by flatsheet

flatsheet / flatsheet

A realtime editor for curating data as a team.

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A realtime editor for curating data as a team. flatsheet.io

Join the chat at https://gitter.im/flatsheet/flatsheet

Current status

This version of Flatsheet is an in-progress rewrite using Node.js. The first version of Flatsheet was a Ruby on Rails prototype.

Many aspects of the project are incomplete, but things are far enough along that it will be useful if you want to install it and experiment in a development environment.

Want to see an early demo of the real-time editor? Go here: http://flatsheet-realtime.herokuapp.com/


Open issues represent current todo list: github.com/flatsheet/flatsheet/issues

Getting started

There are two ways to get flatsheet running:

Option 1: clone the flatsheet repository

Cloning the repo is best for testing things out & developing flatsheet, but works fine for other purposes. You just have to be prepared to manually pull & merge changes to your server.


  • clone this repo:
    git clone [email protected]:flatsheet/flatsheet.git
  • change directory:
    cd flatsheet
  • run
    npm install
  • next you can follow the readme from here: https://github.com/flatsheet/flatsheet#create-an-admin-user

Option 2: use flatsheet as an npm dependency

This is a good option for when you're using flatsheet in production, because you can make use of npm to install and update flatsheet.


  • Create a directory name
    for your project (or whatever you like)
  • Change directory
    cd flatsheet
  • Create a package.json file with
    npm init
  • Install flatsheet with npm:
    npm install flatsheet --save
  • Install the response module:
    npm install response --save

File/folder setup

  • Create a folder named
    mkdir data
  • Create a app.js file with this code:
var server = require('flatsheet')({
  site: {
    title: 'flatsheet',
    email: '[email protected]',
    url: '',
    contact: 'your full name'
  db: __dirname + '/data'


  • Create a .env file for secret config like sendgrid username/password:
  • Add a
    script and a
    script to the
    field in your package.json file:
"scripts": {
  "flatsheet": "flatsheet",
  "start": "node app.js"
  • So your full package.json file should look something like this:
  "name": "flatsheet-example",
  "version": "1.0.0",
  "description": "",
  "main": "app.js",
  "scripts": {
    "flatsheet": "flatsheet",
    "start": "node app.js"
  "author": "",
  "license": "ISC"
  • next create an admin user:

Create an admin user

  • Create an admin account by running
    npm run flatsheet accounts create-admin
    . You'll be prompted for email, username, & password.
  • You can run
    npm run flatsheet accounts list
    to see that your admin account was created.

Start the server

  • Now run
    npm start
    to start the server.
  • In development you can watch the css & js using
    npm run watch
  • In development you can debug runnig
    npm run-script debug
    . You add breakpoints in the code with
  • Go to
    and log in with the admin account credentials.

Create a sheet

  • Log in
  • Click the New blank sheet button
  • Fill out the name and description

Invite users

  • Navigate to
  • Enter email addresses, one address per line
  • Click "Send invitation"
  • Users will receive an email with a link they can click to create accounts


This project is supported in part by a code sprint grant from OpenNews.

More info at the Flatsheet blog.



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