by outline

outline / outline

The fastest wiki and knowledge base for growing teams. Beautiful, feature rich, and markdown compati...

9.9K Stars 675 Forks Last release: 23 days ago (v0.48.1) Other 2.6K Commits 78 Releases

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An open, extensible, wiki for your team built using React and Node.js.
Try out Outline using our hosted version at www.getoutline.com.


This is the source code that runs Outline and all the associated services. If you want to use Outline then you don't need to run this code, we offer a hosted version of the app at getoutline.com.

If you'd like to run your own copy of Outline or contribute to development then this is the place for you.


Outline requires the following dependencies:

  • Node.js >= 12
  • Yarn
  • Postgres >=9.5
  • Redis >= 4
  • AWS S3 bucket or compatible API for file storage
  • Slack or Google developer application for authentication


For a manual self-hosted production installation these are the suggested steps:

  1. Clone this repo and install dependencies with
    yarn install
  2. Build the source code with
    yarn build
  3. Using the
    as a reference, set the required variables in your production environment. The following are required as a minimum:
      (follow instructions in the comments at the top of
    2. SLACK_KEY
      (this is called "Client ID" in Slack admin)
      (this is called "Client Secret" in Slack admin)
      (run your own local copy of Postgres, or use a cloud service)
    5. REDIS_URL
      (run your own local copy of Redis, or use a cloud service)
    6. URL
      (the public facing URL of your installation)
    7. AWS_
      (all of the keys beginning with AWS)
  4. Migrate database schema with
    yarn sequelize:migrate
    . Production assumes an SSL connection, if Postgres is on the same machine and is not SSL you can migrate with
    yarn sequelize:migrate --env=production-ssl-disabled
  5. Start the service with any daemon tools you prefer. Take PM2 for example,
    NODE_ENV=production pm2 start ./build/server/index.js --name outline
  6. Visit http://youserverip:3000 and you should be able to see Outline page

Port number can be changed using the

environment variable
  1. (Optional) You can add an
    reverse proxy to serve your instance of Outline for a clean URL without the port number, support SSL, etc.


In development you can quickly get an environment running using Docker by following these steps:

  1. Install these dependencies if you don't already have them
    1. Docker for Desktop
    2. Node.js (v12 LTS preferred)
    3. Yarn
  2. Clone this repo
  3. Register a Slack app at https://api.slack.com/apps
  4. Copy the file
  5. Fill out the following fields:
      (follow instructions in the comments at the top of
    2. SLACK_KEY
      (this is called "Client ID" in Slack admin)
      (this is called "Client Secret" in Slack admin)
  6. Configure your Slack app's Oauth & Permissions settings
    1. Add
      as an Oauth redirect URL
    2. Ensure that the bot token scope contains at least
  7. Run
    make up
    . This will download dependencies, build and launch a development version of Outline



Outline uses debug. To enable debugging output, the following categories are available:



Sequelize is used to create and run migrations, for example:

yarn sequelize migration:generate --name my-migration
yarn sequelize db:migrate

Or to run migrations on test database:

yarn sequelize db:migrate --env test


Outline is composed of separate backend and frontend application which are both driven by the same Node process. As both are written in Javascript, they share some code but are mostly separate. We utilize the latest language features, including

, and Flow typing. Prettier and ESLint are enforced by CI.


Outline's frontend is a React application compiled with Webpack. It uses Mobx for state management and Styled Components for component styles. Unless global, state logic and styles are always co-located with React components together with their subcomponents to make the component tree easier to manage.

The editor itself is built on Prosemirror and hosted in a separate repository to encourage reuse: rich-markdown-editor

  • app/
    - Frontend React application
  • app/scenes
    - Full page views
  • app/components
    - Reusable React components
  • app/stores
    - Global state stores
  • app/models
    - State models
  • app/types
    - Flow types for non-models


Backend is driven by Koa (API, web server), Sequelize (database) and React for public pages and emails.

  • server/api
    - API endpoints
  • server/commands
    - Domain logic, currently being refactored from /models
  • server/emails
    - React rendered email templates
  • server/models
    - Database models
  • server/policies
    - Authorization logic
  • server/presenters
    - API responses for database models
  • server/test
    - Test helps and support
  • server/utils
    - Utility methods
  • shared
    - Code shared between frontend and backend applications


We aim to have sufficient test coverage for critical parts of the application and aren't aiming for 100% unit test coverage. All API endpoints and anything authentication related should be thoroughly tested.

To add new tests, write your tests with Jest and add a file with

extension next to the tested code.
# To run all tests
yarn test

To run backend tests

yarn test:server

To run frontend tests

yarn test:app


Outline is built and maintained by a small team – we'd love your help to fix bugs and add features!

However, before working on a pull request please let the core team know by creating or commenting in an issue on GitHub, and we'd also love to hear from you in the Discussions. This way we can ensure that an approach is agreed on before code is written and will hopefully help to get your contributions integrated faster!

If you’re looking for ways to get started, here's a list of ways to help us improve Outline:

  • Issues with
    good first issue
  • Performance improvements, both on server and frontend
  • Developer happiness and documentation
  • Bugs and other issues listed on GitHub


Outline is BSL 1.1 licensed.

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