Developing Spree

Spree codebase

Spree API is written in Ruby on Rails framework and is mounted into a Rails application as a Rails Engine.

Spree namespace

All Spree models, controllers and other Ruby classes are namespaced by the Spree keyword, eg. Spree::Product. This means that those files are also located in spree sub-directories eg. app/models/spree/product.rb.

Forking Spree repo

Go to Spree GitHub repository and click the Fork button. This will create a copy of the Spree repository on your GitHub account. See Github Documentation for more information on forking.

Local setup

  1. Clone your fork repository

     git clone git://
     cd spree
  2. Install ruby

  3. Install required libraries

    You will need SQLite (or PostgreSQL or MySQL) and libvips installed on your system. You can install them using the following commands:

    brew install vips

    If you are using Ubuntu or Windows Linux Subsystem, you can install libvips using the following command:

    sudo apt-get install libvips

    Please refer to the libvips installation guide for more information.

  4. Install the gem dependencies

     bundle install

Creating Sandbox application

Bellow command will setup a Rails application with Spree pre-installed with some data seeded:


By default, Sandbox uses the SQLite database. But you can switch to PostgreSQL or MySQL:

DB=postgres bin/

Performance in development mode

You may notice that your Spree store runs slower in development environment. This is caused by disabled caching and automatic reloading of code after each change.


Caching is disabled by default. To turn on caching please run:

bin/rails dev:cache

You will need to restart rails server after this change.

Making changes

Create a new branch for your changes. Do not push changes to the main branch. Branch name should be human-readable and informative, eg.

  • bug fixes: fix/order-recalculation-total-bug
  • features: feature/my-new-amazing-feature

Running Tests

We use CircleCI to run the tests for Spree.

You can see the build statuses at

Each gem contains its own series of tests, and for each directory, you need to do a quick one-time creation of a test application and then you can use it to run the tests. For example, to run the tests for the core project.

cd core
bundle exec rake test_app
bundle exec rspec

If you would like to run specs against a particular database you may specify the dummy app’s database, which defaults to sqlite3.

DB=postgres bundle exec rake test_app

If you want to run specs for only a single spec file

cd core
bundle exec rspec spec/models/spree/state_spec.rb

If you want to run a particular line of spec

cd core
bundle exec rspec spec/models/spree/state_spec.rb:7

If a large number of tests fail when you run rspec for the first time, confirm that you have Redis installed and running. You can use the command brew services info redis to check if Redis is running. If it is not running, start Redis with brew services start redis.

Running integration tests on MacOS (only applicable for Admin Panel)

We use chromedriver to run integration tests. To install it please use this command:

brew cask install chromedriver

Submitting Changes

Please keep your commit history meaningful and clear. This guide covers it quite well and we recommend reading it, not only for Spree project but for any IT project overall.

  1. Push your changes to a topic branch in your fork of the repository.

    git push -u origin fix/order-recalculation-total-bug
  2. Create a Pull request - please follow this guide

    If your changes references Github issues, please mark which issue you’re fixing by adding Fixes #<number or url of the issue> in the commit name or PR title/description. This will automatically mark that issue as closed when your PR will be merged.

  3. Wait for CI to pass

  4. If CI passed wait for Spree Core team code review

    We’re aiming to review and leave feedback as soon as possible. We’ll leave you a meaningul feedback if needed.


This section will help you troubleshoot common issues with Spree.

libvips error

If you are using Spree 4.5 or higher, you may encounter the following libvips error:

LoadError: Could not open library ''

This error is usually an indication that you do not have libvips installed locally on your machine. Check that libvips is installed with vips -v, and if it is not installed, follow installation instructions here.

That’s a wrap!

Thank you for participating in Open Source and improving Spree - you’re awesome!

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