Setting up a Development System

In order to begin coding on openATTIC, you need to set up a development system, by performing the following steps. The instructions below assume a Debian “Jessie” or Ubuntu “Trusty” Linux environment. The package names and path names likely differ on other Linux distributions.

If you don’t want to bother with performing the following steps manually, take a look at Setting up a Development System with Vagrant, which automates the process of setting up a development environment in a virtual machine to keep it separated from your local system.

Installing the Development Tools

openATTIC requires a bunch of tools and software to be installed and configured, which is handled automatically by the Debian packages. While you could of course configure these things manually, doing so would involve a lot of manual work which isn’t really necessary. Set up the system just as described in Installation and Getting Started, but do not yet execute oaconfig install.

We recommend installing a nightly build for development systems, which is based on the latest commit in the default branch.

  1. Set the installed packages on hold to prevent Apt from updating them:

    # apt-mark hold 'openattic-.*'
  2. Install Git:

    # apt-get install git
  3. Install Node.js and the Node Package Manager npm:

    # apt-get install nodejs npm
    # ln -s /usr/bin/nodejs /usr/bin/node


    We currently support Node.js v6.11.x

  4. Go to the /srv directory, and create a local clone of your openATTIC fork there, using the current master branch as the basis:

    # cd /srv
    # git clone<Your user name>/openattic.git
    # git checkout master
  5. Customize the Apache configuration by editing /etc/apache2/conf-available/openattic.conf:

    • Replace the path /usr/share/openattic with /srv/openattic/backend

    • Add the following directive:

      <Directory /srv/openattic>
          Require all granted
    • Adapt the WSGIScriptAlias paths to your local clone:

      WSGIScriptAlias /openattic/serverstats /srv/openattic/backend/serverstats.wsgi
      WSGIScriptAlias /openattic             /srv/openattic/backend/openattic.wsgi
  6. In file /etc/default/openattic, change the OADIR variable to point to the local git clone:

  7. Now build the Web UI:

    # cd /srv/openattic/webui
    # npm run build

    If you intend to make changes to the web interface, it may be useful to run npm run dev as a background task, which watches the project directory for any changed files and triggers an automatic rebuild of the web interface code (including the eslint output), if required.


    Webpack will not include the eslint output for angular, because the provided configuration is there to help you develop the UI.


    If you modify any npm package or webpack configuration you will have to stop the background task and run it again. After doing so, the modification will be reflected.

  8. Run oaconfig install and start openATTIC by running oaconfig start.

The openATTIC web interface should now be accessible from a local web browser via <http://localhost/openattic/>_ . The default username and password is “openattic”.

You can now start coding by making modifications to the files in /srv/openattic. The openATTIC daemons, GUI and the oaconfig tool will automatically adapt to the new directory and use the code located therein.

See chapters Contributing Code to openATTIC and openATTIC Contributing Guidelines for further details on how to prepare your code contributions for upstream inclusion.

How to run the frontend in a local server

If you wish to run a frontend server on your local machine, while keeping the backend on a different machine, you can do it by simply creating an extra configuration file and replacing the build command shown in Installing the Development Tools with npm start.

We already provide you with a sample configuration file, that can be found at ‘’webui/webpack.config.json.sample’‘, so you just need to copy the contents of that file to a new one named ‘’webpack.config.json’’ and update the value of the target property so it reflects the hostname of your backend.

After creating the config file you can run the command and an instance of webpack dev server will start running on the background.

One big difference of this server is that it will keep all the compiled code in memory, allowing for a faster development process. It also comes with a live reload functionallity that will reload your browser automatically each time it detects a change in your code. And last, but not least, it will provide you with a proxy to your remote backend so you will not have CORS problems.

You can access openATTIC at http://localhost:8080/openattic/.

How to use eslint in your developer environment

Our eslint configuration gives you useful hints and tips how to provide angularJS code that is highly maintainable and forward-thinking. To see the hints and tips you have to install eslint and the plugin for angularJS globally:

# npm install -g eslint eslint-config-angular eslint-plugin-angular

To simply use it from the command line you can do the following:

% cd <clone>/webui
% eslint <path>

Or with vim without Syntastic:

:!eslint %

For all IDEs eslint can be installed as a plugin, if not already enabled.

How to get the authentication token for your own user

If you like to use the openATTIC TokenAuthentication (Configuring Authentication and Single Sign-On) in your own scripts in order to achieve automatization for example, you need to find out your own authentication token at first.

Here are two examples how you can get your authentication token via the REST API:


curl --data "username=username&password=password"

Python requests:

import requests"http://<openattic-host>/openattic/api/api-token-auth/",
data={"username": "<username>", "password": "<password>"})

Examples for additional scripts can be found here:

WebUI local configuration

Our frontend application reads most of its default values from a global configuration file found in webui/app/config.js.

If you ever need to permanently change one of those values you can just open the file, change it and save the modification. This way everyone will have access to that same value.

But in situations where the changes you intent to apply only makes sense to your development environment, e.g. when using our vagrant setup (Setting up a Development System with Vagrant), you will have to take an extra step. You will have to create a local configuration file that will overwrite all the values of the preexisting file. To do that, simply create a new file, webui/app/config.local.js, with the content of webui/app/config.local.js.sample. Finally you have to rebuild the frontend. After that you, and only you, will see your custom configuration applied.

Backend local configuration

Same as to the frontend application, the backend part reads most of its default values from a global configuration file found in backend/

If you want to customize those settings equal to the frontend application, then simply create the file backend/settings_local.conf and put the key/value pairs you want to override into this file.:




The local configuration will be applied when you restart the webserver and openATTIC systemd daemon.