For development you need git, node and npm (see installation requirements).

[warning] It is highly recommended that you either manage your node installation with nvm or modify you npm setup to prevent permission errors when using the npm link feature.


OS.js uses Webpack for building and bundling by default with Babel and Sass CSS.


If you're using Docker, you do your work normally on the local filesystem, but when performing commands and tasks related to building and dependency management, you have to run them within the context of the container:

# Watch for changes
docker-compose exec osjs npm run watch


Use the provided .eslintrc and .stylelint files to keep consistent code styles.

All official packages provides running one or more of these tasks:

  • npm run eslint - ESLint pass
  • npm run stylelint - Stylelint pass
  • npm run test - Jest unit tests


All official packages provides running one or more of these tasks:

  • npm run build Build changes once
  • npm run watch Watch and build changes automatically


Using the required tools (above) you can set up a development environment in a couple of minutes.

Make sure to set the NODE_ENV=production environmental variable if you're compiling for a production environment.

By default the configurations are set to development mode, which will reload your applications and stylesheets whenever the distribution is rebuilt.


You can launch the server with nodemon to automatically reload upon changes as the npm run watch tasks does not apply here.


OS.js has a format for naming different modules etc.:

  • osjs-<project>-application - Application package
  • osjs-<project>-provider - Service Provider module
  • osjs-<project>-auth - Authentication adapter
  • osjs-<project>-settings - Settings storage adapter
  • osjs-<project>-adapter - VFS Adapters
  • osjs-<project>-theme - Theme package
  • osjs-<project>-icons - Icons package
  • osjs-<project>-cli - CLI Plugin
  • osjs-<project> - Core modules

Official packages are scoped with @osjs/<project>-<suffix>.


Since the OS.js sources are split up into several libraries (and repositories) the standard way to work with development for internal modules is to use the npm link feature.

You don't have to use npm if you're developing your own custom modules or packages. The OS.js repository is just a basic distribution template, so you can use this as you see fit. You can place your sources in the src/ directory or use git submodules, etc.


With the npm link feature you can replace the different modules of OS.js with local source-code. If you for example want to make changes to the @osjs/client you can check out its sources, run the linking and then make any changes you may want.

Assuming you've already installed OS.js, this is an example of how you set up linking:

# Somewhere in your filesystem (or use src/ directory)

# First check out the code of package @osjs/client
git clone
cd osjs-client

# Install required dependencies
npm install

# Build source (or `npm run watch` in while developing to automatically rebuild)
npm run build

# Then register the package in npm
npm link

# In your OS.js root directory

# Subscribe to the npm registered package
npm link @osjs/client


  1. Windows users might have to apply {resolve: {symlinks:false}} to the Webpack configuration. Some users have reported some dependencies fail to resolve properly with symlink resolution enabled if nested deeply.
  2. Note that the linking only applies to the package, not its dependencies. To also change the packages dependencies, you have to link these as well.


You can use npm run package:create to create a new package from a wizard.

To set up package discovery paths, see CLI Guide.

Packages require a special entry in the package.json file in order for discovery to work:

  "osjs": {
    "type": "package"

In this example we clone the example application repository instead of creating a new one:

# In your OS.js root folder
git clone src/packages/Example
cd src/packages/Example
npm install
npm run build

Then run the discovery command:

# In your OS.js root folder
npm run package:discover


  1. Each time you add/remove (or modify the metadata) a package you need to run npm run package:discover to update the global package manifest.
  2. Package name must be unique.
  3. The package:discover task creates a file named packages.json and creates symlinks inside the dist/{apps|themes} directories to {package}/dist.
  4. OS.js expects you to output your bundles etc. in a directory called dist/ (which is default in Webpack).

Next steps

Now that you have your package set up, look at the Tutorial section in the menu on how to proceed with implementing features.

If you're developing an application, these are the relevant articles in order:

  1. Overview
  2. Core Tutorial
  3. Application Tutorial
  4. Window Tutorial
  5. GUI Tutorial


Using the documentation above, you have everything you need to make changes.

[info] To submit changes into the official repositories need a github account.

This is the basic workflow for making submissions:

  • Fork the repository you want to make changes to
  • Clone repository
  • Create a new branch (from up-to-date master)
  • Test your work (see above)
  • Commit your work
  • Create a pull request

It is important to write good commit messages, having a clean git history and using the provided linter configurations. This saves a lot of time when reviewing the work and things gets merged faster.


It is recommended that you distribute your modules and packages in a compiled form.

The official npm packages does this and delivers the files in a dist/ directory.

Using NODE_ENV=production is recommended to avoid bloat and allow for proper tree-shaking, etc.

You can distribute the sources in addition, but it all depends on the target (ES vs commonjs etc).


This is a typical setup of package.json that distributes only the runtime files and metadata.

  "scripts": {
    "build": "webpack",
    "watch": "webpack --watch",
    "test": "jest",
    "eslint": "eslint *.js",
    "stylelint": "stylelint index.scss src/**/*.scss",
    "prepublishOnly": "npm run test && npm run eslint && npm run stylelint && rm ./dist/* && NODE_ENV=production npm run build"

  "files": [

  // These are not required for packages
  "main": "dist/main.js",
  "style": "dist/main.css"

This ensures that all your tests are valid before you publish your final pack.

You can run tar tvf $(npm pack) to confirm what files are published before actually running npm publish.


You can also distribute via git, where everything in the npm section above still applies.

A disadvantage using git for deployment is that you have to create a specific branch to avoid users downloading unwanted files and sources.

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