Development environment

If you want to contribute to Baserow you need to setup the development environment on your local computer. The best way to do this is via docker-compose so that you can start the app with the least amount of hassle.

Installing requirements

If you haven’t already installed docker and docker-compose on your computer you can do so by following the instructions on

If you haven’t already installed git you can do so by following the instructions on

Once you have finished installing all the required software you should able to run the following commands in your terminal.

$ docker -v
Docker version 19.03.8, build afacb8b
$ docker-compose -v
docker-compose version 1.25.5, build 8a1c60f6
$ git --version
git version 2.24.3 (Apple Git-128)

If all commands return something similar as described in the example, then you are ready to proceed!

Starting development environment

Note that this has only been tested on MacOS Catalina. If you run into any issues with other operating systems, feel free to contact us via the form on

For example purposes I have created a directory in my home folder named baserow. You can of course follow the steps in any directory, but in this tutorial I will assume the working directory is ~/baserow.

First we have to clone the repository. Execute the following commands to clone the master branch. If you are not familiar with git clone, this will download a copy of Baserow’s code to your computer.

Note that if you have already started the demo environment once, you might need to to rebuild the images for the development environment by using the command docker-compose up -d --build because they have container name conflicts.

$ cd ~/baserow
$ git clone
Cloning into 'baserow'...
$ cd baserow

Now that we have our copy of the repo and have changed directories to the newly created baserow, we can bring up the containers. You just have to execute the docker-compose command using the docker-compose.demo.yml file. It might take a while for the command finishes, this is because the image has to be created from scratch.

$ docker network create baserow_default
$ docker-compose up -d
Building backend
Starting db    ... done
Starting mjml    ... done
Starting redis    ... done
Starting backend    ... done
Starting web-frontend   ... done

Starting backend development server

Now that you have your development environment up and running, you need to apply all the database migrations and start the backend’s development server. You need to execute the bash command of the backend container first. Because Baserow is not installed as a dependency you have to use the file in the source directory.

$ docker exec -it backend bash
$ python src/baserow/ migrate
Running migrations:
$ python src/baserow/ runserver

After executing these commands, the server is running. If you visit http://localhost:8000/api/groups/ in your browser you should see the response “Authentication credentials were not provided.” If you want to see the API spec, you can visit http://localhost:8000/api/redoc/.

Starting the worker

In order to process asynchronous tasks you also need to start a Celery worker this is mainly used for the real time collaboration. Open a new tab or window and execute the following commands. The watchmedo command makes sure the worker is restarted whenever you make a change.

$ docker exec -it backend bash
$ watchmedo auto-restart --directory=./ --pattern=*.py --recursive -- celery -A baserow worker -l INFO

Starting web frontend development server

Now that the backend server is up and running you can start the web-frontend development server. Open a new tab in your terminal and execute the bash command of the web-frontend container first. After that you need to install all the dependencies that the web-frontend app relies on.

$ docker exec -it web-frontend bash
$ yarn install
$ yarn run dev

Once those commands have executed and the development server is running you can visit http://localhost:3000 in your browser which should show the Baserow login page.

Keep the servers running.

Both the web-frontend and backend containers need to keep running while you are developing. They also monitor file changes and update automatically so you don’t need to worry about reloading. Go and make some changes yourself. You should see the result right away.