This is a guide to help the Coder community and also Coder members contribute to our UI. It is ongoing work but we hope it provides some useful information to get started. If you have any questions or need help, please send us a message on our Discord server. We'll be happy to help you.

Running the UI

You can run the UI and access the dashboard in two ways:

  • Build the UI pointing to an external Coder server: CODER_HOST= pnpm dev inside of the site folder. This is helpful when you are building something in the UI and already have the data on your deployed server.
  • Build the entire Coder server + UI locally: ./scripts/ in the root folder. It is useful when you have to contribute with features that are not deployed yet or when you have to work on both, frontend and backend.

In both cases, you can access the dashboard on http://localhost:8080. If you are running the ./scripts/ you can log in using the default credentials: [email protected] and SomeSecurePassword!.

Tech Stack

All our dependencies are described in site/package.json but here are the most important ones:


All the code related to the UI is inside the site folder and we defined a few conventions to help people to navigate through it.

  • e2e - E2E tests
  • src - Source code
    • mocks - Manual mocks used by Jest
    • @types - Custom types for dependencies that don't have defined types
    • api - API code as function calls and types
    • components - UI components
    • hooks - Hooks that can be used across the application
    • i18n - Translations
    • pages - Page components
    • testHelpers - Helper functions to help with integration tests
    • util - Helper functions that can be used across the application
    • xServices - XState machines used to fetch data and handle complex scenarios
  • static - UI static assets like images, fonts, icons, etc


We use react-router as our routing engine and adding a new route is very easy. If the new route needs to be authenticated, put it under the <RequireAuth> route and if it needs to live inside of the dashboard, put it under the <DashboardLayout> route.

The RequireAuth component handles all the authentication logic for the routes and the DashboardLayout wraps the route adding a navbar and passing down common dashboard data.


Pages are the top-level components of the app. The page component lives under the src/pages folder and each page should have its own folder so we can better group the views, tests, utility functions and so on. We use a structure where the page component is responsible for fetching all the data and passing it down to the view. We explain this decision a bit better in the next section.

ℹ️ Code that is only related to the page should live inside of the page folder but if at some point it is used in other pages or components, you should consider moving it to the src level in the utils, hooks or components folder.


A page usually has at least three states: loading, ready or success, and error so remember to always handle these scenarios while you are coding a page. We also encourage you to add visual testing for these three states using the *.stories.ts file.

Fetching data

We use TanStack Query v4(previously known as react-query) to fetch data from the API. We also use XState to handle complex flows with multiple states and transitions.

ℹ️ We recently changed how we are going to fetch data from the server so you will see a lot of fetches being made using XState machines but feel free to refactor it if you are already touching those files.

Where to fetch data

Finding the right place to fetch data in React apps is the one million dollar question but we decided to make it only in the page components and pass the props down to the views. This makes it easier to find where data is being loaded and easy to test using Storybook. So you will see components like UsersPage and UsersPageView.


We are using axios as our fetching library and writing the API functions in the site/src/api/api.ts files. We also have auto-generated types from our Go server on site/src/api/typesGenerated.ts. Usually, every endpoint has its own Request and Response types but sometimes you need to pass extra parameters to make the call like the example below:

export const getAgentListeningPorts = async (
  agentID: string,
): Promise<TypesGen.ListeningPortsResponse> => {
  const response = await axios.get(

Sometimes, a FE operation can have multiple API calls so it is ok to wrap it as a single function.

export const updateWorkspaceVersion = async (
  workspace: TypesGen.Workspace,
): Promise<TypesGen.WorkspaceBuild> => {
  const template = await getTemplate(workspace.template_id);
  return startWorkspace(, template.active_version_id);

If you need more granular errors or control, you may should consider keep them separated and use XState for that.


We are using Material V4 in our UI and we don't have any short-term plans to update or even replace it. It still provides good value for us and changing it would cost too much work which is not valuable right now but of course, it can change in the future.


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.


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.

Should I create a new component?

As with most things in the world, it depends. If you are creating a new component to encapsulate some UI abstraction like UsersTable it is ok but you should always try to use the base components that are provided by the library or from the codebase so I recommend you to always do a quick search before creating a custom primitive component like dialogs, popovers, buttons, etc.


We use three types of testing in our app: E2E, Integration and Visual Testing.

E2E (end-to-end)

Are useful to test complete flows like "Create a user", "Import template", etc. For this one, we use Playwright. If you only need to test if the page is being rendered correctly, you should probably consider using the Visual Testing approach.

ℹ️ For scenarios where you need to be authenticated, you can use test.use({ storageState: getStatePath("authState") }).


Test user interactions like "Click in a button shows a dialog", "Submit the form sends the correct data", etc. For this, we use Jest and react-testing-library. If the test involves routing checks like redirects or maybe checking the info on another page, you should probably consider using the E2E approach.

Visual testing

Test components without user interaction like testing if a page view is rendered correctly depending on some parameters, if the button is showing a spinner if the loading props are passing, etc. This should always be your first option since it is way easier to maintain. For this, we use Storybook and Chromatic.

What should I test?

Choosing what to test is not always easy since there are a lot of flows and a lot of things can happen but these are a few indicators that can help you with that:

  • Things that can block the user
  • Reported bugs
  • Regression issues

Tests getting too slow

A few times you can notice tests can take a very long time to get done. Sometimes it is because the test itself is complex and runs a lot of stuff, and sometimes it is because of how we are querying things. In the next section, we are going to talk more about them.

Using ByRole queries

One thing we figured out that was slowing down our tests was the use of ByRole queries because of how it calculates the role attribute for every element on the screen. You can read more about it on the links below:

Even with ByRole having performance issues we still want to use it but for that, we have to scope the "querying" area by using the within command. So instead of using screen.getByRole("button") directly we could do within(form).getByRole("button").

❌ Not ideal. If the screen has a hundred or thousand elements it can be VERY slow."button"));

✅ Better. We can limit the number of elements we are querying.

const form = screen.getByTestId("form");"button"));

jest.spyOn with the API is not working

For some unknown reason, we figured out the jest.spyOn is not able to mock the API function when they are passed directly into the services XState machine configuration.

❌ Does not work

import { getUpdateCheck } from "api/api"

createMachine({ ... }, {
  services: {

✅ It works

import { getUpdateCheck } from "api/api"

createMachine({ ... }, {
  services: {
    getUpdateCheck: () => getUpdateCheck(),
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