Development Guide

How to install Plume on your computer and make changes to the source code. This guide also gives you tips for making debugging and testing easier.

Installing the development environment

Please refer to the installation guide. Choose to compile Plume from source when asked. Instead of using cargo install, use cargo run which starts a freshly compiled debugging version of Plume.

Testing the federation

To test the federation, you’ll need to setup another database, also owned by the “plume” user, but with a different name. Then, you’ll need to setup this instance too.

The easiest way to do it is probably to install plm and plume globally (as explained here), but with the --debug flag to avoid long compilation times. Then create a copy of your .env file in another directory, and change the DATABASE_URL and ROCKET_PORT variables. Then copy the migration files in this new directory and run them.

diesel migration run

Setup the new instance with plm as explained here.

Now, all you need for your two instances to be able to communicate is a fake domain name with HTTPS for each of them. The first step to have that on your local machine is to edit your /etc/hosts file, to create two new aliases by adding the following lines.       plume.two

Now, we need to create SSL certificates for each of these domains. We will use mkcert for this purpose. Here are the instructions to install it. Once you installed it, run.

mkcert -install
mkcert plume.two

Finally, we need a reverse proxy to load these certificates and redirect to the correct Plume instance for each domain. We will use Caddy here as it is really simple to configure, but if you are more at ease with something else you can also use alternatives.

To install Caddy, please refer to their website. Then create a file called Caddyfile in the same directory you ran mkcert and write this inside. {
  proxy / {

plume.two:443 {
  proxy / {

Eventually replace the ports in the proxy blocks by the one of your two instances, and then run caddy. You can now open your browser and load and https://plume.two.

Running tests

To run tests of plume-models use RUST_TEST_THREADS=1, otherwise tests are run concurrently, which causes error because they all use the same database.


To mark a string as translatable wrap it in the i18n! macro. The first argument should be the catalog to load translations from (usually ctx.1 in templates), the second the string to translate. You can specify format arguments after a ;.

If your string vary depending on the number of elements, provide the plural version as the third arguments, and the number of element as the first format argument.

You can find example uses of this macro here

Working with the front-end

When working with the front-end, we try limit our use of JavaScript as much as possible. Actually, we are not even using JavaScript since our front-end also uses Rust thanks to WebAssembly. But we want Plume to work with as little JavaScript as possible, since reading a post (Plume’s first goal) shouldn’t require a lot of interactions with the page.

When editing SCSS files, it is good to know that they are compiled by cargo too. But cargo can be a bit slow, since it recompiles all of Plume every time, not only the SCSS files. A workaround is to run cargo run in the background, and use cargo build to compile your SCSS, then kill it before the end of the build. To know when your SCSS have been compiled, wait for cargo to tell you it is compiling plume(bin) and not plume(build) (next to the progress bar).

Also, templates are using the Ructe syntax, which is a mix of Rust and HTML. They are compiled to Rust and embedded in Plume, which means you have to re-run cargo everytime you make a change to the templates.

Code Style

For Rust, use the standard style. rustfmt can help you keeping your code clean.

For SCSS, the only rules are to use One True Brace Style and two spaces to indent code.

For JavaScript, we use the JavaScript Standard Style.

For HTML/Ructe templates, we use HTML5 syntax.