Last updated

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.

Note: If you cloned the repository like described in the Getting started with FTW tutorial, you probably don't want to make the customizations in that project. Forking the repository is the recommended way to proceed. Follow this guide for instructions.

Getting started

If you are new to Sharetribe Flex or FTW, we recommend going through the Getting started articles:


Install required tools:


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.

Fork the repository

See the Fork a repo documentation for instructions for forking a repository in GitHub.

In the directory you want to create the project in:

# clone your fork
git clone

# change to the cloned directory

# add FTW repository as the upstream remote
git remote add upstream

See also the Configuring a remote for a fork documentation.

Pull in 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.

In the master branch (or in the branch you want to merge in the upstream changes):

  1. Fetch the latest changes from the upstream repository:

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

    git merge upstream/master
  3. Fix possible merge conflicts, commit, and push/deploy.

See also the Syncing a fork documentation.

Installing dependecies

In your project root, install dependencies:

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. 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.

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.


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 existing in 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 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 rendering setup. To develop the server rendering setup locally, run:

yarn run dev-server

This runs the frontend production build and starts the Express.js server in server/index.js that renders the application routes in the server. 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 build 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 all our guides for instructions for specific customizations.