We recommend using the Nix package manager as it makes any pain related to maintaining dependency versions just disappear. Once nix has been installed the development environment can be manually instantiated through the nix-shell command:

$ cd ~/code/coder

$ nix-shell

copying path '/nix/store/3ms6cs5210n8vfb5a7jkdvzrzdagqzbp-iana-etc-20210225' from ''...
copying path '/nix/store/dxg5aijpyy36clz05wjsyk90gqcdzbam-iana-etc-20220520' from ''...
copying path '/nix/store/v2gvj8whv241nj4lzha3flq8pnllcmvv-ignore-5.2.0.tgz' from ''...

If direnv is installed and the hooks are configured then the development environment can be automatically instantiated by creating the following .envrc, thus removing the need to run nix-shell by hand!

$ cd ~/code/coder
$ echo "use nix" >.envrc
$ direnv allow

Now, whenever you enter the project folder, direnv will prepare the environment for you:

$ cd ~/code/coder

direnv: loading ~/code/coder/.envrc
direnv: using nix
direnv: export +AR +AS +CC +CONFIG_SHELL +CXX +HOST_PATH +IN_NIX_SHELL +LD +NIX_BINTOOLS +NIX_BINTOOLS_WRAPPER_TARGET_HOST_x86_64_unknown_linux_gnu +NIX_BUILD_CORES +NIX_BUILD_TOP +NIX_CC +NIX_CC_WRAPPER_TARGET_HOST_x86_64_unknown_linux_gnu +NIX_CFLAGS_COMPILE +NIX_ENFORCE_NO_NATIVE +NIX_HARDENING_ENABLE +NIX_INDENT_MAKE +NIX_LDFLAGS +NIX_STORE +NM +NODE_PATH +OBJCOPY +OBJDUMP +RANLIB +READELF +SIZE +SOURCE_DATE_EPOCH +STRINGS +STRIP +TEMP +TEMPDIR +TMP +TMPDIR +XDG_DATA_DIRS +buildInputs +buildPhase +builder +cmakeFlags +configureFlags +depsBuildBuild +depsBuildBuildPropagated +depsBuildTarget +depsBuildTargetPropagated +depsHostHost +depsHostHostPropagated +depsTargetTarget +depsTargetTargetPropagated +doCheck +doInstallCheck +mesonFlags +name +nativeBuildInputs +out +outputs +patches +phases +propagatedBuildInputs +propagatedNativeBuildInputs +shell +shellHook +stdenv +strictDeps +system ~PATH


Alternatively if you do not want to use nix then you'll need to install the need the following tools by hand:

  • Go 1.18+
    • on macOS, run brew install go
  • Node 14+
    • on macOS, run brew install node
  • GNU Make 4.0+
    • on macOS, run brew install make
  • shfmt
    • on macOS, run brew install shfmt
  • nfpm
    • on macOS, run brew install goreleaser/tap/nfpm && brew install nfpm
  • pg_dump
    • on macOS, run brew install libpq zstd
    • on Linux, install zstd
  • pkg-config
    • on macOS, run brew install pkg-config
  • pixman
    • on macOS, run brew install pixman
  • cairo
    • on macOS, run brew install cairo
  • pango
    • on macOS, run brew install pango
  • pandoc
    • on macOS, run brew install pandocomatic

Development workflow

Use the following make commands and scripts in development:

  • ./scripts/ runs the frontend and backend development server
  • make build compiles binaries and release packages
  • make install installs binaries to $GOPATH/bin
  • make test



Use Go style

Contributions must adhere to the guidelines outlined in Effective Go. We prefer linting rules over documenting styles (run ours with make lint); humans are error-prone!

Read Go's Code Review Comments Wiki for information on common comments made during reviews of Go code.

Avoid unused packages

Coder writes packages that are used during implementation. It isn't easy to validate whether an abstraction is valid until it's checked against an implementation. This results in a larger changeset, but it provides reviewers with a holistic perspective regarding the contribution.


Follow component conventions

Each component gets its own folder. Make sure you add a test and Storybook stories for the component as well. By keeping these tidy, the codebase will remain easy-to-navigate, healthy and maintainable for all contributors.

Keep accessibility in mind

We strive to keep our UI accessible. When using colors, avoid adding new elements with low color contrast. Always use labels on inputs, not just placeholders. These are important for screen-readers.


The following information has been borrowed from Go's review philosophy.

Coder values thorough reviews. For each review comment that you receive, please "close" it by implementing the suggestion or providing an explanation on why the suggestion isn't the best option. Be sure to do this for each comment; you can click Done to indicate that you've implemented the suggestion, or you can add a comment explaining why you aren't implementing the suggestion (or what you chose to implement instead).

It is perfectly normal for changes to go through several rounds of reviews, with one or more reviewers making new comments every time, then waiting for an updated change before reviewing again. All contributors, including those from maintainers, are subject to the same review cycle; this process is not meant to be applied selectively or to discourage anyone from contributing.

See an opportunity to improve our docs? Make an edit.