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Installation with Docker (works only locally)

Docker container allows you to run your development environment completely in the background.

Currently, docker-compose starts three containers:

  • web that holds node.js web application
  • mongodb that runs MongoDB
  • redis that runs Redis service

Internally, docker setup separate network with own DNS so it is possible to use container names as the hostnames, e.g. http://web:3000/ URI is accessible from mongodb and redis containers. The containers expose defined ports outside on the host machine, e.g, web container expose port 9080 so you can open http://localhost:9080/ on your local web browser.

O. Get the Docker, docker-compose

I. Download repo

  1. First, clone this repository to your computer with git clone

II. Creating your .env.development, .env.production and .env.testing files

Environment-related secrets such as the production password database are not committed to this repository as a security-related best practice.

In order to add them (and to support both local development and production deployment) you need to create two files named ".env.development" and ".env.production" in 'config/env/' of this repository at gist/config/env/.env* and then fill them respectively with the content which you can find in the EXAMPLE.env. It is necessary to fulfil S3 credentials (first four rows) either from the AWS S3 or from the Digital Ocean Space, also Mapbox to make world map working.

III. Build the docker container with the web application

  1. Run make develop-build

IV. Adding views to the database.

  1. Open seed.json and make sure it is configured with your local database name
  2. Execute make develop-seed-db -- the data in seeds/views.json will be saved into your database.

Edit seeds/views.json when you want to edit the views config, then execute make develop-seed-db to save into the database. Commit seeds/views.json to Git so everyone can use your updated views.

V. Running the front-end server locally

For Development

  1. Run make develop-start to start development server in non-daemon mode with logs.

VI. Changing your localhost settings on your computer and creating a local Gist account

  1. Add
  • Run sudo nano /etc/hosts - You should see some numbers including your local ip address on the left column and host names on the right.
  • Add a new line for the frontend
  • Add another new line for the mongodb connection
  • Save the write changes with "control" + "o"
  • Hit "enter"
  • Exit with "control" + "x"

VII. Creating an user

After the app is up and running you will want to create a user:

  1. Access (If you don't see a form please make command make develop-grunt)

  2. Fill the form in and add a subdomain

    1. The subdomain must be listed in the hosts file (more details in point IX)
    2. email must be (if you don't have an email address in the domain then please update the domain in the code to one of your choices)
  3. After confirming you will see an email template in the logs of the backend. Look for an URL with a token.

  4. Copy and paste the URL to activate your user.

  5. Now you can login in Gist.

VIII. Add team subdomain to hosts

  1. Add your subdomain to hosts
  • Run sudo nano /etc/hosts again.
  • Add a new line [your team subdomain]
  • Save the write changes with control + "o"
  • Hit "enter"
  • Exit with "control" + "x"
  • You will now be able to navigate to your subdomain at [your team subdomain] Anytime you add a new account in Gist, you will have a new subdomain. In order for that subdomain to work locally, you have to add it to your hosts file by repeating step 3.

Installation on Digital Ocean

I. Before you upload your code

  1. Digital Ocean configuration:
  • Create a droplet with Docker
  • Create or have a domain (Gist uses subdomains and it won't work on the IP address) and add the Digital Ocean Network with DNSs which direct to your Droplet:
    • <your_domain>
    • app.<your_domain>
    • *.<your_domain>
  • Generate new API key in the API tab for the spaces
  • Create spaces and add CORS privileges for origin http(s)://app.<your_domain> for all methods and add Header *.
  1. Create a Mapbox account. Gist is using Mapbox to render world map.
  • Create access key
  • Create a basic layout to show a map containing countries only
  • Create a roads layout to show a map containing roads only
  1. Add files and changes in the code
  • Find all occurrences of in the code and replace with your domain
  • To create the first user we need to configure emails in the file nodemailer.js to get activation email or we will see this email on docker logs, but we need to change all occurrences of email to your email domain.
  • Add env.production file in the config/env using Exmaple.env as an example and replace:
    • DO_ACCESS_KEY_ID=(digital ocean key id)
    • DO_SECRET_ACCESS_KEY=(digital ocean access key)
    • DO_S3_BUCKET=(digital ocean space name)
    • DO_S3_ENDPOINT=(digital ocean space endpoint for example, also please find this url in the code and replace to your endpoint)
    • MAPBOX_ACCESS_KEY=(your Mapbox access token)
    • MAPBOX_BASIC_LAYOUT=(URL of the basic layout)
    • MAPBOX_ROADS_LAYOUT=(URL of the basic layout)
    • FONT_CENTRANO_CDN=(URL to the Centra No font, or you can leave it empty and put the font in the folder public/fonts/centrano2. You can also replace font in the public/stylesheets/base/typography/font-faces.css and later replace all occurrences of the centrano2)
    • HOST=(your domain)
    • SUBDOMAIN=(your main subdomain)
    • NODE_ENV=production
    • MONGODB_URI=mongodb://login:password@mongodb:27017/arraysdb?authSource=admin&readPreference=primary&appname=MongoDB%20Compass&ssl=false (please replace login and password with you credentials which will be used by the admin user in mongodb)
    • USE_SSL=(true if your domain has SSL connection, false if your domain doesn't have SSL)
    • PORT=(443 if your domain has SSL connection, 80 if your domain doesn't have SSL)

II. Deploy your code

  1. Connect to your droplet for example via ssh and deploy code there.
  2. Build the app by running commands:
  • make build
  • make develop-seed-db
  • make start
  1. Configure MongoDB
  • open the terminal and enter mongodb container with command docker-compose exec -e COLUMNS=222 mongodb bash
  • enter mongo shell with command mongo
  • switch to admin db with command use admin
  • create admin user with command db.createUser({user: "your-login", pwd: "your-password", roles: [ { role: "readWrite", db: “admin”} ] }) (please replace login and password with your credentials which you put in the MONGODB_URI)
  1. Restart the app with commands make stop and make start

III. Creating the first user

  1. Enter URL http://app.<your-domain>/signup/email?superUser=true and fill the data (if you don't see anything please run the command make develop-grunt). Please use as email or if you replaced to your email domain, with your domain +superuser@<your-domain>
  2. In the docker logs you should see an email activation with the URL to activate account. If not you can also activate a user in the mongo shell by changing activated to true.

Or use dnsmasq

Map * to localhost, so new teams and subdomains do not have to be manually added to /etc/hosts every time.

Install dnsmasq: brew install dnsmasq

Add * to config file: echo 'address=/' > $(brew --prefix)/etc/dnsmasq.conf

Add to resolvers: sudo bash -c 'echo "nameserver" > /etc/resolver/'

if you do not have /etc/resolver, simply create it by mkdir /etc/resolver

Start dnsmasq and run on boot: sudo brew services start dnsmasq

Running tests

  1. Run make test

This will run all fronted and backend tests in the container.

  1. Gist Integration tests are kept here

  2. Run npm install to prepare all files and then

  3. Run npm run test:backend for backend tests and npm run test:frontend for frontend tests.

All make commands

Make commands in development environment

  • develop Run development services
  • develop-start Run development services & logs
  • develop-status Show the status of services.
  • develop-logs Show the logs on the terminal from web container.
  • develop-stop Stop the containers.
  • develop-restart Restart the containers.
  • develop-build Rebuild web container.
  • develop-build-nocache build web container (no cache)
  • develop-restart-node restart node inside the container
  • develop-seed-db Seed database (npm run seed).
  • develop-exec-bash Run bash in the web container.

Make commands for testing

  • test run tests in testing enviroment

Misc commands

  • run-debugger stop the development web container and run again with debug mode (see below)
  • stop-all stop all container
  • lint-fix for running JS linter.

Run app in debugger mode.

  1. make run-debugger

This will stop the web container and run it again, exposing debugger port 9229 and run in non daemon mode (all logs in the terminal) with a single worker. Keep in mind if you run your app in the debugger mode, you cannot use other make develop-* commands. You can stop the debug-mode by Ctrl+C;

  1. Click Debug button in VS code.
  2. Set the configuration:
            "type": "node",
            "request": "attach",
            "name": "Docker: Attach to Node",
            "port": 9229,
            "address": "localhost",
            "localRoot": "${workspaceFolder}",
            "remoteRoot": "/src",
            "protocol": "inspector"

Issue Unable to open devtools socket: address already in use

This is usually related to the fact that two node instances tries to bind the same port. The simple solution is to stop the command and run it again with Ctrl+C; You can also check if the web container is running with docker ps command.


  1. The Gist app loads AWS credentials from the .env files. There are quite a few ways that AWS credentials can be loaded, and they exist in a provider chain. Keep this in mind if you're running into AWS related issues: you may be unintentionally overriding the credentials.

  2. If you are seeing errors related to the sharp node package, try this:

    • Change directory (cd [the path to]/gist/node_modules/sharp) into the sharp directory of your local clone of this repository
    • Run npm install
  3. By default the mongodb and redis containers exposes locally the ports (27017 and 6379 respectively). If you try to start again containers, you get the following error:

    ERROR: for mongodb Cannot start service mongodb: driver failed programming external connectivity on endpoint arraystesting_mongodb_1 (0d0b754cd4c943ccdc051b14a38cde0a11c65409f9d3916395a1905d55ebd024): Bind for failed: port is already allocated

    You have to kill the containers that already use the ports, e.g. docker kill $(docker ps -q) to kill all containers.

    By default the testing containers does not expose ports to mongodb and redis. However, you can add this by editing docker-compose.test.yml and enabling lines with - ports:.

  4. Problem with existing container name:

    ERROR: for mongodb Cannot create container for service mongodb: Conflict. The container name "/mongodb" is already in use by container "86e6470e1e7dd82e798fa677cfc210c4aac0d749e68f5907123f6c005fea71b2". You have to remove (or rename) that container to be able to reuse that name.

    Check the containers that runs already by docker ps and kill container with the same name.

  5. Travis stops because of wrong encryption key

    If your travis-ci build returns following error:

    $ openssl aes-256-cbc -K $encrypted_29d90a842206_key -iv $encrypted_29d90a842206_iv -in .env.testing.enc -out config/env/.env.testing -d bad decrypt 140444667311776:error:06065064:digital envelope routines:EVP_DecryptFinal_ex:bad decrypt:evp_enc.c:539: The command "openssl aes-256-cbc -K $encrypted_29d90a842206_key -iv $encrypted_29d90a842206_iv -in .env.testing.enc -out config/env/.env.testing -d"

    then you have to recreate file that holds the content of config/env/.env.testing

     1. Run `travis encrypt-file config/env/.env.testing`
     2. Edit `.travis.yml` and replace line in `before_install:` which starts of `- openssl` with the line returned by the `travis` command.
  6. Running or building container cause unexpected errors related to wrong .json files

    1. Run the build process without cache make develop-build-nocache or make test-build-nocache.
  7. Travis fails with a nonsense error - how to live?

    This can happen from time to time. If your tests run correctly on your local machine (via make test command) then you have to debug the problem directly in the travis service. To do that you can use Debug build available on the page with the task. Reference:

  8. Clean up your local docker environment

    You can use script bin/

  9. Error from trying to seed db:

    err = { MongoError: failed to connect to server [undefined:27017] on first connect [MongoError: getaddrinfo ENOTFOUND undefined undefined:27017]

    include the node environment in run seed command NODE_ENV=development npm run seed


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