Developer guidelines

If you want to work with the non-minified JavaScript and CSS files you’ll soon notice that there are references to a missing node_modules directory. Please follow the instructions below to create these directories and fetch Converse’s 3rd-party dependencies.


Windows environment: We recommend installing the required tools using Chocolatey You will need Node.js (nodejs.install), Git (git.install) and optionally to build using Makefile, GNU Make (make) If you have trouble setting up a development environment on Windows, please read this post in the mailing list.:

Installing the development and front-end dependencies

We use development tools which depend on Node.js and npm (the Node package manager).

If you don’t have Node.js installed, you can download and install the latest version here.

Also make sure you have Git installed. Details.


Windows users should use Chocolatey as recommended above.


Debian & Ubuntu users : apt-get install git npm nodejs-legacy

Once you have Node.js and git installed, run the following command inside the Converse.js directory:

make dev

On Windows you need to specify to be used by running:

make -f dev

Or alternatively, if you don’t have GNU Make:

npm install

This will install the Node.js development tools and Converse.js’s front-end dependencies.

The front-end dependencies are those javascript files on which Converse.js directly depends and which will be loaded in the browser.

To see the dependencies, take a look at whats under the devDependencies key in


After running `make dev`, you should now have a new node_modules directory which contains all the external dependencies of Converse.js. If these directory does NOT exist, something must have gone wrong. Double-check the output of `make dev` to see if there are any errors listed. For support, you can write to the mailing list:

Loading converse.js and its dependencies

Without AMD and require.js

Converse.js can also be used without require.js. If you for some reason prefer to use it this way, please refer to non_amd.html for an example of how and in what order all the JavaScript files that converse.js depends on need to be loaded.

Brief description of converse.js’s dependencies

Converse.js relies on the following dependencies:

  • JQuery for DOM manipulation and promises.
  • moment.js provides a better API for handling dates and times.
  • Strophe.js maintains the XMPP session, is used to build XMPP stanzas, to send them, and to register handlers for received stanzas.
  • lodash provides very useful utility functions.
  • Backbone is used to model the data as Models and Collections and to create Views that render the UI.
  • backbone.overview provides Overviews, which are to Views as Backbone Collections are to Models.
  • pluggable.js is the plugin architecture for Converse.js. It registers and initializes plugins and allows existing attributes, functions and objects on converse.js to be overridden inside plugins.

When submitting a pull request

Please follow the usual github workflow. Create your own local fork of this repository, make your changes and then submit a pull request.

Follow the programming style guide

Please read the style guide and make sure that your code follows it.

Add tests for your bugfix or feature

Add a test for any bug fixed or feature added. We use Jasmine for testing.

Take a look at tests.html and the spec files to see how tests are implemented.

Check that the tests pass

Check that all tests complete sucessfully.

Run make check in your terminal or open tests.html in your browser.