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Saltcorn Banner

Build and Test OpenCollective


Saltcorn is an extensible open source no-code database application builder. Use it to build web applications based on relational data with flexible views, datatypes and layouts.

This repository contains the core codebase, including the code necessary to self-host an instance and to host a multitenant instance.

Trying out Saltcorn

A multitenant instance of Saltcorn is running at, and you can create a new application under a subdomain at This service is free but there are no guarantees about the security or availability of your application or the information you are storing. This service should only be used to explore the capabilities of saltcorn.

For self-hosting, a 1 GB virtual private server is sufficient to run Saltcorn unless you expect high traffic volumes. Installation instructions are given below. If hosting on DigitalOcean, which offers a 1GB virtual machine for $5 per month, please consider using my referral code which will give you $100 credit over 60 days.


Saltcorn is using PostgreSQL, node.js, node-postgres, express, live-plugin-manager, craft.js, jQuery-Menu-Editor, Blockly and other awesome free and open source projects.

Quickstart with Docker

You can run a local instance for quick testing by running the following command:

cd ./deploy/examples/test && docker-compose up -d

and then go to http://localhost:3000 in your web browser.

Quick install server on Debian/Ubuntu

This has been tested on Debian 9, 10 and 11 and Ubuntu 18.04, 20.04 and 21.04. All you need is to run these three lines on the command line shell, as root or as a user with sudo access:

wget -qO - | sudo bash -
sudo apt-get install -qqy nodejs
npx saltcorn-install -y

The first two lines will install Node.js 16. The last line will call the Saltcorn install script accepting all the defaults, which installs PostgreSQL and sets up Saltcorn as a service listening on port 80.

If you want a different port, different database backend, or to not install as a service, you can omit the final -y to get an interactive installation:

wget -qO - | sudo bash -
sudo apt-get install -qqy nodejs
npx saltcorn-install

Install from NPM packages

Instructions have been tested on Ubuntu 20.04 on a 1GB VM.

TL;DR: npm install -g @saltcorn/cli && saltcorn setup

Installing node and npm

For a recent version (v16) of Node.js:

wget -qO - | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs libpq-dev build-essential python-is-python3

Install saltcorn

npm install -g @saltcorn/cli

If this fails, you may need to tell npm to disregard file permissions during compilation:

npm install -g @saltcorn/cli --unsafe

Setup (automated)

if you are root, create a user with sudo and switch to that user:

adduser saltcorn
adduser saltcorn sudo
su saltcorn
mkdir -p ~/.config/

then run

saltcorn setup and follow the instructions given.

Setup (manual)

NOTE: this is somewhat out of date; see instead, in paticular the last section.

Skip this section if you ran saltcorn setup or npx saltcorn-install

  1. Install PostgreSQL: sudo apt install postgresql postgresql-client

  2. Either,

    • Create a JSON file .saltcorn in your XDG config directory (on Ubuntu this is normally $HOME/.config) with these values:

      • host: address of PostgreSQL server
      • port: port of PostgreSQL server
      • database: PostgreSQL database
      • user: PostgreSQL user name
      • password: PostgreSQL user password
      • session_secret: Saltcorn session secret
      • multi_tenant: run as multi-tenant (true/false)

      For example:





saltcorn serve

Server install

Install saltcorn as a service

Installing saltcorn as a service will mean it runs in the background and restarts automatically if the system reboots.

create a file /lib/systemd/system/saltcorn.service with these contents:


ExecStart=/home/saltcorn/.local/bin/saltcorn serve -p 80



sudo systemctl daemon-reload
sudo systemctl start saltcorn
sudo systemctl enable saltcorn

SSL certificate

Use Let's Encrypt or Cloudflare to get a free SSL certificate (for https).

Install from source (for saltcorn developers)

Installing node and npm on Ubuntu

sudo apt install nodejs npm libpq-dev

will give you a usable version. For a more recent version (v16) of Node.js:

wget -qO - | sudo -E bash -
sudo apt-get install -y nodejs libpq-dev

Prepare Node

assuming you have cloned this repository to $HOME/saltcorn (otherwise adjust PATH)

npm config set prefix ~/.local
echo 'export PATH=$HOME/saltcorn/packages/saltcorn-cli/bin:$HOME/.local/bin:$PATH' >> ~/.bashrc
source ~/.bashrc

Install packages


npm install --legacy-peer-deps
npm run tsc

to install everything. If successful, you should now be able to run saltcorn in your shell.

NOTE: the installation builds the 'saltcorn/cordova-builder' docker image, and the first build takes several minutes. You can set the environment variable SKIP_DOCKER_IMAGE_INSTALL to 'true' (or disable docker) if you don't want to build it.


Development tips


we use prettier:

npm install -g prettier

to format code:

git ls-files | grep -v builder_bundle | xargs prettier --write

Run this before every pull request.

dev server

nodemon packages/saltcorn-cli/bin/saltcorn serve

to also watch a local module

nodemon --watch ../saltcorn-kanban/ packages/saltcorn-cli/bin/saltcorn serve

React build builder

cd packages/saltcorn-builder
npm install
npm install styled-components@4.4.1
npm run build

React rebuild on save

in saltcorn/packages/saltcorn-builder/ run:

git ls-files | entr npm run builddev

but this is not a production build, so run

npm run build

when done

Build tsdocs

npm install --legacy-peer-deps
npm run tsc


npm run docs

TSDocs will then be available in docs/.

To deploy these to

cp -R docs/* /path/to/tsdocs
cd /path/to/tsdocs
git add .
git commit -am 'version number or other message...'