimal' approach:

  1. Run OUTPUT_DIR=./build yarn run prod-build-server This will generate something you can deploy to production in ./build and run nodejs server/server/index.js
  2. Run yarn run prod-build-client
  3. Make a copy of deploy/spoke-pm2.config.js.template, e.g. spoke-pm2.config.js, add missing environment variables, and run it with pm2, e.g. pm2 start spoke-pm2.config.js --env production
  4. Install PostgreSQL
  5. Start PostgreSQL (e.g. sudo /etc/init.d/postgresql start), connect (e.g. sudo -u postgres psql), create a user and database (e.g. create user spoke password 'spoke'; create database spoke owner spoke;), disconnect (e.g. \q) and add credentials to DB_ variables in spoke-pm2.config.js

Big Thanks

Cross-browser Testing Platform and Open Source <3 Provided by Sauce Labs.


Spoke is licensed under the MIT license.

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