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vector-web is now riot-web


0.9.0 • Public • Published


Riot (formerly known as Vector) is a Matrix web client built using the Matrix React SDK (

Getting Started

The easiest way to test Riot is to just use the hosted copy at The develop branch is continuously deployed by Jenkins at for those who like living dangerously.

To host your own copy of Riot, the quickest bet is to use a pre-built released version of Riot:

  1. Download the latest version from
  2. Untar the tarball on your web server
  3. Move (or symlink) the vector-x.x.x directory to an appropriate name
  4. If desired, copy config.sample.json to config.json and edit it as desired. See below for details.
  5. Enter the URL into your browser and log into Riot!

Note that Chrome does not allow microphone or webcam access for sites served over http (except localhost), so for working VoIP you will need to serve Riot over https.

Important Security Note

We do not recommend running Riot from the same domain name as your Matrix homeserver. The reason is the risk of XSS (cross-site-scripting) vulnerabilities that could occur if someone caused Riot to load and render malicious user generated content from a Matrix API which then had trusted access to Riot (or other apps) due to sharing the same domain.

We have put some coarse mitigations into place to try to protect against this situation, but it's still not good practice to do it in the first place. See for more details.

Building From Source

Riot is a modular webapp built with modern ES6 and requires a npm build system to build.

  1. Install or update node.js so that your npm is at least at version 2.0.0
  2. Clone the repo: git clone
  3. Switch to the vector-web directory: cd vector-web
  4. Install the prerequisites: npm install
  5. If you are using the develop branch of vector-web, you will probably need to rebuild one of the dependencies, due to (cd node_modules/matrix-react-sdk && npm install)
  6. Configure the app by copying config.sample.json to config.json and modifying it (see below for details)
  7. npm run dist to build a tarball to deploy. Untaring this file will give a version-specific directory containing all the files that need to go on your web server.

Note that npm run dist is not supported on Windows, so Windows users can run npm run build, which will build all the necessary files into the vector directory. The version of Vector will not appear in Settings without using the dist script. You can then mount the vector directory on your webserver to actually serve up the app, which is entirely static content.


You can configure the app by copying vector/config.sample.json to vector/config.json and customising it:

  1. default_hs_url is the default home server url.
  2. default_is_url is the default identity server url (this is the server used for verifying third party identifiers like email addresses). If this is blank, registering with an email address, adding an email address to your account, or inviting users via email address will not work. Matrix identity servers are very simple web services which map third party identifiers (currently only email addresses) to matrix IDs: see for more details. Currently the only public matrix identity servers are and In future identity servers will be decentralised.
  3. integrations_ui_url: URL to the web interface for the integrations server.
  4. integrations_rest_url: URL to the REST interface for the integrations server.
  5. roomDirectory: config for the public room directory. This section encodes behaviour on the room directory screen for filtering the list by server / network type and joining third party networks. This config section will disappear once APIs are available to get this information for home servers. This section is optional.
  6. roomDirectory.servers: List of other Home Servers' directories to include in the drop down list. Optional.
  7. roomDirectory.serverConfig: Config for each server in roomDirectory.servers. Optional.
  8. roomDirectory.serverConfig.<server_name>.networks: List of networks (named in roomDirectory.networks) to include for this server. Optional.
  9. roomDirectory.networks: config for each network type. Optional.
  10. roomDirectory.<network_type>.name: Human-readable name for the network. Required.
  11. roomDirectory.<network_type>.protocol: Protocol as given by the server in /_matrix/client/unstable/thirdparty/protocols response. Required to be able to join this type of third party network.
  12. roomDirectory.<network_type>.domain: Domain as given by the server in /_matrix/client/unstable/thirdparty/protocols response, if present. Required to be able to join this type of third party network, if present in thirdparty/protocols.
  13. roomDirectory.<network_type>.portalRoomPattern: Regular expression matching aliases for portal rooms to locations on this network. Required.
  14. roomDirectory.<network_type>.icon: URL to an icon to be displayed for this network. Required.
  15. roomDirectory.<network_type>.example: Textual example of a location on this network, eg. '#channel' for an IRC network. Optional.
  16. roomDirectory.<network_type>.nativePattern: Regular expression that matches a valid location on this network. This is used as a hint to the user to indicate when a valid location has been entered so it's not necessary for this to be exactly correct. Optional.

Running as a Desktop app

In future we'll do an official distribution of Riot as an desktop app. Meanwhile, there are a few options: points out that you can use nativefier and it just works(tm):

sudo npm install nativefier -g

krisa has a dedicated electron project at (although you should swap out the 'vector' folder for the latest vector tarball you want to run. Get a tarball from or build your own

  • see Building From Source above).

There's also a (much) older electron distribution at


Before attempting to develop on Riot you must read the developer guide for matrix-react-sdk at, which also defines the design, architecture and style for Riot too.

The idea of Riot is to be a relatively lightweight "skin" of customisations on top of the underlying matrix-react-sdk. matrix-react-sdk provides both the higher and lower level React components useful for building Matrix communication apps using React.

After creating a new component you must run npm run reskindex to regenerate the component-index.js for the app (used in future for skinning)

However, as of July 2016 this layering abstraction is broken due to rapid development on Riot forcing matrix-react-sdk to move fast at the expense of maintaining a clear abstraction between the two. Hacking on Riot inevitably means hacking equally on matrix-react-sdk, and there are bits of matrix-react-sdk behaviour incorrectly residing in the vector-web project (e.g. matrix-react-sdk specific CSS), and a bunch of Riot specific behaviour in the matrix-react-sdk (grep for vector / riot). This separation problem will be solved asap once development on Riot (and thus matrix-react-sdk) has stabilised. Until then, the two projects should basically be considered as a single unit. In particular, matrix-react-sdk issues are currently filed against vector-web in github.

Please note that Riot is intended to run correctly without access to the public internet. So please don't depend on resources (JS libs, CSS, images, fonts) hosted by external CDNs or servers but instead please package all dependencies into Riot itself.

Setting up a dev environment

Much of the functionality in Riot is actually in the matrix-react-sdk and matrix-js-sdk modules. It is possible to set these up in a way that makes it easy to track the develop branches in git and to make local changes without having to manually rebuild each time.

First clone and build matrix-js-sdk:

  1. git clone
  2. pushd matrix-js-sdk
  3. git checkout develop
  4. npm install
  5. npm install source-map-loader # because webpack is made of fail (
  6. popd

Then similarly with matrix-react-sdk:

  1. git clone
  2. pushd matrix-react-sdk
  3. git checkout develop
  4. npm install
  5. rm -r node_modules/matrix-js-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-js-sdk node_modules/
  6. popd

Finally, build and start Riot itself:

  1. git clone

  2. cd vector-web

  3. git checkout develop

  4. npm install

  5. rm -r node_modules/matrix-js-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-js-sdk node_modules/

  6. rm -r node_modules/matrix-react-sdk; ln -s ../../matrix-react-sdk node_modules/

  7. npm start

  8. Wait a few seconds for the initial build to finish; you should see something like:

    Hash: b0af76309dd56d7275c8
    Version: webpack 1.12.14
    Time: 14533ms
             Asset     Size  Chunks             Chunk Names
         bundle.js   4.2 MB       0  [emitted]  main
        bundle.css  91.5 kB       0  [emitted]  main  5.29 MB       0  [emitted]  main   116 kB       0  [emitted]  main
        + 1013 hidden modules

    Remember, the command will not terminate since it runs the web server and rebuilds source files when they change. This development server also disables caching, so do NOT use it in production.

  9. Open in your browser to see your newly built Riot.

When you make changes to matrix-react-sdk, you will need to run npm run build in the relevant directory. You can do this automatically by instead running npm start in the directory, to start a development builder which will watch for changes to the files and rebuild automatically.

If you add or remove any components from the Riot skin, you will need to rebuild the skin's index by running, npm run reskindex.

If any of these steps error with, file table overflow, you are probably on a mac which has a very low limit on max open files. Run ulimit -Sn 1024 and try again. You'll need to do this in each new terminal you open before building Riot.

Triaging issues

Issues will be triaged by the core team using the following primary set of tags:

priority: P1: top priority; typically blocks releases. P2: one below that P3: non-urgent P4/P5: bluesky some day, who knows.

bug or feature: bug severity: * cosmetic - feature works functionally but UI/UX is broken. * critical - whole app doesn't work * major - entire feature doesn't work * minor - partially broken feature (but still usable)

 * release blocker

 * ui/ux (think of this as cosmetic)

 * network (specific to network conditions)
 * platform (platform specific)




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