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Environment Setup


Install pnpm

We use pnpm instead of npm to install packages. pnpm is faster and uses less disk space when installing node_modules (More on the benefits of pnpm).

After installing Node.js, install pnpm globally:

npm install -g pnpm

Docker and Docker-Compose Setup


  1. Follow Microsoft WSL2 installation guide to complete the installation. Suggest to run the following once in the WSL2 environment.
# fetch updated packages information
sudo apt update

# upgrade or install outdated packages
sudo apt upgrade
  1. Suggest to install Windows Terminal, it facilitates you to switch directories between WSL2 Ubuntu bash and Windows drive.
  2. Suggest to install Node, nvm and npm for WSL2, so as to be able to use Node and npm in the subsystem.

Windows 10 Pro, Enterprise, Education or Windows 11 (Hyper-V)

  1. Get Docker for Desktop For Windows
  2. Docker for Desktop comes with docker-compose installed.

Windows 10 Home, Pro, Enterprise, Education (Insiders WSL 2 Docker)

  1. If your Windows build number is below 18917, join the insiders program. Then, update your machine to a newer build through Automatic Updates.
  2. Once installed successfully, install Windows Subsystem for Linux.
  3. Open a Windows PowerShell window for the next few commands.
  4. Leverage the command wsl --set-default-version 2, and install Ubuntu from the Windows Store.
  5. Use wsl -l -v to see your Ubuntu instance version, if it's still using WSL version 1, convert it to WSL 2 using wsl --set-version Ubuntu 2.
  6. Install any other prerequisites listed on Docker Desktop WSL Preview.
  7. Download and install Docker Desktop Edge Latest
  8. Follow the instructions on the Docker Desktop WSL Preview to configure the WSL based engine. Docker-compose is installed with the Docker desktop application.
  9. Follow the Docker commands docker-compose up --build listed below in greater detail to start hacking.

After installing the prerequisites

Install Dependencies with pnpm

pnpm functions similarly to npm but there are some differences in how packages are installed, added to package.json, etc. You can read the docs for full details.

To install all of Telescope's dependencies, use the following command:

pnpm install

Similarly, to run tests:

pnpm test

And to run scripts:

pnpm <script-name>

Start Docker

sudo systemctl start docker
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You may need to add your user to the docker group in Linux to use docker-compose without sudo. To do this, try groups $USER in a terminal and check if docker is in the list of groups. If not, add it with usermod -aG docker $USER and reboot.


Docker builds Telescope's dependencies at launch and keeps them on disk. In some cases, Docker might try to reuse already-built dependencies or cached data, causing misleading results when testing Telescope. To avoid this, it is recommended to use the command docker system prune -af --volumes to remove all already-built Telescope dependencies and ensure fresh deployments. More information about docker: images vs containers and volumes.

Start Telescope

There are different ways to run the application. By default, env.development will be used. Please read the use cases below to find out what configuration you need to make for different scenarios.


You do not need to modify any of the config files for them to run.

There are also env.production and env.staging to choose based on developer's need. For example, if you want to use staging, you can do cp ./config/env.staging ./.env on Linux/macOS, or copy config/env.staging .env on Windows.

Here are instructions for different scenarios:


Make sure you're running these commands in the root of telescope project. If any of the commands below are failing, use the command pwd to find your current directory and navigate back to project root (e.g., cd <the path of directory you place telescope project>/telescope)

Option 1: Run frontend and backend microservices locally

This is the default setting, you do not need to copy or modify any env file.

pnpm services:start

An Alternative version of the start command is

docker-compose --env-file config/env.development up --build -d

Then visit localhost:8000 in a web browser to see Telescope running locally.

Microservices will start downloading feeds and processing them until stopped. You can stop the microservices by running

pnpm services:stop

For more information about the services, please read Telescope API Services.

If this doesn't work for you, it is possible that you have an old .env file in the root that you copied from env.example from telescope 1.0. Please remove it, and try again.

Seeding the database

Run cp ./src/db/env.example .env from the root directory to copy database url and store it an .env file.

Run the pnpm db:init script as it will populate the database with an initial set of data to make some parts of our application work properly.

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pnpm db:init script will run db:migrate and db:seed.

db:migrate is responsible to run a migration to apply new changes to the database if any.

db:seed is responsible to populate the database with an initial set of data.

Docker Desktop app: Image

Docker CLI: docker stop <container-id> (e.g, 15649f07c6bf in above picture)

To find container-id: docker ps -a This will return all the docker containers, STATUS, and their PORTS

Finally, restart the parser container by running pnpm services:start parser.

Option 2: Run frontend only

cp config/env.staging .env

pnpm dev

Then visit localhost:8000 in a web browser

This will let you use the Telescope staging server as the backend so you do not need to run it locally.

Option 3: Mix and match services between local and staging production

See staging-production-deployment for more information on running Telescope in staging or production mode.

This one depends on which part you're working with. For example, if you want to work with authorization, you need to specify the URL of AUTH in your .env file by going to .env and modifying SSO_URL=... and modify it to the one you want to work with. If you're testing auth locally, use SSO_URL=http://localhost/v1/auth; otherwise, use the staging one, SSO_URL=http://dev.api.telescope.cdot.systems/v1/auth.

After modify the .env file, run these commands,

pnpm services:start

Option 4: Run microservices individually

For a full list of avaliable microservices, please read Telescope API Services.

pnpm services:start [name of microservice]

For example

pnpm services:start posts

Option 5: Update Docker image(s) after changes

Run the following commands to rebuild the image(s):

pnpm services:clean
pnpm services:start

Option 6: Run Login SSO

If you need to login to Telescope or your work requires logging in for testing purposes, you don't need to start an extra container for login, it is included in sso auth service. You can simply use UI to login. For more information on Login please refer to our Login Document.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

How do I start using pnpm if I have telescope installed with npm?

Since pnpm uses a completely different node_modules structure, if you have previously installed dependencies with npm, you should delete them. To do so, from the root of the telescope folder, run the following command:

npx npkill

Using npkill, select node_modules with the cursor arrows and press SPACE to delete them one by one. You can then exit by pressing Q.

How do I start Docker Daemon?

Make sure to you have docker running on your machine, you can start docker through the following methods:

  1. Running the command sudo dockerd
  2. Starting the docker application manually
  3. Restarting your machine.

You can check out the docker daemon cli through this link here

I followed all the steps but my browser still can't run telescope locally

Try removing the docker images and pulling them again, while you're in the root directory of the project

  1. docker system prune -af will delete the containers
  2. docker-compose up <services_here> will pull the containers and start them up

'Cannot find cgroup mount destination' error

This could be an issue with WSL2 in Windows 10. You can resolve it by:

  1. sudo mkdir /sys/fs/cgroup/systemd
  2. sudo mount -t cgroup -o none,name=systemd cgroup /sys/fs/cgroup/systemd

'Malformed input, repository not added' message

If you received this error While installing Docker on Linux Mint. The command below might not work on certain Linux distributions.

sudo add-apt-repository \
"deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu \
$(lsb_release -cs) \

If you receive the error message "Malformed input, repository not added" after running this command, please try the below steps instead:

  1. run sudo nano /etc/apt/sources.list.d/addtional-repositories.list
  2. paste deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu bionic stable to the file, save it, and exit.
  3. run sudo add-apt-repository deb [arch=amd64] https://download.docker.com/linux/ubuntu bionic stable
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Alternatively, you can set up an AWS Cloud9 IDE environment if none of the above worked for you. Please see our AWS Cloud9 IDE Setup documentation for more information.

No Posts after Running

If you have no posts after starting the services, make sure that you properly seeded the database and ran the start script. You do not need to modify any of the config files or modify the Postgres URL.