Getting started

You would like to work on Modoboa but you don’t know where to start? You’re at the right place! Browse this page to learn useful tips.

With Docker

A docker image is available for developers. To use it, you must install docker and docker-compose first.

Then, just run the following command:

$ docker-compose up

It will start the docker environment and make a Modoboa instance available at http://localhost:8000 and the new admin interface at http://localhost:8080

If you don’t want to use docker or need a more complex development setup, go to the next section.

Without Docker

Prepare a virtual environment

A virtual environment is a good way to setup a development environment on your machine.

To do so, run the following commands:

$ python3 -m venv <path>
$ source <path>/bin/activate
$ git clone
$ cd modoboa
$ python develop
$ pip install -r dev-requirements.txt

The develop command creates a symbolic link to your local copy so any modification you make will be automatically available in your environment, no need to copy them.

Deploy an instance for development


Make sure to create a database before running this step. The format of the database url is also described in this page.

Now that you have setup a development environment, you can deploy a test instance and run it:

$ cd <path>
$ deploy --dburl default:<database url> --domain localhost --devel instance
$ python runserver

You’re ready to go! You should be able to access Modoboa at http://localhost:8000 using admin:password as credentials.


Legacy interface

The Django templates and views are used to render this interface, which is served by the uWSGI application - or the local server in development. bower is used to manage the CSS and JavaScript dependencies - i.e. Boostrap, jQuery - thanks to django-bower.

Those dependencies are listed in a file called located inside the <path_to_local_copy>/modoboa/core directory.

If you want to add a new dependency, just complete the BOWER_INSTALLED_APPS parameter and run the following command:

$ python bower install

It will download and store the required files into the <path_to_local_copy>/modoboa/bower_components directory.


Don’t forget to regenerate the localization files when you add strings. See the translation page

New Vue.js interface

The 2.0 version of Modoboa introduces a completely new interface written with the Vue.js framework. The source files are located in the frontend/ directory.

To set it up, you will need to install NodeJS and Yarn - to manage the dependencies. Then, navigate to the frontend/ directory and run:

$ yarn install

You can now build it and serve it - while running your instance too to serve the API - with:

$ yarn serve


If you deployed an instance for development, you can launch the tests from it with:

$ python test modoboa

You could also test just some them, i.e.:

$ python test modoboa.core.tests.test_authentication

Alternatively, you can use tox from the repository to run all the tests and check the coverage with:

$ tox

You could limit the environment to a specific Python version with the -e py<version> argument.

Note that it is also possible to quickly run a test instance without any deployment - e.g. to preview some changes - by running:

$ tox -e serve


The source files are located in the file:doc/ folder and are written in reStructuredText (reST). They are formatted in HTML and compiled thanks to Sphinx.

To build it and see the result, run:

$ tox -e doc
$ open .tox/doc/tmp/html/index.html


bower command is missing in

bower command is missing in if you don’t use the --devel option of the deploy command.

To fix it, regenerate your instance or update your file manually. Look at devmode in