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MD Chat Workshop - An HTML5 chat based on Angular.js,

md-chat is based on a simple Grunt.js stack that includes:

  • Image resource compression (jpg, png, gif)
  • SVG compression
  • JS linting with JSHint
  • Javascript & CSS minification
  • Connect webserver with livereload
  • Unit testing with Jasmine and PhantomJS
  • SASS with libsass / node-sass
  • Bower dependency management using wiredep
  • Grunt task runners for development and distribution


In general all you need to be prepared for this project and the workshop are 3 things:

  • Node.js
  • GIT
  • Text editor of your choice

You can Install these three software components on any operating system without bigger issues. We recommend however, to use the pre-installed VM that is provided for the workshop.

Using a VM prepared for the workshop

In the context of the workshop we have prepared a VM (VMWare player image) for you that you can use for the workshop. All tools that you need are already pre-installed and you don't need to follow any further steps down in the installation guide.

The VM comes with Ubuntu 14.10 and is pre-configured with GIT, Node.js, Grunt, Bower, Terminator, WebStorm 10, Sublime Text 2, Zeal (with JS, AngularJS, HTML5 and other usefull offline documentation packages) and other useful tools.

  1. First you need to download VMWare Player:
  2. Download the VM Zip file and extract into a folder on your machine (The VM is around 9 GB in total)
  3. Import the VM into VMWare Player by opening the .vmx file
  4. Start the VM to make sure everything is okay
  5. If you'd like to log in to the system and pre-install some software you'd like to use, please use the password "angular". Please don't update existing software or modify core components, as we would like to guarantee a smooth workshop experience.

Now you're set and prepared for the workshop. If you've installed the VM there are no more steps to follow.


On Linux (Ubuntu, Fedora, OS X etc.) I recommend you to use NVM (node version manager) to install node. This allows you to later on switch the node version individually if you need to.

Follow the installation steps provided here on the NVM github page.

After installing NVM you need to re-start your terminal or source ~/.nvm/

Now, you can install any version of Node by using nvm:

nvm install 0.10

Also make sure to set a system wide node by aliasing the installed version as default:

nvm alias default 0.10

For more options visit

Installation of the MD Chat workshop repository

First you need to install bower and grunt global:

sudo npm install -g bower grunt-cli

Then you can use the setup script:

curl -L | sh


You can use the stack in two modes. You can run it as a server for development with livereload or you can use the stack to build a package ready for distribution.

If you're running with a Linux environment you might want to change the max file handles a user can allocate. The underlying front-end stack is using grunt-watch which is heavily relying on open file handles. echo fs.inotify.max_user_watches=524288 | sudo tee -a /etc/sysctl.conf && sudo sysctl -p

Navigating the code

There are already some branches prefixed with step- which represents a state of the workshop. Users with git experience can check them out directly. Otherwise there is the script available which can be used with a number (ex. ./ 1) and switch to a working branch named workshop where all future step calls will be rebased on.

If you are sure that you can handle possible merge conflicts during rebasing you can also use the -save option to go one step further (ex. ./ 2 -save). This will try to keep your modifications and add them to a commit before the next step will be rebased into your working branch.

Distribution build

If you want to produce a distribution ready release of your code there will be a few tasks that should run before. This includes unit testing, minification, JS linting, concatination etc. To build a distribution package you can run the default task by just running grunt:


Server mode

Run the following command to run the stack in server mode:

grunt serve

This will run a webserver on your local machine on port 9000 and automatically start your browser to the index of the web project you're creating. It also has livereload that will trigger the browser to reload once you've saved changes to your project.

If you'd like to use a different port or use a different binding hostname than the broadcast address you can configure it in the Package.json config section. On Windows there are issues when using the broadcast address and it's recommended that you change the hostname to localhost.

Server running from your distribution build

Sometimes you'd like to see the end result of your development served by a web browser before you publish your distribution. For those situations you can use a grunt task target that will trigger a build and then start Connect on the dist folder instead of your development state. This helps you to detect issues that may relate to compressed resources or reeving.

grunt serve:dist

Test only

If you'd like to run only the unit test you can start grunt with the task test:

grunt test


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