Contributing to n8n
Great that you are here and you want to contribute to n8n
- Contributing to n8n
- Code of conduct
- Directory structure
- Development setup
- Development cycle
- Create custom nodes
- Create a new node to contribute to n8n
- Checklist before submitting a new node
- Extend documentation
- Contributor License Agreement
Code of conduct
This project and everyone participating in it are governed by the Code of Conduct which can be found in the file CODE_OF_CONDUCT.md. By participating, you are expected to uphold this code. Please report unacceptable behavior to email@example.com.
n8n is split up in different modules which are all in a single mono repository.
The most important directories:
- /docker/image - Dockerfiles to create n8n containers
- /docker/compose - Examples Docker Setups
- /packages - The different n8n modules
- /packages/cli - CLI code to run front- & backend
- /packages/core - Core code which handles workflow execution, active webhooks and workflows. Contact n8n before starting on any changes here
- /packages/design-system - Vue frontend components
- /packages/editor-ui - Vue frontend workflow editor
- /packages/node-dev - CLI to create new n8n-nodes
- /packages/nodes-base - Base n8n nodes
- /packages/workflow - Workflow code with interfaces which get used by front- & backend
If you want to change or extend n8n you have to make sure that all needed dependencies are installed and the packages get linked correctly. Here a short guide on how that can be done:
We suggest using Node.js version 16.9 or newer for development purposes.
IMPORTANT: If you have installed Node.js via homebrew, you'll need to run
brew install corepack, since homebrew explicitly removes
corepack from the
IMPORTANT: If you are on windows, you'd need to run
corepack enable and
corepack prepare pnpm --activate in a terminal as an administrator.
The packages which n8n uses depend on a few build tools:
apt-get install -y build-essential python
yum install gcc gcc-c++ make
npm add -g windows-build-tools
n8n is split up in different modules which are all in a single mono repository. To facilitate the module management, pnpm workspaces are used. This automatically sets up file-links between modules which depend on each other.
Actual n8n setup
IMPORTANT: All the steps below have to get executed at least once to get the development setup up and running!
Now that everything n8n requires to run is installed the actual n8n code can be checked out and set up:
Fork the n8n repository
Clone your forked repository
git clone https://github.com/<your_github_username>/n8n.git
Go into repository folder
Add the original n8n repository as
upstreamto your forked repository
git remote add upstream https://github.com/n8n-io/n8n.git
Install all dependencies of all modules and link them together:
Build all the code:
To start n8n execute:
To start n8n with tunnel:
./packages/cli/bin/n8n start --tunnel
While iterating on n8n modules code, you can run
pnpm dev. It will then
automatically build your code, restart the backend and refresh the frontend
(editor-ui) on every change you make.
- Start n8n in development mode:
- Hack, hack, hack
- Check if everything still runs in production mode
pnpm build pnpm start
- Create tests
- Run all tests
- Commit code and create a pull request
The tests can be started via:
If that gets executed in one of the package folders it will only run the tests of this package. If it gets executed in the n8n-root folder it will run all tests of all packages.
Create custom nodes
IMPORTANT: Avoid use of external libraries to ensure your custom nodes can be reviewed and merged quickly.
Learn about using the node dev CLI to create custom nodes for n8n.
More information can be found in the documentation of n8n-node-dev, a small CLI which helps with n8n-node-development.
Create a new node to contribute to n8n
Follow this tutorial on creating your first node for n8n.
Checklist before submitting a new node
There are several things to keep in mind when creating a node. To help you, we prepared a checklist that covers the requirements for creating nodes, from preparation to submission. This will help us be quicker to review and merge your PR.
Contributor License Agreement
That we do not have any potential problems later it is sadly necessary to sign a Contributor License Agreement. That can be done literally with the push of a button.
We used the most simple one that exists. It is from Indie Open Source which uses plain English and is literally only a few lines long.
A bot will automatically comment on the pull request once it got opened asking for the agreement to be signed. Before it did not get signed it is sadly not possible to merge it in.