Richard van der Hoff
Centre images in dialog buttons
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Vector is a Matrix web client built using the Matrix React SDK (https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk).
The easiest way to test Vector is to just use the hosted copy at https://vector.im/beta. The develop branch is continuously deployed by Jenkins at https://vector.im/develop for those who like living dangerously.
To host your own copy of Vector, the quickest bet is to use a pre-built released version of Vector:
- Download the latest version from https://vector.im/packages/
- Untar the tarball on your web server
- Move (or symlink) the vector-x.x.x directory to an appropriate name
- If desired, copy
config.jsonand edit it as desired. See below for details.
- Enter the URL into your browser and log into vector!
Important Security Note
We do not recommend running Vector from the same domain name as your Matrix homeserver. The reason is the risk of XSS (cross-site-scripting) vulnerabilities that could occur if someone caused Vector to load and render malicious user generated content from a Matrix API which then had trusted access to Vector (or other apps) due to sharing the same domain.
We have put some coarse mitigations into place to try to protect against this situation, but it's still not good practice to do it in the first place. See https://github.com/vector-im/vector-web/issues/1977 for more details.
Building From Source
Vector is a modular webapp built with modern ES6 and requires a npm build system to build.
- Install or update
node.jsso that your
npmis at least at version
- Clone the repo:
git clone https://github.com/vector-im/vector-web.git
- Switch to the vector directory:
- Install the prerequisites:
- If you are using the
developbranch of vector, you will probably need to rebuild one of the dependencies, due to https://github.com/npm/npm/issues/3055:
(cd node_modules/matrix-react-sdk && npm install)
- Configure the app by copying
config.jsonand modifying it (see below for details)
npm run packageto build a tarball to deploy. Untaring this file will give a version-specific directory containing all the files that need to go on your web server.
npm run package is not supported on Windows, so Windows users can run
npm run build, which will build all the necessary files into the
directory. The version of Vector will not appear in Settings without
using the package script. You can then mount the vector directory on your
webserver to actually serve up the app, which is entirely static content.
You can configure the app by copying
vector/config.json and customising it:
default_hs_urlis the default home server url.
default_is_urlis the default identity server url (this is the server used for verifying third party identifiers like email addresses). If this is blank, registering with an email address, adding an email address to your account, or inviting users via email address will not work. Matrix identity servers are very simple web services which map third party identifiers (currently only email addresses) to matrix IDs: see http://matrix.org/docs/spec/identity_service/unstable.html for more details. Currently the only public matrix identity servers are https://matrix.org and https://vector.im. In future identity servers will be decentralised.
roomDirectory: config for the public room directory. This section encodes behaviour on the room directory screen for filtering the list by server / network type and joining third party networks. This config section will disappear once APIs are available to get this information for home servers. This section is optional.
roomDirectory.servers: List of other Home Servers' directories to include in the drop down list. Optional.
roomDirectory.serverConfig: Config for each server in
roomDirectory.serverConfig.<server_name>.networks: List of networks (named in
roomDirectory.networks) to include for this server. Optional.
roomDirectory.networks: config for each network type. Optional.
roomDirectory.<network_type>.name: Human-readable name for the network. Required.
roomDirectory.<network_type>.protocol: Protocol as given by the server in
/_matrix/client/unstable/thirdparty/protocolsresponse. Required to be able to join this type of third party network.
roomDirectory.<network_type>.domain: Domain as given by the server in
/_matrix/client/unstable/thirdparty/protocolsresponse, if present. Required to be able to join this type of third party network, if present in
roomDirectory.<network_type>.portalRoomPattern: Regular expression matching aliases for portal rooms to locations on this network. Required.
roomDirectory.<network_type>.icon: URL to an icon to be displayed for this network. Required.
roomDirectory.<network_type>.example: Textual example of a location on this network, eg. '#channel' for an IRC network. Optional.
roomDirectory.<network_type>.nativePattern: Regular expression that matches a valid location on this network. This is used as a hint to the user to indicate when a valid location has been entered so it's not necessary for this to be exactly correct. Optional.
Running as a Desktop app
In future we'll do an official distribution of Vector as an desktop app. Meanwhile, there are a few options:
@asdf:matrix.org points out that you can use nativefier and it just works(tm):
sudo npm install nativefier -g nativefier https://vector.im/beta/
krisa has a dedicated electron project at https://github.com/krisak/vector-electron-desktop (although you should swap out the 'vector' folder for the latest vector tarball you want to run. Get a tarball from https://vector.im/packages or build your own - see Building From Source above).
There's also a (much) older electron distribution at https://github.com/stevenhammerton/vector-desktop
Before attempting to develop on Vector you must read the developer guide
matrix-react-sdk at https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk, which
also defines the design, architecture and style for Vector too.
The idea of Vector is to be a relatively lightweight "skin" of customisations on
top of the underlying
matrix-react-sdk provides both the
higher and lower level React components useful for building Matrix communication
apps using React.
After creating a new component you must run
npm run reskindex to regenerate
component-index.js for the app (used in future for skinning)
However, as of July 2016 this layering abstraction is broken due to rapid
development on Vector forcing
matrix-react-sdk to move fast at the expense of
maintaining a clear abstraction between the two. Hacking on Vector inevitably
means hacking equally on
matrix-react-sdk, and there are bits of
matrix-react-sdk behaviour incorrectly residing in the
(e.g. matrix-react-sdk specific CSS), and a bunch of Vector specific behaviour
matrix-react-sdk (grep for Vector). This separation problem will be
solved asap once development on Vector (and thus matrix-react-sdk) has
stabilised. Until then, the two projects should basically be considered as a
single unit. In particular,
matrix-react-sdk issues are currently filed
vector-web in github.
Please note that Vector is intended to run correctly without access to the public internet. So please don't depend on resources (JS libs, CSS, images, fonts) hosted by external CDNs or servers but instead please package all dependencies into Vector itself.
Setting up a dev environment
Much of the functionality in Vector is actually in the
matrix-js-sdk modules. It is possible to set these up in a way that makes it
easy to track the
develop branches in git and to make local changes without
having to manually rebuild each time.
First clone and build
git clone email@example.com:matrix-org/matrix-js-sdk.git
git checkout develop
npm install source-map-loader# because webpack is made of fail (https://github.com/webpack/webpack/issues/1472)
Then similarly with
git clone firstname.lastname@example.org:matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk.git
git checkout develop
rm -r node_modules/matrix-js-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-js-sdk node_modules/
Finally, build and start vector itself:
git clone email@example.com:vector-im/vector-web.git
git checkout develop
rm -r node_modules/matrix-js-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-js-sdk node_modules/
rm -r node_modules/matrix-react-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-react-sdk node_modules/
Wait a few seconds for the initial build to finish; you should see something like:
Hash: b0af76309dd56d7275c8 Version: webpack 1.12.14 Time: 14533ms Asset Size Chunks Chunk Names bundle.js 4.2 MB 0 [emitted] main bundle.css 91.5 kB 0 [emitted] main bundle.js.map 5.29 MB 0 [emitted] main bundle.css.map 116 kB 0 [emitted] main + 1013 hidden modules
Remember, the command will not terminate since it runs the web server and rebuilds source files when they change. This development server also disables caching, so do NOT use it in production.
Open http://127.0.0.1:8080/ in your browser to see your newly built Vector.
When you make changes to
matrix-react-sdk, you will need to run
npm run build in the relevant directory. You can do this automatically by instead
npm start in the directory, to start a development builder which
will watch for changes to the files and rebuild automatically.
If you add or remove any components from the Vector skin, you will need to rebuild
the skin's index by running,
npm run reskindex.
If any of these steps error with,
file table overflow, you are probably on a mac
which has a very low limit on max open files. Run
ulimit -Sn 1024 and try again.
You'll need to do this in each new terminal you open before building vector.
All issues for Vector-web and Matrix-react-sdk should be filed at https://github.com/matrix-org/matrix-react-sdk/issues
Issues will be triaged by the core team using the following primary set of tags:
priority: P1: top priority; typically blocks releases. P2: one below that P3: non-urgent P4/P5: bluesky some day, who knows.
bug or feature: bug severity: * cosmetic - feature works functionally but UI/UX is broken. * critical - whole app doesn't work * major - entire feature doesn't work * minor - partially broken feature (but still usable)
* release blocker * ui/ux (think of this as cosmetic) * network (specific to network conditions) * platform (platform specific)
End-to-end encryption in Vector and Matrix is not yet considered ready for day-to-day use; it is experimental and should be considered only as a proof-of-concept. See https://matrix.org/jira/browse/SPEC-162 for an overview of the current progress.
To enable the (very experimental) support, check the 'End-to-End Encryption' box in the 'Labs' section of the user settings (note that the labs are disabled on http://vector.im/beta: you will need to use http://vector.im/develop or your own deployment of vector). The Room Settings dialog will then show an 'Encryption' setting; rooms for which you are an administrator will offer you the option of enabling encryption. Any messages sent in that room will then be encrypted.
Note that historical encrypted messages cannot currently be decoded - history is therefore lost when the page is reloaded.