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How to use Gitpod for Remote Development#

If your computer performance restricts you from developing, you can use Gitpod. Gitpod allows you to do the devs on an ephemeral environment. It is free up to 50 hours per month (

Gitpod provides a robust ready-to-code developer environment in the cloud eliminating the friction of setting up local environments and IDEs with Perl, Docker and plugins, making it possible for even new contributors to OpenFoodFacts Server to get started in minutes instead of hours!

Note that while this how-to is tailored for Gitpod, using alternatives like GitHub Codespaces should be similar.

For the most part, development on Gitpod is similar to developing locally as documented in the quickstart guide and docker-developer-guide; however accessing your dev-deployment of openfoodfacts-server requires an extra step.

Connect GitHub and Gitpod#

When you use Gitpod, you allow Gitpod to use your GitHub account.

In GitHub, you can review (and revoke if you stop using Gitpod) the access granted to Gitpod: click on your avatar on top right of the screen, then, Settings. In the left panel, under Integrations, click on Applications, then, Authorized OAuth Apps.

On the Gitpod side, you can also update what Gitpod is allowed to do with your GitHub account: click on your avatar on the top right of the screen, then, Settings. In the left panel, click on Integrations. The line for GitHub should be green. At the end of this line, click on the three dots, then Edit Permissions. '''If you want to create a pull request via Gitpod, you need to grant public_repo access.'''

Get Started#

Open in Gitpod

Gitpod will automatically clone and open the repository for you in VSCode by default. It will also automatically build the project for you on opening and comes with Docker and other tools pre-installed making it one of the fastest ways to spin up an environment for openfoodfacts-server.

Once the repository is open in Gitpod, other instructions in the quick-start guide can be generally followed.

Accessing your development instance of openfoodfacts-server#

Since Gitpod runs your code in a remote machine, your dev-deployment spun up with make dev or make up is not accessible when you open the default http://openfoodfacts.localhost in your browser. This happens because the server running on the remote machine is not accessible on your local network interface.

To overcome this, we can use a SSH tunnel that listens to your local port 80 and forwards traffic to port 80 of the remote machine. Gitpod makes it really simple to SSH into your dev environment by letting you copy the ssh command required to reach your remote environment. To start, follow the ssh instructions on Gitpod's official guide: SSH for workspaces as easy as copy/paste. Once you have copied the ssh command and ensure it works as-is, add a -L 80:localhost:80 to the command to make it look like: ssh -L 80:localhost:80 ''.

Once you execute the altered command in your terminal, you should be able to access Open Food Facts on http://openfoodfacts.localhost just as documented in the quickstart guide!

Remark: you will need to trust the fingerprint at first connection.

Remark: for some Linux distributions, port 80 is reserved. A workaround is to switch to port 8080: in gitpod, open the .env file and replace the line PRODUCT_OPENER_PORT=80 by PRODUCT_OPENER_PORT=8080, then replace -L 80:localhost:80 by -L 8080:localhost:8080. Rollback the changes on .env before making a pull request!

Remark: on MacOS or Linux, when trying to bind, you might see a bind fail. Remember that any port below 1024 is reserved for the root user.

  • The easiest fix is to add sudo just before the ssh command.
  • Another way is to switch to port 8080: in gitpod, open the .env file (or better user direnv) and change PRODUCT_OPENER_PORT=80 by PRODUCT_OPENER_PORT=8080, then replace -L 80:localhost:80 by -L 8080:localhost:8080 in the ssh command and connect to world.openfoodfacts.localhost:8080. Rollback the changes on .env before making a pull request!

Remark: the address to connect with ssh can change after a few days. If you get a Connection closed by ... port 22 simply go back to and copy the new address.

Remark: if you load the page after some changes but get a 502 Bad Gateway, check again your code. Something may be wrong with it. Just in case, try commenting out the part you just coded to see if it works.

Create an account to be able to edit products.

Some commands#

After you made devs and want to apply changes and see them on the website, you can run:

$ docker compose restart 
$ make up  

If you face some difficulties, you can always look at the logs (use ctrl + c, to quit):

$ make log  
$ make tail  
After development, before opening a pull request, run the following command:
$ make checks