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admin Tweak heading styles
applications Merge pull request #8909 from guardian/schema-video
archive Reduce the logging history to reduce disk usage
article Case sensitive I am
commercial Reinstate Mortgages in Best Buys
common Another insatnce of incorrect schema contentURL > contentUrl
data Ensure interactive pages have correct twitter:Card meta data
dev-build Merge branch 'master' into a-b-test-headlines
dev Update frontend to sbt 13.5
diagnostics Count First Ad on Page Rendered
discussion display message in old browsers to say commenting is not possible
docs Merge pull request #8642 from guardian/us-network-front
facia-end-to-end Sparklines
facia-press Remove FaciaTreats switch
facia-tool Merge pull request #8868 from guardian/facia-tool-resend-notification
facia Remove importance from facia tool
git-hooks Remove accidental file addition
grunt-configs Add to csdevemode
identity Merge pull request #8869 from guardian/save-for-later-use-path
image Reduce the logging history to reduce disk usage
integrated-tests Change the url to anything other than network front to avoid ab test …
nginx make it clear the is our script not belong to nginx
onward cr fixes
png-resizer Reduce the logging history to reduce disk usage
preview Aargh - when will this end...
project Bump dependencies
resources Rename jshint_conf.js to .jshintrc
router Reduce the logging history to reduce disk usage
rss Reduce the logging history to reduce disk usage
sanity-tests/test Changed trait to sealed trait
sport Ensure live test matches always get updated
standalone Merge branch 'master' into liveblog-front-animation
static Fix video RHC
tools order by filename too
training Reduce the logging history to reduce disk usage
weather Refactor weather toggle icon to use inline svg
.editorconfig Add .editorconfig
.gitignore JSPM
.scss-lint.yml gross Added email verification to ID API
Gemfile Merge branch 'master' of into styleguide
Gemfile.lock Merge branch 'master' of into styleguide
Gruntfile.js add eslint We do not know if there is a video at the top of the body.
LICENSE L'an de grâce deux mil quinze Markdown link formatting
Vagrantfile Sync the .ivy2 directory
bs-config.js brief explanaition of browsersync usage
cla-corporate.txt Add Contributor License Agreements to the project
cla-individual.txt Add Contributor License Agreements to the project
dist-root-tc JSPM inside the build
grunt-tc Parametrise GH username
hologram_config.yml adding initial button styles and hologram setup Add script for installing deps
package.json add eslint Got rid of 3rd party image service for now, tests are over.
sbt Fix merge conflicts
sbt-tc Run Teamcity on JDK 1.8 Use script
test-root-tc JSPM inside the build


The Guardian website frontend.

Frontend is a set of Play Framework 2 Scala applications.

Frontend is built in two parts, using Grunt for the client side asset build and SBT for the Play Framework backend.

Core Development Principles (lines in the sand)

These principles apply to all requests on and (our Ajax URL)

On the server

  • Every request can be cached and has an appropriate Cache-Control header set.
  • Each request may only perform one I/O operation on the backend. (you cannot make two calls to the content API or any other 3rd party)
  • The average response time of any endpoint is less than 500ms.
  • Requests that take longer than two seconds will be terminated.

New developers quick-start


  1. Local Test Server setup
  2. IDE Setup
  3. Troubleshooting
  4. Optional steps
  5. Useful information and hints
  6. Additional Documentation

Local Test Server setup

You need A Mac or Linux PC (ubuntu).


  1. Check out the repository:

    git clone
    cd frontend
  2. Run ./ to install dependencies and compile assets

  3. All being well, you should be able to run the app


Install each of the things listed:

Configuration files

You need 3 files on your machine.

  1. /etc/gu/install_vars
  • ~/.gu/ contains the content.

    Ask your team mates to share it with you if you don't get any results.

  • ~/.aws/credentials

    Ask your team mate to create an account for you and securely send you the access key. For security, you must enable MFA - ask if you're not sure what this means.



This is needed on Mac only:

ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"



sudo apt-get install openjdk-7-jdk

Mac: Install from Oracle web site



curl -sL | sudo bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs


brew install node

Grunt (build tool)


sudo npm -g install grunt-cli

JSPM (package management)


sudo npm -g install jspm
jspm endpoint config github

It'll ask for a GitHub access token. Go to GitHub Settings -> Applications and generate new token. Default scopes are fine.

Ruby >= v1.9.x (use ruby -v to check if you have it installed)


sudo apt-get install ruby ruby-dev



sudo gem install bundler

Xcode (if on a Mac, one of the Node modules requires it)

This is needed on Mac only:

Xcode installs an old version of git 1.9.3. If you need a newer version, you can run

brew install git
echo 'export PATH="/usr/local/bin:$PATH"' >> ~/.bash_profile

Quit Terminal, relaunch it and check that git --version outputs 2.1.3 or newer.



sudo apt-get install libpng-dev


brew install libpng

The frontend code

Note: Remember to see Troubleshooting below if you have any issues.

git clone

cd frontend

Install node dependencies:

npm install

Install additional dependencies:

./node_modules/.bin/jspm install

npm, bundle, and jspm are also run by

After this, you can compile the assets:

grunt prepare compile

 Run the app

In another console, run the supplied bash script [sbt]. The dot and slash are important in this command.


Once SBT is running (it may take 15 mins or so to start the first time - you'll know when you get a prompt), switch project by typing

project dev-build

Then compile and run the project locally by typing


This also can take a while the first time.

Now check that you are up and running by hitting the following URLs:

Congratulations, you have a local instance running! Now continue on to set up your IDE.

IDE setup

You need a copy of the source code from above. If not, run this command:

git clone

EditorConfig plugin

Install to your IDE from

intelliJ metadata

To create project files for use in IntelliJ, run the gen-idea task from the root SBT project.

cd frontend

See for more info.

Congratulations, you are now set up to edit frontend code! See the Optional steps below for other things to do.



If you get errors like this on npm install

npm WARN locking Error: EACCES, open '/Users/jduffell/.npm/_locks/karma-requirejs-4becac899d6c8f35.lock'

Sometimes when you install npm, it ends up owned by root (but in your home directory).

Check that you own your own .npm directory ls -ld ~/.npm

If it is owned by root, then take ownership of it sudo chown -R username:username ~/.npm

File handles - "Too many files open"

You may run into a "too many files open" error during compilation or reloading. You can find out how many file handles you are allowed per process by running ulimit -n. This can be quite low, e.g. 1024 on linux or 256 on Mac


To increase the limit do the following (instructions from Ubuntu 12.10)...

In the file /etc/security/limits.conf add the following two lines

*  soft  nofile 20000
*  hard  nofile 65000

And in the file /etc/pam.d/common-session add the following line.

session required

Restart the machine.

For more info see


  • Edit your ~/.bash-profile file
  • add the following line: ulimit -n 1024
  • save and close the file
  • back at the command prompt enter: source .bash_profile and hit return.

Now you should be able to compile and run. Yay.

"No route to host"

If you get no route to host, it means you are not using the 1.8 jre. Type java -version to check. You may need to close and reopen your terminal if you installed 1.8 recently.

Optional steps


Some packages (imagemin) are not working with newest Node.js. So if you want to run multiple Node.js versions on your system you may want to use nvm


Memcached sudo apt-get install memcached - (most of the time you do not want to use it as caching makes local development harder)


If you are working on Identity or Discussion, Nginx must be installed and configured to correctly serve the application, please refer to /nginx/ in this project.


You can run the project with the supplied Vagrantfile - make sure you understand what vagrant is

  • Make sure you have Virtualbox and Vagrant installed (on Ubuntu sudo apt-get install virtualbox vagrant)
  • change directory into the folder where this README is located
  • vagrant up - this will take a while, make some coffee
  • You can now get onto the box by vagrant ssh
  • the project is located in /vagrant so cd /vagrant
  • ./sbt

Client-side development mode

There is a grunt watch task available to build and watch for development changes, but grunt-watch is pretty inefficient to compile our Sass into CSS so @mattosborn created a script called grunt-csdevmode.

grunt csdevmode also pushes stylesheets to all connected browsers: no need to reload a page to preview your changes, just like with Livereload.

grunt compile --dev
grunt csdevmode

Useful information and hints

Play console

Play Framework will recompile code changes on refresh.

Further information on using the Play console is available here.


The available endpoints are listed in conf/routes of each application and typically include:

  • /management: Operations support as per standard webapp guidelines. See guardian-management.
  • /<path>: Serve the Guardian URL at <path> if supported by this application.
  • /assets/<file>: A convenience for DEV machines. Assets are CDNed in PROD and would not be available on DEV.


Deployment uses the Magenta library.


You can debug your local Frontend application, by attaching a debugger.

  • Start Simple Build Tool in debug mode by typing ./sbt --debug
  • Build and run your application. See "Running" for steps.
  • Use a debugger to attach to the remote Java process, on localhost:1044.

Any IDE debugger should be compatible. In IntelliJ, add a new Debug Configuration, based on the Remote default. Ensure the Transport is Socket, the Debugger mode is Attach, and the port is set to 1044. Start a new Debug session, and your breakpoints should be active.

Additional Documentation

If you're new, you'll want to see what libraries we use in frontend.

Further documentation notes and useful items can be found in docs.

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