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What is this?

This is the front end repository for It contains application code used across the site.

There are several repositories that contain the code and content used to build If you're looking to get started running locally, you should read the Getting Started documentation.

Common commands

Once you have the site set up locally, these are some common commands you might find useful:

I want to... Then you should...
fetch all dependencies yarn install; run this any time package.json changes
build applications yarn build
run the webpack dev server yarn watch
build in codespaces yarn build:codespaces. Build with codespace options

Building vets-website

Building applications

vets-website uses Webpack to bundle application assets.

To build all applications, run the following:

yarn build

To build one or more applications, you can use the --entry option:

yarn build --entry=static-pages,auth

To recompile your application when you make changes, run:

yarn watch

You can also limit the applications Webpack builds with --env entry:

yarn watch --env entry=static-pages,auth

The entryname for your application can be found in its manifest.json file.

If you're developing a feature that requires the API, but can't or don't want to run it locally, you can specify --env api:

yarn watch --env api=

You will need to disable CORS in your browser when using a non-local API. Here are some helpful links that explain how to do this:

Note: If you try to log on, will redirect you to the environment that the API is set up for. So in the above example, you'd be redirected back to

Building static content

Static pages are created from the content-build repository. See the building static content documentation.

Building both together

After building the applications, running yarn build in the ../content-build directory will build content using the generated app bundles from vets-website/build/localhost/generated. The full build can be seen in ../content-build/build/localhost.

Working in GitHub Codespaces

Read the Codespaces documentation for this repository.

Running tests

Unit tests

To run all unit tests, use:

yarn test:unit

If you want to run only one test file, you can provide the path to it:

yarn test:unit src/applications/path/to/test-file.unit.spec.js

To run all tests for a folder in src/applications, you can use app-folder:

yarn test:unit --app-folder hca

To run all tests in a directory, you can use a glob pattern:

yarn test:unit src/applications/path/to/tests/**/*.unit.spec.js*

To run tests with stack traces, pass log-level trace:

yarn test:unit --log-level trace

To run tests with coverage output, you can pass the coverage option:

yarn test:unit --coverage

To run tests with coverage and open the coverage report in your browser for a specific app from src/applications:

yarn test:coverage-app {app-name}

For help with test runner usage, you can run:

yarn test:unit --help

End-to-end (E2E) / Browser tests

  • E2E or browser tests run in Cypress.

Before running Cypress tests, first make sure that:

  1. vets-website is served locally on port 3001
    • You can do this with yarn watch
  2. vets-api is NOT running
    • Any required APIs will be mocked by the Cypress test that needs them.

To open the Cypress test runner UI and run any tests within it:

yarn cy:open

To open the Cypress test runner UI in Codespaces and run any tests within it:

yarn cy:open-codespaces

Then visit http://localhost:6080/ and log in with the password vscode.

To run Cypress tests from the command line:

yarn cy:run

To run specific Cypress tests from the command line:

# Running one specific test.
yarn cy:run --spec "path/to/test-file.cypress.spec.js"

# Running multiple specific tests.
yarn cy:run --spec "path/to/test-a.cypress.spec.js,path/to/test-b.cypress.spec.js"

# Running tests that match a glob pattern.
yarn cy:run --spec "src/applications/my-app/tests/*"
yarn cy:run --spec "src/applications/my-app/tests/**/*"

# Running tests that match multiple glob patterns.
yarn cy:run --spec "src/applications/a/tests/**/*,src/applications/b/tests/**/*"

To run Cypress tests from the command line on a specific browser:

yarn cy:run --browser chrome
yarn cy:run --browser firefox

To run Cypress tests with reports

yarn cy:run:localreports my-app-folder


  • yarn cy:run:localreports appeals/995
  • yarn cy:run:localreports ask-a-question

Afterward, check /mochawesome-report contents.

For other options with yarn cy:run, the same options for cypress run are applicable.

Changing Virtual Agent backend URL

If not already create a .env file in the root of the project and add the following while updating the URL


Running a mock API for local development

In separate terminal from your local dev server, run

yarn mock-api --responses path/to/responses.js

See the mocker-api usage documentation for how to use the responses.js.

If you need to log in, go to your browser dev tools console and enter localStorage.setItem('hasSession', true) and refresh the page. This will then trigger a /v0/user call, which will then get the mocked response of a logged-in user. (Assuming you've mocked that response, of course.)

Responses to common API requests, such as /v0/user and /v0/maintenance_windows, you can use src/platform/testing/local-dev-mock-api/common.js

const commonResponses = require('src/platform/testing/local-dev-mock-api/common');

module.exports = {
  'GET path/to/endpoint': { foo: 'bar' },

More commands

After a while, you may run into a less common task. We have a lot of commands for doing very specific things.

I want to... Then you should...
build the production site (dev features disabled). yarn build:production
deploy the production site (dev features disabled). node src/platform/testing/e2e/test-server.js --buildtype=vagovprod
reset local environment (clean out node modules, Babel cache, and runs npm install) yarn reset:env
run the app pages on the site for local development yarn watch --env scaffold
run the site for local development with automatic rebuilding of Javascript and sass with css sourcemaps yarn watch:css-sourcemaps then visit http://localhost:3001/. You may also set --env buildtype and NODE_ENV though setting NODE_ENV to production will make incremental builds slow.
run the site for local development with automatic rebuilding of code and styles for specific apps yarn watch --env entry=disability-benefits,static-pages. Valid application names are in each app's manifest.json under entryName
run the site so that devices on your local network can access it yarn watch --env host= --env public=192.168.x.x:3001 Note that we use CORS to limit what hosts can access different APIs, so accessing with a 192.168.x.x address may run into problems
run the site so that it can be accessed from a public codespaces URL yarn watch --env api=https://${CODESPACE_NAME} public=https://${CODESPACE_NAME} (only works from a codespaces terminal with mocks running and public port visibility)
watch file changes without starting the server yarn watch:no-server
run all unit tests and watch yarn test:watch
run only E2E tests (headless) Make sure the site is running locally (yarn watch) and run the tests with yarn cy:run
run E2E tests in the browser yarn cy:open
count all Cypress E2E specs yarn cy:count
run all linters yarn lint
run only javascript linter yarn lint:js
run only sass linter yarn lint:sass
run lint on JS and fix anything that changed yarn lint:js:changed:fix
add new npm modules yarn add my-module. Use the --dev flag for modules that are build or test related.
get the latest json schema yarn update:schema. This updates our vets-json-schema to the most recent commit.
check test coverage yarn test:coverage
run bundle analyzer on our production JS bundles yarn build-analyze
generate a stats file for analysis by bundle analyzer NODE_ENV=production yarn build:webpack --env buildtype=vagovprod --env analyzer.
load the analyzer tool on a stats file yarn analyze
add a new React app yarn new:app (make sure you have vagov-content and content-build sibling to vets-website)

Supported Browsers

Browser Minimum version Note
Internet Explorer 11
Microsoft Edge 13
Safari / iOS Safari 9
Chrome / Android Web view 44 Latest version with >0.5% of traffic
Firefox 52 Latest version with >0.5% of traffic

API Keys

In order to work with the Facility Locator locally, you will need a Mapbox API key with dev access. see this link for details on handling non public keys and tokens. You will need to access the paramater store within AWS Systems manager, and get the dev mapbox token from this location: /dsva-vagov/vets-website/dev/mapbox_token.

Create a .env file in the root of vets-website, and assign the above token to a variable called MAPBOX_TOKEN. The .env file should already be configured to work with dotenv for webpack. Ensure that the .env file is in .gitigore and take care not to expose this token in any public commits. See this link for instructions on requesting AWS access.

Additional Resources

  1. Frontend developer documentation home
  2. Manual and Automated 508 Testing
  3. Using yarn Workspaces

Not a member of the repository and want to be added?

  • If you're on a Platform team, contact your Program Manager.
  • If you're on a VFS team, you must complete Platform Orientation to be added to this repository. This includes completing your Platform Orientation ticket(s) in GitHub.