Developing the Sourcegraph web app

Guide to contribute to the Sourcegraph web app. Please also see our general TypeScript documentation.

Local development

See common commands for local development. Commands specifically useful for the web team can be found in the root package.json. Also, check out the web app README.


The sg CLI tool is required for key local development commands. Check out the sg documentation.

To install it, see the instructions.


  1. Start the web server and point it to any deployed API instance. See more info in the web app README.

    sg start web-standalone

    For the open-source version:

    sg start oss-web-standalone

    To use a public API that doesn't require authentication for most of the functionality:

    SOURCEGRAPH_API_URL= sg start web-standalone

    For open-source version:

    SOURCEGRAPH_API_URL= sg start oss-web-standalone
  2. Start all backend services with the frontend server.

    sg start # which defaults to `sg start enterprise`

    For the open-source version:

    sg start oss
  3. Regenerate GraphQL schema, Typescript types for GraphQL operations and CSS Modules.

    yarn generate

    To regenerate on file change:

    yarn watch-generate


Storybook is used to work on the components in isolation. The latest version is deployed at

To use it locally, use yarn storybook command to start the Storybook development server. This will load stories from all the workspaces that we have in the monorepo.

To boost the build/recompilation performance of the Storybook, it's possible to load only a subset of stories needed for the current feature implementation. This is done via the environment variable STORIES_GLOB:

STORIES_GLOB=client/web/src/**/*.story.tsx yarn workspace @sourcegraph/storybook run start

It's common for a developer to work only in one client workspace, e.g., web or browser. The root package.json has commands to launch Storybook only for each individual workspace, which greatly increases the build performance.

yarn storybook:branded
yarn storybook:browser
yarn storybook:shared
yarn storybook:web
yarn storybook:wildcard

Naming files

If the file only contains one main export (e.g. a component class + some interfaces), name the file like the main export. This name is PascalCase if the main export is a class. This makes it easy to find it with file search. If the file has no main export (e.g. a file with utility functions), give the file a name that groups the exports semantically. This name is usually short and lowercase or kebab-case, e.g. util/errors.ts contains error utilities. Avoid adding utilities into a util.ts file, it is doomed to become a mess over time.

.ts vs .tsx

You must use the tsx file extension if the file contains TSX (React) syntax. You should use the normal ts extension if it does not. The tsx extension makes certain generic syntax impossible and also enables emmet suggestions in editors, which are annoying in normal TypeScript code.

index.* files

Index files should not never contain declarations on their own. Their purpose is to reexport symbols from a number of other files to make imports easier and define the the public API.


  • Try to do one component per file. This makes it easy to encapsulate corresponding styles.
  • Don't pass arrow functions as React bindings unless unavoidable

Code splitting

Code splitting refers to the practice of bundling the frontend code into multiple JavaScript files, each with a subset of the frontend code, so that the client only needs to download and parse/run the code necessary for the page they are viewing. We use the react-router code splitting technique to accomplish this.

When adding a new route (and new components), you can opt into code splitting for it by referring to a lazy-loading reference to the component (instead of a static import binding of the component). To create the lazy-loading reference to the component, use React.lazy, as in:

const MyComponent = React.lazy(async () => ({
    default: (await import('./path/to/MyComponent)).MyComponent,

If you don't do this (and just use a normal import), it will still work, but it will increase the initial bundle size for all users.

(It is necessary to return the component as the default property of an object because React.lazy is hard-coded to look there for it. We could avoid this extra work by using default exports, but we chose not to use default exports (reasons).)


We use Prettier so you never have to worry about how to format your code. yarn run format will check & autoformat all code.


We write unit tests and e2e tests.

Unit tests

Unit tests are for things that can be tested in isolation; you provide inputs and make assertion on the outputs and/or side effects.

React component snapshot tests are a special kind of unit test that we use to test React components. See "React component snapshot tests" for more information.

You can run unit tests via yarn test (to run all) or yarn test --watch (to run only tests changed since the last commit). See "Testing" for more information.

E2E tests