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Vector is a Matrix web client built using the Matrix React SDK (

Getting Started

Vector is a modular webapp built with modern ES6 and requires and npm build system to build. Instructions for building are below, but building from source shouldn't be necessary for simple deployments.

  1. Download the latest version from
  2. Untar the tarball on your web server
  3. Move (or symlink) the vector-x.x.x directory to an appropriate name
  4. If desired, copy config.sample.json to config.json and edit it as desired. See below for details.
  5. Enter the URL into your browser and log into vector!

Building From Source

If you do wish to build vector from source:

  1. Install or update node.js so that your npm is at least at version 2.0.0
  2. Clone the repo: git clone
  3. Switch to the vector directory: cd vector-web
  4. Install the prerequisites: npm install
  5. If you are using the develop branch of vector, you will probably need to rebuild one of the dependencies, due to (cd node_modules/matrix-react-sdk && npm install)
  6. Configure the app by copying config.sample.json to config.json and modifying it (see below for details)
  7. npm run package to 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.

Note that 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 vector 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.sample.json to vector/config.json and customising it:

  1. default_hs_url is the default home server url.
  2. default_is_url is 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 or adding an email address to your account will not work.


Before attempting to develop on Vector you must read the developer guide for matrix-react-sdk at, 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. 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 the 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 vector-web project (e.g. matrix-react-sdk specific CSS), and a bunch of Vector specific behaviour in the 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 against 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-react-sdk and 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 matrix-js-sdk:

  1. git clone
  2. pushd matrix-js-sdk
  3. git checkout develop
  4. npm install
  5. npm install source-map-loader # because webpack is made of fail (
  6. popd

Then similarly with matrix-react-sdk:

  1. git clone
  2. pushd matrix-react-sdk
  3. git checkout develop
  4. npm install
  5. rm -r node_modules/matrix-js-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-js-sdk node_modules/
  6. popd

Finally, build and start vector itself:

  1. git clone

  2. cd vector-web

  3. git checkout develop

  4. npm install

  5. rm -r node_modules/matrix-js-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-js-sdk node_modules/

  6. rm -r node_modules/matrix-react-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-react-sdk node_modules/

  7. npm start

  8. 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  5.29 MB       0  [emitted]  main   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.

  9. Open 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 running 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.

Filing issues

All issues for Vector-web and Matrix-react-sdk should be filed at

Triaging 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)

Enabling encryption

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 for an overview of the current progress.

Vector is built with support for end-to-end encryption by default.

To enable encryption for a room, type

/encrypt on

in the message bar in that room. Vector will then generate a set of keys, and encrypt all outgoing messages in that room. (Note that other people in that room will send messages in the clear unless they also /encrypt on.)

Note that historical encrypted messages cannot currently be decoded - history is therefore lost when the page is reloaded.

There is currently no visual indication of whether encryption is enabled for a room.