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Network Canvas Build Status FOSSA Status

Technologies used: ES6 (via Babel) React Redux Electron Cordova SCSS Jest (Testing suite) React Scripts


Node/NPM Version

This project currently requires version 8.11.1 of node, and version 5.8.0 of npm. These are the only supported versions for this project.

** NOTE: ** npm 5.8.0 is not installed by default with node 8.11.1. You will need to use npm install -g npm to do this. Test which version of npm you are using by typing npm --version.

As a convenience, the repository contains a .node-version file that enables convinient use of a node environment manager.

Windows Environment

There are some additional requirements for the MDNS native dependency.

Before running npm install

  1. Run powershell as admin (right-click option) and then run:
npm --add-python-to-path install --global windows-build-tools
  1. Install Bonjour SDK for Windows (requires an apple id associated with a paid team account). Select "Bonjour SDK for Windows v.3.0". BONJOUR_SDK_HOME should be set for you after installation completes.
  2. Restart powershell and continue with project installation.

After running npm install

Once you've completed npm install, you will need to rebuild MDNS with the Electron headers:

cd node_modules\mdns
node-gyp rebuild --target=2.0.0 --arch=x64 --dist-url=

target must match the electron version installed by npm


  • Native dependencies won't compile
    • windows-build-tools should have installed the required compilers
    • MS notes on config for native modules
    • ...You could install python and VS Build Tools manually; you should not need all of Visual Studio
  • Runtime error related to DLL initialization
    • Make sure the "rebuild" step above works
    • More Info


  1. Install the correct node and npm versions.
  2. Clone this repsitory.
  3. Fetch submodules by typing git submodule update --init.
  4. Enter the directory where the repository is cloned, and install the project dependencies by typing npm install.
  5. Refer to the development tasks section below to learn how to test and build the app.

Development Tasks

npm run <script> Description
start Serves your app at localhost:3000.
build:android Compiles assets and prepares app for production.
build:ios Compiles assets and prepares app for production.
build:electron Compiles assets and prepares app for production.
test Runs testing suite.
build-docs Builds HTML API docs into the docs-build directory.
electron Runs the built code (./www) in electron, for testing.
generate-icons Uses icon-gen package to generate iconsets and icon files for OSX and Windows.
android:dev Run a live-reloading build of the Android app. Requires dev server to be running.
ios:dev Run a live-reloading build of the iOS app. Requires dev server to be running.
dist:linux Uses electron-packager to package a Linux release.
dist:mac Uses electron-packager to package an OSX release.
dist:win Uses electron-packager to package a Windows release.
dist:ios Builds iOS cordova project
dist:android Builds Android cordova project

Quick development reference

  • In-browser development: npm start
  • Platform-specific development: npm run start:[platform] and npm run [platform]:dev, where platform is one of android, electron, or ios.
    • Currently, you can only run one platform at a time

See below for installation, options, and information on platform specifics.

Cordova Builds

  1. Install cordova on your system: npm install -g cordova
  2. If you haven't already, build the project: npm run build
  • Without the www/ directory, cordova commands won't recognize this as a valid project.
  1. Install platforms and plugins for the project: cordova prepare

See Cordova's iOS docs and Android docs for requirements, configuration, and deploy instructions.

Local Development & Testing

Starting the web app: If you have a running webpack dev server (started with npm start), you can run dev cordova builds on devices & emulators with live reloading.

Starting a device or simulator: Run npm run [android|ios]:dev. This is a thin wrapper around cordova run [android|ios]; you can pass arguments to the cordova script with an extra pair of dashes. For example: npm run android:dev -- --emulator, or npm run ios:dev -- --target="iPad-Pro, 11.4". Changes will be picked up from the dev server.

This assumes you have the relevant platform development tools installed. For a list of Apple simulator types ("iPad-Pro") and runtimes ("11.4"), try xcrun simctl list.

Known issue & caveat: this requires temporarily changing config.xml contents to build a development app; if everything goes well, the changes are cleaned up upon completion. However, a Cordova build error (for example) can leave config.xml in this 'development' state.

Full Cordova support

To get full Cordova support, with native integration & plugins:

  1. (one time) cordova build [android|ios] to install cordova deps, plugins, and static (public) app resources
  2. npm run start:[android|ios] to start the dev server (React app)
  3. npm run [android|ios]:dev as above

However, this comes with some limitations:

  • You can only to run dev server content from a device or simulator on that platform. (Running simultaneous android clients is fine; running electron concurrently requires starting another server in another directory.)
  • All 'public' files, including protocols, are statically bundled with the app. These are sourced from the www directory in the cordova build step, so changes to any file in public requires a full npm build and then restarting the dev device as above.

Electron development

  • npm run start:electron starts the dev server (React app)
  • npm run electron:dev start Electron, pointed at the dev server


  • If a dev cordova build is interrupted, you may find that config.xml has changes, and that there's a config.xml.original file (ignored by git). You may restore the contents of config.xml from git or the original, and delete the '.original' file.
  • The webpack dev server writes a .devserver file on startup, which is removed when it exits. The file is used by the cordova dev build; it should contain the LAN URL of the running dev server.

Dev tools

Electron supports extensions to Chrome devtools such as Redux DevTools.

In the development environment, these will be loaded if you provide one or more paths to your extensions (semicolon-separated) in the NC_DEVTOOLS_EXENSION_PATH environment variable. The electron docs describe how to find the filepath for an extension once installed.

Example: enabling Redux Devtools on macOS:

NC_DEVTOOLS_EXENSION_PATH=~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/Default/Extensions/lmhkpmbekcpmknklioeibfkpmmfibljd/2.15.2_0 npm run electron:dev

Application Structure

├── config                   # Project and build configurations (webpack, env config)
├── public                   # Static public assets
│   └── index.html           # Static entry point
├── src                      # Application source code
│   ├── index.js             # Application bootstrap and rendering
│   ├── routes.js            # App Route Definitions
│   ├── components           # Contains directories for components
│   ├── containers           # Contains directories for containers for native and base classes
│   ├── ducks                # Middleware, modules (ducks-style with actions, reducers, and action creators), and store
│   └── utils                # Helpers and utils
├── www                      # Build output from webpack