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Mar 25, 2021


Firefox Accounts

The Firefox Accounts (fxa) monorepo

Table of Contents

Getting Started
Firefox Custom Profile
Functional Tests
Node debugging
Android debugging
FxA Email Service
Firefox for Android
Firefox for iOS
Running with MailDev
Other tasks

Getting Started

  1. Manually install the system dependencies for OS X or Ubuntu. Note that WSL is required for development work on Windows.

  2. Clone this repository.

    git clone
  3. Run:

    cd fxa
    yarn install
    npm start

Note: If yarn install fails, ensure your yarn -v is at least 1.22.0.

Note this starts up all required services, including Redis, MySQL, and Memcached. It is recommended that you don't run these services yourself, or occupy any of the server ports. Doing so may result in errors.

  1. Visit localhost:3030.

Use the PM2 tool to stop and start the servers, and read server logs.

To start all servers:

  • npm start

The most common commands are:

  • npm stop - stop all servers.

  • ./pm2 status - display running servers.

  • ./pm2 logs - logs for all servers (note: this must be used to verify accounts).

  • ./pm2 logs auth - display logs for service auth.

  • ./pm2 stop content - stop content service.

  • ./pm2 restart mysql - restart mysql process.

  • More commands in the PM2 Readme.


See the separate to learn how to contribute.


This is an example workflow for fxa.

After installing fxa run npm start. Use ./pm2 status command to check the status of the servers:

To avoid wasting computer resources while not working on FxA make sure to stop the servers using npm stop. Once you are back working on FxA just use the npm start command to bring the servers back up.

Verifying email and viewing logs

Use the ./pm2 logs command to get the logs of all servers. You may also use ./pm2 logs [id] to just see the logs for that particular server.

When you signup for an account using the form on localhost:3030/signup the "inbox" logs will print out the verification code that you need to copy paste into your browser to verify your account locally:

If you get an error status for any of the servers please verify that you installed all required dependencies. Otherwise file an issue on this repository or connect with the team on Firefox Accounts Riot.

Managing dependencies

Use yarn to add dependencies. To add a dependency to a single package, which is what you'll usually want, run something like:

yarn workspace fxa-shared add --dev eslint

For multiple packages use workspaces foreach.

To update dependencies use yarn up or yarn workspace <name> up.


Required developer dependencies: Git, node.js 14+, Python 2.6+, Java 8+, Rust nightly+, libgmp, docker, gcloud CLI > Yarn 2

OS X (with Brew):

Xcode and OS X Command Line Tools are required, install it and verify that command line tools installed:

xcode-select --install


sudo easy_install pip && sudo pip install virtualenv

Install Docker for Mac | Docs

sudo apt-get install build-essential git libgmp3-dev python-virtualenv python-dev pkg-config libssl-dev curl openjdk-11-jre firefox

Follow the Docker CE instructions to install Docker.

Docker commands require sudo, to avoid it, follow steps below:

  1. Add the docker group if it doesn't already exist
sudo groupadd docker
  1. Add the connected user $USER to the docker group
sudo gpasswd -a $USER docker
  1. Restart the docker daemon
sudo service docker restart

Installing Node.js

We currently use Node 14. See

Alternatively, the Node Version Manager makes working with different versions of Node easy.

nvm install 14
nvm alias default 14

Installing Java

Java is used to run Selenium functional tests


Download from

Installing Rust

Rust Nightly is used for the fxa-email-service

Ubuntu and OS X
curl -sSf | sh

Once the installer begins, when prompted:

  1. Select "2) Customize installation"
  2. Leave "Default host triple" blank, hit "enter"
  3. Type "nightly" for "Default toolchain"
  4. Type "default" for "Profile"
  5. Type "y" for "Modify PATH variable?"
  6. Select "1) Proceed with installation"


When developing locally you may need to set up some secrets in order to effectively work with certain servers. These secrets are managed at the package level.

Check out the Secrets section in the following READMEs:


ℹ️ While it is possible to run the entire code base's test suite, in development you'll likely want to run specific test or a subset of tests. Please refer to each package's README for detailed instructions on testing its respective code.

Test all or some packages

  • You might need to run yarn start infrastructure before running tests to start services.

From the root directory you may test all or some FxA packages:

# Test only `fxa-shared`
yarn test fxa-shared

# Test `fxa-auth-db-mysql` and `fxa-auth-server`
yarn test fxa-auth-db-mysql fxa-auth-server

# Test all packages
yarn test all
  • Note that this invokes the same test suite that CI uses, and is not necessarily the same as running yarn test in any given package.

Emulating CI environment

It is possible to run various test suites (known as Jobs) acting as Circle CI. This is useful if you're encountering CI-specific failures. Please refer to this documentation.

Firefox Custom Profile

Use npm start firefox to start Firefox with local server configurations. Available options:

  • FXA_ENV=local or latest or stable or stage (NOTE: local is default).
  • FXA_E10S=true - add this flag to turn on E10S. (NOTE: false by default).
  • FXA_DESKTOP_CONTEXT - context= value. (NOTE: fx_desktop_v2 is default).
  • FIREFOX_BIN=/Applications/ npm start
  • FIREFOX_DEBUGGER=true - open Browser Toolbox on start (NOTE: false by default for speed).

Node debugging

It's possible to debug a running node process using a variety of debuggers (see the node debugging docs for details).

We have also extensively documented working with the FxA code-base using VS Code.

Debugging a server

npm start runs some of the services with the debugger enabled by default.

  1. Start the whole server as usual (npm install && npm start from top-level in the monorepo)
  2. To see which debug port each service is listening on check .vscode/launch.json or the pm2.config.js file of the package you're interested in.
  3. Connect to the process to debug it:
    • Using Google Chrome, go to chrome://inspect, then click the process to connect to devtools.
      • you may need to add a new target in the "Configure..." menu with the correct debug port
    • VSCode requires setting up a .vscode/launch.json file; see the VSCode docs for details.
Default Debug Ports

If you're using npm start, the following ports are used for --inspect:

Port Service
9130 content-server
9140 admin-panel
9150 admin-server
9160 auth-server
9170 payments-server
9180 event-broker
9190 support-panel
9200 graphql-api

Debugging tests

The node debugger can also be attached to a running test process. Firefox Accounts uses a variety of test frameworks, so the steps vary for the different servers. The --inspect argument is used in the examples below, but --inspect-brk can also be used to pause the process as soon as it starts.

mocha tests (fxa-shared)

For mocha, pass the --timeout 0 option, otherwise the test will fail if you step through it and exceed the default timeout (currently 2 seconds on fxa-shared):

node --inspect ./node_modules/.bin/mocha --timeout 0 path/to/file

In fxa-shared, this incantation works for some directories, but not yet others.

jest tests (fxa-payments-server)

For jest, pass the --runInBand argument, so it doesn't fork off the test runner to a separate process that isn't available to the inspector:

node --inspect ./node_modules/.bin/jest --runInBand --config server/jest.config.js filematcher

where filematcher is a regex that matches against test file paths. If you omit filematcher, Jest will run all tests (but you have to hit Enter a second time to trigger the test run).

Android debugging

The following technique works with any Android application and can also be used for Firefox for Android.

Simply forward the following ports from the host machine to the Android device:

npm run adb-reverse


adb reverse tcp:3030 tcp:3030 # Content server
adb reverse tcp:9000 tcp:9000 # Auth server
adb reverse tcp:9010 tcp:9010 # OAuth server
adb reverse tcp:1111 tcp:1111 # Profile server
adb reverse tcp:5000 tcp:5000 # Sync server

Then run npm start and get to work!

FxA Email Service

Skip this if you are not working on the fxa-email-service.

The pm2 scripts run the latest docker version of the email service by default. If you want to start making changes to the email service then do the following:

  1. Stop the email-service using ./pm2 stop <email_service_id>
  2. Build the service: cd packages/fxa-email-service; cargo build --bin fxa_email_send
  3. Run the service: cd packages/fxa-email-service; ./scripts/

Firefox for iOS

Skip this if you are not working on Firefox for iOS and FxA.

You can test sync locally in Firefox iOS using the XCode simulator. Follow the steps at and setup firefox-ios build locally. Currently there is no way to dynamically switch servers in Firefox for iOS, to use local servers you need to run the script below:

FIREFOX_IOS_HOME=<path_to_firefox_ios_project> npm run config-fxios

After the script you need to rebuild firefox-ios.

Running with MailDev

If you want to inspect emails, you can run fxa with MailDev.


npm install maildev -g


npm start
./pm2 stop inbox

Once services have started, you can start MailDev on port 9999. You might have to start MailDev with sudo permissions.

sudo maildev -s 9999

All emails sent can be viewed from http://localhost:1080.


The Firefox Ecosystem Platform serves as a documentation hub for Firefox Accounts, Services, Synced Client Integrations, and Subscription Platform.

In addition to the ecosystem docs, each package has it's own and some have a docs/ directory with info specific to that project.

Documentation for Scripts



This bash script converts markdown documents into pdfs. The purpose is to provide an efficient way for Mozilla VPN legal documents to be converted and made available to end-users.


Pre-requisites: The script requires the following:

To Run:
# from root fxa directory
_scripts/ '/absolute/path/to/legal-docs/'

The script traverses the legal-docs directory looking for localized copies of the Mozilla VPN legal documents. When found, the script converts the document from .md to .pdf and writes it to assets/legal/<document_name>.<locale>.pdf.

Example: directory provided: /Users/test/github/mozilla/legal-docs/ resulting file: assets/legal/<document_name>.<locale>.pdf