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Installing Streetmix

These instructions are for first-time setup on a “local” or “development” environment.

On Mac OS X


You may already have some of these prerequisites installed. Skip or update the packages that already exist.

  1. Install XCode Developer Tools.

  2. Optionally, install the Homebrew package manager. This makes installing other software packages easier, but you can use any other package installation method you wish. In this example and in the following steps, we will use Homebrew on the command line to set up your development environment.

    /usr/bin/ruby -e "$(curl -fsSL"
  3. Install Node.js. In production, Streetmix uses the latest “Active LTS” release. Locally, you should be able to use any version of Node.js in the “Current” or “Active” state. While you can download installers and binaries from the website, Homebrew makes it easier to keep Node.js up to date in the future. Let’s install Node.js with Homebrew:

    brew install nodejs
  4. Install PostgreSQL. You can download MacOSX packages here or use the Postgres app, but the easiest method would be to use Homebrew, again:

    brew install postgres
  5. Install PostGIS. You can download MacOSX packages here but just like above the easiest method would be to use Homebrew:

    brew install postgis

Install and run Streetmix

See Instructions for all systems, below.

On Windows

These instructions below will assume that the user has basic familiarity with Git, GitHub, and the Git Bash or Windows Powershell command line interface, and has administrative permissions to install software on the machine.


Streetmix was not developed on a Windows platform, and testing is limited. Although our users have successfully stood up Streetmix on Windows machines in the past, these instructions may be out of date.


You may already have some of these prerequisites installed. Skip or update the packages that already exist.

  1. Install a modern browser. We recommend Firefox or Chrome. Internet Explorer is not supported. (See Does Streetmix support Internet Explorer?).
  2. Install Git. You may want to consider following Microsoft’s guide to Windows Subsystem for Linux, which helps us provide similar command line instructions to Mac OSX and Linux environments.
  3. Install Node.js. The site should detect your Windows system and provide you with the correct install executable, but you may download a specific package at (e.g. Windows 64-bit installer). In production, Streetmix uses the latest “Active LTS” release. Locally, you should be able to use any version of Node.js in the “Current” or “Active” state.
  4. Install PostgreSQL. You can download Windows packages here.
  5. Install PostGIS. You can download Windows packages here.

Install and run Streetmix

See Instructions for all systems, below.

On Linux

The Linux ecosystem can vary greatly depending on distribution (or “distro”) and developer preferences, which makes it challenging to maintain accurate and up-to-date installation instructions that will be perfect for every instance. Consequently, our instructions must assume that the user has basic familiarity with their own system, that common developer tools such as git are already installed or that the user knows how to obtain them on their own, and that the user has the necessary permissions to install software on the machine.

Here, our goal is to provide quick-start instructions that should work in most cases, with minimal configuration. However, experienced developers should feel free to modify any of the instructions as necessary according to their own preferences (e.g. database usernames, etc.).


The primary requirements for this project are Node.js, PostgreSQL and PostGIS. You will need those installed if you do not have them already.

  1. Install Node.js. There are different methods for installing Node.js, and you will need to choose a method depending on your own preference. In production, Streetmix uses the latest “Active LTS” release. Locally, you should be able to use any version of Node.js in the “Current” or “Active” state.
  2. Install PostgreSQL. From the PostgreSQL download page select Linux, then your Linux distribution, for installation instructions.
  3. Install PostGIS. Linux instructions (per distribution) are available here.
  4. Configure PostgreSQL. If this is your first time installing PostgreSQL, you may need to set up some initial configuration, in the next section.

PostgreSQL configuration


In our experience, the Debian or Ubuntu package restricts the authentication methods such that one must set up a username with a password in order for Streetmix to be able to access the database. If you experience login problems, check the pg_hba.conf file (see documentation) to see if the trust authentication method isn’t present for the user. You can either modify that configuration file, or follow these basic instructions for setting up a new user.

# Switch to the PostgreSQL administrator user
sudo -iu postgres

# Create a new username
# Tip: if you create a user with the same name as your Linux
# username, you won't need to set the username in Streetmix
createuser streetmix_user

# Enter the PostgreSQL console

# Give your user permission to create and migrate the database

# Set a user password
ALTER USER streetmix_user WITH PASSWORD 'password';

# Leave the database
# Note: if prompted, type \q

# Switch back to original user

The user created here only needs the SUPERUSER role during migration. After a successful initial migration, you may remove the SUPERUSER role.


You may need to look for instructions more specific to your distro for setting up PostgreSQL.

We also welcome contributions to our documentation, so if you get Streetmix up and running on a different distro and would like to share how, please feel free!

Install and run Streetmix

See Instructions for all systems, below.

Instructions for all systems

After installing all prerequisites (depending on your platform, see above), you can now install and run Streetmix. Assuming all the prerequisites are installed correctly, the instructions below should work on most platforms in the command line terminal. (Note: for Windows platforms, we recommend using Git Bash or Windows Powershell to use these commands.)

Clone and install Streetmix

  1. In the command line terminal, clone the Streetmix repository to a folder on your computer.

    git clone
  2. Change the directory to Streetmix’s root directory, and install project dependencies.

    cd streetmix
    npm install


    We are not using the Yarn package manager. Installing with Yarn may cause unpredictable errors.

  3. (Optional) If necessary, create a .env file and set PosgreSQL credentials. Note: By default, most environments will not require PostgreSQL credentials. For more information, including instructions for setting third-party tokens to run services like authentication or localization, see Setting environment variables.

    # Make a copy of the environment variables file
    cp .env.example .env
    # Using vim, but replace with your editor
    vim .env

    You may use any editor you wish in place of vim. Set your username and password, as well as other database credentials, as necessary, by uncommenting the appropriate lines and setting the environment variables. The following is an example:



    If the PostgreSQL username is the same as your operating system’s current username, PGUSER is assumed to be that username by default, and you won’t need to set it explicitly.

  4. Initialize the PostgreSQL database.

    npx sequelize db:create
    npx sequelize db:migrate
    NODE_ENV=test npx sequelize db:create
    NODE_ENV=test npx sequelize db:migrate


    If you run into issues creating or migrating the database, you can access Sequelize’s “verbose” debug output with the command DEBUG=sequelize* npx sequelize db:migrate. (This feature is not well-documented by Sequelize.)

    Debug a migration on a Heroku application instance like so: heroku run 'DEBUG=sequelize* npx sequelize db:migrate' --app <heroku app id> (Note the quotation marks surrounding the command.)

    In general, Sequelize will print a confirmation or an error after completing each command. If creating the database is successful, you should be able to see the database using psql, PgAdmin, or other tools. A modern, open source, and cross-platform database GUI tool is Beekeeper Studio. The database needs to successfully exist before migrations can occur.

    Notice that the database create and migrate commands are run a second time prepended with NODE_ENV=test. This is because your local environment and a test environment use different database instances, and both of them need to be set up.

    You cannot run Streetmix without successfully creating a database, so this is an important step!

Setting environment variables

Environment variables store secret values (like authentication keys and passwords) used to connect to third-party services. Just like regular passwords, secrets should never be revealed to the public, so we store them in a .env file that isn’t committed to the repository.

You can create a .env by copying the starter .env.example in the Streetmix root directory.

To obtain keys for local development, you should be able to create your own free-tier accounts at each service and refer to their documentation for more information. To obtain keys to production resources, you will need to ask the project maintainers.

Required environment variables

The only required environment variables are the keys used for the Auth0 authentication service. Streetmix will run without this, but a lot of functionality is only available to signed-in users, and you will need these keys to sign in.

Variable name Description Required
AUTH0_DOMAIN Authentication service (Auth0) domain Yes
AUTH0_CLIENT_ID Authentication service (Auth0) client ID Yes
AUTH0_CLIENT_SECRET Authentication service (Auth0) client secret Yes

Optional environment variables

Streetmix will run without these keys. Some functionality will be limited, but they are not critical.

Variable name Description Required
PELIAS_API_KEY Geocoding (Pelias) API key No
TRANSIFEX_API_TOKEN Translations (Transifex) API token No
CLOUDINARY_API_KEY Image cloud storage (Cloudinary) key No
CLOUDINARY_API_SECRET Image cloud storage (Cloudinary) secret No

Optional database configuration (PostgreSQL)

Environment variables are the preferred way for PostgreSQL to access the database. If you have a local database that are not using default values, you can set these here as well. Usually, you won’t need to specify these at all.

Variable name Description Default value
PGUSER PostgreSQL username (your system username)
PGPASSWORD PostgreSQL password (none)
PGDATABASE PostgreSQL database name streetmix_dev
PGHOST PostgreSQL server host IP
PGPORT PostgreSQL server post 5432

Sample .env

A sample .env file looks like this:


Starting the application

  1. Start the PostgreSQL service. (Note: the method for doing this may differ depending on your operating system and how you installed PostgreSQL.)

  2. Start the web server. In the Streetmix project directory, run:

    npm start
  3. Load the application in your web browser by navigating to http://localhost:8000 or by running in your terminal:

    open http://localhost:8000

Stopping the application

To stop running Streetmix, press Ctrl-C.

Updating the application

Every so often, you will need to update the project.

  1. Pull the latest code from the repository.

    git pull
  2. Install the latest version of all dependencies.

    npm install
  3. Update the database schema.

    npx sequelize db:migrate

Setup in an offline environment

This is for a special case where you may need to deploy Streetmix onto machines that are going to be running in an environment without Internet access, such as a public space without Wi-Fi, or a conference center with very limited Wi-Fi. To put Streetmix into “offline mode”, set your NODE_ENV environment variable to demo.

You may do this by editing the .env file (see Setting environment variables for more information about this file).

You can also do it one time by starting the server like this:

NODE_ENV=demo npm start


“Offline mode” is not a well-supported feature of Streetmix. Use it with care.


When you are running Streetmix on a device without Internet access, you do not need to provide environment variables for to authenticate third-party services such as Auth0.


If you run into problems, please see the Development issues section.