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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:


git clone && cd cp-local-development
# this will clone all the microservices
# this will install the dependencies of all microservices

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 zen. 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 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 "Find a Dojo to attend" Page this page wont return any dojos until you've created one

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, which are a different problem.

Making code changes and working locally

Creating your own forks

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.
$ 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


Most of the new services are exposing an interface to the node debugger, which are described by the following:

   - 92xx:9229

The ports are incremental and in the 9200-9300 range. To open the debugger, open chrome with chrome://inspect.



If you are using a distribution of the Linux kernel that implements SELinux you may have permissions issues with volumes disappearing. This is due to having not set SELinux Policies. A quick workaround to not setting all the required policies is to run. su -c "setenforce 0" before runing any docker command.

Still having issues?

Check out our troubleshooting doc.


Local development tool for the Community Platform




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