How do I use the current assets during development with UBOS Mesh?


The problem

The current build process packages all resources – like HTML and CSS files, Handlebars templates etc – into UBOS Linux packages, from where they are served when the UBOS Personal Data Mesh is run. Even during development.

That makes the edit cycle lengthier than we’d like: it should be possible to immediately see the change in a CSS file, for example.

The solution

Run the UBOS Personal Data Mesh with environment variable PACKAGE_RESOURCES_PARENT_DIR. The value of this variable is interpreted as a directory (or several, separated by colon or comma) that are prepended to the default search path for assets. This allows specifying a path that “overrides” the default search path for assets, and you can point it to the directory hierarchy where you make your edits.

You need to specify this environment variable in a place where it can be effective when you run the UBOS Personal Data Mesh as a systemd service. One way this can be accomplished is by adding a line to /etc/diet4j/diet4j-jsvc-<<APPCONFIGID>>.env, where <<APPCONFIGID>> is the applicable App Configuration Id from the Site JSON file (sudo ubos-admin showsite --detail).

Example added line:


How it works

The default for this path is /ubos/share, because that’s where Packages store their files. For example, Package ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album stores the following files there:

  • /ubos/share/ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album/assets/net.ubos.underbars.vl.album/default.css
  • /ubos/share/ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album/viewlets/net.ubos.underbars.vl.album/html_body_content.hbs
  • /ubos/share/ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album/viewlets/net.ubos.underbars.vl.album/html_body_inlined.hbs
  • /ubos/share/ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album/viewlets/net.ubos.underbars.vl.album/html_head_title.hbs

If you mounted your git source code directory into your build/test container, such as by specifying ./projects:/home/ubosdev/projects in your Docker setup as recommended in How to build UBOS Mesh itself, and you set


then the UBOS Personal Data Mesh UI framework will, for example, look for the above CSS file in the following locations, in sequence:

  1. /home/ubosdev/projects/ubos-mesh-underbars-ui/ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album/assets/net.ubos.underbars.vl.album/default.css
  2. /ubos/share/ubos-mesh-underbars-vl-album/assets/net.ubos.underbars.vl.album/default.css