November 5, 2021

1110 words 6 mins read



An online whiteboard

repo name raimohanska/ourboard
repo link
language TypeScript
size (curr.) 3511 kB
stars (curr.) 541
created 2020-10-19
license Other

An online whiteboard.

Feel free to try at

Features and User Guide


Setting your nickname

  • Click on the top right corner nickname field to change

Adding items

  • Drag from palette
  • Double click to add a new note
  • Use keyboard shortcuts below

Adding links

  • Paste a link to text, it’ll automatically converted to a hyperlink
  • Select text and paste a link to convert the text to a link

Adding images

  • Add by dragging a file from your computer or from a browser window
  • Add by pasting an image from the clipboard using Command-V

Adding videos

  • Add by dragging a file from your computer or from a browser window

Keyboard shortcuts

DEL/Backspace       Delete item
A                   Create new area
N                   Create new note
T                   Create new text box
Command-V           Paste
Command-C           Copy
Command-X           Cut
Command-Z           Undo
Command-Shift-Z     Redo
Command-D           Duplicate
Arrow keys          Move selected items. SHIFT for big steps, ALT for fine-tuning.

Pro tips

  • You can drag the toolbar / palette around, if it gets in your way at the top-center position

Board access controls

All boards created using the UI are accessible to anyone with the link.

Boards with restricted access can currently only be created using the POST API (see below).

Github Issues Integration

  1. Create a board and an Area named “new issues” (case insensitive) on the board.
  2. Add a webhook to a git repo, namely
    1. Use URL{board-id}, with board-id from the URL of you board.
    2. Use content type to application/json
    3. Select “Let me select individual events” and pick Issues only.
  3. Create a new issue or change labels of an existing issue.
  4. You should see new notes appear on your board


For a full list of API endpoints, see

All POST and PUT endpoints accept application/json content.

API requests against boards with restricted access require you to supply an API_TOKEN header with a valid API token. The token is returned in the response of the POST request used to create the board.

POST /api/v1/board

Creates a new board. Payload:

    "name": "board name as string",

You can also specify board access policy, including individual users by email and user email domains:

    "name": "board name as string",
    "accessPolicy": {
        "allowList": [
            { email: "" },
            { domain: "" }


    "id": "board id",
    "accessToken": "************"

The accessToken returned here is required for further API calls in case you set an access policy. So, make sure to save the token.

PUT /api/v1/board/:boardId

Changes board name and, optionally, access policy. Payload is similar to the POST request above.

This endpoint always requires the API_TOKEN header.

POST /api/v1/board/:boardId/item

Creates a new item on given board. If you want to add the item onto a specific area/container element on the board, you can find the id of the container by inspecting with your browser.


    "type": "note",
    "text": "text on note",
    "container": "container element text or id",
    "color": "hexadecimal color code"

PUT /api/v1/board/:boardId/item/:itemId

Creates a new item on given board or updates an existing one. If you want to add the item onto a specific area/container element on the board, you can find the id of the container by inspecting with your browser.


    "type": "note",
    "text": "text on note",
    "container": "container element text or id",
    "color": "hexadecimal color code",
    "replaceTextIfExists": boolean,      // Override text if item with this id exists. Defaults to false.
    "replaceColorIfExists": boolean,     // Override color if item with this id exists. Defaults to false.
    "replaceContainerIfExists": boolean, // Override container in item with this id exists. Defaults to true.

GET /api/v1/board/:boardId

Return board current state as JSON.

GET /api/v1/board/:boardId/hierarchy

Return board current state in a hierarchical format (items inside containers)

GET /api/v1/board/:boardId/csv

Return board current state in CSV format, where

  • A container containing only leaf items (note, text) creates a row and each item in that container gets its own column
  • Container name is a column on the left
  • Any wrapping containers also add a column on the left

GET /api/v1/board/:boardId/history

Returns the full history of given board as JSON.

Google Authentication integration

Google authentication is supported. To enable this feature, you’ll need to supply GOOGLE_API_KEY and GOOGLE_CLIENT_ID as environment variables. When running locally, you’ll need to place these variables in both frontend/.env and backend/.env.

Tech stack

  • TypeScript
  • Harmaja frontend library
  • WebSockets (express-ws / uWebSockets.js both!)
  • Express server
  • Typera for HTTP API
  • Heroku


Running locally requires docker-compose which is used for starting the local PostgreSQL database. The script below starts the database, but you must make sure you have a working docker setup on your machine, of course.

Running locally:

yarn install
yarn start:dev

Run end-to end Cypress tests against the server you just started:

  • yarn test-e2e:dev to run once
  • yarn cypress to open the Cypress UI for repeated test runs

Connect to the local PostgreSQL database

yarn psql

Developing with production data

Do not run your local server against the production database, or you’ll corrupt production. The server’s in memory state will be out of sync with DB and bad things will happen.

Instead, do this.

  1. Capture a backup and download it: heroku pg:backups:capture, then heroku pg:backups:download.
  2. Restore the backup to your local database: pg_restore --verbose --clean --no-acl --no-owner -d postgres://r-board:secret@localhost:13338/r-board latest.dump
  3. Start you local server using yarn start:dev

If you need the local state for a given board in localStorage, you can

  1. extract the content in the browser devtools, when viewing production site in browser, using localStorage["board_<boardid>"]

  2. Copy that string to clipboard

  3. Run the following in your localhost site console:

    localStorage[“board_32de1a50-09a6-4453-9b9e-ed10c56afa99”]=JSON.stringify( )

Copy the result string, navigate to your localhost site and paste the same value to the same localStorage key. Refresh and enjoy.


You should be able to host your own OurBoard instance pretty easily. Some environment variables to set:

DATABASE_URL:          [Postgres database URL]
DATABASE_SSL_ENABLED:  [Use SSL for database connection (optional; default = false)]
DOMAIN:                [your domain name]
WS_HOST_DEFAULT:       [your domain name]
WS_HOST_LOCAL:         [your domain name]
WS_PROTOCOL:           [wss for secure, ws for non-secure]

AWS environment variables, needed for hosting board assets on AWS S3, otherwise hosted in file system.


Google Authentication environment variables, needed if you want to enable Google auth.



See Issues!

A word from our sponsor

I want to thank Reaktor for the huge and essential support for this project!

  • We (Reaktorian contributors) get some monetary support from the Reaktor open-source support program
  • Hosting costs covered by Reaktor (Heroku, AWS)
  • The UI design was done by Reaktor’s experts (Mira Myllylä for the tool and Mari Halla-aho for the dashboard)
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