What’s Vulcan?

Vulcan is a framework that gives you a set of tools for quickly building React-based web applications. Out of the box, it can handle data loading, automatically generate forms, handle email notifications, and much more.

You can get a good overview of what Vulcan can do in the Features section.

Note: Vulcan is the new name of Telescope Nova. Learn more


Install the latest version of Node and NPM. We recommend the usage of NVM.

You can then install Meteor, which is used as the Vulcan build tool.

Clone the Vulcan repo locally, then:

npm install
npm start

And open http://localhost:3000/ in your browser.

Note that you can also start the app with:

# default setting file: sample_settings.json
meteor --settings sample_settings.json

# 'npm start' will create a copy of the sample settings, 'settings.json', and run `meteor` with this file for you.

Getting Started

When you first run VulcanJS, you’ll see the contents of the example-simple package. It is recommended you go through the Simple Example tutorial to get a grasp of how Vulcan’s building blocks (data loading, forms, etc.) work.

You can then take the more in-depth Movies Example tutorial to get a better understanding of VulcanJS’s internals. You can enable the Movies Example package by uncommenting it in .meteor/packages, and commenting out example-simple in its place)

Once you’ve gone through both tutorials, you can enable the example-instagram package, which takes the same basic example but goes a little further, as well as take a look at its code.

At this stage, you can either continue using Vulcan’s basic building blocks, or enable the more advanced forum features by checking out the example-forum package.

And if you’d like to use and customize the forum packages, you can then follow up with the customization example tutorial tutorial, which will take you through the code of the included example-customization package and show you how to adapt Vulcan packages to your needs without modifying their code directly, by tweaking styles, overriding components, and inserting your own logic in Vulcan’s back-end.

You can also check out Vulcan’s YouTube channel to learn more about the framework.

Two-Repo Install

In order to make working with Vulcan easier (especially when it comes to updating the core packages), you can follow the “two-repo” pattern, with the two repository being:

  1. A clone of the main Vulcan repo.
  2. Your own Meteor project, using the first repo as its package source.

Follow these steps to get set up:

  1. Clone the main VulcanJS repo locally (for example, to ~/Vulcan).
  2. Create a new Meteor project or clone the Vulcan starter repo (this will become your project’s repo).
  3. Inside your project repo, launch Vulcan with:
METEOR_PACKAGE_DIRS="~/Vulcan/packages" meteor --port 3000 --settings settings.json

Note that if you’d like, you can create an alias for that command in your .bash_profile file:

alias runvulcan='METEOR_PACKAGE_DIRS="~/Vulcan/packages" meteor --port 3000 --settings settings.json'


Vulcan is built on top of three main open-source technologies: React, GraphQL, and Meteor.

  • React is Vulcan’s front-end library.
  • GraphQL is Vulcan’s API layer, used to load data from the server with Apollo.
  • Meteor is Vulcan’s back-end layer, used to handle the database as well as server and bundle the app.

Each layer is independent from the other two: you can take your React components and use them with a completely different stack, and – although we’re not quite there yet – ultimately we also hope to make it easy to migrate out of Meteor.

The goal is to avoid getting stuck: if at any point you outgrow Vulcan, it should be possible to leave it with minimal refactoring.


You can find the Vulcan roadmap on Trello.


We’re looking for contributors! If you’re interested in this project, come say hello in the Vulcan Slack chatroom.

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