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How to Customize FTW

So you've decided to build your own marketplace using Flex Template for Web (FTW). That's awesome! This guide will help you in setting up your fork and describes the general workflow.

Table of Contents

Create a marketplace environment

Flex Templates for Web (FTW) are marketplace web applications built on top of the Marketplace API. While you can create a marketplace client application from scratch using just the API, it requires a lot of effort and we recommend that you use a template as a starting point for customizations.

To use the Marketplace API, you will need a client ID. You can obtain one by creating a new Flex marketplace at the Sharetribe website.


To start a new customization project, you should create a separate Git repository and setup the Git remotes so that you can pull in changes from the main (upstream) repository to your custom repository.

Getting started with FTW template

If you are new to Sharetribe Flex or FTW, we recommend going through couple of articles first:

The Tutorial introduction will also walk you through creating a GitHub repository.

Choose a template

Tutorial goes through one of the FTW templates (FTW-daily), but that's not the only one. Currently, you can choose from three templates:

  • FTW-daily "Saunatime" - a rental marketplace with day-based bookings
  • FTW-hourly "Yogatime" - a service marketplace with time-based bookings
  • FTW-product "Sneakertime" - a product marketplace with stock management.

Note: By default your Flex marketplace comes with day-based transaction process. If you want to start working with FTW-hourly, you need to change to the time-based process. See getting started with Flex CLI for more information.

You should follow the tutorial to set up local development environment and connect it to GitHub.

Pull in the latest upstream changes

If you want to update your local customization project with changes in FTW, you should pull in changes from the upstream remote.

Note: Depending on the changes you've made to the template, this might be hard/impossible depending on what has changed. You should mainly think of FTW as being the starting point of your customization, not something that is constantly updated as you make changes to it.

Run the following commands in a feature branch

  1. Create a new feature branch and switch into that branch:

    git checkout -b updates-from-upstream
  2. Fetch the latest changes from the upstream repository:

    git fetch upstream
  3. Merge the changes to your local branch

    FTW-daily and FTW-hourly still follow old Github convention to name the default branch as master instead of main.

    git merge upstream/master

    FTW-product uses main as main branch.

    git merge upstream/main
  4. Fix possible merge conflicts, commit, and push/deploy.

See also the Syncing a fork documentation.

Installing dependecies

In your project root, install dependency libraries:

yarn install


There are some mandatory configuration, and some configuration that you most likely want to at least go through.

To get started, run:

yarn run config

This command will create .env file and guide you trough setting up the required environment variables.

└── .env

The .env file is the place to add your local configuration. It is ignored in Git, so you'll have to add the corresponding configuration also to your server environment. Check this Render config setup article - and there's also a generic article about deploying to production.

There are some mandatory configuration variables that are defined in the template. See the FTW Environment configuration variables reference for more information.

See also the src/config.js file for more configuration options.

└── src
    └── config.js
└── src
    └── config
        └── config.js


To develop the application and to see changes live, start the frontend development server:

yarn run dev

Known issues:

  • Adding/changing imports may not be synced properly with ESLint. You may see an error Unable to resolve path to module even though the module exists in the right path. Restarting the server doesn't help. To solve the issue, you need to make a change to the file where the error occurs.

Development with the actual Node.js server

The usual way to develop the application is to use the frontend development server (see above). However, in production you likely want to use the server-side rendering (SSR) setup. To develop against the actual server locally, run:

yarn run dev-server

This runs the frontend production build and starts the Express.js server in server/index.js.

└── server
    └── index.js

The server is automatically restarted when there are changes in the server/ directory.

Note: this server does not pick up changes in the frontend application code. For that you need to rebuild the client bundle by restarting the server manually.


To start the test watcher, run

yarn test

For more information, see the How to test FTW documentation.


There are many things that you should change in the default template, and many more that you can change. For more information, check the FTW customization checklist documentation too before publishing your site. See also tutorial and other articles in Flex Templates for Web and How-to categories.