3.3.11. Base web application JavaScript Application

The client side of the web UI is written in JavaScript and based on the AngularJS framework and concepts.

This is a Single Page Application. All Buildbot pages are loaded from the same path, at the master’s base URL. The actual content of the page is dictated by the fragment in the URL (the portion following the # character). Using the fragment is a common JS technique to avoid reloading the whole page over HTTP when the user changes the URI or clicks on a link.


The best place to learn about AngularJS is its own documentation.

AngularJS strong points are:

On top of Angular, we use nodeJS tools to ease development:

  • webpack build system, seamlessly build the app, watch files for modification, rebuild and reload browser in dev mode. In production mode, the build system minifies html, css and js, so that the final app is only 3 files to download (+img)

  • pug template language (aka jade), adds syntax sugar and readability to angular html templates

  • Bootstrap is a CSS library providing known good basis for our styles

  • Font Awesome is a coherent and large icon library

Additionally the following npm modules are loaded by webpack and are available to plugins:

For the exact versions of these dependencies, check www/base/package.json.


The Buildbot UI is designed for extensibility. The base application should be pretty minimal and only include very basic status pages. The base application cannot be disabled, so any page that’s not absolutely necessary should be put in plugins. You can also completely replace the default application by another application more suitable to your needs.

Some Web plugins are maintained inside Buildbot’s git repository, but this is not required in order for a plugin to work. Unofficial plugins are possible and encouraged.

Typical plugin source code layout is:


Standard setup script. Most plugins should use the same boilerplate, which implements building the BuildBot plugin app as part of the package setup. Minimal adaptation is needed.


The python entrypoint. Must contain an “ep” variable of type buildbot.www.plugin.Application. Minimal adaptation is needed


Configuration for Webpack. Few changes are usually needed here. Please see webpack docs for details.


Source code for the AngularJS application.


Declares npm dependencies and development scripts.


Needed by setup.py for sdist generation. You need to adapt this file to match the name of your plugin.

Plugins are packaged as python entry-points for the buildbot.www namespace. The python part is defined in the buildbot.www.plugin module. The entrypoint must contain a twisted.web Resource, that is populated in the web server in /<pluginname>/.

The plugin may only add an http endpoint, or it could add a full JavaScript UI. This is controlled by the ui argument of the Application endpoint object. If ui==True, then it will automatically load /<pluginname>/scripts.js and /<pluginname>/styles.css into the angular.js application. Additionally, an angular.js module with the name <pluginname> will be registered as a dependency of the main app module. The scripts.js file may register some new states to $stateProvider or add new menu items via glMenuProvider for example.

The plugin writers may add more REST APIs to /<pluginname>/api. For that, a reference to the master singleton is provided in master attribute of the Application entrypoint. The plugins are not restricted to Twisted, and could even load a wsgi application using flask, django, or some other framework.

Check out the official BuildBot www plugins for examples. The www/grid_view and www/badges are good examples of plugins with and without a JavaScript UI respectively.


AngularJS uses a router to match URLs and choose which page to display. The router we use is ui.router. Menu is managed by guanlecoja-ui’s glMenuProvider. Please look at ui.router and guanlecoja-ui documentation for details.

Typically, a route registration will look like following example:

   class MyState {

        // Dependency injection: we inject $stateProvider and glMenuServiceProvider
        constructor($stateProvider, glMenuServiceProvider) {
            // Name of the state
            const name = 'myname';
            const caption = 'My Name Plugin';

            // Configuration
                name: name,
                caption: caption,           // text of the menu
                icon: 'exclamation-circle', // icon, from Font-Awesome
                // Order in the menu, as menu are declared in several places,
                // we need this to control menu order
                order: 5
            const cfg = {
                group: name,
                caption: caption

            // Register new state
            const state = {
                controller: "myStateController",
                template: require('./myname.tpl.jade'),
                name: name,
                url: `/${name}`,
                data: cfg

.config(['$stateProvider', 'glMenuServiceProvider', MyState]);


We use angular directives as much as possible to implement reusable UI components.

Linking with Buildbot

A running buildmaster needs to be able to find the JavaScript source code it needs to serve the UI. This needs to work in a variety of contexts - Python development, JavaScript development, and end-user installations. To accomplish this, the www build process finishes by bundling all of the static data into a Python distribution tarball, along with a little bit of Python glue. The Python glue implements the interface described below, with some care taken to handle multiple contexts.

See Hacking the Buildbot JavaScript for a more extensive explanation and tutorial. Testing Setup

buildbot_www uses Karma to run the JavaScript test suite. This is the official test framework made for angular.js. We don’t run the front-end testsuite inside the python ‘trial’ test suite, because testing python and JS is technically very different.

Karma needs a browser to run the unit test in. It supports all the major browsers. Given our current experience, we did not see any bugs yet that would only happen on a particular browser. This is the reason why only Chrome is used for testing at the moment.

Debug with karma

console.log is available via karma. In order to debug the unit tests, you can also use the global variable dump, which dumps any object for inspection in the console. This can be handy to be sure that you don’t let debug logs in your code to always use dump.

Testing with real data

It is possible to run only the frontend and proxy the requests to another BuildBot instance. This allows to make front-end work on realistic data without bothering to reproduce the setup locally.

This is implemented as the master/buildbot/scripts/devproxy.py aiohttp server.

To run it, set up and enable a virtualenv like the one described in Create a Buildbot Python Environment. Then execute the script as follows:

buildbot dev-proxy

There are many options which are documented as usual with --help.

Note that dev-proxy does not work with most of authentication except basic password. You can steal a document.cookie string from your real Buildbot and then pass to dev-proxy using the --auth_cookie option.