Running the dev 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.


If you are familiar with git and docker-compose run these commands to launch baserow’s dev environment locally, otherwise please start from the Installing Requirements section below.

$ git clone --branch develop
# Our supplied ./ script wraps docker-compose setting the correct env vars for 
# you to get hot code reloading working well.
$ ./ 
# Run ./ help for further details.
$ ./ help

Installing requirements

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

Docker version 19.03 is the minimum required to build Baserow. It is strongly advised however that you install the latest version of Docker available. Please check that your docker is up to date by running docker -v.

You will also need git installed which you can do by following the instructions on .

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

$ docker -v
Docker version 20.10.6, build 370c289
$ docker-compose -v
docker-compose version 1.26.2, build eefe0d31
$ 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 the dev environment

If you run into any issues starting your development environment 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 running baserow locally guide once, you might need to rebuild the images for the development environment by using the command docker-compose -f docker-compose.yml -f up -d --build or just ./ build_only because they have container name conflicts.

$ cd ~/baserow
$ git clone --branch master
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.yml file. It might take a while for the command to finish, this is because the images have to be built from scratch.

$ ./ 
Building backend
Starting db    ... done
Starting redis    ... done
Starting backend    ... done
Starting web-frontend   ... done

Your dev environment is now running, the database has been automatically migrated for you and the baserow templates have been synced. You can now visit http://localhost:3000 to sign up and login to your Baserow.

Looking at the web api

Baserow’s backend container exposes a rest API. Find the API spec for your local version of Baserow at http://localhost:8000/api/redoc/ . To check that it is working correctly when you visit http://localhost:8000/api/groups/ in a browser you should see the error “Authentication credentials were not provided.” as no JWT was provided.

Attaching to the dev environment

The dev environment consists of a number of docker containers, see:

If you use ./ by default it will attempt to open tabs in your terminal and attach to the running baserow containers. Otherwise you can do so manually by running the following commands:

$ # Run the commands below to connect to the various different parts of Baserow
$ docker attach backend
$ docker attach celery 
$ docker attach web-frontend

When attached you can press CTRL-C to end the current containers main process. However unlike normal docker containers this one will not exit immediately but instead present you with a bash terminal. In this terminal you can then run any admin commands you wish or inspect the state of the containers. Simply press up and go through the containers bash history to get the original command to restart the containers main process.

Other useful commands

See the docker how to guide for a larger collection of useful operations and commands, below is a quick example of some of the more common ones:

$ # View the logs 
$ docker-compose logs 
$ # Migrate
$ ./ run backend manage migrate
$ # Restart and Build 
$ ./ restart --build 

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.

Working with Docker and Django

For further reading on how to work with docker containers and django check out:

Baserow further reading

  • See introduction for more details on Baserow’s architecture.
  • See baserow docker api for more detail on how Baserow’s docker setup can be used and configured.
  • See for further detail on what does and why