App Development


This article is about contributing to the development codebase. For contributing to the wiki see Contributing to this Wiki.


These instructions will help you get started contributing code to the develop branch. If you just want to use the map you should follow the Basic Installation instructions.

Development requires several tools to get the job done. Python, obviously, needs to be installed. We also utilize NodeJS and Grunt for front-end asset compilation. The Basic Installation instructions have the relevant information about getting node installed. Follow that.

Node and Grunt

Grunt is a tool to automatically run tasks against the code. We use grunt to transform the Javascript and CSS before it’s run, and bundle it up for distribution.

If you want to change the Javascript or CSS, you must install and run Grunt to see your changes

Compiling Assets

After Grunt is installed successfully, you need to run it when you change Javascript or CSS.

Simply type

npm run watch

on the command-line. This runs a default grunt “task” that performs a number of subtasks, like transforming JS with Babel, minifying, linting, and placing files in the right place. It will also automatically start a “watch” which will automatically rebuild files as you modify them. You can stop grunt-watch with CTRL+C.

If you’d like to just build assets once, you can run:

npm run build

The “/dist” directory

Files in the “static/dist/” subdirectories should not be edited. These will be automatically overwritten by Grunt.

To make your changes you want to edit e.g. static/js/map.js