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Developing Neosync Locally


This section goes into detail on each tool that is used for developing with Neosync locally. This section casts a wide net, and some tools may not be required depending on if you are using a Tilt setup or a Compose setup. Most of the Kubernetes focused tools can be skipped if developing via compose.

Neosync DevContainer

Neosync has a pre-published devcontainer that can be used to easily get a working Neosync dev environment. This container comes pre-packaged with all of the tools needed for developing Neosync, and works with Tilt or Compose, or Bare Metal setups.


This section contains a flat list of the tools that are used to develop Neosync and why.

Detailed below are the main dependencies are descriptions of how they are utilized:


If you're choosing to develop in a Tilt environment, this section is more important as it contains all of the K8s focused tooling.

Tilt is a great tool that is used to automate the setup of a Kubernetes cluster. There are multiple Tiltfile's throughout the code, along with a top-level one that is used to inject all of the K8s manifests to setup Neosync inside of a K8s cluster.

This enables fast development, locally, while closely mimicking a real production environment.

  • kind
    • Kubernetes in Docker. We use this to spin up a slim kubernetes cluster that deploys all of the neosync resources.
  • tilt
    • Allows us to define our development environment as code.
  • ctlptl
    • CLI provided by the Tilt-team to make it easy to declaratively define the kind cluster that is used for development
  • kubectl
    • Allows for observability and management into the spun-up kind cluster.
  • kustomize
    • yaml template tool for ad-hoc patches to kubernetes configurations
  • helm
    • Kubernetes package manager. All of our app deployables come with a helm-chart for easy installation into kubernetes
  • helmfile
    • Declaratively define a helmfile in code! We have all of our dev charts defined as a helmfile, of which Tilt points directly to.

Go + Protobuf

  • Go
    • The language of choice for our backend and worker packages
  • sqlc
    • Our tool of choice for the data-layer. This lets us write pure SQL and let sqlc generate the rest.
  • buf
    • Our tool of choice for interfacing with protobuf
  • golangci-ci
    • The golang linter of choice
  • migrate
    • Golang Migrate is the tool that is used to run DB Migrations for the API.


  • Node/Npm
    • Used to run the app, along with Nextjs.

All of these tools can be easily installed with brew if on a Mac. Today, sqlc and buf don't need to be installed locally as we exec docker images for running them. This lets us declare the versions in code and docker takes care of the rest.

Brew Install

Each tool above can be straightforwardly installed with brew if on Linux/MacOS

brew install kind tilt-dev/tap/tilt tilt-dev/tap/ctlptl kubernetes-cli kustomize helm helmfile go sqlc buf golangci-lint node

Setup with Compose

When running with either Tilt or docker compose, volumes are mapped from these file systems to the host machine for both Neosync and Temporal's databases. A volume is mounted locally in a .data folder.

To enable hot reloading, must run docker compose watch instead of up. Currently there is a limitation with devcontainers where this command must be run via sudo. This works pretty well with the app, but can be a bit buggy with the api or worker. Sometimes it's a little easier to just rebuild the docker container like.

Assuming the latest binary is available in the bin folder:

$ docker compose up -d --build api

Building the backend and worker when using Docker Compose.

If using the dev-focused compose instead of the *-prod.yml compose files, the binaries for the api and worker will need to be built.

Run the following command to build the binaries:

make build

To Rebuild the binaries, run:

make rebuild

When building the Go processes with the intention to run with docker compose, it's important to run make dbuild instead of the typical make build so that the correct GOOS is specified. This is only needed if your native OS is not Linux (or aren't running in a devcontainer). The make dbuild command ensures that the Go binary is compiled for Linux instead of the host os.

This will need to be done for both the worker and api processes prior to running compose up. Using the following command will build both the binaries for you:

make compose-dev-up

To stop, run:

make compose-dev-down

Once everything is up and running, the app can be accessed locally at http://localhost:3000.

Running Compose with Authentication

Note, a compose file with authentication pre-configured can be found here. This will stand up Keycloak with a pre-configured realm that will allow logging in to Neosync with a standard username and password, completely offline!

make compose-dev-auth-up

To stop, run:

make compose-dev-auth-down

Docker Desktop

If using Docker Desktop, the host file path to the .data folder will need to be added to the File Sharing tab.

The allow list can be found by first opening Docker Desktop. Settings -> Resources -> File Sharing and add the path to the Neosync repository.

If you don't want to do this, the volume mappings can be removed from the compose file, or by removing the PVC for Tilt. This comes at a negative of the local database not surviving restarts.

Setup with Tilt

Step 1 is to ensure that the kind cluster is up and running along with its registry. This can be manually created, or done simply with ctlptl. The cluster is declaratively defined here

The below command invokes the cluster-create script that can be found here

make cluster-create

After the cluster has been successfully created, tilt up can be run to start up neosync. Refer to the top-level Tiltfile for a clear picture of everything that runs. Each dependency in the neosync repo is split into sub Tilt files so that they can be run in isolation, or in combination with other sub-resources more easily.

Once everything is up and running, the app can be accessed locally at http://localhost:3000. -->